Vendetta – Edward Box (guitar/vocals)
UK’s VENDETTA are built on a solid metal foundation. With NWOBHM and 80s thrash influences, the band has created an ass-kicking slab of traditional metal on their sophomore effort, Heretic Nation.
By e-mail, vocalist/guitarist Edward Box talked about his fondness for metal, VENDETTA’s aspirations, and why he loves playing in a band.
You’re from Newcastle right?
Originally I was born in Kendal, Cumbria but I’ve lived in Newcastle for the last 20 years. It’s a great city and it has a really vibrant rock and metal scene.
Growing up, were you influenced by fellow hometown boys Venom or Raven?
In a word, no, but I was aware of both bands via the pages of rock magazines. When I was young I can remember them being in the Armed and Ready section of Kerrang! when they were both starting to make their mark. Funnily enough, we just had our album launch and Dryll played with us and that is Jeff Dunn’s new band (Mantas from Venom). They are really creating a buzz up here and they put on a great show. Jeff has a fantastic presence on stage and really connects with the crowd.
I have visited the spectacular St. James’ Park in 2005 to watch a Newcastle United game, the fans were so passionate. What’s it mean to you to be from that area?
The people of Newcastle are wildly passionate about their football club and you can’t help but get sucked into the culture of the Toon army. Things are going great on the pitch and terrible off it at the moment, but as the saying goes, there is never a dull moment when you’re a Newcastle fan. The area has changed a great deal in the 20 years I’ve been there and its industrial past, forms a ghostly presence. Like all modern cities, it has loads of bars and restaurants, but if you go out of the city centre you find areas where there has been no real economic development in over 30 years, so it’s a place of extremes.
“Heretic Nation” is such an awesome new album, your debut was good, but this one just kicks so much metal ass! What was your mindset prior to the writing and recording of “Heretic Nation,” compared to “Tyranny of Minority”?
To try and build on the positives of the last album, but to make it much better and to show the growth within the band that has occurred since the last recording. We wanted it to be a heavier and more focused record.
Why did it take you 18 months to write?
In actual fact, it was a year between writing and finishing recording but it has taken a while to come out so in all that has taken 18 months. Due to other commitments (life, jobs, families etc) we only have time to practice once a week so it takes a bit of a stretch to put it all together.
You have matured a ton musically since “Tyranny of Minority” and have created something spectacular on “Heretic Nation.” What, in your opinion, is the main difference between the two albums?
Well I suppose the first thing people may notice is the improvement in my voice. It’s much stronger and diverse now, so hopefully the listener will find it more palatable. Lee Lamb has made his debut on drums and he has formed a really cohesive partnership with Gary Foalle on bass. From a musical point of view, the album is more Brit metal/80’s thrash and there is less of the ‘LA’ sound of the first album.
What are your expectations for “Heretic Nation”?
Hopefully positive reviews, increased sales and a bigger fan base but whether this will come to pass remains to be seen. Either way, we all like the album and are generally very happy with it and our individual performances. We came together as a band on this album and the results are there for all to hear
I hear so many great influences in your sound, such as Maiden, Priest, Scorpions, Triumph, Rush and Saxon, and many others. But you’ve taken these influences and crafted your own style. How did Vendetta form?
About four years ago, I decided I wanted to make a vocal record in the traditional metal style so I wrote the songs and got together with Pete and Gary and played them the demos which were just a load of riffs on a CD, but after one practice they decided they loved the sound so it went from there really.
Your guitar leads, along with Pete Thompson’s are catchy and memorable, so much in fact, that I find myself humming the solos! How much effort goes into writing the lead parts?
We both spend a long time working on our leads. Pete is more of an improviser than me in the studio, but he always has a strong sketch of where he is going. I plan all my leads and harmonies down to the last tee, as I want them to suit the song and to add to the progression of the tune. The only improvised solo by me on the album is “A Glass Half Empty” and the first lead beak on “The Space Between.”
You’ve put out two instrumental solo albums, but what is your preference, solo or Vendetta? What are the pros and cons of each?
I would have to say Vendetta every time. There is only so far you can go in the instrumental universe unless you are Vai, Satriani or Gilbert. My solo albums were OK by a lot of instrumental standards, but I finally feel I’ve found my niche in Vendetta, which is nice after 25 years of playing. You can explore so much more in a band and the team vibe is great. Once an instrumental album came out there wasn’t much I could do except wait for reviews and the like, with a band you can get out there and make connections.
Do you think by recording your two solo albums, it helped with your creativity and confidence while writing “Heretic Nation”?
Absolutely. I needed to do the solo albums to realize I wanted to be in a band again.
Is “Skaro” based on the fictional planet of the same name from the British Sci-Fi television series Doctor Who? It’s such a great instrumental with a conquering or exploration vibe to it. Can you explain how you wrote this piece?
I decided to call it Skaro as a bit of a joke, as I’ve always loved classic Dr. Who, but it kind of stuck! The lads were always on about having an instrumental and we were playing a song called “Axis of Evil” in our set, which is a track off “Moonfudge,” but I felt we needed something more in the vein of “Transylvania,” “Genghis Khan,” “Coast to Coast” or “Into the Arena,” so I tried to write something with more emphasis on riffing and dynamic structure. Looking at it now the title suits it perfectly.
The cover artwork is pretty fitting for the style of music that’s inside, who was the artist and explain the concept behind the title and the art.
Pete Thompson, our guitarist does all our design and artwork and it was he who came up with the title, so I couldn’t comment on any themes in particular, but our favourite album covers are things like “Killers,” “Rising” and of course “Sad Wings of Destiny,” so I guess that would give people an idea of where Pete and the band are coming form when it comes to artwork.
Your label Lion Music, represents a great range of heavy metal acts. How are they treating you? Are they giving you the support you need and why did you decide to sign with them?
Lion are very easy to deal with and we have a great relationship with the owner of the label and their promo man, so we do OK. When I did my solo album they were the only label who wanted to sign me, so it wasn’t a hard decision to go with them. When you get any opportunity in music, you have to take it.
What’s next for Vendetta? Any touring plans, single shows, BBC appearances or a DVD?
All of the above are possibilities, we will just have to wait and see.
I bid you a very hefty Cheers mate, thanks for answering my questions. Any last words for your fans?
Have a great festive season and remember to always defend the honor of metal!
Check out VENDETTA here
By Kelley Simms