Marching out of the West Midlands in the late ’80s, classy metallers Marshall Law walked straight into a music scene dominated by grunge. A case of the right band at the wrong time, they retreated to the sanctuary of Europe and South East Asia where fans weren’t quite so fickle. But the band is back with a brand new album and determined to break Britain again – rushonrock caught up with founder member Andy Pyke.
Andy Pyke: We’re absolutely delighted that the record’s out there now. We fished around for the right deal for some time and we’re pretty confident we made the right move. We were close to signing with one particular German label but because it had been a while since we’d had anything new out they weren’t willing to take a risk. A few other companies were sniffing about but we were really bowled over by the guys at Global Music. They made us feel like they wanted to work with us. As a consequence we felt it was the right label at the right time to make a proper comeback. After 10 years without having a new product out we knew it had to be absolutely right.
rushonrock: You took your time releasing Razorhead. Why?
AP: The album was actually finished in 2007 but we remixed it three or four times after that. We gave it to Chris Tsangarides and a few people said we could do this or that. Eventually we were really happy with the sound we had. We recorded the record in blocks because all of us had other stuff going on at the time. But I suppose we did mess about mixing it for too long in the end – in our defence we just wanted it to be as good as it possible could be. We didn’t want people thinking this is Marshall Law’s first album for 10 years and it’s shit!
rushonrock: Not surprisingly your Japanese fans have been lapping it up but the UK is taking time to warm to the band again.
AP: We always seemed to have a loyal fan base in Japan and we still have a good profile in Italy, Spain and Germany. But ironically most of our big shows in the last three or four years have been in the UK. We did Bloodstock and went down a storm. As a British band it’s very important to us that maintain our profile in the UK. In the early days we were very popular here and there’s no reason why we can’t be again but I suppose we did turn our attention to other territories. When you start to sell more records in other parts of the world you change your focus and go where you’re most popular.
rushonrock: Do you have any idea why your home market has been one of the least receptive over the years?
AP: Well there was a point where the UK press turned against us and some stupid things went on in the past. At the time we were making our mark there was a big shift towards grunge and nu-metal and suddenly there were so many different genres of rock and metal which, apparently, we didn’t fit into. We would have loved to have had some more acknowledgment in our own country but we became this forgotten beast.
AP: I hope so! This year we’re hoping people will remember who Marshall Law are and why we rocked in the first place. It would be great to be part of this latest wave of interest in heavy metal because we’ve always tried to write great metal albums and we’ve got another one now. We never liked banging out an album with three great tracks and seven fillers. We’re fairly happy that the new record has killer tracks from start to finish.
rushonrock: Do you feel this could finally be your time in the UK?
AP: I think there’s been a definite shift towards classic metal again in this country and there are a lot of younger bands going down that road these days. There are a lot of good UK bands who put out decent standard albums and get more recognition than we’ve ever had. I’m not knocking them because I’m a fans of metal and it’s great. But I don’t feel we’ve ever had a really, really big break. What happened with Marshall Law was that we were lumped together with bands 10 years our senior and described as a NWOBHM band when, in fact, we started out at the end of the 1980s. Then there was a shift in fashion with bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden coming to the fore and that didn’t help us. We were competing with these kinds of bands and the music we were playing just wasn’t flavour of the month any more. We weren’t ever a NWOBHM band – we just got lumped in with that movement. We came after that by eight or nine years!
AP: Razorhead was the first track conceived during the second part of the writing process and it came from an idea that had been knocking around since the first album. I think it was actually dreamt up in the kitchen! Being big fans of traditional heavy metal we wanted a song with a strong riff, an obvious hook and a good chorus as the title track for the new album. It had to be something that would grab people’s attention and see them going away singing the song.