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InterviewsFrom Beyond The Light – Absolva lay waste to Hammerfest V

Posted on Friday, March 22 2013 @ 02:32:21 CDT by Dean Pedley
Heavy Metal Just eight months on from their live debut and rising classic metallers Absolva have come a long way. The band that was formed by guitarist / vocalist Chris Appleton and drummer Martin McNee, Absolva rose from the ashes of Fury UK to debut with Flames Of Justice. The album was awarded a very rare 5 out of 5 here at Sea of Tranquility and saw the band welcomed with horns aloft by the metal community. Catching up with Chris and bassist Dan Bate just before their set at the Hammerfest V festival were Sea of Tranquility's tag team of Dean Pedley and Mark Davies.

We kick off by discussing Hammerfest itself, which offers a pretty unique experience of thousands of metal heads descending on North Wales for a weekend of live music. "It is slightly bizarre" confirms Dan, "there is nothing else like it in terms of festivals or other events but I'm really looking forward to it". "It's a bit like having chicken fried rice with a steak" suggests Chris, "and no camping which is a bonus of course".

"We all started this project as a fresh start for all of us and we were unsure of what to expect in all honesty. It was a new band, a debut album and lots of touring" explains Chris. "And when we look back at everything we have achieved since playing that first show eight months ago then we are all pretty proud and excited about how far we have come in such a short period of time. We couldn't have asked for any more really."

Absolva have enjoyed success not just in the UK but also on mainland Europe itself with the next festival for them following Hammerfest being the sold out Wizzfest over in Belgium. "For me it has been the first time playing outside of the UK with Absolva. Chris and Martin had been there with Fury UK and laid some good groundwork particularly in Belgium and the audience is fantastic over there; there is none of the "too cool to clap" attitude and they all really get in to it and so it was pretty new for me" says Dan. Chris continues "We chose Wizzfest as the ideal place to record our first live DVD which will be even more special with it having sold out. It is still hard out there but the main difference when compared with the UK is that a lot of the venues here when they book a band then that band should feel privileged to play there. They try to keep the price down, bring you in early and kick you out early to put a club night on later so they can make as much money as possible. Whereas it is totally flipped in Europe; even if you are booked as a small band they try and cover your expenses, provide food and drink and make sure that band really enjoys the experience of playing that venue so you will want to come back".

With venues closing at an ever increasing rate here at home there must be something we can learn from our friends across the Channel. Chris agrees. "Well there is a venue in Belgium that we have gone back to repeatedly, the first time we were there with Fury UK it was 15 – 20 people and the last time we played with Absolva it was pretty much sold out. And we have taken the opinion that because they have always treated us properly and looked after us we don't really want to play anywhere else and will stay loyal to them – and if anyone did that for us here at home then we'd do the same.

And it is fair to say that Absolva are a band that plays a lot of live shows. "With the live DVD we are planning a September release that will be followed by another tour" confirms Chris. "Before all of that we've got eight dates with Schenker over in Europe first and we are there in total for five weeks with our own headline shows, including a quick detour back to support Queensryche in Manchester. Some festivals are also dotted around in the summer in Germany and Belgium."

Dan picks up on the subject of new material. "We've got some material that we have been working on and it's getting to the point we are ready to finalise the ones that we are planning to use. Currently the plan is to get in the studio at the end of November, record album two with a view to a release date in April or May 2014.So we have the next twelve months fully mapped out at the moment and there are also a few other irons in the fire which we can't talk about at the moment but which might happen."

"We didn't really know what to expect when we launched Absolva but I don't think I have seen one bad review of the album" says Chris. "Everything has been really positive and I think there we are lot of emotions running at the time but a big contributor was Matt Elliss, our producer over at Axis Studios in Doncaster. He really understood what we were trying to achieve sound wise which was a really modern interpretation of a classic metal band. We didn't really want to sound like a nu-metal band but at the same time not sound like it was recorded in 1979. Matt pushes us performance wise and especially Martin with the drum sound. He went in and laid some tracks down and came storming through the door, made a drink, with his red cheeks puffed out and his eyebrows down and then stormed back could just feel the aggression and intensity!"

The hard work ethic runs right through the band. "Chris in particular when I joined the band was very motivated and just a few weeks after I came on board we were over in Ireland playing a gig with Iced Earth" says Dan. "We spent a lot of time in rehearsal getting everything just right and playing in the same band as Chris is a real honour for me." Chris touches on the direction the new material may well take. "Dan and I share a love of Thin Lizzy, Martin is really into his thrash and Tom Atkinson adds that heavier element when we perhaps want to go a bit more classic. So I think it will sound a little bit heavier because we will have more time to prepare. We'll have two new songs as an exclusive on the live DVD…heavy but catchy and with big choruses. We are all really enjoying what we are doing at the moment."

Just a few hours later Absolva take the Hammerfest stage by storm and you can read all about that in our upcoming live feature. If you love classic metal with a twin guitar assault and balls to the wall solidity then Absolva are an absolute must. For upcoming tour dates and more info head over to

Absolva interviewed by Dean Pedley and Mark Davies - March 2013
Live images by Rob Nankivell of Shoot! -

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