Nige Rockett, Onslaught guitarist, in interview for Metal Jacket Magazine speaks about upcoming album “Generation Antichrist”, shares his thoughts about the current situation, Thrash Metal and a lot more.
For the beginning of this interview, tell me about your upcoming record “Generation Antichrist” which will be released on August 7th, the whole concept of it, technical nature of it and mostly what can your fans expect from it?
Hi Vladimir, I hope you are doing well during this nightmare period! “Generation Antichrist” is quite a different album to its predecessor “VI”, it’s a much less technical record and in many ways we’ve gone back to our roots with the overall vibe of basic aggression and power. Sometimes you need to make a small step backwards to take some huge steps forwards and that’s exactly what we are doing right now, I feel we’ve captured something very special here, it feels super fresh with so much raw energy and I think the fans are gonna really take to this record in a big way. Lyrically things may be a little more political than in the past, but recent events all across the world have really thrown so much fuel on to the fire. The Government here in particular have been masters of manipulation, lies and deceit and that makes me really fucking angry, so they’re feeling the full force of our wrath along with the bible reading God squad.
How do you handle this current Corona virus situation? What are you thoughts about, how it will affect big major festival and venues, as well as the bands and how this situation affected you and your band?
Personally I’ve dealt with things ok thanks, I’ve been real busy working on the new album mixes and all the planning ahead of the release. As you well know touring has been completely fucked for 2020.. Unfortunately we have had some huge festivals in Europe and the USA postponed this summer until 2021, We were also in the process of booking USA / South America & European tours, which all now have to be re-planned & rescheduled, its been a real nightmare to be honest.. To add to that many bands have chosen not to release albums during the virus period, which i personally think is a very bad move… The industry needs to keep moving to stay alive during this difficult time, so we’ve decided to go ahead with the release of the new Onslaught album as have the likes of Testament and Lamb of God with their albums respectively. The good news is that fans will definitely want to take in new music as there are no shows or festivals, so we’re hoping it’s gonna be a real positive situation for us when the album comes out on August 7th and that the gamble pays off for us. When touring starts once again we’re gonna be one step ahead of the competition for sure.
You have a new Vocalist Dave Garnett, tell me how did you get in contact with him to be a part of the band and are you satisfied with his vocals performances and technical part of it? What happen to Sy Keeler, why is he not a Vocalist of the band anymore?
Recently as you say, we parted ways with our longtime vocalist “Sy Keeler”, it was a tough decision for everyone, but Sy had chosen to take a different path in life and unfortunately that path did not include the touring & recording schedules for Onslaught. It was a situation that has been underlying for sometime if we are honest, so we did have some time to prepare. We’ve known Dave Garnett for a long time, he had already guested for Onslaught on 2 recent festivals so we did not have to look far to find a replacement. Dave was already a huge fan of the band which was really important and his voice is a perfect fit for the new material as well as the early Onslaught albums too. I have to say he has done some amazing work on the new album and he also has a ton of energy on stage, i think the fans are really gonna be impressed.. There will definitely be no drop in standards that’s for sure!
Since 1982 you guys have been rocking hard ever since, tell me about the 80’s time compared to this new times, what was the most crucial thing back then that made rock and metal so successful from your point of view?
It was an incredible time, it was a crazy time, things were so insane and sometimes very out of control which made it even more fun. Today there are too many rules, regulations and limitations by comparison, during the 80’s Metal was like Punk music in the 70’s, it was for rebels and it was absolutely massive. Please don’t get me wrong the metal scene today is still awesome, we are having such a cool time meeting so many cool people and to make things even better many of the original Thrash bands are still making great records today!
You have performed at the biggest metal cruise ever 70000 Tons Of Metal in 2019 , can you tell me about your experience on the cruiser, how it is different from the regular festival and shows around the world?
Yeah, we’ve been lucky enough to play “70000 Tons of Metal” on 2 different occasions now. It’s an unbelievable experience and i would tell anyone that you really HAVE TO GO! Can you imagine being on a high luxury “Cruise Ship” with 3000 metal heads on board sailing around the Caribbean.! I think it’s one of the best and one of the strangest things we have ever done as a band. You cannot compare it to any other event whatsoever, it’s so unique and cool. Being on-stage is super weird, i remember the first show we did on the boat and we were playing the “Pool Deck Stage”. When we were setting up everything was fine and I felt no motion at all, but as soon as the show started and I started head banging i almost fell off the front of the stage, it completely threw my balance. It’s unbelievable how much the boat moves even tho you don’t really feel it just walking around day to day. And the food is to die for… And you can eat all day every day. Haha!
As a band you had many line-up changes through the history of the band, what where the reasons for it? You guys also had reunion back in 2005, what happen before the reunion, since the band haven’t been active for a long time?
Yeah unfortunately we have had several line up changes, but so have the likes of Testament / Exodus / Megadeth / Anthrax who have probably had many more than us i’m guessing. It’s just something that seems to happen to most bands these days. In the case of Onslaught, it always seems to be down to touring commitments, some people just aren’t cut out for a lot of time away from home to be out on the road. As a band we do lots of touring each year and thats not gonna change but the dream is sometimes far less glamorous than the reality.. 15 years back already, 4 studio albums / 2 live albums and 2 live DVD’s, it’s been amazing but very hard work.. When we reformed in 2005 i had not actually played guitar for 10 years, so you can imagine how tough it was re-learn all the material, it took many months just to get back to a reasonable basic standard, i gotta say the pain was very worthwhile.
As a Guitarist, what are the most important thing to you, while recording songs in your opinion?
Having a perfect drum track is without doubt the most important thing for me when recording. I cannot and do not want to play out of time. Haha… When we are recording new songs we always track the “4 Rhythm Guitars” first of all against programmed drums, that way the guitars are super tight and prefect in timing.. James our drummer will then record all of his drum tracks and then down go the bass / solos and finally the vocals. It may not be the standard procedure for recording but it works great for Onslaught and we never take more than 2 weeks to make an album.
Former Vocalist Neil Turbin of Antrax was in some period the vocalist of your band, tell me about the experiences with him, and why he quit singing in the band?
HMMMMMMMNNN. Neil Turbin stood in for Sy Keeler for a tour of the US / Canada because Sy’s son was unwell at the time, we did not want to cancel the tour because it would’ve seriously harmed promoters and venues who had invested in the tour. Unfortunately things didn’t go to well with Turbin and I can safely say he will never work with Onslaught again. I shall leave it there.
How do you see thrash metal today, what are the good sides of it and the bad ones?
Thrash Metal is real strong for sure. The fact is so many of the original bands are still doing the business and that’s what makes it so great and some bands are actually making the best records of their careers right now. The energy is very special, none of the other genres can really capture that feeling of intensity that Thrash delivers. Bad sides? Difficult, maybe a lack of originality from some bands, particularly new bands. Even us original bands aren’t gonna reinvent the wheel but each one has their own style nurtured over many years and that counts for a lot.
Do you have a special message for you fans and audience for the end of the interview?
Firstly i would like to thank you for the cool interview, it’s very much appreciated. And then of course a huge “Thrash Metal Thanks” go out to the amazing fans for being so patient in waiting for this new album to come out.. You will not be disappointed my friends. Take care / Be safe and See you in the Pit – Sometime soon.
Interview questions: Vladimir Cincovic