What attracted me initially to London heavyweights Limb was the riffs. Some come in that classic Black Sabbath doom style, all thick, sludgy and low. Some come with a stoner rock fuzz slant to them and some of them buzz around your head for days on end they are so catchy. However they come, Limb don’t do weak riffs.

The band’s self-titled debut album released this month on New Heavy Sounds Records is testament not only to the power of these riffs but to exciting song craft as well.It’s proof positive that metal has another playing card in its deck.

Here at Pennyblackmusic we actively sought Limb out to discuss with them their new record and spoke to Rob Hoey (vocals) Sam Cooper (bass) and Jodie Wyatt (drums) - to find out why they do what they do and why they do it so well.


PB: In your youth when you were initially getting into rock music what was the turning point? Was there a particular band or a friend that led you on the path to where you are today?

SC: My first proper ‘rock’ music was Aerosmith and Meatloaf tapes, so those moments might best be forgotten. Instead, I remember recognising that some types of band, and some scenes, had certain attitudes towards music and how it could be made, which influenced me more than any single band. I feel like I became aware of, first, Fugazi and, later, DIY hardcore at really important moments in my teens.

JW: Listening to Jimi Hendrix is amongst my earliest memories. I grew up on psychedelic bands from the 1960s, and that pretty much makes up the bulk of what I listen to today. In between, listening to bands like Sonic Youth, Slint and later Isis for the first time were big moments for me. Things just got heavier from there really.

RH: I remember my friend Marcus and I going to buy Machine Head’s ‘Burn My Eyes’ when I was fourteen at Tower Records on Oxford Street, and, man, when I got it home I was blown away. Through listening to his brother’s collection of Florida Death Metal (Obituary, Morbid Angel, etc.) I realised that whilst it was exciting, it might not be for me, so I bought ‘Welcome to Sky Valley’ by Kyuss and I was in. Loved every second. I used to record a show on ITV late night every weekend called ‘Noisy Mothers’, and that opened my eyes to a whole new slew of bands.

PB: Being based in London can be both a blessing and a curse. How have you found being based in the capital?

SC: Practice rooms are expensive and crap. Transport is a nightmare. Most venues are dreadful. Everyone is forced to work too much. But then there are also little corners filled with more opportunity and excitement and more of a mix of people than other places I’ve lived in.

RH: It’s pretty unmerciful at times, I know a lot of people that have come and gone because it’s just not for them, but for music and venues it’s brilliant.

PB: How did you hook up with your record label, New Heavy Sounds. There are some great bands on their roster. Who approached who?

JW: It seems strange to think about it now, but I met Ged and Paul before Limb really got together, probably at one of Black Moth’s shows. I’ve known the guys in Black Moth for a long time, and could see what great things the guys were doing for the band. Then much later NHS approached us to put our first single out and then talk moved quickly to an album.

PB: The split with Gurt and the ‘Gift of the Sun’ single got you a lot of recognition and positive press, which must have been great to read. Did you feel some validation or does critical opinion not really concern you?

SC: For me, it’s a bit of both. It’s nice that something which begins as a hobby—which isn’t to say it doesn’t involve lots of energy and thought and work—can get attention and can, hopefully, be enjoyable for others too. But at the same time, there’s something a bit embarrassing about praise. It’s good when a review recognises something in the music which we recognise, though—when it’s obvious that they’ve paid attention and given some thought to what they say about the record.

PB: I love the track ‘Plague Doctor’. Can you tell us a bit about it?

RH: ‘Plague Doctor’ was written to go on the album, and then the chance to do the split came up and we had a choice to make. ‘Plague Doctor’ was basically a collection of re-written riffs from other songs we hadn’t felt had come together so well in terms of structure, so once we pulled them all together ‘Plague Doctor’ was born and came together pretty quickly.

In terms of lyrics and tone I was reading about The Plague Of Justinian in the 6th and 7th centuries AD which was basically the first records of it. It seemed amazing to me that something could be so devastating (wiping out 40% of the population) but so mysterious to the inhabitants. So later came the plague doctors who were like these (seemingly) masked, emotionless creatures carrying you off into the next world. Pretty grim! Just struck a chord.

PB: The new self-titled album works as a whole piece from beginning to end, and individual songs sound great when listening to them on shuffle as well. Can you tell us about the recording of the album. How did you approach it compared to your previous output?

SC: We wrote it to be a coherent album. We thought about variety and mood, and how to move between songs. We try to do the same in our live set. Previously, we’d taken the reliable ‘lots of feedback between every song’ approach, which is fine, but it can be good to look beyond the genre’s conventions, too.

JW: I think recording the album was also a really creative time for us because, unlike previous recordings we had the time to experiment with sounds and different equipment. For example, I tried lots of different cymbals to get the exact bell sound I was looking for. Every time I listen to the album I’m really pleased I had the time and space to think about the details.
PB: The artwork by Richey Beckett on the album is fantastic. How did you get in contact with him and what is the concept behind it?

RH: The song ‘Vathek’ is about a gothic novel of the same name written by William Beckford (of whom my wife is a distant relative). The song is a little about the book and a little about Beckford himself. He was quite the extrovert and built a tower at Fonthill Abbey that was supposed to be the tallest in Europe to try and be closer to God that then collapsed basically, destroying everything he’d worked for but leaving his gothic novel as his lasting legacy. The artwork on the front is a play on that concept.

PB: As well as the harsh and aggressive moments that fill up a lot of the record, there is a healthy sprinkling of classic rock that pushes through, my favourite being the moment around the minute mark of ‘Eternal Psalm Pt.2’. Also the vocals in certain parts of the album are cleaner and carry a lot of melody with them. Do you think you will ever take those lighter moments further?

SC: In terms of the music, those classic rock bits are partly accidental. Because we don’t sit down and say, “Lets write a song like such-and-such,” influences rise to the surface a little more indirectly.

For me, I’d spend a week listening to Slade, and then any parts that I wrote happened to sound a little glam. Mind you, when we did the Queen cover I think we realised that our music shares some affinities with classic, poppy, rock music. We look for hooks and grooves: we’re a bad doom band in that respect!

PB: The UK scene is bristling with Doom bands, some heavy, some light but still it’s rare to find a stinker. Why do you think there has been this pretty recent influx of decent bands in the last few years?

RH: I think these things come in waves. I mean the scene is made of lots of elements that complement each other but I wouldn't define it as just a doom scene really. I think it's more about the people involved having the same vision in terms of making interesting music and appreciating each other, even if what your hearing isn't immediately speaking to you. We feel really lucky to be surrounded by such supportive bands, labels and noise mongers! That's what makes this thing churn out good bands... good people!

PB: What does the future hold for Limb. It may be early days but have you had any thoughts about what you may be releasing next?

JW: Even though we recorded the album last summer, it still feels strange that it is finally coming out. We’re still excited to be playing tracks from the album at the moment, especially when we remember that people still haven’t heard a lot of them yet! But sooner or later we’ll be back in the practice room writing new stuff and figuring out how we make them heavier!

PB: Just to finish, can you list your top 5 stoner/doom/psychrock records that you love to death and give an explanation as to why you love them so?

JW: For me, Shrinebuilder’s self-titled album is still one of the best. I remember seeing them in London a few years ago, and it still blows my mind thinking about how good that show was. Really hope they come back!

RH: 1. Goatsnake – ‘Flower of Disease’ 2. Weedeater – ‘God Luck and Good Speed’ 3. 3D House of Beef – ‘Low Cycle’ 4. Men of Unitus – ‘Gland of Hope and Glory’ 5 . Pissed Jeans – ‘King of Jeans’.

And that's because you asked specifically about stoner and doom... But we're more about Slint, Slade, Thin Lizzy, Yes, Hendrix, Sir Lord Baltimore...

PB: Thank you.













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