By Jeremy Vane-Tempest
Transcending Mortality started life as a doom band but ended up taking a more prog approach to life. Unfortunately, they promptly broke up before they could fully explore this new-found progressive streak. Happy days though, because they’re back to headline Steel Assassins in Sydney on November 6 and 7. Perhaps the most relevant and intriguing question that we posed to vocal dude Mike Zoias is whether or not this is going to be a permanent thing.
“It’s quite hard to say. We’re taking that side of things one step at a time while we focus on getting things in order for Steel Assassins, but the vibe in the band is better than ever”, Mike enthused. “The idea is to kick as much arse as possible in November and take it from there. We love playing the old stuff, but I think any new shows would have to involve a bit of new material, so watch this space.”
We were also curious to know why come back seven years after the fact, and why Steel Assassins? “It all came down to timing,” Mike explained. “The idea was suggested on a few occasions but it always felt like it was too soon. Plus, we were all focused on our current bands and projects. We’ve stayed friends over the years, and some of us have continued playing together in other bands, so I think that, musically, we’ve all sort of come full, or least part, circle. Sometimes I think you need a bit of space and time before you’re able to look back objectively on something you’ve created, let alone revisit it. But hey, the offer for Steel Assassins came up at the perfect time, so here we are!”
Their set will be showcasing their album in it’s entirety for the very first time The Last Horizon (with a couple of surprises, of course…), and Mike feels that this reflects where the band are at right now. “At the moment we’re definitely leaning more towards prog than doom, and especially ‘70s era prog rock,” Mr Zoias explained. “We still love doom, but we’re definitely leaning more towards King Crimson than Candlemass these days. The great thing about progressive music is that you can incorporate as many different styles, influences and moods as you need, so there’s no limit to the direction the music can take. Some bands are progressive more so in that respect than incorporating 10,000 different time changes, and that idea of musical freedom is definitely something we’re inspired by.”
We all have that ‘first’ band that led us to the heavy scene. For Mike, they don’t come much bigger. “At the risk of sounding clichéd, Iron Maiden was the band that drew me to metal,” he admitted sheepishly. “There were other bands I listened to, like Metallica, but Maiden were the first band that really captured my imagination and inspired me to do more than just sit and listen. I loved the songwriting and melodies, the musicianship, the intensity of their live performances and especially Bruce’s amazing vocals. I’m still a fanboy to this day, and Bruce is still by far my biggest inspiration amongst metal singers. Their new album is for me the best thing they’ve done since the late ‘80s, it’s absolutely brilliant.”
We at HEAVY pride ourselves on not shying away from the tough questions. Naturally, we just had to know who Mike thought would win in a fight: Goku or Superman? His response was refreshingly detailed. “Both seem to fight at their best when their backs are against the wall, so it’d be close,” Mike pondered. “Super Saiyan 1 Goku, at the end of the Frieza saga, would probably be an even match for Superman. However, from the Android saga onwards, Goku is able to reach into depths of power, which Superman would struggle to match, and by the time he ascends to Super Saiyan 2 after the Cell saga I really don’t think Superman would physically stand a chance. Superman is super intelligent and could possibly think his way out of the situation, but Goku was born for fighting so I think he’d clinch it in the end.”
Amen, brother. Kamehameha!
Steel Assassins takes place on 6 and 7 November at the Bald Faced Stag in Sydney. You can grab tickets.
Steel Assassins line-up
TRANSCENDING MORTALITY (NSW) * first show in 7 years
NOTHING SACRED (VIC) *first Sydney show in 28 years!*
VICIOUS (Canada) *First ever Australian show*
RAVEN BLACK NIGHT (SA)
FALLEN ORDER (NZ) * First ever Australian show!*
CONVENT GUILT (NSW)
LADY CRIMSON (TAS)
ROCKET TRAIN (QLD)
DARK EARTH (VIC)