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29/07/2007 – Interview with PITIFUL REIGN

Upcoming UK Thrashers PITIFUL REIGN (official website) released a new demo in June, "D.I.V.E.". After their self-released debut, "Toxic Choke", they continue their quest for a Thrashing UK domination. The second news is that they also signed a deal with Punishment 18 Records, for which they will release their new full album early 2008. You can check out the review of the demo at this location.

As a result of this release I sent a couple of questions to the band to find out more about them, how they got onto the Punishment 18 roster, why Thrash is so important to them, etc..... The replies come mostly, if not all, from vocalist Josh.

Pitiful Reign logo

What's the response from relatives, friends, colleagues, etc... Regarding PITIFUL REIGN? Is everyone enthusiastic about it?

Yes, they are. All of our families and friends have been really supportive. We wouldn't be where we are today without their help.

You've changed the band's name to PITIFUL REIGN one year after your founding as Metalegion. What was the reason for this (the change and the chosen name) and did it influence the Metal you made?

There was no real reasoning behind it. We just sat around one day and thought "Let's change the name!" We then just thought of the 2 most metal words we could think of, and put them together. It never had any effect on the music we make.

Andy (bass, vox) left after one year, which made you/Josh take over the vocals. After some auditions, Matt got the job as the band's new bassist. How did you make the vacancy known? Through local media or via your website or mouth-to-mouth? And why was Matt the best of the pack?

We had already asked Matt to join the band as he plays guitar, as well as drums. He was also one of our long time friends from school. When Andy left, Matt decided that he would play bass instead.

In addition, how did the introduction of the two new guitarists, Neville Britton and Alan Pashby go? How did they get involved?

Alan was also a long time friend of PITIFUL REIGN's. He was the producer for the "Toxic Choke" CD, and had offered to fill in after Tom Britton left the band. Neville, who is an ace guitarist, had been a long time fan of ours, and eventually became a friend too. He was an obvious choice.

You're very keen on bringing back some Thrash into the British scene. The only bands I know - and I don't mean the new load ;-) - are XENTRIX, ONSLAUGHT and SABBAT. Who else played a big role back in the day and how 'absent' is (has) Thrash (been) in the UK?

Bands like REANIMATOR, LAWNMOWER DETH, ACID REIGN, SLAMMER and D.A.M were big in the UK back in the 80s. The scene died a death because trends changed and people began listening to other types of music...

Josh, do you still maintain your skills on guitar or will you pick it up again when it's really necessary?

Oh yes, Music is a big part of all our lives. We have acoustic guitars lying around the house, and will often pick up a guitar and work on a riff.

Last year you released your first full album, "Toxic Choke". Since I haven't heard it, is the material on "D.I.V.E." in the same vein or slightly different? And since you're working on your next full album, I guess you'll continue what was done on "D.I.V.E."?

The material on "D.I.V.E." is vastly different to anything we have done before. That is because we have all improved, the level of musicianship is so much better than before We are already writing material for the new album, it's a lot more complex, but in the same vein as the tracks on "D.I.V.E.".

Pitiful Reign - D.I.V.E. Last month (June) your new demo "D.I.V.E." came out, which is an enjoyable piece of Thrash. What exactly is "D.I.V.E." about? Diving into new adventures that life offers? Maybe even stage-diving? Or is the title an abbreviation for something?

"D.I.V.E." all about the experience of the band playing live, stage diving, mosh pits etc, but it can be about whatever you want it to be I suppose, people can bring whatever meaning they want to it.

How do songs get born? Does each of you come up with ideas, after which the others add their input or does everyone come together and then exchange ideas?

Yes, that's exactly how it works! For us, writing new material is a collaborative process, with everyone playing their part.

Following the previous question: Have you been using the same way of working since the beginning? Or did you use a different approach for "D.I.V.E." compared to "Toxic Choke"?

No, it's always been this way; we don't know any other way to work!

Lyrics or music first? What works best?

Always the music first, then Josh composes the lyrics.

Speaking of the lyrics: Which subjects/themes do you use (in general)? And can you easily write a lyric or do you need to be by yourself, locked away from civilization? ;-)

Zombies, Beer, Moshpits and Women! And not always in that order! Lol. Generally, I write the lyric and then revise and redraft it until Im perfectly happy with it.

Pitiful Reign bandWhen you were and are writing new songs, do you set yourself a goal like "we need (enter number) songs, (enter number) of those must be fast," etc... Or do you start the process and after a certain time see how much you've got and then work with that?

No, nothing is ever planned out. We don't deliberately set out to write a song of any particular speed or type.

Musically it's old school Thrash, influenced by bands like KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, EXODUS, HEATHEN, FORBIDDEN, TESTAMENT, and many others that made the genre big in the '80s. There's even a touch of DIAMOND HEAD. I take it you grew up listening to those bands, right? And (how) has your taste evolved over the years?

Yes, you're right. Like many people, we started out listening to bands like METALLICA, and as time went on, we listened to more different types of music, and broadened our tastes from there.

You've played at Bloodstock in the recent past and also in Italy and some other countries too. What was it like, hitting big stages after a couple of years? Did you gain any foreign fans? Did you sell a good amount of demos then?

BOA was an amazing experience, as was our first trip to Bari in Italy. The Italian thrashers went mental! We loved every minute of it. We sold a load of merchandise, and made a whole load of new friends and fans. We are definitely going to go back there some time.

Any 'touring' plans for this year? Seems like you'll be staying on British soil and not going abroad. Or will you play some gigs elsewhere?

As we said earlier, we already have plans to return to Italy, and we have every intention of continuing our non stop gigging in the UK.

When you're starting as a new band, or even when you've been in the business for a long time, you can't neglect a community site like MySpace, which is a great promotional tool for any band. How important is it, in your opinion. It seems as if having an own website isn't good enough anymore.

Myspace has been a useful tool for us to get the word out about PITIFUL REIGN. In fact for bands nowadays, it's a necessity.

This month you signed a deal with Punishment 18. How does a young UK band arrive on the roster of a small Italian label? And for how many albums did you sign?

Marita from the label saw us play live for the first time in 2005. We have had offers from several labels but none of those were really suited to the band. When we started talking to Punishment 18 we knew that it was the right deal for us. The initial deal is for one album, with the option then to take up a subsequent cd if it suits all of us.

Were there other labels you had talks with? In addition, isn't there any label in the UK that's willing to support its own scene?

Yeah, there are, but we signed with P18 first!

How much time to you spend on the band compared to other occupations that you might have? And do you then still have time for yourselves and possible hobbies?

The band takes up a lot of our time, as it should. But we all have normal day jobs too, or are at college. In our spare time we mostly like to play computer games.

Well, that's it for now. Many thanks for the replies and all the best to you keeping Thrash alive and injecting the scene with new blood, so to speak. If there's anything I forgot to ask or you want to add, be my guest. :-)

Thanks and BYE!! Support the UK thrash scene!

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