Band of the Day: Battalions

If you like it sludgy, Battalions should have you amply satisfied.

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

We’re from Kingston Upon Hull in East Yorkshire, UK. A small city close to the East coast on the river Humber, hence – pure Humber sludge.

How did you meet?

Well, the lineup now is slightly different to the original line up, but even then we all knew each other. Hull is a relatively small place, and if you play in metal bands, you know everyone else who plays in metal bands, so it was an easy task getting together like-minded people who wanted to make an awful racket.

How long have you been playing as a band?

Battalions formed in January 2010, so closing in on 9 years now!

Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?

This was actually from our original drummer Kris Barford (who incidentally is the guy gracing the front cover of the new album), and he chose Battalions because he wanted something that conveyed the loud wall of noise rumbling towards you that we set out to make.

What are your influences?

Clutch, Weedeater, St Vitus, Helmet, Kyuss, Weedeater, Iron Monkey, Scissorfight. Basically any band that can hold a riff and get people moving.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

Well, as you can see from above, we probably do sit within the stoner/sludge side of the musical world, however we try and make it our own. Big riffs that we want to listen to, but with Phil’s hardcore bark over the top.

Do you have any particular lyrical themes?

Nothing set in stone, just whatever we feel fits the song. Main lyrical duties have generally been the preserve of Phil, but for this album, Dennett and Mott brought a lot to the table as well as Phil and these were all utilised in the writing of the album. Thematically on this album, we have songs about drinking beer, post-apocalyptic futures, the current political climate and songs about self-worth.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

I lost count of the amount of shows we’ve played a long time ago! Being a band as long as we have, we just love to play live and continue to do so, the amount isn’t an objective, just getting to play as often as we can. Our live show is a big old head-nodding rock and roll show: Mott beating the shit out of his kit, Pete laying down the tasty riffs, Dennett pounding out the bass lines (and his head when he gets a bit excited), all the while Phil screaming as loud as he physically can.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?

Back in the early days, Dennett was a bit of a loose cannon sometimes, but then again so was Phil. The wildest was probably Dennett somehow managing to stick his bass through a wall, while Phil was diving about on and behind the bar, much to the bar staff’s disdain. Luckily we concentrate much more on playing a tight set, and only damaging ourselves and not the venues anymore, but we’re all young once, right?

What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?

Pete uses Gibson guitars and Orange amps. Mott has a lovely Mapex M-Series Kit, with Zildjian K Custom cymbals and a DW Limited Edition snare that comes on tour with us. Dennett is old school, solid state Laney Head with 2 4×10 Hartke Cabs. Phil uses his lungs, sometimes with a mic there too.

What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?

We’re building up to the release of our 3rd album in 3 years, and first one on a label courtesy of APF Records. Forever Marching Backwards, due out worldwide 30th November 2018.

What are your plans for 2018?

Release the album as mentioned above, complete a short weekender tour in the last weekend of November. Aside from that, we play label mates Barbarian Hermit’s album launch 16th November in Manchester, and return to Manchester for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Festival on 24th November. To close the year out we’ll be working on booking more shows and a European tour for 2019.

If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!

As they’re still touring and a favourite of us all, we would be supporting the almighty Judas Priest. And because it would be a huge party. We’d invite some of our best mates, and again APF Records labelmates, Pist along for the ride, as we’ve toured with them earlier this year and they’re the best bunch of dudes you could wish to meet.

From previous Band of the Day, Empire Warning: if a Norse God had to take over from one band member what god will it be, what position would they be filling?

I think it would have to be Thor, no other God would be able to pound the kit as hard as our Mott does.

From another BotD, The Crawling: being in a band can be as much of curse as a source of enjoyment and satisfaction. What keeps you going when things get tough?

We just keep looking forward to the next gig, with the thought that the next one could always be the best gig we’ve ever played. We live for playing live and this always spurs us on. Other than that, just being general idiots with each other and making each other belly laugh by being complete children, it keeps the energy up and the spirits high, especially when it comes to the dreaded load out!

And from King Bison (UK): if you could join any band on stage for one song, who would it be and what track would you play?

Well, how could it be anyone other than the fathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath. Our bassist Dennett idolises Geezer and is his main influence, he’d love to play either “Under the Sun” or “Cornucopia”.

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