Amidst the clutter and blurred lines of the overwhelming varieties and sub-Genres of modern Metal music,Classic Heavy Metal makes a comeback with SILENT ASSASSINS.The brainchild of Symphony X bassist Mike LePond,Silent Assassins brings Classic Heavy Metal riffing and mysticism into the 21st century with its debut album of the same name.We ask and LePond answers as he talks with Metal On Loud Magazine for an exclusive interview.
What can you tell me about the origins of Silent Assassins?
My first love has always been Classic Heavy Metal and it's been my dream to do a record in that Genre and in 2011 when Symphony X began its touring cycle for the Iconoclast CD,I began writing the songs on the tour bus and that's how the idea began.
How does it differ from projects you’ve been involved with in the past?
For the other projects I've never had to write music before.It was all there for me and I just had to play bass and For my solo album I had to write all the music and all the lyrics,produce and many other things. It was really difficult but a labor of love.
Silent Assassins is described as “Mike LePond’s solo project” just about everywhere you look. After recording and releasing the album, do you still consider it to be a true solo project?
Yes it is technically a solo project but my goal is to eventually make a side band.When Symphony X is off the road I want to be able to tour with the Silent Assassins.That way I can keep working.
What does this project mean to you? Does it bear any personal significance?
This project is very personal for me and I wanted to prove to myself that I could write an entire album and have it be accepted by my fellow Metalheads.To finally release a CD of my own music is the most satisfying and fulfilling thing I have ever done,I am very blessed.
Did you have a particular audience in mind during the early creative stages?
Yes I did and I wanted to show the Metalheads of ages 20-30 what true raw and pure Heavy Metal sounds like.I wanted them to feel how I felt when I first listened to Maiden,Metallica,Manowar, Judas Priest and others.That in-your-face sound has been lost in recent years.
How or what do you think listeners should feel when they hear the album for the first time?
I want them to get an initial punch in the face and then take the album's journey and feel all the emotions that I did when I was writing.Each song has its own style and every metal fan will have different favorites.
Funding is a known issue for Metal projects in today’s climate,can you tell me more about your Kickstarter campaign?
I attempted the Kickstarter campaign because I didn't have a label and the costs of recording were too much to handle for one person and Looking back it was a great experience.The fans really helped me so much and I would definitely do it again.
What does it mean to you that so many fans and colleagues supported your effort to realize Silent Assassins?
It is something that I will never forget and never take for granted,Heavy Metal fans are all a big family and We all love and support each other and I am so lucky to have people in my life that will support me and I will certainly do the same in return.
Do you see crowdfunding becoming more commonplace in the Metal and Hard Rock world?
Yes I do because of illegal downloading and record companies are going out of business everywhere you look,Crowdfunding is the obvious solution to the problem and now the fans can actually fill the void of the record company.
What drives you as an artist? As a performer?
I am always driven by the love of Heavy Metal music and Listening to my CDs,writing songs,playing on stage are all things I am addicted to and can never escape and I honestly will be doing this until I die.
It seems like Classic Heavy Metal has a special place with you and it shows in the finished product.
When Classic Heavy Metal is done right,there is no music that can touch it and it's all about the riff and the attitude.That is something that has unfortunately gotten lost in today's Metal music that has been taken over by keyboards and vow I will bring it back!
Silent Assassins was released in September 2015 is available for download wherever digital music is sold.