There are not many truly active bands still remaning from the glory days of the NWOBHM. The band split in the mid eighties, after two albums, but the resurgence via the internet caused BITCHES SIN to return roughly 20 years later.The first sign of life was "UDUVUDU", and now the follow-up "The Rapture" is here. The band is both new and old these days; Guitarist Ian Toomey soldiers on, surounded by a world-renowned producer, Chris Tsangarides, on guitar, and Macca on bass. Vocalist chris Mills has a past in rock music and drummer Steve Turton is part of the older side of the band. But a rejuvenation might be the only way, as with BLITZKRIEG. And they have gotten the attention, not least from Bruce Dickinson of all people! What do they sound like, is there a seerious chance for the future, and what is the general feeling within the band? I let Ian and Dave (Mills, vocals)answer my questions
FP: The cover and title hints at doom and gloom, what influenced the songs?
Ian: - The idea for the sleeve came from the ‘Sound Mirrors’ that are near to where we record with Chris Tsangarides. The idea of spreading the word about Bitches Sin and ‘The Rapture’ came from this image. Yes the cover and title ‘hints’ at doom and gloom but also great power which I believe the album conveys.
Dave: - The music is quite dark but just because something has that vibe doesn’t mean that it can’t also be spiritually uplifting and positive in it’s own right.‘The Rapture’ as an event means very different things to different people. As I say in the song - ‘Is this the end or just another way home for us?!’ – So I suppose in a broad sense, for me, the album was influenced very much by life, love, and spirituality.
FP: How would you describe the title track, it sticks out?
Ian: - I could not have ever written a track that embodies what the album signifies any better than the title track. I think it is atmospheric, heavy, thought provoking and metal in its purest form. The music for the title track was written one afternoon by me. It was one of those moments when you pick up the guitar and everything just happens for you. It was always called ‘The Rapture’ from that moment.
FP: Is the album a natural continuation of Bitches Sin or not? Please elaborate
Ian: - Yes ‘The Rapture’ is very much a continuation of Bitches Sin. As we have passed through the years we have evolved as a band. This has been possible because we write songs as we feel at that moment in time. Because we are independent we have the power to choose what goes on the album including artwork etc. so ‘The Rapture’ is the band captured at this point in time.
Which of the songs are your favorite(s)?
Ian: - Hahahaha…a very difficult question Miggo!! For me music is always driven by my mood so I could choose ‘The Rapture’ and it would change by tomorrow, that said it’s a nice position to be in when it’s so difficult to choose a favourite!!
Dave: - Hollow man is a big love of mine as it was one of the last tracks written for the album and I needed to produce something equally as good as any of the other tracks. This was one of those special moments when I hit a vibe and out came the song.‘Love and Faith’ ‘Never Forget’ and ‘No Regrets’ also have a special place in my heart because the passion for life is so obvious in them all..
FP: Is “Old School” a retrospective, a parody or a homage to the old days?
Ian: - ‘Old School’ is very much a homage or celebration to the old days. When Bruce Dickinson singled out ‘Eleventh Hour’ as his favourite track from ‘UDUVUDU’ saying it was unashamedly old school, it kinda got me thinking that we should pay homage to the classic metal days of our youth and the 80’s. We absolutely love playing it live and it always goes down a storm.
FP: Who plays which lead, there are a few facts in the booklet but not the entire story?
Ian: -It would take forever to go through the whole album, cos there are so many fills and little riffs running, harmonies etc. But I’ll let you into a secret. Dave Mills is also a brilliant guitarist (Gary Moore style) and it was he and Chris that did all the harmony guitar work. I did all the main lead solos with one notable exception…on ‘Save Me’ I played the fast arpeggio Cry Baby solo and Chris played the dissonant lead run taught to him by Gary Moore. And of course Steve Turton (drums) who plays all the classical guitar parts on ‘No Regrets’.
FP: Who brought what influences into the album?
Ian: - We all contributed to ‘The Rapture’. Whilst most of the music is written by me and so the character and mood of the album was initiated from there, all the words and melodies have been written by Dave. Chris of course engineered and produced it as well as playing on the album and Macca (Dan McNamee, bass) kept hitting up with those heavy bass lines and kept the chemistry flowing in the band.
FP: How would you describe Bitches Sin in 2011?
Ian: - World Class.
FP: You´re out on your own label again, as way back with “12 Pounds No Kinks”. What are the similarities and dissimilarities for the band if you compare the 80´s to the 10´s?
Ian: - The similarities are the energy, the creativity cos we are yet again doing our original style of metal and of course independently. The dissimilarities are that we have the internet. This is great for getting your music to the world, which was so difficult to do back in the 80’s.
FP: How do you feel about the band´s pedigree, is it a blessing or a burden when you create new music and market the band?
Ian: - It is definitely a blessing. It forces you to push yourself harder and harder to write original kick ass, in your face music. We now have Chris (Tsangarides, guitars) as a band member what better or bigger endorsement could you wish for?
Dave: - It’s neither a burden or blessing for me because when I’m writing I’m totally focused on the job in hand and not looking backwards or forwards.
FP: How far ahead do you plan activities with the band? Any ideas as to how long the saga will continue?
Ian: - As a band we tend to just let ourselves be led by The Universe. By that I mean we have a loose plan which means we are always adaptable and open to new ideas or change. This was how we started when we reformed and set out to record again. We tend not to plan too far ahead but just enjoy the ride. Probably the furthest we plan ahead would be the Classic Rock Awards which is planned 12 months in advance.
FP: What happens next, PR, tours, festivals, gigs etc?
Ian: - Our PR is already in place, and we recently played a small festival near Durham, England. We will have a re-skin of the magazines homepage 17th – 24th November at www.classicrockmagazine.com and we have been doing interviews for various magazines and webzines. We are currently in discussions with Chris Tsangarides amongst others for potential dates next year.
FP: Any parts of the globe you´d really like to play?
Ian: - We would all love to play the USA and Japan.
If you could have a wish come true, who would you like to do a cover on Bitches Sin, and of which song?
Ian: - For me it would have to be the Scorpions. I have been a fan of theirs for years and I think they are fantastic musicians and songwriters. Which song is a very difficult choice for me, perhaps ‘Ice Angels’ or ‘Never Forget’ would work well.
Dave: - Andrea Bocelli – No Regrets!!!
Haha, the latter wish had me falling of my chair. That is the best and oddest wish ever! I´d like to hear it, honest!
Seems BITCHES SIN has return to form, not least through an album of quality, a review is almost ready to publish. They sound like the few still surviving and regularly active NWOBHM bands, which seems to be the way to go. BITCHES SIN has an intriguing and stable album out, don´t miss "The Rapture"!