WITH violinists, stellar contributors and a concept, what the hell is going on with Acid Age?
Confused by the reports emerging from County Tyrone we seized Jude from the band, put him in a darkened room (well upon request he sent us an email…) and demanded answers.
First of all, who are these people who will pop up on this forthcoming release?
“We have an awesome list of special guests on our next release,” Jude explained. “It includes guys like Jeff Young (ex-Megadeth) Bones (Discharge) Mark Caro (Abbatoir) Adie Bailey (ex-English Dogs) Ross Oliver (Risen Prophecy) Ryan Sebastian Balfour (Maverick).
"We are waiting to hear from a few more so I can't say too much right now on that. We just contacted them through Facebook.
“They've all expressed that they genuinely enjoy what we are doing so it kind of makes sense just to have a bunch of cool names on our new album. We have done straight ahead balls out thrash metal albums before, typical Razor worship. Songs about guns and sharks and stuff like that so we decided to try something different this time.”
As for silly titles the last Acid Age album had the wonderful title of ‘Like A Combine Harvester In A Field Of Crippled Rabbits’. Not exactly catchy but certainly memorable.
“It's no secret that we always have ridiculous, zany titles for our releases, the last album was no exception,” said Jude. “The whole combine harvester thing was partially a joke about how the band was from Cookstown and thus ‘culchies’ but it was just a title we all liked.
“It's a bit long-winded but it's original.”
For a band known for producing full on-thrashers it was attention grabbing when it emerged that Acid Age were working on a concept album.
“We knew we wanted to do a full concept album with a fluent theme and we had talked about it before so in order to make this work in thrash metal it has to be epic sounding.
“It's very interesting, kind of like writing a score for a film. It has to be dramatic and have peaks and valleys, fast bits, slow bits and even some more mellow stuff than we are used to.
“That being said it's our most technically ferocious material to date so we knew we needed a second guitarist and that's why we asked Matty who is a good friend and an excellent player.”
As if this wasn’t enough to cope with the band have also added a violinist to their ranks…
“The violinist thing started out as a joke originally because me and Jake like jazz violinists like Jean Luc Ponty and Stephan Grapelli and we like bands that expand their sound within the genre without radically altering their core sound.
“Eddie (our vocalist) mentioned that he had a friend who was a grade 8 classical violinist called Anna so we asked her for the craic.
“Next thing is we are practicing with her and she's running her violin through a distortion pedal and playing insane thrash riffs.
“It's kind of like having three guitarists in the band, you have to arrange each instrument in sections rather than just blazing through songs in a typical verse/chorus fashion.”
With work progressing on the album it is only fitting that they produce a stage set to reflect its ambition.
“We plan to tour this new concept album in its entirety with a super-pretentious stage show to go along with it,” said Jude. “We're trying to keep ourselves interested more so than being original or fresh or whatever.
“In two years the album will have been out and we hope we will have a string of tour dates under our belts.
“Even if it never leaves the island at the very least we will have something insane for all our friends to see.”
Whether they ever take the planned extravagant show to wider audiences is a moot point for Jude.
“It's hard to secure cross-water gigs because the stage show is much more extravagant than the typical lights and smoke machine and as a result it costs more to transport but those who see it will understand why.
“It's not like some dodgy rock opera but it is thematic and because of the size of the stage show and the fact that there are now six members in the band we need bigger stages to play on, which adds to the problem on a financial scale but it's going to be fun.
With such ambition one would expect Acid Age to be aiming for the stars, but the band remain very grounded.
“Magazines such as Metal Hammer and Terrorizer and the people that follow those types of magazines probably aren't our kind of crowd and that's fine with us,” said Jude
“That being said you'd be surprised at some of the people that have expressed their interest in the band over the years.
“Truth be told we do want a larger audience but that's just because it's becoming harder to do this, some of us have kids and jobs and houses and shit like everyone else so to take time off and do a tour it costs money, rent needs paid, kids need fed etc...
“Getting T-shirts and merch is expensive and there's no point if no one is coming to the gigs and to get people to come to the gigs you have to expand on the sound and add more to your live show with each release.
“It's the same either way, if you make a really nasty sounding album with shitty production the mainstream audience hate it, then if you make a really glossy and precise sounding album the underground accuses you of "selling-out" when ultimately it's just a case of taste being subjective.
“The underground has real value in a sense that it's incredibly loyal... Until you start making a wage.”
We can only hope that Acid Age's ambitious recording plans means that they will indeed start earning more than the minimum thrasher wage.
Interiew by Jonathan Traynor