Biff Byford: ‘Amon Amarth And Ghost Are Not Metal’

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In a candid conversation with Metal Pilgrim, Saxon’s lead singer Biff Byford delved into the evolving landscape of heavy metal music, noting its remarkable revival in recent years. He specifically mentioned the rising success of bands like Amon Amarth and Ghost. Although he acknowledged their achievements and metal influences, Byford hesitated to label them as pure metal:

“Some bands are really making waves. Look at Amon Amarth’s success, and Ghost? They’ve skyrocketed. They might not be strictly metal, but they’ve got their roots in it. Success in this genre is definitely within reach if the music resonates. It’s a mix of raw talent and a bit of fortune.”

Byford also reflected on the genre’s growing visibility and how the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, in particular, is experiencing a resurgence:

“There’s a notable comeback of metal, especially the British scene. We seem to be surfing a wave right now, and it looks promising for the bands involved.”

Discussing the evolution of the music industry, Byford remarked on the shift from traditional record deals to digital visibility:

“Once, it was all about landing a record deal. Now, making a splash online, like hitting a million views on Instagram, serves the same purpose. The promotion has just adapted to the new age.”

When it comes to Ghost, appearances can be misleading. Despite their ominous image and being dubbed satanic by some, their music isn’t as heavy as one might expect. This discrepancy has led to mixed opinions, even though they’ve opened for legendary bands like Iron Maiden and won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance. The controversy extended to their rendition of Iron Maiden’s ‘Phantom Of The Opera,’ which drew candid criticism, including from the former Iron Maiden vocalist who bluntly stated his dislike for the cover:

“Regarding Ghost’s cover of ‘Phantom Of The Opera,’ my view, not that it really matters, is simple: it’s just terrible.”

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