Interview – Steel Bearing Hand: ”To crush all pretenders, see them cut their hair, and hear their lamentations on the internet”

So cimmerian.

Steel Beraing Hand has already released the best metal song of the year, an anthem of steel, and of course it goes without saying, one of the best albums as well. Bara Metal spoke to Wyatt Burton [vocals, guitar], and we were bold enough to test him – by starting the interview with the best question ever asked, taken from a classic movie.

What is best in life?

– To crush all pretenders, see them cut their hair, and hear their lamentations on the internet. 

Wow! You knew that Conan reference?! I am impressed. 

– Well, I’ve also been reading the original Conan stories and realized that Milius/Stone cribbed this quote from a story about Genghis Khan, great stuff!

And what is best in playing in Steel Bearing Hand?

– I suppose it would be the same as playing in any band, the enjoyment of performing music you enjoy. We play from the heart, and in doing so, our hearts are fulfilled.

You released the debut album in 2015. Now it is 2021. What took you so long?

– We went on five tours and changed lineups almost as many times, between that, just day to day life. We also parted ways with our original drummer and it took a while to find a proper replacement. I’m sure many bands can relate to the fact that it’s not always easy to make the amount of time necessary to hone your craft, especially the time needed to reach the caliber that SBH strives for. The same goes for finding musicians who are up to the task of performing the material itself.

I was expecting a few more songs on this album – how come there is only six tracks after six years of building up? 

– Well it is 40 minutes worth of material, that’s pretty standard for a full length album. We tend to write longer songs, so this time it just wound up being six songs.

How come you ended up on Carbonized Records? Who contacted who? 

– We are good friends with Chad and Necrot. We played with Necrot in 2013 and we stayed in touch ever since. We were talking about our respective plans at a show a few years ago, Chad about starting Carbonized and us about Slay in Hell, and it was just a natural fit. Carbonized has gone above and beyond for us, we couldn’t be happier with their support, not to mention being on such a killer roster.

I love the sound of the guitars. It’s so thick and powerful. Did you have any preferences? Any album that you wanted to copy sound wise? 

– Thank you. We used a Peavey 6505+ and a JCM 800 for the rhythm tracks, we used the 6505+ and a few other heads I can’t recall for the leads. The only real reference point for the sound is an attempt to cross the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets guitar sounds, I don’t think it quite sounds like that, but I’m pretty satisfied with the sound we have on the record. Besides, that sort of mindset is just a starting point.

I think the biggest difference between this album and the debut is the sound of the drums, they sound so much better now! How come? 

– The recording quality is much, much better on this record. The guy who recorded the first album practically disappeared, along with the stims, so we’re unable to remix the album. We had Jack Control from Enormous Door remaster it a couple years ago. who also mastered Slay in Hell, that’s about the best we can do with it. There’s also a different drummer on Slay in Hell, so naturally two different players will sound different.

My favourite song is Tombspawn – I listen to it a lot. But if you could point out one Steel Bearing Hand song that you will never get tired of – which one would it be? And why? 

– Thanks again. Honestly I don’t think such a song exists. I like them all, but I don’t know if there are any I wouldn’t get sick of eventually. Sometimes as an artist you can have a love/hate relationship with your work. You may feel one way about something you’ve done for a while, then you change your mind after a time for any given reason. It can go back and forth. Knowing that, I know nothing that I do is free from my possible scorn, however temporary.

Ha ha! Okay. You are quiet and low profile on Facebook. How come? Is social media a big pain in the ass? 

– I wouldn’t say it’s a pain in the ass, but the goal of the band isn’t to cultivate some kind of celebrity experience as musicians. The band exists in service to Metal itself, any kind of representative outlet serves only to proclaim news about the band’s activities. A lot of the time, there is no new news. We try not to be frivolous, we’re not rockstars nor tabloid purveyors. There is so much useless noise and chatter created on the internet regarding metal, we don’t want to be another voice in that chorus. If you like what we do, know that we are eternally grateful. The music is the only thing that is important, we don’t seek to disrespect our audience by pretending that anything else a band does actually contributes to that experience, let alone posting a lot on Facebook.

So, what is it that the Infernal Exarch actually commands? And who is he? 

– The Infernal Exarch commands you to enter his Kingdom and prepare for the inevitable war on Heaven by changing your form into one more suitable for the very purposes of this war. His name is Lucifer.

Of course. Silly me. Finally, how many swords do you own? My wife’s father has two. Does he win? 

– I have two actual swords as well, so maybe we’ll say that it’ll be an equal battle?

Listen to the band here.

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