In the distant future of the year 1992…war has returned to the galaxy. One thousand years have passed since the brave hero Angus McFife defeated the evil sorcerer Zargothrax in the battle of Dunfermline, trapping the wizard in a frozen prison of liquid ice. But now, a cult of unholy chaos wizards are plotting to release their dark master from his ice-bound tomb and once again unleash the sorcerer Zargothrax upon the universe. The tragic destiny of the Galactic Empire of Fife now hangs in the balance once more…
And lo! The heroic fantasy power metal warriors Gloryhammer return to London to continue the battle that started so many eons ago. Angus McFife XIII, the brave descendent of…. umm…. Angus McFife brandishes the Astral Hammer and, with the support of The Blind Guardian, who has come from beyond the red mirror to do battle, the band of warriors that fight with both power and metal do battle across time, space and Kentish Town. Intergalactic warfare and transdimensional conquest in outer space ensues and we join the battle as Gloryhammer charge head first into a throng of over 2,000 to lay waste to the enemy.
We also managed to gain an audience with the Hootsman, James Cartwright and Swiss lawyer by day, Warrior by night, Angus McFife XIII, Thomas Winkler to talk us through this most historic of battles.
It’s an early spring evening in London and by 6:30pm, the Forum is full of space orcs and trolls waiting patiently (by Orc standards) for Gloryhammer to arrive and for battle to commence. The band, originally called GloryHole (don’t ask and don’t Google it at work!), charge onto the stage, Angus McFife XIII decked out in full travel armour (lighter than battle armour but necessary when the space core only allow 23kg per person luggage allowance).
Speaking after the battle, its clear that both Hoots (JC) and Angus (TW) are surprised by the numbers waiting for them;
TW: I always wonder where all these people come from, you know? And why? How did they get here? Why did they come?
JC: It is like fucking spinal tap or something. No one knows who they are and how they made it.
TW: But still there are people there.
MGM: We put them back in the box at the end of the gig and they are back in the basement again……..
JC: They crawl out of somewhere.
TW: Space rifts. Out of the cracks.
The energy Gloryhammer bring into battle draws the orcs and trolls forward who roar and punch the air (and each other) and the brave troupe deliver various incantations, namely Infernus AD Astra and Rise of the Chaos Wizards. When a strange man child brings forth the Astral Hammer to allow Angus to chant the Legend of the Astral Hammer I note that the usual deliverer of the hammer is strangely absent. Later, post battle and pre-pub, I ask Jim just what had changed..
JC: Not a guy, that is my Mrs.
MGM: That is your Mrs…..?
TW: Long Mrs. with the huge boobs.
MGM: To be fair, I believe there was a mask on.
JC: Oh I think it was, that was Mike. Mike did it.
TW: You mean the goblin, the robot.
JC: It was robot in previous shows, I think it was, it was robot, yes, the robot came on.
Quickly wishing to diffuse the situation, we establish that the person in question is not the big breasted Mrs of the Hootsman but a member of the clan tasked with the important task of hammer delivery.
JC: It is okay.
TW: Sometimes we have a real princess on stage. And sometimes it is just the robot.
MGM: I was going to say, the view I had, it didn’t look like a Princess that was bringing a hammer on for you on stage.
JC: It certainly was not.
TW: Not on this tour, in London, for the bigger shows or festivals we will still do that.
JC: Yeah, we are doing like the supporting band thing and it’s like the actual Princess who would usually get to come out and stage on the hammer and everything like that. She is actually doing our merch tonight.
TW: Yeah, we just have a 45-minute set. We would have to be quick and so that’s why we cannot bring all the, the whole show, usually. But I also think people appreciate the show we did, so.
As the hordes of Orcs (at least the first ten rows) are defeated by the Astral Hammer, the band continue their incantations with Hail to the Crail and Questlords of Inverness before the solo champion’s battle commences thanks to the versatile drinking prowess of James Cartwright or as we know him, The Hollywood Hootsman.
Tins of energy giving Kronenberg are placed at Hootsman’s feet and with an audible “pish” as the tin is opened, he proceeds to down the foul brew in one. Foul? I hear you cry. Well, according to the man himself it is.
JC: They are full, trust me, they are fucking full cans. I am not fucking bullshitting, because it always really quite upsets me when someone puts Krone in our dressing room because I really do not like beer. I like cider. And I think for a lot of the fucking tours it has been Strongbow and I really like Strongbow either. But I have put on my hoot shoes and I have fucking downed it… I leave the stage quite drunk, believe it or not. I go on there quite drunk as well.
TW: I can hear it.
JC: Luckily the crowd can’t. Yeah, it is fine. I think by that point, everyone is drunk and who cares. Who listens to the bass anyway? Tom does.
TW: Well I, no sometimes.
JC: If they can hear it.
TW: Because I can not usually…
Angus is a whirl of energy on stage and during the war story that is Angus McFife, he has the orcs and trolls in his thrall and come the end of the epic tale, there is only time for a brief battle with the evil Zargothrax (Christopher Bowes) who stepped out from behind the Positronic Oscillator Command deck during which time the clan describe how they’ve seen the Universe on Fire and recounted the Unicorn Invasion of Dundee.
As the battle draws to a close and the wasted bodies are strewn across the floor of the Forum, Angus’s travel armour is mentioned as it looks nothing like the huge Space Marine from Warhammer 40,000 that appears in the latest video.
TW: I would say elements of Iron Man actually. Basically it is an Iron man suit painted green. All right, okay. Well, I ordered it from a Chinese retailer, which is the reason why I did not bring it here.
JC: I was going to say, it’s not something you can actually wear on stage because it will fall apart. He rocked up to the music video and we had all been waiting to see his new armour that we had seen photo’s of. And I think I prodded it to see what it was made of. And it literally dented it. It caved in so it was like, ‘no one touch Tom’.
TW: Made in China!
TW: It looks great. That is why I paid like 3000 Euro’s.
JC: Expensive mistake. It looked good though. It looked good.
As the members of Gloryhammer open another portal and prepare to move to their next battle we speak briefly about Tom’s audition for another warring clan, DragonForce.
JC: I still listen to that audition you did, no, it is better than fucking DragonForce singer that did they had originally.
TW: I appreciate it.
JC: But it was really fucking good, but I think they fucking blew it big time by not taking you on.
TW: Oh well. Actually, Sam Totman was recently in my office in Switzerland. He said the same. Chris wrote me and said, “you want me to show you my new project Gloryhammer?” I said: No, because I thought it was ridiculous at first. And then he asked me again a half year later and said, hey, we have done every song we have got a label, you just have to come and sing. I thought, yeah, right, it sounds like a plan. Let’s do it though. And I am glad I did it, because it was a really good idea in the end, I think.
MGM: How did you manage to juggle the day job with this, comfortably? It is a bit of a change for you is it not?
TW: Oh, definitely yeah. Usually I am a…
MGM: Solicitor by day, Warrior by night.
TW: Warrior in Switzerland and it is quite a different job.
JC: They call him Mr. Winkler.
TW: Yeah, like a doctor. It is, well, one job is for earning money, you know and the other job is just for just having fun. And I love both of them. It’s good
MGM: Last question, Space 1992 (the new album title), naturally to me, because I am from the era, I remember Space 1999 [TV show from the 1970s], was that the original trigger? I am guessing it was Chris was it?
JC: I think that one’s Chris.
TW: I think it has something to do with his band, what is it called again? The band he likes so much.
JC: Oh, Bal Sagoth. Me and Chris are both Bal Sagoth fans.
TW: Yeah, they released their first album in 1993 I think.
JC: I do not know.
TW: I think, so, in 1991, whatever. And they just put one year or less and they have made it to Space 1992.
JC: Let us make it that. That is fair enough.
MGM: That sounds good to me. Yeah, I mean it’s got to be a first, that you have released an album, a sci-fi album, about the future that is set in the past, I mean I think that is unique.
TW: It is crazy genius.
And with that…. they were gone!