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Hailing from Tasmania Taberah are a band that have really impressed all of us here in the Heavy offices this year. Their new album Sinner’s Lament received rave reviews right across the board and we thought we would get Dave Griffiths to sit down and have a chat with Taberah’s drummer Tom Brockman to find out about this band that are on the verge of their big break-out.

“As a band we’ve actually been together for eleven years which might shock a few people,” says Tom laughing. “Basically Johnno, who plays guitar and does the singing for us, have been friends since Grade Eight at High School. We would just jam at lunch times and what not and then we got some other guys together and made some music and then yeah we’ve just continued on from there and just tried to do the best we can.”

Tasmania has produced so many great musicians throughout the years and Tom says they have never really felt that being away from the mainland has held them back from discovering new music or as a band as a whole. “When it came to discovering new music we kind of did that through our parents when we were younger,” he says. “My favourite band in the world is Queen and Johnno loves AC/DC with a passion and all of that has come from our parents, that’s what they listened to. So we were kind of blessed with parents with good musical taste and we’ve gone from there and just flowed on to heavier things – going from hard rock through to metal. It hasn’t really been that hard, the Internet has made things a lot easier than what it was the old days. As far as getting gigs down here we kind of had it fairly easy that way as well. As you probably know Tassie has become known for having some world-class death metal, we have Psycroptic down here and the list just goes on from there. So when we turned up we were pretty much the only band doing our thing so people started to pay attention to us just because we were different I think. We basically just tried to talk to the right people and then we were given the chance because we were a breath of fresh air… without trying to sound rude to the other guys.”

That breath of fresh air has seen Taberah create a very unique sound and Tim says it took some time for the band to evolve into that sound. “It really is just an evolution from the old days when Johnno and I were jamming AC/DC songs at lunchtime. Then we got into Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden and things just kind of flowed on from that. A lot of the early songs that we wrote we pretty much just stole riffs from famous bands and just chucked them all together and called them our own songs. But it’s just basically been trying to make what we listen to – just make music that we would enjoy listening to. With Johnno’s vocals, well back in the day he actually didn’t want to be a singer. He just wanted to play guitar and be Angus Young or perhaps Malcolm Young. But he didn’t want to be a singer but then because of the style that we were doing there wasn’t really many options so he just kind of had to do it and over the years he has just kind of been trying to teach himself. We’ve been going for eleven years now so he’s had a fair amount of time to practice. When we put together an album we put the layers in there so he works on getting his harmonies all together and it’s just a lot of hard work that goes into it.”

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With Sinner’s Lament ending up with a five-star rating from Heavy Tom was keen to chat about what went into putting the album together. “I’ll have to talk on Johnno’s behalf,” he laughs. “He does all the lines as far as putting together the tunes, but a lot of the songs on this one have got a lot of meaning to him. In our early work he was just kind of throwing some rhythms together and we just kind of create the coolest thing we could think of that was metal sounding but with this one there are a lot of deep meaningful stories behind each one. There are things that have happened in his life and he has put a lot of emotion into it. It’s hard to explain without going into too much detail about his personal life but when you actually know the heart and the soul that he has put into these songs it’s actually kind of amazing what he has actually put out there. Recording the album was actually a pretty drawn-out process though. We did the recording down here with Joe Haley from Psycroptic and we’ve done our first two albums with him and found that it is amazing to work with him but this time we unfortunately clashed with a fair bit of Psycroptic touring so every couple of weeks when Joe was home we’d all get together and try to record as much as possible, then he’s be off to Europe for six weeks and then back here for a couple and then he was off to America for two months. It was just very drawn out and then from start to end it’s coming up on two years since we did the original scratch tracks for it all. We did what we could when we could and Joe went out of his way to accommodate us when he was here but also for us we aren’t doing this full time so we had to balance it out with our time, family and work as well. It was mixed by Lord Tim of Lord & Dungeon fame as well, one of our favourite bands and a band we steal a lot of our stuff from. He wanted to work with us. We’ve played with them a couple of times, once here is Tassie and once in Sydney, but he got in contact with us after the show  and said he was interested in working with us on our next album so we jumped at that. Basically he just guided us through the whole process and we gave him creative license to add in parts and suggest things and he just created what he listened to.”

One of the tracks from Sinner’s Lament that has everybody talking is Taberah’s take on the classic Hotel California and it makes Tom laugh when I bring it up. “I don’t know how the decision came about to cover that,” he says still laughing. “At our practices we just mess around and like our said our musical tastes came from our parents so we often muck around playing tracks by AC/DC or The Rolling Stones all the classic rock, and it just started off that we started playing that song normally but with distorted guitars and then one thing led to the other and we just started to do it like Dragonforce would which was to ridiculously crack the tempo and we just ran with it in the end and we’re not sure how it is going to be perceived until people get a chance to hear it but my Mum has heard it and hates it… so fingers crossed. Her exact words were ‘butchered a classic.’

Taberah’s Sinner’s Lament is out now and is reviewed at heavymag.com.au Also make sure you check out website about more tour news for the band as well.

Written by Dave Griffiths

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