Today, we had the opportunity to interview Darin Wall, bass player in Greyhawk. This quintet from Seattle, Washington, released one of the best Epic Heavy Metal records this year – and you have to check them out, if you don’t know them yet. By the way, Hail Manowar!
Darin, thanks a lot for your time! How are you dealing with the current situation? Did you have to cancel a lot of gigs?
Darin Wall: It’s my pleasure to answer these questions! We are dealing with it as best we can. This situation obviously is less than ideal for pretty much everyone on planet earth, but we are trying our best to make the best of what we can do. We absolutely did have to cancel a ton of shows. We had dates with Flotsam and Jetsam, Ross The Boss and a lot of other national acts planned. We had about 8 festival appearances on different continents and countries that had to be postponed. It was a drag to say the least, but you can’t sit around and mope about it. The reaction to Keepers of the Flame really lifted our spirits, and we have decided to use this time to focus on writing the follow-up to that album, which judging by what we have so far should make fans of that album very happy.
In June, you released the aforementioned Keepers of the Flame – a killer record, in my opinion. What are your favourite tracks? If I had to name a No. 1, it would be “Halls of Insanity”. I adore its epic, catchy chorus!
Thank you brother! I’m so glad you enjoy it that much. Oh man……picking a favorite song is like picking a favorite child. It’s very difficult to do. I really do love “Halls of Insanity”, too. It’s actually the first song we completed for the album, and I agree with you it has the catchiest parts. Rev’s vocal harmonies on the choruses are great, and in my opinion it has Jesse’s best solo on the album. Those gang vocals were really fun to do as well. Personally I really like the longer more expansive songs we did like “Black Peak” or the title track “Keepers of the Flame”. I really enjoy songs in that style that are more linear with dynamically different parts that tell a cool story. “Don’t wait for the Wizard” is my favorite to crank in the car, and “Drop the Hammer” is an awesome one to play live because it’s so fast. Really I like them all haha.
And rightly so! How would you label your own style? And how would you define the term Epic Metal?
I’m not the best with labelling styles, but I think at heart we are a traditional classic Metal band who likes to throw in elements of Power Metal and shred, with some neoclassical flare. So I guess when you put that recipe together you wind up with something Epic, so hell yeah you can call us Epic Metal if you want!
Can you tell our readers a bit about the contemporary Metal scene in Seattle? Are there any bands that our readers definitely should check out?
The scene in Seattle is great, and I’ve never played a bad show here. Doom is definitely the most popular of the heavy styles here, but the old school Metal crowd is definitely ever present. As for bands to check out from Seattle, I’m going to HIGHLY recommend checking out my old band Skelator who have been doing this style for years, Solicitör, Point Zero, Kommand, Toxic Reign, Oxygen Destroyer……I’m sure I am forgetting a pile of them but we have slews of rad Metal here in all subgenres.
In Germany we regularly praise the creativity of Northern American traditional Metal bands these days. Do you have frequent contact with German Metal fans on Instagram or other platforms? Are there any striking differences with guys (and girls) from Northern America? And: Have you ever been to Germany?
Oh yeah, we have lots of contact with folks from Germany. It’s no secret that Germany is one of the capitals – if not the capital – for old school Heavy Metal on planet earth! I actually visited Germany in 2019 and it was a life-changing experience. The story goes, me and some friends were partying one night and we saw Manowar were doing their Final Battle Tour. It was many many beers into the night…
That sounds promising…
…and we all made a pact that we would travel to Germany and finally see one of our favorite bands live. For me as someone who grew up in the suburbs of Canada, when I was younger I would read the Heavy Metal magazine and see the posters for the German Metal festivals and shows, and I always wondered and dreamed about what it would be like to go there and party with the German Metal fans. I had this big lofty vision of how much fun it would be. Many years later due to this pact I got to go and I have to say…..it lived up to all my expectations! I had such an amazing time that when I came back I had the idea in my head that I had to get Greyhawk to make the best album we could, get signed and make our way to Germany to play music for the amazing fans there. We accomplished the first two goals, and we actually were about to accomplish the 3rd goal, until COVID ruined that.
Amazing story, Darin, thanks for sharing! I’m really looking forward to see you and Greyhawk live on stage. We’d definitely write a beer-soaked article about it. On another subject: What do you think about social media platforms in general?
Mixed feelings. I think in some ways they are good for smaller bands to get their name out there. However it can create almost an overload of information and it’s hard to weed through it all.
What was the last album you bought?
The last album I bought as a new release was Armored Saint‘s Punching the Sky. I highly recommend it!
Yeah, it’s really a top-notch record!
The last albums I bought in general were 4 off Discogs…..original vinyl pressings of Manowar Battle Hymns, Riot Thundersteel, Yngwie Malmsteen Rising Force and Slayer Show No Mercy.
Ha, great choice! Are you a passionate vinyl collector?
100%! It’s my favorite format and I have a decent sized collection. I will admit that I think CDs are the superior sounding format, however I really enjoy the vinyl experience a lot.
What’s your favourite album this year (so far)?
Hard to pick an absolute favorite, but if I had to pick one I would say it’s Abyss from my friends in Unleash The Archers. Such a diverse album that’s still just grounded in traditional Power Metal. Flawlessly executed, great production and catchy as hell. I can’t find a fault in it.
Last question: Manowar or Manilla Road? Which band do you prefer?
No shade to Manila Road as they are a great band, but MANOWAR by a very very long shot! All day, every day, twice on Sundays. There aren’t many bands I’d pick over them. In fact the only way I would not choose Manowar is if Black Sabbath or Dio were the other options.
Darin, thanks a lot for this interesting interview. See you on the road very soon!