Hellion Rising are one of The North East Of England's most promising underground bands. In the short time the band have been together they have but up a loyal following and continue to grow their fanbase at each gig with their own energetic mix of stoner/thrash groove. We had the chance to chat with the guys and find out more about the ideas behind the music, their current projects and plans for the future.

R&MIMB: When was the idea to form Hellion Rising conceived? When and how did you meet?
HELLION RISING: Davey - We actually met online, so basically online dating but with instruments! We were all between bands and I'd put up an advert online in late 2012 with some demo recordings of the kind of music I wanted to do (Heavy with a Groove, from the first EP was one of the demos). Gio responded and then we met Matt and the three of us hit it off straight away, we have totally different influences but they all cross over in places and we wanted the same things out of music and a band, mainly to be fun, energetic and riff based rock and metal. Our original line up included Chris and Shaun, but as we started travelling more and more and due to their personal lives it meant it wasn't right for them, so Adam and Kieran joined later on and completed the line up, and again added a different spin with different influences again.

R&MIMB: Why did you choose this name for the band?
HELLION RISING: Davey - We really just wanted something that sounded cool and wasn't too clichéd, we came up with dozens of suggestions and eventually Hellion Rising came from a combination of Judas Priest song names, I'm quite pleased it carries on the tradition as Judas Priest is taken from a Bob Dylan song name. I actually think picking a band name is one of the hardest parts, as it's one thing that won't change over time, whereas the music, lyrics, art style and the like, all grow up with you as a band.

R&MIMB: Listening to your last EP, we heard many different musical influences: from '70s Hard Rock to '90s Stoner, a bit of Thrash and Punk, also. You contained all of this in one great EP. Is this what we can expect from you musically in the future?
HELLION RISING: Gio - Across the band we have many different influences. Like you said, these range from hard rock to thrash and each one of us puts a different spin on a song by their playing style. The majority of the music for the last EP was written by Davey, with a few contributions from myself, which tend to put a darker/heavier spin on things. Whereas, the EP we're currently in the middle of recording has more music written by myself than the last and you can definitely see the darker/heavier influence in some of the new material. We always try to add something new to each song, as we don't want to be seen as a one trick pony. Personally, I think this is great as the band's sound is constantly evolving but yet still remaining true to its roots.

R&MIMB: Which bands do you consider your most important influences?
HELLION RISING: Matt - I think our main influences, all change for each member of the band you ask.
In the whole spectrum, we all love rock and heavy metal but to break it down, we all like sub genres together, and sub genres maybe not all of us like as much. Davey is very into his 70s rock, such as Zeppelin and Sabbath, but on the other hand he's very into dance music and early rap, a big Beastie Boys fan actually.
Adam and Kieran, like really a lot of Metal and Rock, maybe the more mainstream catchy stuff, Metallica, Stone Sour, Guns N' Roses. But then again, they like different things you would never imagine they would listen too. They can really throw you, with the great stuff they've been listening too. Gio and I, really probably came from the more Thrash, Punk, Doom, Death and Black Metal, kind of bands. Maybe you could say the more obscure kind of stuff, like Mayhem, Nuclear Assault, Black Flag, Electric Wizard. Collectively it really works out well for us when we come to write our music, because we all love the same thing, but from the many branches of Metal. It's a win win situation, as all these ideas combine into very different sounding songs. That's really it in a nutshell, as to explain the whole story, we'd be here for one hundred pages. That's the very brief abbreviation of it to be quick.

R&MIMB: Let's talk about the cover artwork on "Eight of Swords", it contains occult and esoteric elements. But your lyrics don't deal with these themes, they are more about social criticism/ feelings. This is a nice contrast, how do you explain the choice of cover? Who did the artwork?
HELLION RISING: Gio - The main sigil/symbol that can be seen on the cover and CD is The Sigil of Ameth. This is often referred to as the symbol of the living god. It's believed that those who use the sigil correctly in ritual, gain power over all creatures... essentially becoming a god. You've already touched on the fact our lyrics criticise religion; this is more a stance on organised, hypocritical religions. We believe everyone has their own choice and own life to lead. Hence the use of The Sigil of Ameth, become your own god! You are self made and have your own choices to make.

R&MIMB: We noticed that your lyrics are very critical of religion. What do you think about religion and its ability to brainwash people?
HELLION RISING: Matt - I'm not critical of religion in its purest form, where you interpret something how you want to, free of mind. We're all pretty liberal, and fully supportive of people living life by their own set of rules. Whatever keeps people well and happy, atheism, spiritualism or religion, we're all for that. Really I think for myself I'm just critical of organised religion, and its ability to brainwash people, and bully people into certain ideologies and views. It strikes fear into people, and builds divisions amongst mankind. There is a strong difference between religion, and organised religion. You can't do this, you must not do that etc. A few of us, and one of us in particular, was forced through a religion as a child, and the whole experience wasn't very positive, and caused a lot of anguish and personal problems throughout early life. You see the flaws, and hypocrisy first hand. I think if you're going to follow religion, make your own judgements, and answer to your own set of angels, or whatever the alternative may be. Just don't follow the judging eyes of organised religion, and other people's views. From what I gather, we're all pretty much atheists in the band. Tolerant of other people's views, and very accepting of it. Of course you know how we feel about organised religion.

R&MIMB: What is your favourite song on the EP, which one do you enjoy playing live the most?
HELLION RISING: Adam - For me, I love playing 'Bereavement of the Chimes'. The reason I love it so much is the heavy groovy riff it brings to the table! Once my drums kick in you always see peoples head rock back and forth getting into the groove. This song gives the EP the variety it needs to show the listener that we don't just stick to one type of style.

R&MIMB: Do you all contribute to the writing?
HELLION RISING: Gio - On a whole this EP was received quite well, the main comments were in regard to the quality of the recording. This doesn't really bother us as it's not a criticism of our music, but people don't understand how much a highly polished recording costs these days. I think some people believe we have endless money just to splash out... which is definitely not the case. We all work full time, all have rent and bills to pay first before anything else. I think some people don't get the reality of being in an unsigned band.

R&MIMB: As an emerging band, how do you see modern society, and the role of Metal Music within it? Is there still the passion and the desire to make art and music and to go against the grain?
HELLION RISING: Matt - Modern society is a lot more complex, than how things were say 20 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago for that matter. We have a lot more things on offer fighting for our attention, and at all times now. Because of this, naturally it's become a lot harder to impress people, and a lot harder to keep people interested. As everything from video games, to social media is fighting for people's attention. So really from the get go, you have to hit the deck running, and give it your all. The notion that you're going to make money from music, forget about it, that ship sailed when illegal downloading docked. You have to do what you love, as your art and passion, or you are going to get frustrated, and blow the whole thing off. Metal, as a type of music is always going to have a place, as at its core it's against the grain, just as punk is, or the hippy movement was but the problem really shafting bands being against the grain is the labels themselves because the labels are strapped for cash themselves, they are needing safe bets with bands, so they invest in bands which are likely to make them money by selling records. So sadly, a lot of original bands, who have something going for them, will never get a chance because the labels won't risk the time or money on them. It's a great shame really, and that's what the biggest casualty of the record industry going down like a lead balloon is. On the underground however, it is absolutely bursting with originality and innovative bands. Just go to your local clubs, and you will see talented bands, playing raw energy driven art. But, there just isn't the platform to elevate these bands to the mainstream anymore, which is somewhat disappointing. Is there still motivation to write music against the grain to stick it to the man? Of course there is. Capitalism, and greed don't go away over night, so that is always going to be there, as let's face it, a lot of people get shafted by society every day, and a lot of people don't give a crap about people being fed through the meat grinder. That aspect of against the grain will never disappear. I think for us in Hellion Rising, where just going to do what we love, and steady the course, and write whatever we want. We've got a really great fan base, we're really grateful for, and really they are our priority. We want to go out there, rip it up, and put on a great show for people. We go out there, have fun, and give it our all, night in, night out. I mean all that negativity, fuck it. We're from the era of music being fun, and that's what we do and intend to do at every show.

R&MIMB: How do you see the artistic situation in the UK? Is there still excitement and support in local music venues? Does Newcastle upon Tyne give much space to rock and metal?
HELLION RISING: Adam - I personally think the UK is full of excellent unknown bands that need discovering. I believe there are certain promoters out there that put on some great shows but I also know that there is a small minority of promoters who do not put on such a good show and make certain venues off putting for bands to play. There is still support there for bands but it generally is just the usual faces unless you are playing far away from home where it can be hard to attract new fans unless you support the local 'big' band. In Newcastle, the scene is good and the venues are good but limited. We only really have two main bars which are good to play but then you have the O2 Academy which is always good to play. The two bars which I am talking about are Trillians and ThinkTank! Both are well managed and an attraction for out of town bands to play due to the reputation. The fans in Newcastle are always welcoming of new bands, although they may not always show it, deep down if you have played a blinding set they will remember you and come back to see you again.

R&MIMB: Which bands in the local scene do you like?
HELLION RISING: Adam - I think we are all on the same page when we say the bands we all like in the local scene are: Death to Indie, Like a Wookie, Arcite, Dirty King, Enversa, Die No More, Nest of Vipers... man the list just goes on and on! There are so many good bands in the UK and on the local scene that we have become friends with and all love to watch and support.

R&MIMB: Let's talk about the future. Do you have other gigs lined up? Are you working on a new album or EP?
HELLION RISING: Kieran - Were currently buried in the studio tracking our new EP, its coming soon, we have also just re-released a re-master of our single Just for Tonight. We are planning on releasing the new EP along with a video and single. We are also working on a new range of merch to go with it, so expect us to be firing all cylinders soon, we have been quiet on the gig front lately lining all this up behind the scenes and as soon as it's ready were going to be coming soon to a stage near you.

R&MIMB: What are the bands plans for the future?
HELLION RISING: Kieran - We look to move forwards as a band, we are looking to make an impact on the festival scene and start to grow our following around the country, we love to play to big crowds and big stages. The more energy we get off a crowd the more we go for it on stage so we want to share that energy with as many people as we can. We have also started on new material and look to try this at our gigs in the near future.

Interview by Amy Louise Hamilton, Andrea Cerasi and Marek Vladescu. Edited by Yader Lamberti