Tag Archives: King Abyss


King Abyss EP Cover


Last summer, Staffordshire metal quintet King Abyss burst onto the scene with a much positively-received debut EP, ‘Reborn’.

Recently, the band brought out its follow-up, ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’, which is, overall, a better reflection of their statement of intent.

I caught up with some of the guys prior to them playing a gig to mark the new offering’s release, where they went into it in further detail.

How did the initial idea for the new EP come about?

GEORGE HEATHCOTE (drums): Well, Sam Millard, our lead guitarist, had a backlog of strong songs that he had been working on, even before this band formed, so we all decided that with our debut EP, ‘Reborn’, we would get out the tracks that we all thought would get people interested in us, and then comprise the new release of songs that were more mature.

SAM BRYAN (bass): A bit more like our own sound, I suppose.

How did you come up with ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’ as the EP’s title?

DOM BOULD (lead vocals): One of the tracks on the EP is about nuclear war, and in keeping with that theme, we used a quote from Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who invented the nuclear bomb, which was, “I have become the the destroyer of worlds, I have become death“, so we used one half of that for the title, and the other half as the title for one of the songs.

When I interviewed the two other members of the band, Sam Millard and rhythm guitarist Jay Fellows, just after ‘Reborn’ had come out, they told me that there had been a few problems recording that. How did the recording process for the new release compare?

SAM: It was pretty much problem-free. The only thing that did go wrong was that one day, me and Jay turned up at the wrong recording studio!

(All laugh)

SAM: Apart from that, it was an awesome experience. Myroslav Borys, who produced us, was fantastic. I can’t praise him enough, because he knows exactly what it is that he’s doing. He’s such a good producer, and we would definitely go to him again.

DOM: At the end of the day, us and Myroslav are very much like-minded, he had the same sort of ideas that we had, and if he had a decent idea that we hadn’t thought of, we’d take it immediately on board.We put together the songs, but when you take them into the studio, you have to be open to making a few changes.

The recording process this time was so much more relaxed. Sam Millard is the band’s main songwriter, so he would send us what he had written, and we took it from there.

SAM: It was a million times easier with this EP. Everything just worked brilliantly.

DOM: All bands out there, go and check out Myroslav Borys.

(Sam and George laugh)

How would you describe the EP, both musically and lyrically?

GEORGE: This EP is a lot heavier, apart from the last song, and a lot more technical as well.

SAM: Yeah, this is rather cliched, but the melodic parts are more melodic, and the heavy parts are heavier.

DOM: Lyrically, well, it’s quite difficult to describe. It was a long process, and some of it had to be changed during recording, but we got there in the end. It was worth it, though.

GEORGE: In my opinion, the new EP is much better than our first. I’m not knocking ‘Reborn’, because it was good for a debut, but ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’ is on another level. I’m just so proud, and I think we all are, of putting it out there.

SAM: Yeah, totally.

What can your fan base expect from the EP?

SAM: Lots and lots of riffs.

DOM: Just so many riffs!

(Sam and George laugh)

GEORGE: I’d say it’s more complete than the first EP was, because that, for us, was much more of a test, but with the new release, our fans can expect a sound like what’s on there more often from now on.

SAM: Yeah, definitely.

DOM: It’s like what George has said, it’s more structured, and we didn’t just want, this time, to get out songs that would get people listening, we wanted it to be a foundation on which to build upon in future. A template, I suppose.

GEORGE: At the end of the day, we still want to have people listening to us, but we also want our sound to differentiate, have a variety of styles and that, really push the boat out, so we can draw in more people who are into different sorts of genres, but at the same time, keep hold of the following that have been with us from day one.

DOM: Yeah, we’re trying to revive something that we felt has been lost in the last 30 years, but with more modern aspects. I know that’s been done to a degree by such bands as Trivium, but we’re trying to keep that melodic, thrashy style alive.

GEORGE: I think we’re unique in thrash metal in that we do breakdowns, but we don’t want to find ourselves on the same page over and over again. We want to keep being new and fresh.

SAM: Totally.

Now that the EP is out, what are your plans for the near future?

SAM: We’re going to try and ramp things up. We’re all individuals, we all want this, I was in a band before, so was Dom, so was Sam, it didn’t work out for any of us, and now that we’ve grown up, our hunger has intensified.

We’re just going to go for it, and just keep going until we do get it. We’ve got to the final of Bloodstock Metal To The Masses, so we want to play Bloodstock, and take it further from there.

DOM: We’re going to be releasing an album, we don’t know when that will be, but we’re just going to keep on playing music, and release the odd single, for the time being.

GEORGE: I think a full album will be something that we’ll be looking at in the long term, maybe in a year or so.

SAM: We’ve already got a festival on the cards.

GEORGE: Yeah, we’ll be playing this year’s Hop Fest, near Northampton.

SAM: With Oceans Ate Alaska…

DOM: Crazy Town.

SAM: Crazy Town! Oh my god, yes!

(Dom and George laugh)

SAM: I suppose we’ll be planning a few tours as well, and there’s a few music videos on the cards, so keep your eyes out for them.

At the moment, we’re talking with various media companies, getting quotes from them. Dom knows a guy, so yeah, we’re going to be pushing ourselves even more, try and really get our sound out there.

DOM: We’re going to keep at this for as long as we can.

GEORGE: Until everyone’s sick of us!

(All laugh)

SAM: Basically, what we’re saying is that we’re definitely not going to stop.



Hop Fest 2018 Poster






CHORDS AGAINST CANCER II – The Old Star, Uttoxeter, 27/10/2017

Chords Against Cancer II poster



Last year, Matt Hudson and Rhys Bryan, the duo who make up Staffordshire heavy metal outfit Doomsday Sun, put on an evening of live sets performed by an assortment of talented Midlands rock and metal bands in their local town of Uttoxeter, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Research.

Following the huge success of that, it was inevitable that another evening would be on the cards, and so, towards the end of October, the town’s go-to place for rock, The Old Star, a pub situated just behind Uttoxeter’s market place, prepared to play host to the second Chords Against Cancer.

Birmingham sextet Failure Is An Option were the first band on, however, due to them being stuck in the Friday rush hour traffic, they were late arriving, meaning their set, and the evening, had a delayed start.

Failure Is An Option band photo

Nobody seemed to mind, though, to be honest with you, their lateness probably helped, as by the time they got on the stage, situated outdoors in the pub’s beer garden, the place was already packed.

For the majority of the gigs that I have covered in the almost two years that Muzak Review has been going, the opening outfit has often played to a sparse, slightly uninterested crowd, but this was truly an exception, as it seemed that every rock and metal enthusiast from Uttoxeter and the surrounding area was in attendance.

The Brummies launched full throttle into their performance, impressing with an intense mix of metalcore, post-hardcore and djent.

Brandon Hart, one of the band’s two vocalists, added some humour to proceedings, teasing Matt Jeffries, his fellow vocalist, for his support of fallen football giants Aston Villa, and asking the audience to express sympathy for him.

Also during the set, Brandon grabbed one of the yellow plastic buckets that were being used for the venue’s patrons to make a donation, pointed at it, and went into full Bob Geldof at Live Aid mode, shouting, “Put some fucking money in there!

Credit to the six-piece for getting the evening off to a good start.

Next up were an emerging local band by the name of Vox Populi. Doing some homework on the bands in the run-up to the event, I hadn’t been able to find much info on these guys, so their set was the very first time that i had heard their music.

Vox Populi band photo

They gave a strong performance, playing a sound that was reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine, with the inclusion of some lengthy instrumentals.

Their frontman, Lee Sellers, rather like Brandon before him, used the interludes between songs as an outlet for some humorous banter.

It was under Vox Populi’s watch that we had our first moshpit of the night, with some members of the crowd rushing up to the edge of the stage and engaging in some playful shoving, with one even taking the opportunity, when the band had finished, to get up and take a small leap off the stage.

As I was doing an interview with Failure Is An Option at the time Afterburn started to play, I missed the first half, which was a shame, but I managed to finish things just in time for a fantastic cover of the Steppenwolf classic, ‘Born To Be Wild’, which, along with their sound harking back to classic metal, had some of the more seasoned crowd members lapping it up.

Afterburn band photo

The Chesterfield quintet ended their set by premiering a brand new track, which they said beforehand was a little different to what they had done up to now.

However, the song got the same positive reaction as the rest of their set list.

The fourth band, and the second local outfit, of the evening were five-piece King Abyss.

King Abyss gig photo

Even before they had played a single note, they were cheered, and that’s the good thing about small town music scenes, like I saw with Anonymous at the same venue on a couple of occasions, and last year with Rage Cave in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the bands are well supported, and that would have been the case even if King Abyss had played their entire set completely out of tune and littered with mistakes.

However, that was certainly not the case, as they brought the place down with a mix of aggressive thrash metal and more melodic fare. With all five band members having different artistic styles, they managed to join it all up together well, to create a sound that was truly original.

Having chatted with two of the guys, Sam and Jay, prior to the start of the event, they had said to me that they prioritise playing the best possible live set. This determination, as well as playing on home turf, definitely helped them in pulling off a great performance.

Even though it will be harder for them to energise the crowd like they did here when they play in other towns and cities, where they are not as well-known, having watched them for the first time here, I had the same gut feeling that I had had when I first saw Anonymous three years ago, and I’ve seen since, first-hand, how well they have proved themselves in other places.

The final performance of the night came from headliners Doomsday Sun. You could immediately sense that their set wasn’t going to be a jolly one, with a placard saying “THE END IS NIGH” in big letters just in front of the stage, as well as the dark suits and make-up the duo were both wearing. However, their attire befitted their doom-enriched metal sound.

Doomsday Sun band photo

As they played tracks from their well-received EP, ‘Red Light Fever’, their output was thought-provoking, reflecting on a post-apocalyptic world. Judging by recent world events, the two were probably giving everyone a taster of what to expect, should any of the major world leaders press the big red button.

Doomsday Sun are an outfit that hark back to an age where musical talent was deemed higher than good looks, and I personally believe, if they start getting more exposure, then in a couple of years, they could be a real force to be reckoned with.

The Midlands was the birthplace of heavy metal, and it was good to see, even now, that the region still has an abundance of great talent in that genre.

It was a great night, made even better by the fact that it was all in aid of a good cause.











King Abyss band photo

KING ABYSS (from l-r): Jay Fellows (rhythm guitar), Dom Bould (lead vocals), George Heathcote (drums), Sam Bryan (bass/vocals), Sam Millard (lead guitar)


King Abyss, formerly known as Apex, are a five-piece from Staffordshire.

Playing an aggressive but melodic style of thrash metal reminiscent of Metallica and Sylosis, the band have made a seismic impact on their local rock scene in the last year, impressing with some strong, energetic live sets.

Despite a few teething problems whilst recording their debut EP ‘Reborn’, which came out as this summer drew to a close, the release got much positive feedback.

I spoke with them prior to their performance at the recent Chords Against Cancer evening in the quintet’s home town of Uttoxeter.

How did you all get together?

SAM MILLARD (lead guitar): Originally, it was just me and George. We jammed together for a while, looking for the right members, then one night, I bumped into Jay, we got speaking to each other, realising that we were both into a lot of the same stuff. I asked him to come along to our next practice, and when he did, it all started to come together.

I’d been in a band with Dom, and I’d seen Sam Bryan play before, so I thought, “I’ll get them in,” and it moved forward from there.

The band were originally known as Apex. How did the name change to King Abyss come about?

JAY FELLOWS (rhythm guitar): To be fair, we were looking on Spotify, weren’t we, Sam? It turned out there was another band called Apex, actually, there were about two or three.

SAM: If we had tried to upload our music onto the internet under Apex, we would have struggled because of all the other bands called by that name. We would have had to have named ourselves Apex UK or something like that, so we decided to change it to a name that we were sure nobody else had got.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

SAM: To be fair, prior to being in this band, I hadn’t been in one for a while, but I had carried on writing stuff, so I have a backlog of songs. I got the guys together, I showed them the riffs via e-mail, told everyone to learn them, and that’s how we’ve gone about it mainly, but going forward, we’ll probably look at working together more.

JAY: Yeah, I’ve had to come around to his style of songwriting, there is so much originality with the riffs and stuff, so I’ve sort of had to learn how to write like him more, but it’s good stuff.

What inspires the band lyrically?

SAM: So far, it’s mainly been zombies. (laughs) Zombies, nuclear war and stuff like that, but I think, going forward again, we’ll probably look at maybe relating to the crowd a bit more, make our lyrics closer to home, because at the minute, I mean zombies and nuclear war are pretty cool to write about, but there’s only so much you can do with them.

JAY: Dom has actually written some songs recently that are closer to home. They’re good actually, I haven’t yet asked him what the lyrics are about, but I think people will be able to interpret them in their own way, which is the best part, to be honest.

You brought out your debut EP, ‘Reborn’, at the end of August. How was the recording process?

JAY (laughs): Sam, you can take this one, man.

SAM: It was a pain in the arse, to be honest with you. I mean, we had been jamming together for a while anyway, and the songs were pretty tight.

I had been to a recording studio before, and I knew how it worked, so I knew prior to going in there what stuff needed to be ready, but unfortunately, the guy who runs the studio, he’s had a lot of stuff going on with two other bands, he’s also opened a venue, so while we were recording, he had to go off and do all that, and we did get a little pissed off about it, didn’t we?

JAY: It wasn’t the best recording, to be fair.

SAM: I’m happy with how the songs came out, for saying it was our first EP, but I felt it didn’t capture our live sound, which tends to be a lot heavier.

Next April, we’re going to be recording our second EP, and we’ll be going to a studio in Derby to do that. I’ve listened to a few of the songs that the guy we’ll be working with has produced, and it’s definitely more our sound. I’m looking forward to that.

JAY: With ‘Reborn’, it was frustrating, because like Sam said, it didn’t capture the essence of our live sound, but then, you learn from your mistakes, don’t you? It’s made us more determined to get things right next time.

How well do you think the EP was received?

JAY: It was surprisingly massive.

SAM: We had never received such feedback before, because prior to releasing it, we had been fretting over it, because to us, it wasn’t how we sounded, but a lot of people got back to us and said how good it was.

However, they’ve seen us live, so they know what we actually sound like. It does sound tight enough anyway, which I think people were impressed by.

How is the experience for the band playing live?

JAY: It’s the best.

SAM: Yeah, I prefer doing that to anything else, even being in a recording studio, because when you play live, you get this immediate feedback from the crowd, and it also gives you a good idea of where you’re at.

Tonight, we’re going to be playing a new song, we all think it’s good, but what matters most is how the crowd will receive it. If they don’t like it, then we know we’ll have to change it, but if they love it, then we know we’re doing things right.

JAY: The bigger the crowd, the more we perform.

What’s the biggest crowd you’ve played to so far?

JAY: I would probably say when we supported Living Monstrosity in Hanley.

You mentioned your next EP earlier, but what else do you all have planned for the near future?

JAY: There’s quite a lot, dude.

SAM: Well, like I said earlier, we have a back catalogue of tracks, so we will be learning them anyway, but we’re looking to basically expand where we play next year, so we’re probably going to look at band management, because as we’re obviously from a small town, we haven’t got a lot of contacts, so we’ll be looking for someone in, say, Birmingham, somewhere like that.

There are a few bands from those places that tour Europe, and we’re going to look at getting with them. I think that will be the target for 2018, also try to spread ourselves across the UK.

JAY: Absolutely.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

JAY: Long-term aim…To be making a living out of playing this kind of music. That’s the hardest thing, though, because even some of the top metal bands around today don’t make a massive amount of money.

We were actually speaking about this earlier, weren’t we, Sam, that in order to become successful, you have to sacrifice a lot, but it’s not problem if you love music like we do.

King Abyss EP Cover



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