Interview: John Nicholson of PIST


(Photo by Matt Negus of Negus Production Photography)

On 8th November the new PIST album “Hailz” finally sees the light of day. It’s taken a long time to come to fruition, but it’s worth the wait: the Bury quartet have smashed it out of the park. In advance of its release we spoke to guitarist John Nicholson about the album, what the future holds for the band, and much more.

APF: It’s been four years since Rhythm & Booze. Why has it taken you so long to follow it up?

John: We were continuously writing songs together rather than me or Dave turning up with full songs and everyone learning them. After writing 5 or so average songs things started to click and we were trying new things by speeding it up, adding cleaner mellow sections and black metal parts. The black metal parts started off with us messing about but then it somehow started to work in the songs. We wrote 3 solid tunes one after the other in a short period of time so decided to ditch the previous 5 we had written so that the rest all lived up to the new 3. We wanted the album to be all killer no filler. We all think we achieved that so it was worth the wait!

APF: Wheras Riffology to Rhythm & Booze was a natural progression, Hailz sees you moving off in a different musical direction. Can you tell people what to expect musically on the album, and what influenced you to go that way?

John: Between us we listen to pretty much everything. Since we enjoy many different styles of music it was only natural to want to add this to our sound. I cant think of any bands that blend this kind of groove and melody with black metal sections so I think we’ve achieved our own unique style.. which is pretty damn hard to do nowadays.


Photo by Negus Production Photography

APF: The album is dedicated to Eytan Wineapple. For those who have no idea who he is, can you fill us in? And for those who do know him, what’s your favourite memory of him?

John: Dave and Hunty grew up with him and have been close for a very long time. I played in my first band with Eytan from the age of 17 and spending a lot of time with him from that age certainly shaped who I am today. I was shy and constantly on edge. He taught me how to relax and have fun without caring too much about shit that doesn’t matter. Eytan introduced me to Dave and Hunty so without him, PIST wouldn’t exist. He’s been a close friend to all of us and was 100% behind PIST and did what he can to help us go places. Which is why everything we ever do will go out to him, not just this album. RIP.


APF: Elephant Tree feature on the song Strangle The Sun. How did that come about?

John: We became friends with Elephant Tree from gigging together years ago before people realised how fucking good they are. We always got on and supported each other. When we wrote this song someone suggested having them on it, as it has a mellow spaced out intro which their vocal harmonies work well with. It came out great, I’m well excited for people to hear it! Thanks to Jack and Pete for doing it!

APF: All your albums have been recorded by Chris Fielding. What does he bring to the table that makes you keep going back to him?

John: He’s just the best. We’ve always found him really easy to work with and he understands the sound we need along with coming up with some quality ideas like harmonies and melodies which bring a lot to the finished song. He has a great ear and seems to be a perfectionist which brings out the best in us. We’ve worked with a few different people in the past but never released what was recorded and just went back to Chris. I cant see us working with anyone else anytime soon.


Photo by Negus Production Photography

APF: You’ve supported some heavyweight bands over the years. Which ones were notable for you, or have lived long in your memory?

John: Having played with Orange Goblin multiple times now they would be the highlight for me, the gigs are always loads of fun with a good party atmosphere which we love. Church of Misery at the Academy in Manchester was quality too, they were all stood side stage rockin’ out and loving us. Supporting Monolord and The Obsessed were great gigs for us too. Hopefully we get to play with some more extreme bands after this release.

APF: Hailz is out on 8th November. Any plans to tour in support of it?

John: Yes! We’re doing a weekender around our mainstage slot at Hammerfest in March, we’ll be heading to London and Nottingham straight after it. Then in April we go on tour for 5 days with Wolfbastard which I’m currently in the process of booking. Hopefully we can get into Europe and get some more tour supports and festival slots off the back of the album. We need to get on a booking agency!


APF: This is your first album for APF Records. What made you sign with us, and which other bands on the label do you have an affinity with?

John: Fieldy has an unmatchable passion for music, hes always gone above and beyond to support the bands he loves. It was a bit of a no brainer to sign when APF started. He saw our first gig and we all know him really well so we trust him to do his best. He’s already proved himself to be one of the most hardworking and passionate labels about. I hope APF continues to grow and grow as he deserves it!

APF: Fast forward ten years to 2029. What are PIST up to at that point?

John: Full time band either on tour around the world or recording another album would be ideal. Who knows.. I just hope we’re all still alive, making music and continuing to grow.


APF: Finally, anything to declare?

John: Support smaller labels like APF! They do it for all the right reasons, rather than money grabbing bastards! Also make time for the lesser known upcoming bands, check out their music, go see ’em live, buy their merch and keep them alive. You’ll get to witness them in their prime rather than watching them as overpriced has-beens. Thanks to everyone for their support so far, it means the world to us! See you at a gig!

“Hailz” is out on 8th November and available to pre-order on limited edition purple with black splatter 180g LP (plus PIST slip mat, stickers and individually numbered and signed PIST postcard), yellow LP (plus PIST patch), black LP, digipak CD, t-shirt & CD bundle, and digital download from:

THE COVER - resize - 600.jpg

For Bands Who Want To Sign To APF Records

APF Records receives hundreds of submissions from bands wishing to sign to the label. We welcome these and will always try to give them a spin, and have signed 3 of APF’s current roster of 17 bands as a result of direct approaches. It might take some time, and we can’t reply to everyone, but we do listen.

We thought the following might be useful for any band interested in a deal with APF.

When the label started, we signed a load of bands really quickly, because we knew who we wanted and went out to get them. At the moment we aren’t actively looking to sign anyone, but will do so if the music blows us out of the water and the band tick a number of boxes (more on that later). Our most recent addition, Gandalf The Green, sent us a message with their track A Billion Faces and we signed them within a few days. So, it does happen, but rarely.

If you want us to consider you for APF Records please email us at Please don’t message through Facebook or by any other means.

APF Records is presently primarily a distribution label. This means we sign bands who already have a recorded, mixed and mastered single, EP or album in the can. We don’t have the funds to invest in recording time for bands who aren’t already on the label. We exclusively license your work for between 5 and 10 years and then put it out in the world for you.

We do two kinds of releases:

  1. The full Monty. Your album will be released on all formats (including LP) with a big PR campaign behind it. You will see your album on sale in the shops. We release this way for bands who already have a substantial following, or are friends of the label.
  2. The DIY release. We like to support smaller, up and coming bands. We will release your EP or album digitally, on CD and tape (no vinyl) with a small PR push. Our aim is to bring you to wider attention.

So let’s say your mastered album blows our faces off, and we agree on one of the release types above. The next things we will ask you is do you tick these boxes?

  • Do you play live a lot? If you don’t, we are likely to pass on you. Blunt truth is that a lot of the records APF manufacture get sold by our bands at their gigs. We used to sign bands who didn’t play live much, but we aren’t doing any more. If you don’t have a booking agent, get one. If you aren’t friends with loads of promoters, we can’t help you in that regard.
  • Are you active on social media? If you’re not all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc like a rash then don’t bother approaching us. Our job is to release your music and HELP promote it. I stress HELP. If you’re not out there telling anyone who will listen to you about your band on an hourly basis you’re not for us. We used to sign bands who aren’t active on social media, but we aren’t doing any more.
  • Are you good people? We will want to find this out before signing you. We don’t want any narcissistic egotistic knob jockeys on the label. We’ve avoided having any arseholes on the label so far. There will be none on our label in the future.
  • Are you lazy? Be honest. If you are, we have no time for you. The amount of effort and attention we put into bands has to be matched by the band itself. If you want a label that will handle everything for you apart from making the music, go elsewhere please.
  • Do you like any of the bands already on APF? If you don’t, you’re probably not for us. We try to run APF Records as a family where bands like each other and help each other out. If you’re not online sharing what your labelmates are doing that takes the shine off you for us.
  • Finally, are you as good as BongCauldron? Because if you’re not, you should go away and come back when you are.

Selling music is really hard. We will only work with bands who want a partnership with us, who want to help shift their own records. I stress, we are not here to do it all for you. APF is here to get your music out in the world and to push it as hard as we can. Hopefully our involvement will benefit you. But you must be on board and engaged. Because without you pushing things your album will flop.

If you tick all our boxes, we will work real hard on your behalf. Because we are passionate about our bands and our label and heavy music. We don’t do this for the money (which is good, because we don’t make any), we do it because we are fans.

We look forward to hearing your music.

Exclusive: Mastiff – “Plague” Is Coming

Mastiff will release their new album “Plague” on 1st February 2019. Recorded in one day, much of it live, in a hot and sweaty studio in Hull during the scorching summer of 2018 it sounds like the end of the world. Mastiff fully realised. It makes BORK sound like pop music.

As first single “Hellcircle” blows up the internet, and vinyl pre-sales commence (a sexy white-with-black-splatter vinyl at that), guitarist James Lee and bassist Dan Dolby chatted with us about the last 18 months, Plague, their hometown of Hull and the forthcoming APF Records Showcase.


APF: BORK came out in August of 2017. How’s your year-and-a-bit as a band been since? What were the highlights, and why?

James: Pretty fucking great, to be honest. I mean, miserable, awful. Sorry, went off-brand there for a second. Seriously though, the last 18 months(ish) have been good for Mastiff, we’ve really solidified as a unit after the line-up shifts we’d gone through over 2016/17, and I think it shows not only in the new material we’ve written, but in how much more intense our live show has gotten, if that’s possible. There have been plenty of highlights, obviously writing and recording ‘Plague’ is up at the top, but we’ve also played some of our biggest and most prestigious shows in the last year or so. Being asked to open for Iron Monkey at the hometown show of their big comeback tour was unreal, as was opening for our pals Conjurer at our second home The Alma Inn on their album release show. Probably the best gig this year was at Desertfest though, we packed out The Black Heart in Camden, and were informed later on that people were literally queuing down the stairs to get in while we played. That’s absolutely bonkers.

Dan: It’s been amazing if I‘m totally honest. I had only been in the band a couple of months prior to BORK being released. Since then we’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve become a tighter unit which has really help develop our sound. I’d say Riff Fest in 2017 was a highlight for me. Totally felt the love from the crowd on that day! Opening for Iron Monkey was insane too. Probably my favourite gig from my time in the band would be our headline show at The Red Lion in Stevenage. The crowd went fucking bananas!

APF: How do you look back on Wrank and BORK these days?

James: They’re both massively important in how the band has evolved sonically over the years. ‘Wrank’ is an odd one for me personally, because that was already out there giving the world a headache when I joined Mastiff, so while I didn’t contribute anything to it, we were still playing those tracks live when I became a member, so there are a few cuts from it that I have a lot of love for. This was Mastiff at it’s sludgiest for sure, things got a bit weirder after that. ‘BORK’ was the first thing the current line-up wrote and recorded together, and though we’re all still immensely proud of it, looking back it feels like a very transitional record for us. Individually I think all the tracks hold up, but don’t necessarily sit together all that well, and because some of us were still fairly new to the fold – I’d been in the band about 6 months when we recorded it, Dan literally about 6 weeks – I don’t think we’d fully realised what this version of Mastiff really was yet. Though ‘Plague’ shifts pace quite a lot, I think the tone and atmosphere of the album is consistent, whereas ‘BORK’ is a bit all over the place. We still throw a couple of those tracks into our shows, though. ‘Everything Equals Death’ is always a good time live.

Dan: When I listen to Wrank and BORK now they don’t even sound like Mastiff releases to me! They’re solid for sure but I feel they lack any real direction. ‘Plague’ is though, in my opinion, a fully realised album that ebbs and flows and feels like one cohesive piece or work. The band knew what we wanted and how to achieve it.

Photo 4

APF: Plague is exceptionally heavy, way more so than BORK to these ears. Was there a conscious effort to go off the ledge in this way?

James: Yeah, coming away from ‘BORK’, there was definitely a mutual feeling among us that we needed to really piledrive our sound into the dirt for the next album. Obviously Mastiff has always been a heavy band, it’s not like there’s a secret acoustic album hiding out there or anything. But we knew we could really crank up the punishment this time, push the extremes as far as possible. We’ve moved pretty far beyond the more groove-based sludge sound on ‘Wrank’, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anything even remotely melodic on ‘Plague’. Our goal was discordance, aggression, filth, and I think we nailed it pretty hard. Since me and Dan joined, we’ve brought more noisecore and grind influence into our sound overall, and it’s a testament to the rest of the guys that they’ve picked it up and run with it, especially Mike (Shepherd), his drumming is fucking unbelievable on ‘Plague’. We also decided fairly early on in the process of the plague theme that would run through the album, and that’s really helped us channel the vicious, unsettling sound, and helped Jim (Hodge) summon some of the most harrowing lyrics and vocals I’ve ever heard come out of him.

Dan: For sure. I had virtually no input in the tracks for BORK as I’d only joined Mastiff a matter of weeks before we were in the studio! I’m heavily in to noise rock and grindcore as well as noise and dark ambient. The ‘groovy riff’ has never really been something I’ve ever been interested in! My attention span has never been up to the task. Our aim was always to go heavier but I’m surprised how easily we found this transition. Everyone was on board and writing these tracks was an absolute blast!

Scunthorpe 2018

APF: Can you tell us a bit about how Mastiff songs are written / gestated before recording?

James: For the most part, we just kick ideas around in our practice room until they become a song. Phil (Johnson) is a riff machine and almost always has something that works as a starting point for us to build on. Occasionally one of us will have a fairly strong idea of an entire song structure – I had ‘Brainbleed’ from the new album kicking around in my head for weeks before I took it to the band, which we then managed to knock out in about half an hour – but generally it’s a process of figuring one part out, then thinking about what would sound awesome after that, and so on. Sometimes ideas go nowhere, sometimes we’ll write a cool riff for a song that ends up becoming an entire separate song in its own right, sometimes something awesome just appears from nothing. We were pretty sure we were finished writing for ‘Plague’, then in the space of about an hour one week we just knocked ‘Vermin’ out, which ended up becoming one of the best songs we’ve ever written.

Dan: Jam and Phil tend to come up with the basis for the songs with the rest of us adding our parts as they manifest and mutate. Sometimes the songs end up wildly different to how they started and others remain pretty much the same. Bass wise, whilst I’ve no problems with embellishing my parts, my approach to playing has always been to do whatever to support the track. Whether that is playing the same as the guitars, following the drum beat more or just playing open strings, I don’t really care as long as it helps the song.

Scunthorpe 2018 2

APF: As with Wrank and BORK, Plague was basically recorded live in a day. How do you manage to capture such widescreen brutality so quickly? How did the recording go? Any tales to tell?

James: The awful reality of our recording process is that we simply don’t have bottomless budgets to work from, so getting in and out of the studio as fast as possible is a financial decision as much as an artistic one. That being said, there is an undeniable magic that comes from the sound of a band all shut in a tiny, sweaty room together, playing in much the same way they would at a live show. Mastiff aren’t necessarily the most technically able band on the planet (again, except for Mike who kicks the shit out of most drummers half his age), but we practised the fuck out of the songs on ‘Plague’ for a couple of months leading up to recording, so we knew we could turn up, switch on and blast through them like our lives depended on it.

With ‘BORK’, I listen back now and can hear that we weren’t well rehearsed enough, and though it came out well, given the chance I would re-record the entire thing in a heartbeat. With ‘Plague’, I don’t think we could have captured better takes of a single song, which speaks volumes about the closer ‘Black Death’, as what you hear on the album is the one and only take we did, and for a song that’s 9 minutes long, that’s quite an achievement if I do say so myself. Obviously with such a tight turnaround, we didn’t have loads of time for craaaaaazy hi-jinks in the studio, though it was recorded in the middle of the hottest summer the UK has seen in about 30 years, so you can imagine what that room smelled like, and Jim spent basically the entire time with his shirt off. Sexy stuff.

Dan: As James said, a lot of practice. I’ve recorded albums tracked and live and I much prefer live. It gives the sound a little something else. There’s more feedback, and more small mistakes, but I think that gives personality! I’ve never been so fucking hot as when we were recording ‘Plague’ though. I think that totally added to the urgency of the album.

APF: You’re all resident near the Humber. Your self-styled motto of being “a miserable band from a miserable town” needs some explaining. How has being Hullensian influenced your sound? Do you want to get out, or are you happy being from and staying there?

James: Hull is a very strange place. It’s officially considered a city, and geographically is actually quite large, yet it has a really small city centre, and is mostly made up of bleak council estates. It’s also a typical Northern post-industrial city in that it’s full of crumbling factories and empty shops, and countless miscreants roaming the streets. Hull was the UK City Of Culture last year, and yet walking around now it’s like it never even happened, the second the clock hit midnight on January 1st 2018, all the goodwill and optimism just dissolved and we were back to the usual trudging misery of life on the banks of the Humber.

Ironically though, the people of Hull have some weird sense of local pride, but it never quite manifests the way it should – rather than building ourselves up, most people here would rather just tell everyone else to fuck off. I think it’s that mentality which has fuelled Mastiff to a large degree, not necessarily because that’s how we feel as such, more that we just feel that seething, self-imposed isolation emanating from this city and basically just set it to music. As for whether we’ll ever free ourselves from Hull’s shackles, I actually joined Mastiff immediately after moving back home to Hull after 8 years in London, so if I can escape to the glory of our capital and still end up back here, what hope do the rest of us have?

Dan: I quite like Hull if I’m honest! I’m a yellowbelly and grew up in a small town in South Lincolnshire where everyone knows everyone, so I like the anonymity. Hull feels more like a home to me now than anywhere I have ever lived and I have no desire to leave. Maybe I’m just a miserable cunt and the ‘miserable town’ suits me!

Photo 2

APF: You were one of the first bands to sign to APF Records. Which of your label mates do you have a particular affinity with, either personally or musically?

James: First of all, signing to APF was literally a dream come true for all of us. Making music as horrible as Mastiff do, you kinda resign yourself to the notion of only ever really doing it for yourself, so having someone like our lord Satan not only declare some kind of misguided love for us, but actually want to spend his own money on making sure other people can hear our noise is absolutely flabbergasting. It’s also been amazing seeing how much APF has evolved in the last 18 months, the label’s profile has grown exponentially and the roster has really diversified, and it’s a real honour to be part of it all. As for our labelmates, it’d be remiss of me not to call out our hometown compatriots Battalions, with whom we used to share a bass player in the form of the incomparable Matt ‘The Fumb’ Dennett. Those guys have been plugging at it for years, and it’s lovely to see mates getting their dues. As for the rest of the label, I really loved The Hyena Kill’s ‘Spun’ EP, they’re like a noisier, scuzzier Deftones which suits me just fine,  and I used to be a real thrash head, so Redeye Revival are right up my street.

Dan: I missed out on the first signing but signing with APF to release ‘Plague’ was unbelievable. To know someone has that much faith in you and what you do is humbling and I will forever love (label owner) Satan for that. My personal favourite bands on APF are Trevor’s Head and Under. They do not stick to any rules and create astoundingly original music. If any readers haven’t checked these two bands out yet, do so immediately!

Photo 1

APF: Your album launch show is the APF Records Showcase on 2nd February in Manchester. Looking forward to it? How did you find the last one?

James: I can’t fucking wait. The first showcase was a party and a half, so many great bands and generally awesome people having a great time in a really kickass venue, what’s not to love? Obviously it’s going to be even more special 2nd time around, as you said it’s our official album launch show, and we’re going to be playing ‘Plague’ from start to finish, which we haven’t done yet. We’ve been playing most of the songs from the album for a little while now, but we’ve only done ‘Black Death’ once, at Desertfest, and that song is like the end of the world, so we’re hoping we can bring the roof in on The Bread Shed. The showcase is the day after ‘Plague’ is out too, so it’ll be the first show we’ll have played where people might actually know the songs, which means they know exactly when to kick the shit out of each other in the pit, when to try pry the mic from Jim to scream along, and when to plunge their thumbs into their own eye sockets in order to end their suffering as quickly as possible.

Dan: Fuck yeah, I’m looking forward to it! The last one was an absolute blinder! As James said it will be even more special this time round as it’s the ‘Plague’ show.

Mastiff and Me

APF: Finally, anything you wish to declare?

James: We consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be in the position we’re in right now, we get to play shows with some of our favourite bands, we get to record and release music, and people actually seem to give a shit about it. We know that our music isn’t for everyone, but fans keep buying t-shirts and turning up to shows, so we must be doing something right amongst all the chaos. We’re so fucking excited to get ‘Plague’ out there in the world, it’s by far the best thing we’ve done as a band and want as many people as possible to be infected. It’d be nice if people would go and buy the vinyl too, because MASTIFF VINYL IS A REAL THING THAT IS HAPPENING. So yeah. Buy the album. Come see us on February 2nd in Manchester. Support APF Records. The Vermin Will Win.

Dan: Support APF Records and the bands that are on this incredible label. Like it or not, Mastiff are here to stay and we’ll only get more brutal. To paraphrase Nada in ‘They Live’, ‘we’re here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and we’re all out of bubblegum’.


“Plague” is released on 1st February 2019 on APF Records. “White with black splatter” Vinyl pre-orders are open. CD pre-orders will follow soon. Pre-order link:

The APF Records Showcase is held on 2nd February 2019 at the Bread Shed in Manchester. Event details:

Possessor Sign To APF Records: Exclusive Interview

Possess or launch photo

APF Records is delighted to welcome bloodthirsty stoner thrash trio POSSESSOR to the family. We will be releasing their new album during the Spring of 2019. High-octane. Super-fast. Horror-infused heavy metal dirt. From South London. Oh yes.

In advance of that, we caught up with vocalist / guitarist Graham Bywater to talk about all things Possessor.

APF: Welcome to the APF family. What attracted to you to the label, and which of your 16 label mates are you a fan of?

GB: Hi. Well firstly thanks for having us! It’s an honour to be a part of it. APF has always caught my attention when scrolling through social media as it seems from the very outset to be, as you say, like a little family. The enthusiasm and camaraderie surrounding APF comes across first and foremost and you can tell you have a great time with what you do! And obviously that’s the most important thing. 

I’d have to say that Trevor’s Head and Under are probably my favourites so far on the label but the all-out filth award has to go to those bruisers in Tronald. You can almost taste that band when you hear them. Haha. 

APF: For those new to Possessor, give us a potted history of the band….. and tell people where in your back catalogue they should visit first if they haven’t heard any of your material yet.

GB: Well. As with most bands I’d probably say check out latest album, “The Ripper”, but it’s predecessor “Dead By Dawn” is possibly my personal favourite as it actually feels like an old eighties horror flick on VHS. Something we strive to recreate in our sound. If “Dead by Dawn” is The Evil Dead then “The Ripper” is like Wolf Creek, American Mary or something bigger budget and glossier. By our standards anyhow. We see most things as links to cinema just as much as to music. 

The band started in 2014 with the grubby “Electric Hell” album which, along with the following years “Stay Dead” EP, I played everything on. I wasn’t even considering it as a live band as I’ve always found the writing and recording side of things much less stressful but that quickly changed as the band spread its wings to a three piece and started gigging quite prolifically. 

When “Dead by Dawn” came out in 2016 (on the then newly founded Graven Earth Records from Colorado), we were asked to head over to Portugal to play Sonic Blast festival with big names such as Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Truckfighters etc…(sadly Eyehategod cancelled at the very last minute). Anyhow…that was probably the first time I started taking it a little more seriously. Or less, depending on how much beer I’d had. That was a reasonably reckless party for two days and I don’t ever want to be stuck in an airport, hungover, alone and with all my gear for eleven hours in just a t shirt and jeans ever again. 

Live Photo 2

APF: Critics call you “prolific”, as you’ve released a fair amount of material in a short time. Has there been a creative urge behind releasing five albums, EPs and singles over four years – or do you just have a short attention span? 

GB: Well we haven’t really released that much. Three albums, an EP and an online single. All the other releases on our Bandcamp page are crummy live bootlegs. I do find it hard to not write music though. If I wasn’t making riffs of my own I’d just be playing Metallica or Kiss songs anyway so I may as well create. I guess life is moving fast so it’s wise to not waste time. 

APF: Fitting Possessor into a genre is near on impossible – and this is a good thing (you’re sound is unique). Tell us about the music that has inspired the three of you, and which bits have ended up in your sonic melange.

GB: Categories can be a bit lazy. We just play what we like and I feel like that does us the world of good! 

At the moment all I’m listening to is Swedish Death Metal stuff like Dismember, and Carbonized. Ellie loves Primus and Eyehategod, Bean is consistently crazy for Judas Priest and Dio…so why not combine the vibes.

I love the ethic of bands like Darkthrone. They totally do it for themselves and shun genre tags as they only seem to hold them back. I totally understand why though, when a popular style becomes more of a trend it benefits a band to jump on a bandwagon, otherwise you can get totally overlooked.

I like the more diverse gig bills though. I mean, who wants to go see four bands in a row that sound exactly the same? I want Possessor to stand out at a gig, even if we are total shit. 

To me it doesn’t make any sense that bands these days are so eager to pigeonhole their music. If it’s good it’s good. Look at Nirvana, L7  and those nineties dudes. They aren’t any one single genre. Nirvana were punk, pop, metal, indie, new wave, experimental…and that is why they were so bloody successful! 

But I guess when this band started I wanted to sound a bit like Kyuss playing Slayer. So there’s that.

APF: You’ve not played many gigs outside of London and the South East of England. Any reason behind that, and do you plan to play further afield? For those of us who haven’t seen you live yet, what can we expect from a Possessor show?

GB: We probably should look into more shows further afield. We’ve done a few but to be honest, we haven’t played live a great deal this last year. I would love to play more shows up North as it would be special playing to a totally different crowd and seeing how we go down. Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, all place we need to crush. 

We don’t over rehearse our music. We keep things raw and at times things can be unpredictable. You’ll have to just come and see us to find out more.

Possessor resized

APF: Your first release on APF Records is due out in 2019. Can you tell us anything about it yet? Who will be recording it?

GB: The upcoming album is a little different but very much a Possessor record. It’s gonna have less songs as the running time of some of the new tracks seems to have sky rocketed. There just may be a prog opus! Kinda like our version of the “Hemispheres” album by our hero’s Rush. Haha. 

There’s also more of a vicious punk feel to some of the material. Discharge, Germs, Accused etc..four to the floor. Motörhead meets Gamma Ray. Unsane meets Church of Misery. Endless John Coltrane worship. It’s all going in the pot/pit. 

Expect something unruly that’ll keep you up at night and a naturally gnarly progression.

We hope you like it. 

APF: What’s the best gig you’ve ever played, and why? 

GB: Actually the recent Birthdays show was a real blinder. There was a special energy in the air. I don’t think it was just me that felt that magic.

I also really enjoyed our live gig stream from The Crobar in London back in 2017. That was a blast! As was our show at the 12 Bar (RIP) and of course our infamous pool party show in Moledo. I don’t really remember many others at this moment. 

Live Photo

APF: What do you want to achieve with Possessor which you haven’t already?

GB: We just want to spread the unholy gospel and make sure everyone has heard Possessor. 

Whenever we sell merch overseas it baffles me that there are so many people around the world who seem to love what we do enough to stick our name on their chests. It’s great. And we really appreciate it. 

I’d like us to be remembered in a similar way The Misfits or The Melvins are…weirdos who watched one too many horror films as teenagers. 


Possessor’ new album will be out on APF Records next year. In the meantime you can listen to and buy their back catalogue at:

Exclusive Interview: Under talk “Stop Being Naive”

Under APF

Andrew Field of APF Records: In January 2017 I decided to finally launch the record label I’d been planning for some time. Conversations were had with bands who might be interested, but I never thought to approach Under. I assumed they would be tied up with someone else. Somehow the stars became aligned and I found myself in discussions with them about becoming my first signing. Those discussions turned into blatant begging from me after the band gave me their newly recorded album “Slick” to listen to in February of that year. “We suppose you ought to hear what you might be releasing” they said. After the first listen all I could think was “Oh. My. God. I want you”. Slick became the first release on APF Records – catalogue number APF001.

I had admired the Stockport trio since first seeing them blow a tiny venue to smithereens in Fallowfield in 2015. Like all the best power trios they created a sound that was more than the sum of their parts. The combination of incredible technical ability, their desire to push the boundaries of heavy music further into left field, and the immense noise they made when they settled on a big riff immediately piqued my interest. Its rare to come across a band who sound like no one else, but in Under I had found one. Their debut self-released EP “First Attempt” captured some of their magic, and served as a reference point for their stunning live shows – because it was on a stage that Under really shone.


The last few years have been incredible for underground heavy music in the UK, but a handful of albums have stood out and set the bar for those following in their footsteps. I’m talking about the likes of Boss Keloid’s “Melted On The Inch” or Elephant Tree’s self-titled LP. Under’s forthcoming album “Stop Being Naive” (Out on 26th October) is one of those kinda records. It’s something very special.

At the core of Under’s sound is the singing of all three members. Lead vocal lines are sometimes clean, sometimes growled, sometimes shouted, culminating in points in songs where they come together in the most sublime three-part harmonies. The nine songs on ‘Stop Being Naive’ (ten on the vinyl version) are all progressive, in the best and truest sense of the word: containing odd, angular rhythms and time changes with melodies going off at tangents unexpectedly. Moments of noisy dissonance are followed by sections of unparalleled musical beauty.

Ahead of the album’s release I spoke to the lads about the new record and much more…….

Under 2018

APF: Before Under there was Halfling’s Leaf. For those who weren’t around at the time can you tell us how you three first met, what the score was with Halfling’s Leaf, and how Under was then born?

Andy Preece – Drums and Vocals: “It goes back even further than Halfling’s Leaf as a matter of fact. Before HL we were a very, very stylistically confused progressive death metal band called Flesh. I turned up to watch a practice as my mate was playing bass and I’d heard they were cool dudes (I later learned I’d been lied to). Anyway their drummer didn’t show up to practice so I told them I could blast at 450,000bpm and the rest is history. Halfling’s Leaf later emerged, a sort of wacky tech band which was all about showing off, and after that band went defunct we decided to do something with a bit of taste and vision. We actually originally wanted to do hardcore punk a la Dead Kennedys but it quickly and organically became something very different…


APF: When you look back on First Attempt and Slick, what are your feelings towards them? Your live set has featured very little from either release over the last 12 months – does that tell us anything about your view of them?

Simon Mayo – Guitar and Vocals: As the engineer for both ‘Slick’ and ‘First Attempt’, I have very mixed feelings towards them. Particularly to do with the production style and the approach i took towards them as an engineer and what I would do differently. Only recently have I been able to fully appreciate both releases.

Spending hundreds of hours listening to the same tracks, going over the same sections sometimes seconds at a time, is enough to drive anyone insane. Once they were finished I was exhilarated to be done with them. I couldn’t really appreciate them for their artistic merit and I had to rely on other people to tell me it was good to feel any sort of gratification. Now I think they sound amazing and I have a newfound appreciation for what we achieved with those releases.

In terms of playing very little from either release, we have a hard time sticking to anything for too long a time. Before ‘Slick’ was released we already had another album’s worth of material written and we just want to keep pushing that preconception of what people think about our music. We really fucking love the music that we write, but we love more the newest material at it closer to where we’re at, at that point in time.


APF: To these ears, opening track “Malcontents” is where Under was always heading musically – the elephantine riff, the three part harmonies in the verse, the dissonant (and quite stunningly discordant guitar work in the) chorus, and the jazzy improvisational bridge. How was this song born and how did you develop it into its finished version? And is it the natural conclusion of “Under – Phase 1”, considering where your writing is taking you next?

Preece: The main riff for Malcontent was one of those great lightbulb moments. I was in Primark, a truly mind-shreddingly awful place, waiting for my then-girlfriend to come out of the changing rooms, and started hearing this groaning, warping riff with this enraged heart-palpitation thrashing at the end of each phrase, and I knew it had to be our next tune.

As ever (we never find it difficult to get on each other’s wavelengths) it sounded exactly as I had heard it my head. I fucking love tunes that develop that way. ‘Innards’ from Slick was another one like that, and they always turn out to be your best tunes. The problem is you have to be in the right place at the right time to receive the inspiration, so tunes like that only come along every now and again. That unsettling, obnoxious vibe really got us tumescent though so it’s definitely something we’ll be pursuing as far as we can humanly push it in future.

APF: I had the pleasure of listening to the vinyl test pressing with Rian Gamble, who recorded the album and captured your sound magically. What did Rian bring to the recording process that wouldn’t have been there without his input?

Mayo: Being the first Under release that I wouldn’t be engineering, I was excited to purely be playing on the album and stepping back from the production process. In hindsight this was the best decision as a whole, for my own peace of mind and for the quality of the recordings as Rian just seems to be an absolute natural with his ideas and efficiency. The quality that he has managed to achieve is several leagues and bounds above what I could have done. And no doubt from here on out, once our fans hear it they will understand that Rian is as integral to the ‘Under’ sound just as much as we are the musicians. Absolute Legend!


APF: The three of you are very creative as individuals. When you are writing and recording as Under does that creativity flow together easily, or does it cause sparks and heated debate?

Matt Franklin – Bass and Vocals: Our writing process is my favourite part of this band. On occasion one of us has a riff or a section prepared and we all jam on that, more and more these days however we just get in the room and start playing.

We’ve been playing together so long that we often have the same ideas with very minimal communication. There aren’t any arguments as we’re all brutal and undemocratic – if one of us isn’t keen on an idea then we keep moving and find something else.

APF: The vinyl version of ‘Stop Being Naïve’ has a bonus track. What was the thinking behind this – why is it not on the CD and digital versions?

Preece: I proposed leaving “Soup” out of the official track list. I actually love that song but after obsessively listening through the album and a few different re-jigs of the running order I just couldn’t find a place for it where it didn’t seem to disrupt the flow of the album. It’s a great hard little banger with loads of attitude though so people who buy the vinyl will be pleased they get to hear it I think.

Naive Cover

APF: You openly fight against categorization of your music. So…… you meet a bloke in the pub, tell him you’re in a band, and he asks what you sound like. How do you describe Under to him?

Franklin: Categorization doesn’t keep us up at night, people will try and describe us with familiar terms and that’s fine. What we want to avoid is feeding into a lack of imagination – if we think we’re doom or avant garde or whatever there will be people that disagree and then it’s just a boring dialogue about genre.

The “man in the pub” scenario is a good one as I often find myself in it… I find adjectives work well; we’re “heavy” or “weird” or “unsettling” by my descriptions. I also find this gives a more accurate description and you sound like much less of a cunt than saying “progressive avant noise sludge” or something like that.

APF: For bands to make a living these days they have to go on tour – and tour heavily. Would that life suit you? Playing the same songs every night for a year. Or would your desire to be continually creative be frustrated by road life?

Mayo: I think life on the road would be a welcome one for us. We have countlessly fantasized about being able to go full time with the band as our lifestyle and primary source of income. Unfortunately, because of the competitive nature of the industry and the unorthodox style of our music this has not been and will not be an easily achievable goal.

We do our best and accept whatever publicity or success that our music achieves. And I think that living on tour would not jeopardize our creative output, if anything it would inspire us more and our music would just veer off onto another tangent made possible by the touring lifestyle. It wouldn’t frustrate us being on tour, we will continuously be writing music whether we are on tour or not as we are mostly inspired by our personal lives and current goings on.


APF: Does being from Stockport, Greater Manchester in any way influence your writing, and who you are an individuals?

Franklin: I think it is impossible to not be influenced by where you’re from. Stockport is one of those weird northern towns that aspires towards grandeur but is ultimately a bit of a backwards shithole. It makes for lots of sardonic lyrics and a very special blend of off-kilter strangeness with just enough chavvy bravado to stop us turning into walking berets.

APF: Finally, anything you wish to declare?

All: Fucking love your label mate!

UNDER’s “Stop Being Naive” is available to pre-order now on “piss yellow” trans vinyl, CD and digital download from the following links:

Under’s Bandcamp page

APF Records Big Cartel Shop


Battalions: Exclusive Interview with Phil Wilkinson

Photo 22-08-2018, 18 41 29 Resized

Hullensian quartet Battalions will release their third album “Forever Marching Backwards” on 30th November. We recently dropped the title track as a single and video, and it has gone down a storm with fans and critics alike. The album will see the light of day on vinyl (a limited edition blue one as well as a standard black), digipak CD and digital download – and there’s a sexy t-shirt and CD bundle version as well.

It’s taken nine years of hard work for Battalions to get to the cusp of bigger things, which must surely now be just round the corner for them. APF Records signed the band last autumn, having foolishly passed on releasing their staggering “Moonburn” record a few months before. We all make mistakes, and that was a big one. But the band now have the full force of the label (and their PR partner Hold Tight!) behind them as the three month campaign to promote the album begins.

group pic

We caught up with vocalist Phil Wilkinson for a chinwag about past, present and future.

APF: You’ve been around for a while. There seems to be a rising wave of love for Battalions right now. Have you noticed it, and if so what do you think has caused it?

Phil: We have been around for a while! Closing in on 9 years of the band now, which is insane when I think about it. The love for the band has never been bigger, and I think that’s through hard work and sticking at it for as long as we have. Over the past few years we’ve stepped up our game in terms of writing, recording and playing live further afield. On top of this we are completely lovable idiots and people seem to warm to us, which certainly helps.

APF: How was the writing of Forever Marching Backwards? Was it easy pulling the 8 songs together, or like pulling teeth?

Phil: We started writing pretty much the moment we finished recording “Moonburn” last year. We had the majority of the album written, but in the months coming up to recording it we still had a few songs to finish and one to write to make the full record. Luckily, we have Pete ‘The Riff’ Cross in our employ, so we set him to task and he pulled those riffs out of his many hiding holes in those riff-filled layers he constantly wears.


APF: How was your week recording at Skyhammer? For those who haven’t been, what’s so great about it and why did you choose it?

Phil: This was actually our 3rd time there, choosing to return to Skyhammer was a no-brainer. Chris Fielding is an absolute gent to work with, and the studio is top notch. He knows us and we know him, with each of the previous albums being a step up in production values as he’s gotten to know the band better, and this time out he has well and truly knocked it out of the park. It’s always one of the band ‘holidays’ in the calendar for us, as well as tours, as you stay in the accommodation at the studio. It can get a little claustrophobic at times as you’re all on top of each other for days on end, but in the main it’s a completely fun experience for us, especially the end-of-recording blow out!

APF: What’s your personal favourite track on the album and why?

Phil: Honestly, it’s hard for me to choose, which is strange because personally I’ve had a song on the previous albums that I’ve preferred above all others. I guess if I was put on the spot, I would choose “Devil’s Footsteps”. The groove in that just gets me moving!


APF: Tell us about the making of the Forever Marching Backwards video.

(You can watch the video here:

Phil: It was one of the hottest days of the year, a Sunday morning following another awesome Humber Street Sesh we were involved with playing. The day started with a trip out to a well-known derelict building in Hull – Lord Line – breaking in and filming all the walking shots. This was followed by us all meeting up at our practice room and turning one of the rooms into a mini studio for the second half of the video. I was ridiculously hungover and throwing up all day, one of the first shots I had to film was me screaming into the protagonist’s face, in full fear that it may include accidental vomit. Luckily this didn’t happen.

The video’s protagonist is no other than Kris Barford, our original drummer and key architect in forming the band. It was great to have him involved as we’re all still great friends and he is now gracing the cover of the album!

Battalions Logo - resized

APF: When you look back over your ten years in Battalions, what shows stand out as being your favourites?

Phil: Well, not quite 10 years yet, closing in on 9 years this January haha. But still, this is by far the longest I have ever been part of a band and I can’t imagine life without Battalions these days. There have been hundreds of shows and it’s hard to pick. However, since I have to, here are some of my favourites:

Bloodstock Festival 2017

Headline Slot at Humber Street Sesh 2017

Supporting The Ocean, Sworn Enemy and Church of Misery (twice!)

The whole tour with Pist

The whole tour with 1968 / Ritual King

Any show we play at Rebellion in Manchester

Tech-fest 2018

Battalions 2018

APF: There are stresses and strains in being an underground band, but also in being a successful one. If Battalions ever became big do you think you could cope with the fame and attention?

Phil: There are times when I want to scream with dealing with a band and having no management. But when it all comes off it’s the best feeling in the world. I’d have no qualms with stepping up and gaining more fame, I don’t think any of us would change, that’s the working class northerner in us all!

APF: You’re an integral part of the APF Records family? Which other bands on the label do you have a particular affinity with, personally or musically?

Phil: Thanks! We certainly feel a part of the APF Family now, even before we signed we felt a part of the wider APF community. Obviously, we are best buds with Pist following our tour together earlier this year, so much so that Dave and John feature on the new album, although maybe not in the way we initially intended in John’s case. We just like hanging out with other APF bands when we get a chance, the Barbarian Hermit boys have been good to us recently, I think being signed and releasing albums around the same time has given us a shared goal and we both want each other to succeed.


APF: What’s your highlight of 2018 so far?

Phil: It’s got to be getting the album recorded, artwork completed, and everything ready to go before the deadlines. We just cannot wait for this record to be out and for people to hear the rest of the record. The feedback we’ve had so far from the release of the single has been mind-blowing, and if people are reacting like this to just one song, I can’t wait for the rest of the album to get a listen and hear what people think because we couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved with this one.


APF: Who’s the biggest bellend in Battalions?

Phil: We’re all bellends in our own way. But, without a doubt, it’s (Bassist) Dennett. The man doesn’t have an “off” button and is, as I have said to him many a time, ‘unnecessarily loud, all of the time’. He’s a bellend in the most lovable way though, and we’re usually in hysterics laughing at him being an idiot, sometimes even laughing with him and not at him…….


Forever Marching Backwards is available to pre-order now from:




Barbarian Hermit: Exclusive Interview with guitarist Adam Robertshaw

Hermit resized

Barbarian Hermit released their new single “Reawaken” earlier this week. Taken from their debut full-length album, ‘Solitude And Savagery’ (which is out on 16th November), it encapsulates all that is good about the band in 2018.

Since the release of their ’01’ EP in 2016 guitarists Mike Regan and Adam Robertshaw have bedded in a new rhythm section (Rob “Spadge” Sutcliffe on bass and Gareth Manning on drums) whilst welcoming back vocalist Ed Campbell – who fronted the band before, in its early days. Their shows have become more like events than mere gigs, as anyone who saw their incendiary live performance at this year’s Bloodstock Festival will attest to.

As the PR campaign for the new album kicks off, we grabbed Adam for a quick chat about all this Hermit.


APF: You’ve been around for a while. There seems to be a rising wave of love for Hermit right now. Have you noticed it, and if so what do you think has caused it?

Adam: It’s been a slow rise over the last couple of years. It’s noticeable in terms of our social media following creeping up, more people turning up to shows that sort of thing. I think it’s just because we’ve purposefully kept a presence on the scene, gigging as often as we can in as many places as we can. It seems to be paying off!

APF: How was the writing of Solitude And Savagery? Was it easy pulling the 7 songs together, or like pulling teeth?

Adam: It was the easiest and the hardest thing we’ve ever done. We gave ourselves plenty of time to write and we love writing riffs so most of the songs came pretty easy. Some of them like Reawaken for example, we spent months honing and perfecting and I think that shows when you listen to it. As it got nearer recording time we started to feel the pressure a bit but thankfully that lit a fire under our arses and we ended up writing Laniekea, which is probably one of the most ambitious songs we’ve ever written!

Barbarian Hermit

APF: How was your week recording at Skyhammer? For those who haven’t been, what’s so great about it and why did you choose it?

Adam:It was amazing, a dream come true. We’d always said from the very start of the band that Skyhammer would be our studio of choice, just because of the output they’ve done over the years and their reputation as being the best in the business for our kind of music. It didn’t disappoint. Chris Fielding is a pleasure to work with. His attention to detail is astounding and he really knows what’s best for the song. Plus they have all this amazing gear for you to play through so we were like kids in a candy shop. On top of that you sleep and eat there while you’re working so it was like a little holiday for the band, and we actually came out of it having bonded more. We can’t wait to go back!

APF: What’s your personal favourite track on the album and why?

Adam: This changes every time I listen to it but I think Black Mass. I wrote the main chorus riff years ago and we’ve been banging our heads against a brick wall for years trying to fit it into a song and we finally did that, so that’s pretty satisfying, plus the rest of the song is journey through all our repertoire of lightness and darkness, groove and brutality. Ed’s vocals on that song are fantastic, Gaz hit it out of the park, and there’s some lovely interplay between myself, Reegs and Spadge. It’s a good snapshot of where the band is at right now.

Barbarian Hermit 2018 - Resized

APF: When you look back over your time in Hermit, what shows stand out as being your favourites, and why?

Adam: Obviously Bloodstock, as it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to and it was the result of months of blood, sweat and tears going through the M2TM competition. HRH in Sheffield was amazing. Again, a great turn out and it was one of the first gigs we did with the newer lineup. We’ve had some crazy shows at Riff Fest in Bolton over the years too. One sticks out where the boss of our record label came flying over the barrier and landed on my pedal board!

APF: There are stresses and strains in being an underground band, but also in being a successful one. If Hermit ever became big do you think you could cope with the fame and attention?

Adam: I think we’d have a good stab at it. Praise and attention is always flattering so I’m sure we could handle a bit more of that. Plus the money and other trappings that come with fame would be nice. One of us might end up dead though.


APF: You’re an integral part of the APF Records family? Which other bands on the label do you have a particular affinity with, personally or musically?

Adam: Under have been our boyfriends for years, I can’t wait to hear their new one. I think we’ve played more shows with Pist than we have any other band, it’s like we’re their unofficial support band. And I think because we were signed around the same time as Battalions, we’re releasing near to each other and have the same PR in Hold Tight! there is a bit of friendly competition going on but also a fraternity, like we’re going through the same stuff together, which is cool.

APF: What’s your highlight of 2018 so far?

Adam: That’s a tough one as it’s been a big year for us. It’s got to be recording at Skyhammer for me. With Bloodstock being a close second.

Barbarian Hermit 2017

APF: Who’s the biggest bellend in Babs, and why?

Adam: Haha! Spadge. Have you seen his helmet?!

APF: How do you manage to not fanboy Mike Regan every time he walks in the room?

Adam: I really don’t know. I was a huge Bisonhammer fan back in the day so I still find it surreal that I’m in a band with him. The man’s a beast! All hail BIG DADDY REEGS!


Barbarian Hermit’s “Solitude And Savagery” is available to pre-order now from:

Asset 12

Barbarian Hermit – Solitude And Savagery

Front Square Visual 800x800 RGB - Resized.jpg

BARBARIAN HERMIT new album available to pre-order from:

Hailing from Manchester, UK, BARBARIAN HERMIT are scheduled to release their album  Solitude and Savagery on November 16th via APF Records. The quintet play a heady mix of downtuned, fuzz-laden guitars kicking out some of the raunchiest riffs in rock over elephantine grooves to create a sound that is as irresistibly catchy as it is crushingly heavy.

Working with the legendary Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios, the producer behind such mammoth sounds as Electric Wizard, Conan, Primordial, Witchsorrow, Winterfylleth and mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate, OLD)BARBARIAN HERMIT’s Solitude and Savagery bares seven bruising tracks of pummelling groove metal that smoulders with swampy rawness and feral energy.

Barbarian Hermit 2018 - Resized

Comments guitarist Adam Robertshaw: “At its essence, Solitude and Savagery represents an evolution of Barbarian Hermit in more ways than one. The year before the majority of it was written the band went through a weird period where we lost three members for various reasons within about six months. Thankfully Ed, Gareth and Rob stepped in and stepped things up a notch in a big way. Working with Chris Fielding at Skyhammer studio was a dream come true for us. The man is a genius and such a pleasure to work with. His ear is incredible and once he got to know us and what we are about he really got on board, suggesting harmonies or adaptations here and there, which really gave the songs a boost. With anyone else we’d have recorded a good album. With him made a great one. We hope people have as much fun listening to it as we did making it.

Solitude and Savagery is the follow up to the band’s 2016 self titled EP and is bristling with swagger, soul and groove, but the band have ventured further into heavier territory, exploring the darker side to their sound whilst making a conscious effort to experiment more with dynamics and texture. Lead single ‘Reawaken’ for example, takes as much inspiration from Hans Zimmer as it does Sepultura.  And while it’s not exactly a concept album, there are themes and recurring motifs that vocalist Ed Campbell has woven through the album’s lyrical tapestry, such as the struggle between dark and light, the exploration of one’s inner self and the search for truth.

About Barbarian Hermit

Barbarian Hermit are a five piece doom/sludge/Stoner act, based in Manchester, England. Formed in 2013 from former members of disbanded Manchester bands (Bisonhammer, Arke, Severed Fate, Random Act of Violence, Mountains Became Machines and That Sunless Tide) and the disbanded South Korean band FatalFear.

The band have been gigging heavily around the UK for the last few years. Recently, playing at big events like HRH festival, Bloodstock Festival and supporting big names like Raging Speedhorn, Dopelord and Crowbar. Their debut self-titled EP came out in early 2016 and received rave reviews from the press and will follow this up with their debut album Solitude and Savagery which is set for release from APF Records in November 2018.

LEAD TRACK: Reawaken

FOR FANS OF:  Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, Raging Speedhorn, Acid Bath

Gareth Manning-Drums
Ed Campbell-Vocals
Mike Regan-Guitars
Adam Robertshaw-Guitars
Rob Sutcliffe-Bass

1. Enter the Hermitage
2. Black Mass
3. No Sleep
4. Beyond the Wall
5. Lifebreather
6. Reawaken
7. Laniakea

Barbarian Hermit 2017.jpg

September 8th – Sanctuary Rock Bar, Burnley
November 10th – Cvltfest, Café Independent, Scunthorpe
November 16th – Album Lunch, Kosmopolitan, Manchester
November 17th – Ale Fest, Northern Monk Brewery, Leeds
December 22nd – Rebellion Christmas Party, Rebellion, Manchester

Feb 2nd – APF Showcase II, The Bread Shed, Manchester
March 2nd – Lizard Fest, Bradford
March 30th – Riffolution, Rebellion, Manchester


Reawaken blue new logo.png


Battalions – Forever Marching Backwards

Album Cover 400 x 400


“Forever Marching Backwards”
For fans of Iron Monkey, Eyehategod, Weedeater, Black Sabbath, Clutch, Scissorfight
BATTALIONS, belligerent champions of the UK DIY underground scene, revered by fans worldwide, lauded by the press and hairier than a bucket of black bears. The band are back with a meaty, confrontational-as-fuck new album entitled Forever Marching Backwards which is released by APF Records on November 30th.

Recorded and mixed by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studios in the UK, the resulting album is a danger-fuelled 30 minutes of Battalions own brand of bleak, swaggering, riff-infused groove metal-meets-harsh-punk sound. To quote the band, this is ‘pure Humber sludge’.

Comments vocalist Phillip Wilkinson: “Since beginning writing, pretty much straight after the recording of our 2017 album Moonburn, the new slimmed-down lineup has enabled us to let Pete’s riffs shine through and has given us the chance to grow as a band to make what we believe is by far the most accomplished album of our career. If you’ve followed Battalions for the last few albums you can expect a tighter production, bigger riffs, more of a focus on structure and song writing along with the usual self-depreciating humour peppered throughout. The album itself is based around lead single Forever Marching Backwards from which the album takes its name, essentially an allegory about how society seems to be hardwired to follow blindly without the majority questioning motives. The blind leading the blind.“

Watch the video for Forever Marching Backwards here:

Forever Marching Backwards is the follow up to the band’s 2017 release Moonburn and brings to the table a tighter, punchier, dirtier sound with bigger riffs and extra swagger. The whole album is littered with Phil Wilkinson’s trademark bile-encrusted vocals which envelope the absolutely crushing, corroding heaviness of the music. Across eight tracks the band exorcise a wide array of sorrow and raw human emotions. But then there’s also a song (Tyskie Vampire) about being on tour with their label mates Pist, dropping cans of strong Polish lager on the floor and having to suck them dry when they split open. So it’s swings and roundabouts – heavy human emotions versus songs about touring and sucking your beer off the floor. Typically BATTALIONS.

This is their third album in three years and they show no sign of slowing down, with each album becoming a little more ‘BATTALIONS’ in style and flavour but more than that, showing a band working on a formidable musical output. Forever Marching Backwards is certainly an excellent sign for the future, it’ll leave you wanting more, possibly with the urge to grow a beard, definitely with the need to catch them in a live setting. It’s their most hook-packed collection of fury and hirsuteness yet.  We are truly living in an age of wonder.

“Forever Marching Backwards” is now available to pre-order on limited edition (of 100) transparent blue vinyl, black vinyl, digipak CD and T-Shirt & CD bundle. The vinyl will include a digital download code, with a guarantee that you will own it at least a week before it is available in HMV, on Amazon and in other record shops.

Track listing:

A1: Forever Marching Backwards
A2: Cities Of Ruin
A3: Goat Feeder
A4: Vaseline (G)Love

B1: Tyskie Vampire
B2: Infinite Void
B3; Brick Hole
B4: Devil’s Footsteps

Battalions is:

Phil Wilkinson – vocals
Peter Cross – guitar
Matthew Dennett – bass
Matt Walker – drums

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio
Artwork by Blair Shaw at Daggersforteeth
Photo by JWA Photography




Mastiff – New Album Coming in 2019

Group Shot July 2017

Words by Andrew Field

On Saturday 30th June Mastiff went into the studio to commence work on the follow up to 2017’s “BORK” EP. I’d been given glimpses of the new material by the band in the form of phone recordings sent to me via WhatsApp, so already knew I was likely to be handed something fairly nasty to release once recording was done. There had also been talk about maybe taking a bit longer over this one. I was led to believe that the end-of-June weekend was just the start.

Mastiff entered the studios around 9.45am on that 30th June day. At 4.11pm I got a message from Jim Hodge saying “80% done boss man”. At 4.17pm Phil Johnson messaged saying “tracks pretty much overdubbed”.

On Monday 2nd July at 6.57am they sent me the fully mixed and mastered album. It sounded absolutely fucking incredible.

That’s Mastiff right there. A fully formed, prepped, focused, disciplined machine.

So how does it sound? Frankly, like the end of the world. Eight tracks of pure nihilistic rage. Everything is amplified (sic): the slower bits are gnarlier, the faster bits grind harder, Michael Shepherd’s blast beats hurt your bowels more, Dan Dolby’s bass is right there in your face, and Jim Hodge’s vocals go to another world – somewhere primal, beyond feral, way past animalistic. And as for the twin guitar attack of Jam Lee and Phil Johnson…… well, rarely have I heard amps and cabs punished quite so brutally. They make Eyehategod sound like A-ha.

There is a track on the album called Until I Weep No More. It is going to be the heaviest thing I have released on APF so far. It is skull-crushing.

The current plan is to drop this bombshell on you in early 2019. Trust me when I tell you, it will be worth the wait.

Mastiff forever.