HOBBS ANGEL OF DEATH "The Bleeding Angel"

By Dr. Abner Mality

If anyone can be said to be the father of Australian extreme metal, Peter Hobbs is the man. When Peter's band Angel of Death first spread its iron wings over the Outback, Australia was mostly known for AC/DC, Olivia Newton-John and just maybe Billy Thorpe. With its demonic yet classy thrash, Hobbs Angel of Death began to change that perception. The 1988 debut album remains a classic to this day and opened up the Aussie scene to a whole new spectrum of bands.

Hobbs' career has been intermittent since then but the man has never given up on his diabolical thrash metal. He has seen the rise of bands like Mortal Sin, The Berzerker, Bestial Warlust, Destroyer 666 and many others. Can Mr. Hobbs and the band he founded keep up with the scene he was arguably the founding member of?

Can he, Satan's hairy balls! 2016 saw the release of the best AOD album yet, the blistering "Heaven Bled". This album takes everything the band is known for and doubles down on it. It's a true thrash classic that most new bands with teenage members couldn't begin to emulate. I highly recommend purchasing this classic to see how thrash with class is performed.

It's also a great privilege to be able to speak to the man himself. Peter is kind of the "Immortan Joe" of the Down Under thrash scene and he's got a lot to say. So let's crack right into it!

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings, Mr. Hobbs! Your new album “Heaven Bled” is quite an amazing piece of work. It’s been many years since we’ve had new material from Angel of Death. Have you been working on “Heaven Bled” all this time or is it all relatively recent?

PETER HOBBS: Thank you very much for your words about the album. I have been touring extensively the last four years and have also been writing. I have actually recorded the album twice but something just wasn't right and I have to be happy about it. The songs on the new album, some of them I first wrote 25 years ago. They never had the opportunity to be released so it was a perfect time to revamp them and give them some fine tuning. They now fit so well into the new mature Hobbs.

WC: What was the impetus for the new album…what was the trigger that told you it was time to get something new out?

PH: I"m a person that always has this energy surrounding me. I've always had that enjoyment of playing live and the response I get from it. Life is getting shorter and I believe my fans should have the work I've done in the industry to enjoy.

WC: The new material has all the classic trademarks, but also shows some growth over past songs. How important was it for you to move forward and not just play to nostalgia?

PH: I'm a creative person that's always building or making something. I wanted to produce an album that would cater to a wider range of metal lovers across the board. The proof is in the pudding, as you have mentioned.

WC: It’s also a very angry record, more so than past material. What is it that fuels this rage…the state of society or personal events?

PH:  Ooooh yes, I have an angry streak and there have been some that have pushed me beyond its limits. Life in general can be frustrating at time, as we all must face sooner or later, but I've learned to channel my anger into positive results.

WC: There’s still a very strong anti-Christian element to the lyrics. Was there something in the past that triggered this opposition to religion? Are the lyrics truly pro-Satan or is everything just a metaphor?

PH: Everybody has a dark side to them. I'm not afraid to show mine and if it's through my music or macabre thoughts, so be it. I'm into horror and controversy but I still hold respect for others opinions. I was born from a darker side than most. I'm trying to save as much hair as I can. I don't like wearing hats but eventually I guess we'll all see the number of the Beast, ha ha ha!

WC: “Il Monstro di Firenze” is an unusual song title to start the album. What’s the origin of this particular tune?

PH: I wrote the song about 3 years ago and needed some lyrics to go with it. I couldn't find the title or what I wanted to write about. Then it came to me. I love history and it was right in front of me. I was spending a lot of time in Florence, Italy and the idea came to me to do as I had done in the past...walk in the steps of a serial killer. I did that almost 30 years ago with the inspiration for the song "Jack the Ripper". So I found out where murders were committed in Florence and stood on the grounds and smelled and tasted the soil. I felt the energy of the surroundings and all of a sudden, there it was.

WC: You have another song “Suicide” on the album. Is that inspired by something personal?

PH: I never kiss and tell.

WC: You sound completely pissed during “T.F.M.F.”…is that directed at a real person?

PH: Hahaha, I wrote that song in 5 minutes! Is it that obvious? I'm sure it's aimed at quite a few people I've known who are assholes.  I had to put my feelings in a song. Some people get offended when I tell it to their face but I don't pull punches, I say it how it is.

WC: I love that bluesy, melodic guitar solo at the end of “Abomination”.  Did that give you the chance to show another side to your playing?

PH: I wanted to end the song with the bluesy feel but still give an epic melodic heavy emotional finish to the album. I asked people a question. After listening to the album, what are their thoughts and how did the ending make them feel. 9 out of 10 gave me the answer I wanted.  That was push the replay button, I wanna hear the album again! 

WC: Some influences on your musical style are fairly obvious…Slayer, Kreator, Priest and Sabbath. What are some of the less obvious influences on your music?

PH: Yes, I am a Slayer fan and I'm into all that you just mentioned. What a pleasure it was playing the night before Slayer at the Jollometalli Festival in Finland...the end of a 30 year wait!

WC: You have seen the Australian extreme music scene grow from virtually nothing to a strong part of the worldwide scene. How gratifying is it to be considered an inspiration for Australian metal?

PH: I am overwhelmed by the support and great words that people have for me here, both positive and negative. It is a great honor. There's a lot of great talent here in Oz and to be classified as an influence on both old bands and new bands is flattering. So to all who support me and admire my works, thank you very much.

WC: Tell us some about the early days down under, when bands like Armored Angel, Slaughter Lord and yourself led the way. What was it like at that time?

PH: It was something very different at that time. There were only a handful of bands moving in the direction of the other great bands overseas. In my opinion, there were many bands who didn't accept the more extreme sounds and didn't think it would last but it has been awesome to watch bands from Oz grow and I'm proud to watch the sons of great friends' bands play extreme styles today.

WC: A recent American tour fell through. Any plans to make it back here anytime soon?

PH: Yes, sadly, but I'll be back there sooner than people think, hehehe!

WC: How did your relationship with Hell’s Headbangers come about?

PH: I have a great respect for many companies in this industry. When I became active, they were waiting for me. I met Chase from Hell's Headbangers while on tour in the USA and he made it a worthwhile trip. We spoke at one of the shows and I felt that his was the company for Hobbs in the USA. He was a Hobbs fan and also trying to keep the industry alive. He's done a great job on the new release and has some special things to offer the Hobbs fans in connection with "Heaven Bled" like the HOBBS LEGACY BIBLE.

WC: If you could have dinner with any 3 people from history, who would they be?

PH:  #1, God. I've some questions I'd like answered. #2, The Devil, to find out his side of the story and #3, Jack The Ripper, so I could get the answer to who he was.

WC: What was the last release you picked up just because you wanted to hear the band?

PH: "Reign In Blood". (Wow, that was only 30 years ago!--Mality)

WC: Do you follow new bands on the Australian scene? Anybody we should look out for?

PH: There's a lot of great talent here in Oz and far too many to mention. I don't want to leave any of them out.

WC: Did you ever have a “Spinal Tap” moment where things went wrong that you could share with us?

PH: Yeah, my life is like "Spinal Tap", always changing, haha!  That movie is so cool. A few things have happened over the years. One thing I thought was funny was at a show we did, the battery pack of the wireless system came off the strap clip and fell on the floor. So I picked it back up , plugged it back in and shoved it down the back of me pants. Half way through a song, the guitar cut out , the pack came open and the batteries are then sliding between my ass and balls! I asked if anyone had any batteries on stand by that I could use. I did use some spare batteries and guess which pair I returned, hehehe!

WC: Any last thoughts or messages to the American A.O.D. fans out there?

PH: I'd like to say thank you very much for your time doing this interview, your support and all the great work the media does for us bands.

To all the Hobbs fans, a massive Hails. I'll say what I've always said and told my fans. I've always put them before myself because without them, there is nothing. Thank you, America, for being so supportive to me and I'll see you all very soon!