Interview with Peter Rew and Darren Brookes, the guitars of Benediction

12 years after Killing Music a new album will be released in October 2020

Artist: Benediction

Origin: Birmingham, England

Genre: Death Metal

Label: Nuclear Blast

Link: https://www.facebook.com/Benedictionband/

Band Members:

Vocals – Dave Ingram
Guitar – Peter Rew
Guitar – Darren Brookes
Bass – Dan Bate
Drums – Giovanni Durst

Foto: ©byKarenRew (v.l.n.r. Peter Rew, Giovanni Durst, Dave Ingram, Darren Brookes, Dan Bate)

12 Years after the last release Killing Music Benediction are back with a new album (review click) and with Dave Ingram, the voice of the 90´s. We had the possibility to get in touch with the two founders of Benediction, Peter Raw and Darren Brookes to get some more information about the new album, the last years and the current situation.

 

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

Hi, Peter and Darren,
thanks for your time, how are you? Hopefully no one in the Benediction bandcamp has any issues with a virus?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

Hi mate, I think we’re all good right now. Hopefully you are too?

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Yeah crazy times, I just think people want to get on with it now.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.: 

Dave Ingram returned to Benediction in summer 2019. At the beginning of 2020 I read that Dave was very sick. How is the current situation? Has Dave fully recovered?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

Yeah, he’s had some ongoing problems in recent years with his hips, and unfortunately just before we were due to leave for our South American dates the problem worsened to the point of him needing immediate surgery or risk losing his leg. He’s had the work done on one hip. He has thankfully recovered fully and is having the other hip worked on as we speak. So hopefully he’ll be hopping around like a crazed kangaroo in no time.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

We are glad he is getting himself sorted as traveling with those sorts of afflictions is painful to say the least, and he is nearly 7 foot tall as well. It will be good to have him back fighting fit.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

In 2018/2019 two new faces arrived, Dan Bate and Giovanni Durst, both playing for Omicida, a band based in Los Angeles. Dan is from Wolverhampton and Giovanni from Genova. Who had the contact to the two guys from Omicida? Can you give us a short summary about the process of coming together?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

We’ve known Dan for a while, bumped into him on the road when he was working with Blaze.

Benediction – Summer Breeze 2014 – Bild by Toni B. Gunner – mondkringel-photography.de

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Yeah I was working with Dan at the time our previous bass player moved on, and I had kind of had him lined up as replacement for a while. So I asked if he fancied doing a gig with us, and as it happened it was 70000 Tons Of Metal, not a bad first gig in the middle of the ocean on the way to the Caribbean. We have been stuck with him ever since, but serious he is a great fit for the band and a top musician. Dan introduced us to Gio (Giovanni Durst), who was a great friend of him and had played in a couple of previous bands with him, and we knew right away we had got the man for the job. He is a top drummer and very professional. We have a very strong, keen and hungry line up at present, possibly our best.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

Benediction played a lot of gigs on festivals and headliner shows in the last years. In 2008 the last album Killing Music was released, now 12 years later there is this new release. What was the reason for the very long break?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

Line up difficulties, we have struggled to get adequate replacement for Neil Hutton behind the kit…

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Location, I no longer live in Birmingham so don’t get together with Daz (Darren Brookes) as often to jam out new ideas.

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

Money, as much as we would love it, Benediction doesn’t pay the bills. We have families, homes and responsibilities now, and we have had to juggle the band, home lives and day jobs.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Also there has been a push over the last decade or so from promoters to do classic or older songs in the live set, so there has been little drive in that department for new material, but we felt the time was right now.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

Let us move to the new album. The production was made at Grindstone Studio, together with Scott Atkins. Grindstone Studios produced a couple of bands e.g. Onslaught, the last Vader release and Cradle Of Filth. Is there a special reason for the decision to do the production together with Scott?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

I think he was one of many options we had, but as he’d worked with Dan previously and also with our previous drummer Neil Hutton, we knew we were in good hands. His CV is pretty good, and I think it was the right decision. He was hard on us in the studio, but I think he did an amazing job.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Yeah as Daz said, Dan was very keen on using him, and I listened to some of his work and was very impressed with his guitar sound, so it was a no brainer really, especially when we found out he wanted to work with us as well. He is a top bloke and a real fan of metal music and had the best interests of the band at heart straight away and understood exactly what it was we were after. He really pushed us on the recording to get the best out of us, and I learnt a lot from the guy.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

How was the song writing process with the new/old band members? Who had the final decision if a song will make it on the new release or not?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

The music is, and has always been a collaboration between myself and Rewy (Peter Raw). The vocalist writes the lyrics. Simple. The final say is with all of us.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

We really set out our stall early on to create an old school Benediction album, and it helped me to focus on it. So I pretty much scrapped most of my ideas I had and started afresh initially to please myself and Daz. The metal started to flow, and it felt like the old days bouncing ideas off each other. The hardest decision was what songs to leave out…..

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

The opener Iterations Of I, this track is one of my favorites, can you give us some information about the lyrics?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

It’s a song about the self and the importance of the self, the importance of I.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Also, it’s a clever link between this album and Dave Ingrams last recording with us. I was the last song on Grind Bastard and Iterations Of I, which is a continuation of I, is the first on Scriptures. A clever bridge over a 21 years gap.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

You released Rabid Carnality as first output, it´s a very fast “in your face” track. Is there a special reason for this choice?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

It was put forward by Nuclear Blast as their first choice, and we were all in agreement to be fair. It’s a no nonsense, no frills, no bullshit tune and completely encapsulates the ethos of our music.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

The album is pretty strong all round so we could have picked numerous tracks, but it’s good to show we haven’t slowed down. To release a fast track first made a lot of sense.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

In Our Hands, The Scars is different from Rabid Carnality, I would say a heavy neck breaker. Who had the idea for this song and how was the process of creation?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

That one is Rewy’s baby, the master of the classic Benediction riff.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

The opening riff on this was written to be as simple as possible (tune your guitar to D and have a go, you’ll see what I mean) to prove a point. It’s not about how well you can play, it is all about the feel and honesty of the riffing and the groove of course, and you can thank Daz for inspiring me on this one.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

We come to the end. Let’s try to do a little preview of the future. A new release is normally a reason for a tour. What will Benediction do during the pandemic situation? Online release show and tour planning 2021?

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

We hopefully have a few surprises in store later this year, but we still have a few things to finalize, but watch this space. For me Benediction needs a crowd, it needs the fans. We get our energy from them, so an online gig would not really be a true Benediction show in my opinion.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

It has been frustrating as we see show after show get postponed especially with the new release, but we will be playing as soon as they let us. At least the fans can become familiar with the new album before we perform it live, and maybe we should let them choice which tracks we play from it.

Time For Metal / Jürgen F.:

Thanks for your time, hopefully we see Benediction and all other bands back on stage next year. Stay healthy and heavy and good luck for the next month.

Benediction / Darren Brookes:

May I just thank you for your support. And to all of our fantastic and loyal fans, thanks for sticking with us all of these years, we are eternally grateful and happy that you did.

Benediction / Peter Rew:

Metal rages on……..

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