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The bands you love celebrate 30 years of Metal Hammer

Babymetal, Megadeth, Nightwish – we gathered a tribe of the bands you guys love to look back over the history of Hammer, of metal and to share their favourite memories of the last 30 years


Babymetal

The trio crashlanded into our world, took on Wembley Arena, and count metal’s icons among their biggest fans

When you first came out, some people criticised you for not being a ‘real’ metal band. How did that make you feel?

Su-Metal (Vocals): “We didn’t know anything about metal when we started out, so when we heard feedback from those who enjoy Babymetal and those who don’t, we thought, ‘Then what is metal?’ It became our motivation to learn about metal; we’re grateful for that.”

Do you feel that the metal world has embraced you now?

“Some people still can’t accept us, but our fans tell us there’s no mistake in our music and that it’s interesting. So we have more confidence in our music than ever.”

Were you surprised by how quickly you became popular, playing Sonisphere in 2014 and Wembley Arena this year?

“To be honest, everything just went by so fast, I still can’t believe it all happened in just two years.”

What was it like playing Wembley?

It was a huge venue, but as we performed song by song, I felt that we all became one together. I was so moved when the audience sang The One. It really felt like we were being supported by everyone present at the venue.”

What’s your ultimate aim with Babymetal?

“We haven’t decided our final goal yet, but I feel that it will just be us meeting the challenges on the path in which we believe.”

Do you think Babymetal will reach its 30th birthday, which will be in 2040?

“You should know the answer to this by now. Only The Fox God knows!

Lamb Of God

The groove metallers who would rise again and again

The band really took off with 2006’s Sacrament. What was that time like?

Mark Morton (guitar): “It was a really interesting, vibrant time for this band. We were really reaching our stride. I felt we had a lot to prove and were capable of hanging with the big names of the time and operating at the Main Stage festival level. I had a lot of aggressive, competitive energy and wanted to wipe the floor with everyone we played with. Wherever we played, we went in with this competitive spirit where we wanted to blow bands like Slayer off the stage. I’d argue that there were a few times that we did! I think we proved ourselves, gaining respect amongst our peers and the metal community. That confidence we gained from that period helped lead us onto the next stage.”

How have the band’s goals changed over the years?

“Lamb Of God hasn’t lost its importance or relevance, but it holds a different place to 15 years ago, when it was the most important thing in my life. It’s not because I’m not as into it, or lost any passion for it. I’m certainly no less enthused or proud of it. Now, I feel there’s nothing left to prove. We now have the freedom to do whatever we want and don’t have to be as competitive. We’ve earned our own space that we occupy and nobody does what we do better.”

How long do you foresee Lamb Of God carrying on?

“As long as we feel we have something relevant musically left to do. If our last album [2015’s VII: Sturm und Drang] is any indication of that, I think we do. As long as that’s the case, we’ll still create. And as long as people want to see Lamb Of God, and we get that joyous feedback from fans, I think we can continue to play live for a long time.”

Amon Amarth

The Viking metallers have assembled an army of fans across 10 albums

Are you surprised by your success, given it’s pretty brutal metal?

Johan Hegg (vocals): “A few years ago, we were talking about how far we could go. I remember saying that I couldn’t see any reason why we couldn’t become bigger, but some of the others were saying, ‘No, it’s the growling voice, it’s never gonna be super big!’ But suddenly, we are a lot bigger. Musically we are very accessible, even though I growl. I try to put a tone in there, so it’s more singing than grunting. I wanted to do something different; I think that’s what we all aim for.”

Your Download set was brilliant, with fire and dragons at midday. Do you want to keep building on that side of things?

“Yes. Anyone can stand onstage and play their stuff, but if you want to build a proper show where you play for two hours, there has to be something going on. Growing up, the bands we loved, like Iron Maiden, were the kings of stage set-ups. Ridiculous stuff, but they always pulled it off. They inspire us.”

Do you feel you’ve achieved everything you set out to?

“More! Ha ha! The first thing we wanted to do was put out a record. We’ve put out 10… but we never look too far ahead. First you want a record deal, then you want to tour, then tour the US. We always took it step by step.”

If it all goes wrong, you can always play in Germany for the rest of your lives…

“Ha ha ha! They did love us first. Almost anywhere we go nowadays, we have a great crowd. It’s a lot of fun.

Creeper

From the children of Marilyn Manson comes a meeting place for today’s misfits and freaks

Why have Creeper connected with people, do you think?

Will Gould (Vocals): “I always wonder about that. For years, punk and hardcore – which is where we’re from originally – has become more straight-up. I grew up with more flamboyant stuff. Our idea was to attach Creeper to that kind of stuff. I also think that a lot of kids feel very weird and out of place, and we are very much those sort of people ourselves.”

Does Creeper draw fans of different genres together?

“The idea of Creeper was that we were trying to get that brotherhood feeling again. That’s why we had the back patches made. At our gigs we have metalheads, hardcore kids, goth kids, pop-punk kids – a melting pot of scenes. We don’t fit into any of those brackets properly, but we exist in all of those things. The idea of our patches was that it was something that was universal, kind of like a genderless Lost Boys. The idea reminded me of the glory days when I was a kid – of going to gigs and feeling unified. Now, when you look around at a Creeper show and see the patches on a real range of people, that’s really special.”

Who is your biggest hero from 30 years of Metal Hammer?

“When I was reading Hammer as a kid, my favourite was Marilyn Manson. He was a massive influence for me growing up. Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood – that trilogy of records. I remember hearing them and thinking, ‘Fucking hell!’ That’s what stimulated me to get into that whole culture. I went to a Catholic primary school, which is really funny now, and my mum was really religious. But when my parents divorced, she completely lost faith. We no longer went to Catholic school, never went to Sunday school. I remember going away with that school wearing a Marilyn Manson ‘Bigger than Satan’ t-shirt, and them having a proper sit-down conversation with me trying to convert me back! He was perfect for me.”

What’s your biggest ambition?

“I always thought that the things we’re doing now were completely unobtainable for a band like us – it didn’t seem like we were cut out for it. It continually surprises me. Winning Best New Band at the Metal Hammer Golden God Awards is a good example – how crazy is that?! I was in complete shock and awe. I’d like for the listener to listen to us and then create something themselves. I was really nervous and anxious as a kid, but music and being creative can do so much for you as a person.”


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