Sunday, August 20, 2017

Ashes To Ashes

Brent Woodward
Guitarist and NWOBHM Enthusiast

Photo Credit: Brent Woodward

Muthas, way back in 2013 I reviewed Night Demon's spectacular debut EP which featured the excellent guitar work of Brent Woodward.  That EP blew my face off and has become one of my all time favorites, in no small part due to Brent's ripping style. Brent also crushed skulls on Night Demon's full length album - Curse Of The Damned which was another triumph.

I had the good fortune to meet Brent when Night Demon came to Pittsburgh a few years ago, and we spent some time conversing about NWOBHM, USPM and other great metal.  Brent has moved on from Night Demon and is currently working on a new project.  He graciously agreed to an interview to discuss the best genre of music ever created - NWOBHM. 

Photo Credit: Metal Archives
MBOM: Brent, firstly, thanks for doing this interview! What have you been up to since you departed Night Demon?

Brent: No problem! It's my pleasure doing an interview all about NWOBHM.   For the most part I've been laying low since I departed from Night Demon. I moved to LA from Ventura to pursue a new musical project that better suits me. I'm still in the process of writing and putting it together. It feels like it's taking a long time, but I'll get something awesome going no matter how long it takes. I feel like every new band I've been in in my life has been a step above the previous band. So I have a very hard task of continuing that pattern. Hopefully you'll be hearing from me soon.

MBOM: I know that you are a huge NWOBHM fan, and I need to know - is Nuhwobum an acceptable way to pronounce NWOBHM, or is this some weird hipster millennial pronunciation?

Brent: It's acceptable. People have been pronouncing it like that for years. You even hear Malcom Dome refer to it as that. So it's cool. I always say the long hand version though, "New Wave Of British Heavy Metal."

MBOM: What song/comp/album started you on your journey of listening to and collecting NWOBHM?

Brent: Diamond Head Lightning To The Nations started it all for me. My brother was a huge Metallica fan back in the early 90's. He would buy magazines and read every article about them. From doing that he found out about bands like the Misfits, Blitzkrieg and of course Diamond Head. I stole his Lightning To The Nations tape when I was in the 5th grade and I never gave it back.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM single?

Brent: This is a hard one. There are so many good ones and I get stuck on one for long periods of time. Right now my favorite is Limelight Ashes To Ashes. I can listen to that title track over and over. I know it's a "Doctor Doctor" rip but is still amazing. It inspired me to write the music to the song "Mastermind" off of Curse Of The Damned. The B side is great too. "A Knife In Your Back" is a great 70's hard rockin' Uriah Heep jam.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM LP?

Brent: The first Iron Maiden LP. I know that's not an obscure one but it probably one of my all time favorite records ever made. I love the recording quality on that album. The guitar tone is amazing. Hearing the beginning of Prowler gets my blood pumping.

MBOM: What's your favorite NWOBHM compilation released back in the 80s?

Brent: Metal For Muthas Vol.1, just because it has Maiden, Angel Witch, Samson and Praying Mantis. I love the different versions of the Maiden songs.

MBOM: What's your favorite retrospective NWOBHM compilation released in 90s to today?

Brent: I had NWOBHM '79 Revisited on 2xLP like 10 years ago. I ended up giving it to a friend for his birthday who eventually sold his whole record collection. I kinda wish I would of just bought him a 6 pack or something now. Haha. I think I paid $20 for it at the time. I didn't know that classic heavy metal would explode in the underground. That's probably my favorite "newer" comp.

MBOM: Which band had the better debut album - Iron Maiden or Angel Witch?

Brent: Iron Maiden. I mean I love Angel Witch, but that first Maiden record is untouchable to me.

MBOM: Was Motorhead a NWOBHM band or are they a precursor like Judas Priest?

Brent: I see them as a precursor band. They were kinda before the whole movement hit hard.

MBOM: Who's your greasiest favorite - Tank, Venom or Warfare?

Brent: Tank

MBOM: Why did so many NWOBHM bands crap the bed when it came time to release their sophomore album?

Brent: I think that the musical landscape was changing by the mid 80's stage and these bands were trying to "make it". So they adapted their sound to American glam/heavy metal instead of making a more rough around the edges gritty hard rock/heavy metal like they were doing before. Plus a lot of them got signed to bigger labels. They had their whole lives up until that point to write their first EP or album. I'm sure once they were signed they only had an allotted amount of time to make the second. Producers probably had a lot to do with watering down their sound too.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band was the most underrated/overrated?

Brent: I don't know how to answer this one. I think most NWOBHM band are great. I do think that some of the super obscure bands are as good. I've trolled YouTube for hours checking out random bands. A lot aren't good. I think it's overrated liking a band just because they fit into the genre and nobody knows who they are.

Photo Credit: Brent Woodward

MBOM: Please recommend a good playlist for a NWOBHM newcomer.


Iron Maiden - "Purgatory"
Diamond Head - "The Prince"
Holocaust - "HeavyMetal Mania"
Virtue - "Fools Gold"
Dark Star - "Lady Of Mars"
Def Leppard - "RocksOff"
Angel Witch - "Gorgon" 
Crucifixion - "Green Eyes" 
Blitzkrieg - "Blitzkrieg" 
Praying Mantis - "Captured City"
Le Griffe - "Fast Bikes
Witchfinder General - "Free Country" 
Iron Maiden - "Prowler"

MBOM: Do you think Def Leppard was a NWOBHM band? If so, what's their last NWOBHM album?

Brent: Of course. High and Dry is the last NWOBHM album. It's the last record with Pete Willis. He brought the rock. After that they lose my attention. They got more pop oriented on Pyromania. Not really my thing.

MBOM: Which of the classic "Black And White EPs" is your favorite - Paralax - White Lightning, Mythra - Death And Destiny, or Crucifixion - Green Eyes?

Brent: This is a hard one too! I think I'll go with Crucifixion. That such a great EP. The perfect balance of hard rock and heavy metal. Even though it came out in '84 it has more of a early NWOBHM sound. It could of came out in '81/'82.

MBOM: Which NWOBHM band that never released an album do you wish had released a full length? (Five bonus points for picking Trespass.)

Brent: Unfortunately it's not Tresspass. I'm going to say Virtue. That band kicks so much ass. I would of loved to hear a full length from them. That EP and the Fools Gold demo are so damn good and they were just kids when they made them. I am fortunate though that No Remorse put out that collection LP.

MBOM: Any cool NWOBHM rarities in your collection?

Brent: I stopped collecting records for a while when I was broke and playing music full time so I missed out on getting a lot of rarities. My MP3 collection is amazing. I do have a decent collection though. It's not that amazing but it's good. I have a bootleg of Iron Maiden Soundhouse Tapes and the Def Leppard EP. I have a bronze pressing of the first Angel Witch. I have Diamond Head Sweet & Innocent EP. I have a lot of reissues too which will probably be rare in like 10 years.

MBOM: Do you have a particular NWOBHM holy grail that you'd like to get?

Brent: I really want the Blitzkrieg 7". I just can't bring myself to pay $200 for it.

MBOM: Are there any recent albums from old NWOBHM bands that you like?

Brent: I haven't really explored the newer eras. I guess the one band I do like is Satan. Night Demon played a few show with them in Europe while I was in the band. They're great.

MBOM: Thanks for taking the time to talk about NWOBHM! Any last words or anything else to add?

Brent: Thanks for interviewing me. It was fun talking about my favorite style of music!


I hope you enjoyed the interview with Brent and it inspires you to listen to some NWOBHM gems!


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