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      Articles Home » Music Talk » The New Wave of British (Columbia) Heavy Metal With Iron Kingdom By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
      The New Wave of British (Columbia) Heavy Metal With Iron Kingdom By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      The New Wave of British (Columbia) Heavy Metal

      with Iron Kingdom

       By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

      Boston Rock Radio

       

       

      The title of our article may at first appear deceptive with the addition of "Columbia" and the exclusion of "Maiden" but in recent years bands such as Vultures Vengeance, HauntTraveler, and Striker are carrying the torch for a brand of traditional heavy metal that put England and NWOBHM on the map during the late 1970's to early 1980's. The original bands of NWOBHM (Saxon, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etcetera) left a lasting worldwide imprint on audiences and the artists that they influenced for years to come.  

      Upon first listen to the Canadian band Iron Kingdom (http://www.iron-kingdom.com), you may think these metal heads hopped on the TARDIS with Tom Baker and appeared out of nowhere in the year 2019.  The quartet formed in Surrey, British Columbia and since 2011 are showing a brand of musicianship in their current Mark IV lineup of Chris Osterman (vocals, guitar), Leighton Holmes (Bass), Chris Sonea (Drums) and Megan Merrick (Guitar) that reflects spirited riffs, thunderous rhythms and stratospheric vocal stylings in the vein of vintage Iron Maiden and Rush.  If you missed Iron Kingdom on their 2016 North American tour in support of Blaze Bayley, we recommend you check out their forthcoming recording On the Hunt and tour coming to a town near you in North America and Europe!  Boston Rock Radio would like to thank Chris and Megan of Iron Kingdom for this exclusive interview.

      The new single off of the new album 'On The Hunt’ to be released Oct 4th 2019

       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0TOThL09eE

       

      Iron Kingdom is about to embark on a 41 city North American tour running from Oct 3rd to December 1st.  What kind of "prep work" do you have to do on the home front do you have to take care before the tour departs?  There must be lots of major and minor details to leave the comfort of your town.

      Chris Osterman:  Yes absolutely, the amount of work behind it all can be daunting at times, but if you keep working away at it eventually everything gets done, or at least everything you can control.  Some things are as simple as packing your personal bags, (toothbrush, shaver, clothes etc.) just like any trip or vacation might require.  Other things include deciding what merchandise to bring on the road, checking the brakes and engine of the tour vehicle, any last minute repairs.  We always pack tool kits and spare parts for the vehicle and for our amps and guitars.  I’ve actually made multiple spreadsheets and checklists to help me from forgetting anything that might be needed.  It might sound a little anal, but I can tell you from experience that anything can happen on the road and you have to be prepared to solve a vast variety of issues at a moment's notice.


      Does Iron Kingdom as a band live within close proximity of each other and have rehearsals on a regular basis?  Do you have a favorite diner or pub that you like to unwind after a session?

      Megan Merrick:  We all live within a reasonable distance. Finding a space that allows us to blow the lid off the place is hard but we practice out in the boonies to get the job done. In regards to rehearsal schedules we always try to get in 2-3 practices a week. We try to do make ups if anyone misses out on a practice but that generally is scarce because band is life.  We don’t have any particular places of winding down such as a bar or pub, but rehearsals alone are relaxing from the daily grind. Now that you mention it, maybe we should have a band meeting about that! Haha 

      What is the songwriting process like as a band, especially on the forthcoming release?  I am aware that your bassist and co-founder Leighton Holmes serves as the primarily lyricist.   Do you hash out songwriting in a rehearsal space or exchange ideas constantly via email during creative cycle?

      CO:  We actually spent most of our writing time together in a jam style,  however sometimes someone will come in with a riff and we will base a tune off of that idea,  other times it’s completely on the spot.  Leighton will actually write lyrics often while the rest of us are jamming, it’s kinda inspiring for him to have the music playing while he writes.  Sometimes lyrical content comes from other members of the band, even if it’s just a song title, then Leighton runs with the idea, if he likes it, of course.  Oh and as for guitar solos we usually write them last, after the structures are completed, sometimes they actually get written in the studio while we’re recording haha!


      Your new album ‘On The Hunt’ releases October 4th and is available for presale.   You are doing this as a self-release.  In the past you have worked with labels such as Tridroid Records and Underground Power Records.   Were there lessons that you learned during these experiences that prompted the decision for the band to put out themselves? 

      CO: Well actually you might be surprised to learn that all of the albums have been self- financed and self- released, we’ve printed the CDs independently and we use our own digital distribution.  The exception being that we worked with Tridroid Records to release our cassettes on the older albums, and Underground Power made a deal with us to make vinyls for Ride For Glory.  So we actually didn’t change our approach, and in fact it’s sounding highly likely that we may have a vinyl release for ‘On The Hunt’ coming from a label as well, more news on that will come soon I’m sure!

      ‘On The Hunt’ Album Pre-Orders Available NOW At:

      http://www.iron-kingdom.com/product-category/pre-order/


      Megan Merrick is a new addition to Iron Kingdom on guitar. Was there an audition process or was their already someone in mind after the departure of the former members?   What is her contribution to the new recording in the department of guitar solos and or melody ideas?

      MM:  My audition was ongoing. It got to the point where I was writing songs with the guys and I was like “ok guys...am I in or am I out!?” Haha. I think it was two months I eventually put my foot down and asked for the final answer. Reason being like most bands, finding committed members who are not only able to hold their own, a good player, is a good teammate, are reliable and not be a complete arsehole is hard. From my understanding, Iron Kingdom was looking for a full time guitar player for months before I knew. I saw them at first headlining the Hyperspace Metal Festival (Vancouver, CAN) in 2018 where shortly in the first song my face was melted off. I was hooked and had just been looking for another project myself. Then here we are. Iron Kingdom had a few songs written when I arrived, only a few songs did I not have contributions to in regards to solos, composition and arrangements. As soon as I had jumped in, we started writing. In my previous bands, I took more of the role in composition and leadership. Joining this band, it is very nice to be part of a democratic team, where all opinions are valid and not dismissed. I am very happy with the record and tried to help bring the traditional heavy metal sounds of Dokken, Riot and Judas Priest from my influences to the new album. We wanted a head banger so hope the fans think it suffices ;)  

       

      There has been a movement in the last 5 years with groups such Iron Kingdom along with Vultures Vengeance, Haunt, Traveler, and Striker paying homage to the past being influenced by the likes of Saxon, Iron Maiden but with a modern spin of refreshing ideas.  This is exciting.  Please discuss the reaction you have received from the "younger" fan base of metalheads?  How about the "old guard"?

      CO: I actually believe this scene started even earlier than that, probably closer to 2004. Crystal Viper, White Wizard or Skull Fist for example go back farther than 5 years and with time more and more bands joined in, in-fact Iron Kingdom started releasing music as far back as 2011!  So yes, there are new bands doing it but I think the scene is a progression and it’s great to see more new acts joining the good fight! The young crowd from our experience is generally stoked about seeing the new bands,  it’s awesome seeing them at the shows and feeling the energy they bring, it really is huge when you’re on stage and you can feed off that energy from the crowd. We’ve had all kinds of responses from the older generation as well, including things along the lines of “I’m proud to know there are great bands holding true to good metal”. I’ve even heard some say they’ve experienced tears of joy haha.  Really an honour that they enjoy the tunes, they were there back in the 80s when this scene was huge.  So they really know what they’re talking about.

       


      Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello is a heavy metal guitarist, educator, recording artist and children's picture book author who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey.  You can learn more about Tom at https://thomasamoriello.com

       

      Iron Kingdom Tour Dates

      Thurs, Oct 3 – Vancouver, BC – Red Room

      Thurs, Oct 10 – Port Alberni, BC – Rainbow Room

      Fri, Oct 11 – Cumberland, BC – The Waverley

      Sat, Oct 12 – Nanaimo, BC – The Cambie

      Sun, Oct 13 – Victoria, BC – Copper Owl

      Thurs, Oct 17 – Seattle, WA – The Highline

      Fri, Oct 18 – Medford, OR – Bamboo Room

      Sat, Oct 19 – Sacramento, CA – On The Y

      Sun, Oct 20 – Oakland, CA - TBA

      Mon, Oct 21 – Cupertino, CA – X-Bar

      Weds, Oct 23 – Apple Valley, CA – Frogee’s Bar

      Thurs, Oct 24 – Anaheim, CA – Doll Hut

      Fri. Oct 25 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar

      Sat, Oct 26 – Tijuana, MEX – MousTache

      Sun, Oct 27 – Downey, Los Angeles, CA – The Epic Lounge

      Tues, Oct 29 – Albuquerque, NM – The Jam Spot

      Weds, Oct 30 – Tucson, AZ – House of Bards

      Thurs, Oct 31 – El Paso, TX – B17 Bombers

      Fri, Nov 1 – San Antonio, TX – The Mix

      Sat, Nov 2 – Lawton, OK – Railhead Saloon

      Sun, Nov 3 – Houston, TX - Acadia Bar

      Weds, Nov 6 – Atlanta, GA – 529

      Thurs, Nov 7 – Raleigh, NC – The Maywood

      Fri, Nov 8 – Wilmington, DE – Bar XIII

      Sat, Nov 9 – Charleston, WV – The Empty Glass

      Sun, Nov 10 – Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz

      Tues, Nov 12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Tusk

      Weds, Nov 13 – Queens, NY – Blackthorn 51

      Thurs, Nov 14 – Worcester, MA – Ralph’s Diner

      Fri, Nov 15 – Rochester, NY – Bug Jar

      Sat, Nov 16 – Toronto, ON – Hard Luck Bar

      Sun, Nov 17 – Montreal, QC – Piranha Bar

      Mon, Nov 18, Quebec City, QC – Scanner Bistro

      Tues, Nov 19 – Ottawa, ON – Dominion Tavern

      Weds, Nov 20 – Windsor, ON – The Back Stage

      Thurs, Nov 21 – Hamtramck, MI – New Dodge Lounge

      Fri, Nov 22 – Chicago, IL – TBA

      Sat, Nov 23 – Madison, WI – The Wisco

      Sun, Nov 24 – Minneapolis, MN – Club Underground

      Tues, Nov 26 – Keokuk, IA -  Joystix Rockade (ShiverFest II)

      Weds, Nov 27 – Denver, CO - Tennyson Tap

      Fri, Nov 29 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban

      Sat, Nov 30 – Portland, OR – High Water Mark

      Sun, Dec 1 – Everett, WA – Tony V’s Garage


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