09 October 2007
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"You'd better get a lot of ambulances, because it's gonna get really messy once we get on the stage!"

Less than a month before devastating Bulgaria's capital Sofia together with Amorphis, Edguy, Agathodaimon, The Revenge Project and Overdawn at the 20 Years Nuclear Blast Festival on November 3, bass player Frank Healy revealed what we should expect from Benediction's live performance...

Vassil Varbanov: Hey, Frank, how are you?

Frank Healy: Ah, just waking up, having a coffee and a cigarette.

V. V.: This is the first Benediction interview for a Bulgarian media ever, right?

F. H.: It's the first time for anything from Bulgaria, to say the truth.

V. V.: To begin with, the world is avid to get your new album. When is it going to be ready?

F. H.: We'll go in the studio on November 21 with a guy called Scott Atkins. He's the partner of Andy Sneap, who did our albums "Grind Bastard" (1998) and "Organised Chaos" (2001). The CD will be out at the end of March 2008 on Nuclear Blast Records, as always.

V. V.: It's been six years since your latest effort "Organised Chaos" came out. Why did it take you so long to start working on a new record?

F. H.: We're just incredibly lazy, he-he... No, we had problems with drummers that we weren't happy with. After Neil Hutton, who played on most Benediction albums, originally left in 2005, we were using stand-in drummers live. However, Neil's back now and he'll record the next album as well. We've been using Nick Barker a bit live, but he's too busy at the moment, so we're gonna stick to what we consider the best Benediction line-up.

V. V.: So you're coming to Bulgaria with Neil, not with Nicholas Barker, right?

F. H.: We'll be with Neil Hutton, yes.

V. V.: It seems that a lot of bands in Britain's rock and metal history hail from your hometown - Birmingham. Let's just mention Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin... even UB40!

F. H.: And Napalm Death.

V. V.: Of course! So what's so special about your city?

F. H.: I don't know. It's an ordinary industrial city, and the whole area is very working class, so the music it tends to make is not always flavoured and happy, as we haven't got lots of flavour here. There's plenty of big buildings and factories, so it's got a monolithic look, that's why the music is aggressive, doomy... There can not be many pop bands around, because Birmingham can't inspire such music, if you know what I mean. Everything around us is pretty grey.

V. V.: You've been around for quite a while now. Why have you never played in bloody Bulgaria so far?

F. H.: Nobody bloody asked us.

V. V.: Do you know anything about our country?

F. H.: Not really. It just reminds me that it used to be the old gate between the East and the West, with lots of skiing, mountains... And I know Sofia Airport very well - I've been there when we flew to other countries, but that's about it.

V. V.: As far as I know, you're a passionate Aston Villa fan.

F. H.: Absolutely.

V. V.: Does it mean you're always busy at weekends watching them play?

F. H.: I try to get to see them as much as I can. The whole of Benediction are football fans, but not of the same teams. Local bass players are Aston Villa fans, you know - Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath, Pete Way of UFO, John Taylor of Duran Duran... We've also got Barney from Napalm Death, although he's not a bass player, ha-ha!

V. V.: To be honest, I'm not much into football - I'm following the rugby guys - but as far as I know...

F. H.: 12:10! 12:10!

V. V.: Yeah, yeah... And the other was 20:18. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that there's a great Bulgarian player in Aston Villa - Stilian Petrov.

F. H.: Yes, he's a good player. I think he wasn't there at the last match...

V. V.: Back to Benediction now. They say you guys are monsters on stage.

F. H.: Monsters? Does it mean we're bloody ugly or something?

V. V.: I don't know, ha-ha!

F. H.: I know we've got a reputation of being essentially a live band. When we're on stage there's no choreography or something - we're just playing and enjoying it with the fans. In a live situation you've gotta have a really good reason to go after Benediction, because we're quite aggressive. The whole stage belongs to us. We are the band of the day on any show, any festival, anywhere. No matter whether we're at the bottom or top of the bill, we play as if we are the headliners. We're totally into the music.

V. V.: In death metal you can often find lyrics based on religious topics. However, Benediction is a bit apart of this tendency. What is your attitude towards religious topics in music?

F. H.: It's everybody to their own, you know. I might not tell other bands what to play or sing about, and I don't really care. We're not a political or religious band in any way, and we don't want to preach anything to anybody in any ways.

V. V.: Finally, could you give us some more details about your upcoming album?

F. H.: It's called "Killing Music" and it should contain 12 tracks. We'll start recording on November 21 and it will be out in the end of March on Nuclear Blast, which we've been with nearly as long as the label's been alive - 17 years. We're good friends, and we can still talk to the boss Markus Staiger. Our relationship with him has always been good, and we're not gonna let him down with this album. It's gonna tear his head off in the office!

V. V.: Ok, thank you very much! I can't wait to see you on November 3 live in Bulgaria for the first time ever!

F. H.: I think you'd better get a lot of ambulances, because it's gonna get really messy once we get on the stage.

Copyright: Tangra Mega Rock