WITH less than two days to go before the Helfast mini-festival opens its doors for an afternoon and evening of noise, we caught up with Stevie Moore, guitarist with headliners Stormzone – a band with rightly justified high sights for the future.For Stormzone it has been a year of touring as they prepare for the imminent release of the new album Three Kings.
And with a recent support slot with Saxon safely tucked under their belts, Helfast festival at Belfast’s Limelight2 looks set to the opening chapter for another book of successes.After their apparent unjust treatment at the hands of a certain American singer, Saxon proved a much more enjoyable and professional slot for Stormzone.
“It really was ‘a dream come true’ for us,” said Moore. “We have toured with a lot of bands over the years and this pairing with Saxon, being at the forefront of the NWOBHM, was just the absolute perfect match for us.
“The audience was geared up for the kind of music and performance we deliver, and the whole thing couldn't have gone better for us.”
And for the band it was a cert that they were looking forward to being on the bill with the English metal legends.
“We're all big fans of the band so it's hard not to feel a little starstruck when you're hanging out with Biff, swapping tales from the road!”
And their treatment...”Saxon and their crew were extremely professional and courteous throughout the tour, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a few beers with them after the shows. “
With these support slots safely notched up to experience Moore reflected on the positive road experiences they have had hitting the festival stages across Europe, which has bonded them ever tighter together as a band and as friends.
“Stormzone is definitely five brothers united in a common goal, and we also have our team around us that give just as much as we do,” he said. “If you see some of the backstage footage of us available on YouTube etc, there are no separate dressing rooms and back-biting, it's a bunch of guys who are genuinely excited to be doing what we do and it shows!”
Moore continued: “The tours and festivals we've done have been a cross between work and a holiday, from my own personal point of view.
“There's a job to be done but everyone is pulling in the same direction, so there's always time for cutting loose and having some fun. I try to keep Facebook and twitter up to the date with the more light-hearted side of things, as people may have noticed from the pictures of our recent trip to the Metal Assault festival in Wurzburg...”
On the road the last Stormzone album, Zero to Rage (review here) has been nestling down nicely with previous releases as Moore explained.
“There are a few of the songs that have become "standards" in our set and will probably always be that way. Now that we have a bigger pool of material to choose from, you can't play as many songs from each album as you'd like to, so we like to make sure the fan favourites are in there with a little surprise every now and then.
“It's quite a feeling to look out and see fans from Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, all over Europe, singing every word to songs like Fear Hotel and Where We Belong,” said the axeman.
“And when you find out that some of the fans have literally driven across Europe to come to a festival to see Stormzone, it's hard to express to them what it means to you that they would do that. You find yourself scrabbling for things to give them - picks and drumsticks don't quite cut it in those scenarios!”
With Helfast knocking on the doors, and appearances at Dundalk’s NSX Festival and Hillsborough’s Sunflowerfest, the band are gearing up for the release of Three Kings.
“We've just finished recording and mixing the album, which will be available in July on Metal Nation Records,” said Moore.
“We are beyond delighted at how it has turned out. It'll show another step up for the band in terms of song-writing, sounds and overall production.
“I can't wait to have people hear it, I'm so proud of what we have achieved with this album, and going by the reaction to a sneak preview played on the radio last weekend, I know the fans will be as pleased as we are.”
No matter the weather there’s a major Storm Front moving in, and from what Moore explained – you have a choice, stand in the Stormzone and relish the metal – or get out of the way.
Helfast takes place on June 1st at Belfast’s Limelight2. Joining Stormzone on the stage will be Altus, Warcrux, and Triggerman. Helfast is a joint promotion between The Distortion Project, Paradise City and Blink Management. Tickets, priced £10 will be available on the door.