Thrash Hits

May 12th, 2014

Interview: Rise To Remain’s Austin Dickinson on Black Sabbath in Hyde Park

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Soon after we posted a piece pondering the future of festivals once the heritage rock and metal bands of the past 40 years retire, the still mighty Black Sabbath announced that they would be headlining an all-star cast including Faith No More, Motörhead and Soundgarden. Headlining the fourth stage, however, is a somewhat younger band: Rise To Remain.

It’s rare to find a musician who thinks so keenly about the music industry beyond the mechanics of his or her band, but Austin Dickinson is certainly one. He speaks with reason when asked about the future of these huge festivals with huger headliners.

“Bands either have this implosion of pseudo-creativity and try to expand their sound but actually burn the entire thing to the ground or you’ve got bands that really stay as a staple and we live to see them become a smaller version of Black Sabbath.”

“The scene is full of ideals so I don’t say ignore them and I don’t say accept them, I say you’ve got to do what feels right and maybe we’ll see a band that’s gonna reach a similar level but on a completely different scale. People want to get behind something; I want to get behind something. Although these could be the last festivals of this ilk, different ones can take shape and that’s kinda cool to me and I’d love to be there when it happens.”

Rise To Remain are beginning the process of gaining momentum after eight months away, during which they’ve recorded their second album, and they started with a small show at The Borderline in central London which gained 5K in Kerrang!.

“It was time to smash away the cobwebs and make sure that we weren’t that rusty,” explains Austin Dickinson, casually mixing his metaphors before switching to an interesting level of self-awareness and honesty. “It was definitely a show that I didn’t expect to go that well. It’s quite difficult to describe when you haven’t played a show for eight fucking months but I kept thinking that something would fall through the ceiling or some sort of catastrophic event that stops it from happening but it went so fucking smooth and it was a sell out.”

Three years after releasing their promising debut, City of Vultures, and having suffered wholesale fresh line-up changes, they will be returning with a follow-up but the frontman is only able to offer a bunch of meaningless platitudes (“really exciting times,” “It’s fucking strong,” and “we’ve finally got it in the bag,” for instance) until the PR machine truly gets rolling.

They’re headlining a stage at Black Sabbath Time. Yes, it may only be the fourth stage, but it’s a statement of their intent, nonetheless. Whether they release their new album around then is clearly yet to be seen but it certainly appears to be an exciting time for the band.

“I mean we headlined at Takedown Festival a few weeks ago but to be able to headline a stage that’s got Black Sabbath within a hundred mile radius is kind of insane,” he says before dropping a clanger. “I hope we finish up in time so that I can run over and catch them. They’re one of my all-time favourite bands. The first album that I ever bought was The Best of Black Sabbath because I couldn’t decide which album I liked best. I was one of those guys.”

Is that cool? Clearly not, but it’s also clear that he doesn’t really care. The fact of the matter is that Rise To Remain are a metal band from London and the opportunity for them to be a significant part of a huge show in their hometown with their heroes is important to them. He chronicles a familiar rite of passage about getting drunk in the mud with his mates after a hefty train ride up to somewhere north of London, be it Donington or Knebworth but poses a question: “Why is there metal in Hyde Park?”

We don’t know either. It will always feel odd walking around a park watching Motörhead and then going home to our beds, but we can’t wait.

It’s difficult to say whether Rise To Remain are The Future of British metal but there’s a steely determination behind the joy that’s all too apparent within this band.

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