Those dreamsnatchers Neverworld are back with a second album, so ZT once again caught up with frontman Ben Colton for a quick insight into their world.
Almost two years to the day since UK traditional metal warriors Neverworld released their debut ‘Visions Of Another World’ they’re back with a tremendous follow-up. Building on the traditional/power metal style they laid down back in 2014, ‘Dreamsnatcher’ consists of ten fantastic songs featuring interesting stories, epic guitar solos and catchy choruses.
Vocalist/guitarist Ben Colton opened up to ZT about what went into creating the album, how it differed from their first one, stories behind the music, lyrics and artwork and what it’s like being a traditional style heavy metal band working out of Bedfordshire.
ZT: How did the writing and recording for ‘Dreamsnatcher’ go? Ben Colton (Vocals/guitar): Hi Graham. Yeah it went really well. It was a very enjoyable creative experience. We had a lot of fun making this album and I’d like to think you can hear that in the music. We work very, very hard at what we do but we always have a damn good laugh doing it!
After releasing ‘Visions of Another World’ you said writing the follow-up would be a lot easier. Was it?
Definitely. The studio was in a more comfortable location this time round and it was a really good team effort in terms of writing the music. We got together every week adding more pieces to the puzzle that is ‘Dreamsnatcher’ and everything just clicked early on. The first track we wrote was ‘Into The Mouth Of Madness’ and that set the bar really. After we got that song out of the way we knew where we were heading and all got very excited!
Did you do much differently when creating ‘Dreamsnatcher’? Yes absolutely. Like I said it was more of a team effort. We would sit around in threes jamming, exchanging and generally creating the vibe of the stories we wanted to tell. It was genuinely an exciting process to be a part of and fantastic to hear the songs evolving each week.
Do you feel it is an improvement on ‘Visions of Another World’? And why? I do indeed, very much so. For a few different reasons but for one we are all better musicians. A lot of the songs on ‘Visions…’ were actually written seven, eight and even nine years ago. Now I think we are more mature. I feel we know what we want to do and know how to achieve it. If you’re a serious musician all you want to do is keep progressing. All of us are going to keep getting better because we want to. ‘Visions…’ was released pretty much bang on two years ago and if we weren’t better writers/players we’d be doing something seriously wrong! Another huge step up is the production which our drummer Mike handled very well. It’s an honest sounding album. Not many tricks involved because that’s not the Neverworld way. Every time we do something we want to do it to the best of our abilities and bettering ‘Visions…’ was the highest priority when making this album. We have done that without doubt.
Where did you draw inspiration for both the music and lyrical themes this time? Well we wanted a nicely balanced album; plenty of light and shade, some dark themes, some more positive. For instance ‘Into The Mouth Of Madness’ and ‘Armies Of The Night’ are both tributes to a couple of our favourite movies. ‘Passion Killers’ is a charming story of two serial killers who fall in love. ‘Awakening’ is all about realising your mortality and going out there and making shit happen instead of making excuses. I won’t give too much away but I’d like to think there is a song on this album for every mood. Whether you’re feeling sad, happy and determined or you just want to kick back and listen to a story, it’s all on there!
Who created the album cover, and where did the idea come from? The album artwork cover concept was dreamed up by us and made into a fantastic reality by Caio Caldas, a Brazilian artist. He’s done a lot of stuff for some very good bands including Dragonforce. We first heard of him through our friends The Deep. He did the artwork for their amazing album ‘Premonition’ so we checked him out and we were instantly won over by his stuff. He’s the real deal. The concept came about because the Dreamsnatcher is our running Neverworld theme. ‘The Crowman’ feeds off your fears and nightmares drawing you in closer to Neverworld until eventually you can’t leave! The cover picture depicts a man half trapped within the Neverworld and his sleeping quarters. It’s a very cool picture and just sums up the album’s main vibe.
What do you think about the current state of traditional heavy metal bands in the UK? I think there are some fantastic bands out there flying that flag. I know the musical landscape has changed massively over the last 15 years in particular but it’s absolutely criminal that certain bands aren’t on a major label. I can think of several bands that deserve that opportunity but will probably never get it. The UK is no Sweden that’s for sure but there are some outstanding UK metal bands. I’ve been lucky enough to share the stage with most of them so I know firsthand!
You’ve been around for a few years now. How hard/easy are you finding it to be a classic/traditional style heavy metal band?
Well it’s not hard at all when you are just doing something you love. There will always be a metal scene and it will always be underground. I’m under no illusions about that. It is a tough business, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. I’ve wanted to do what I do since I was four years old. I feel lucky to be out there doing it. To have people that support us, to get great reviews. That is the stuff my dreams were and are made of. It’s not all plain sailing and picnics but you’ll never hear me moan because I love heavy metal and that’s what I play!
What are the next plans and ambitions for Neverworld?
2016 is shaping up to be very exciting. Obviously the album just came out in March and is selling well (for us) and getting some good coverage/feedback from the metal press and fans too. We are supporting the release with a few shows scattered around the UK with a view to a tour in October. That isn’t confirmed yet but looking like it will be a goer. This May we will be teaming up with Incline Creative Media to shoot an official video for the track ‘Armies Of The Night’ which will be a lot of fun. We also plan to go back into the studio to do a limited edition EP and then it’ll be time to do the next album. We’ve decided to make the third album a concept and I really can’t wait to get stuck into that. That really will be a challenge but one I look forward to immensely!