'Centurions Ghost' is one of the bands that I discovered completely by accident. It is not a secret that I really admire the London based outfit “The River”, and it just so happened that they once had to open for an outfit called “Centurions Ghost”. Even though the time was running late, I decided to stay and see the band with the quite Epic name, and up until today I am really glad I did. Well, Get Ready to Rock is always willing to promote good new bands to its subscribers, so I decided to contact James, the band’s vocalist, and ask him a couple of questions.
Hi, James. Please give us an introduction to all the members of your band, Centurions Ghost.
James: Hey John, how are you there mate!!! Our band currently consists of 5 dedicated members, Milly on drums and Doomlord XIII on bass form the engine room, both have a unique style that gives us an individual sound. Our guitarists are Blade and Dan138.Blade is a guitar wizard who spends most of his time slaying one of his axes and Dan138 is very influenced by old horror movies. As for me, I take care of all the vocal duties. We are also toying with the idea of getting a keyboard player but we will have to wait and see.
What can we expect to hear on your forthcoming album, "Insidious Majesty"? Talk us through the album, track by track.
James: Well John, I can tell you that the 2 tracks that we have already released as a promo still are yet to have the finishing touches put on them. As for the others, well it is still a secret but rest assure, it will be 100% crushing metal!!!
Where did you record "Insidious Majesty" and what experiences have you taken away from the recording process? Did it involve any particularly difficult or rewarding moments?
James: It is being recorded by a very talented fellow called Paul Smith at Buspace Studios in London. Prior to this we had only recorded 1 self titled demo which we are very proud of but this time we really wanted something special. Actually the vocals for the 2 promo tracks were recorded in two takes so personally I found it very frustrating as my voice was just straying to warm up. We ran out of time but everyone
was happy with how it all went for our first day in the studio except me with my own performance, but I guess that’s just the doom coming out in me and we haven't finished yet so it will be interesting to hear the end result to say the least.
"Insidious Majesty" is a self-financed album, as far as we have gathered. Have you had any interest so far from record labels in your music?
James: A few so far John. We have generated quite a ground swell with two years of solid gigging around London and the U.K but everyone wants to hear the new EP (most of all us) so until then we remain free agents. It is not a decision to be taken lightly but it would be a big boost if the right people came a long.
You have chosen to represent your band with two fairly slow heavy doom tracks - "Devil's Disciple" and "Requiem for the Haunted Heart" - on your promo. However, when I saw you recently playing with Cambian Dawn and The River, you played some much faster songs as well - is there a reason behind your choosing the slower songs to create the original impression of the band?
James: Well if so, I can't say that it's a conscience one. Obviously there is a prominent doom influence within our ranks but we are not limited to that by a long shot. We have already recorded a couple of more upbeat numbers and a doom epic on our self titled demo and love performing them live. It is just that Devils Disciple and Requiem happened to be the ones that we were focusing on at the time. CENTURIONS GHOST are full of surprises, not just for the fans but also for us!!!
What would you say are your main musical influences?
James: This is a tough one John and although I know this to be the biggest cliché in metal, I can honestly say them SABBATH and maybe MAIDEN are the only two bands that the 5 of us ALL agree on and ALL share a love of. Even then we differ in our favourite line ups of these two. For example, Ronnie James Dio is and always will be my hero whether it be solo or with Sabbath!!! Many in our band, and no doubt lots of people reading this will strongly disagree but that is just my opinion. Let me go further to explain THE GHOST!!!!! I, Doomlord XIII and Milly are big CATHEDRAL fans. Doomlord XIII and Milly love CONFESSOR, the rest of us are not massive fans. Blade and I love our 80's metal and sometimes the other guys cringe.
Dan138 loves MOTLEY CRUE and so do I. I am also a MANOWAR diehard and am talking the rest of the boys round!!!!But to draw on comparisons from those who have heard us, the names VENOM, CANDLEMASS, ENTOMBED, CELTIC FROST and the mighty BATHORY seem to pop up all the time.
What inspires you to write lyrics for songs and who is the lyricist of the band?
James: So far, the majority has come from Doomlord XIII and the inspirations are varied. Personal experiences and historical themes and a lot of emotion too. However there are a lot of surprises on the way as I said before.
How did you come up with the very epic name 'Centurions Ghost' for the band?
James: For years many of York's residents have witnessed the ghosts of Roman Centurions riding their steeds the ancient walls of this historic city. It also happens to be the name of England's finest drink!!!
What is the musical experience of all the band members? Have any of you been involved in any other bands up until now?
James: Milly is currently involved with progressive rockers END OF LEVEL BOSS and also used to play in a band called FLOOD with Dan138. Blade played guitar for CARRION and TYGA CLAW and Doomlord XIII was once with progressive northern death metallers SEARING ORCHID, and is an accomplished sound engineer. Dan138 also has his own project and writes scores for horror movies.
As for myself, I sang with my friends band PYFORIA back home in Australia a long time ago.
What do you think about today's London Doom/Stoner Metal scene? Have you played anywhere else in the UK or abroad as a band?
James: The scene is alive and better than ever as you know John and we are always meeting and playing with so many exciting up and coming bands. There are also so many people contributing to the Metal cause and a big shout must go out to our friends at www.live4metal.com who do exactly what the name says. As for overseas, we did play Belgium earlier in the year with our friends ASOMVEL and had a blast.
Next year, we are planning a European tour regardless of whether we get signed or not.
What has your experience performing live been like up until now?
James: Playing live is the ultimate, it doesn't get any better!!! Nothing comes close and we will always give 150%.
You will be supporting Conquest of Steel at The Peel pub at the end of October. Have you ever played with them before and what other bands have you shared a stage with? Do you have any particular expectations from this gig?
James: I and Doomlord XIII put them on at our metal club THE DEMONS GATE and know them well. We just did the gig and it was fucking amazing. METAL IN ALL ITS GLORY!!!
What do you guys do when you're not playing with the band? Do you have any extracurricular interests at all?
James: Me and Doomlord XII are big Rugby League fans and will be at the tri nations final in Leeds very soon. Milly is good mates with WINO and recently visited him in the states and he also is working on a solo project. Blade is keen on fishing and Dan138 can be spotted out at the clubs down in London town all the time. We also frequent The Marlboro Head and as I said before myself and The Doomlord run our Metal Night "The Demons Gate" in Rayners Lane.
A message to fans, present and future...
James: We are still working on our website and it is a little slow so if you need any info, email us at www.centurionsghost.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
for bookings or merchandise. Our EP WILL be released very soon so get ready for the best in Heavy Metal. A big thanx to our fans who have supported us so far and to all the fantastic people doing good for HEAVY METAL. It makes it all worth while. We will stop at nothing to take CENTURIONS GHOST to the top of the heap so get your eardrums ready people, you will not know what hit you!!!!
Thank you for your patience John, Metal hails, James.
Interview © 2004