Saxon’s charismatic frontman, Biff Byford, has sparked controversy with his recent remarks regarding the metal authenticity of Amon Amarth and Ghost.
In an interview with Metal Pilgrim, Byford delved into the resurgence of heavy metal in recent years, acknowledging the success of bands like Amon Amarth and Ghost. However, he stirred the pot by suggesting that while these bands may have roots in metal, they don’t fully embody the genre:
“Amon Amarth are doing really well. Ghost have gone stratospheric. They’re not really metal, but they’ve got metal roots. So it definitely can happen if you’ve got the right songs. You just have to have a lot of luck — a lot of talent and a lot of luck.”
The Resurgence of Metal Music
Byford also weighed in on the rising prominence of heavy metal, particularly the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement. He expressed optimism about the current landscape for metal bands, noting the positive trajectory for the genre:
“Yeah, I think there’s been a massive resurgence in metal, and especially that New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, the British metal thing. So, yeah, I think we’re all riding a wave at the moment that’s looking good for bands.”
Despite the evolving landscape of music promotion, with online platforms dominating, Byford emphasized the enduring importance of promotion for bands, whether through traditional record deals or modern social media strategies:
“Back in the day, it was all about getting a record deal. These days it’s all about getting a million views on Instagram, which is the same thing. It’s still promotion.”
Is Ghost Really Metal?
Ghost’s enigmatic image has been a subject of debate within the metal community. Despite their theatrical aesthetic and association with bands like Iron Maiden, criticisms regarding their metal authenticity persist.
The band’s musical direction has also been a point of contention, with some fans expecting heavier music based on their appearance. Despite accolades like opening for Iron Maiden and winning a Grammy for Best Metal Performance, Ghost continues to face skepticism about their place in the metal industry.
Their choice to cover Iron Maiden’s “Phantom Of The Opera” stirred further controversy, with former Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson expressing his disapproval:
“Everyone asking my opinion on the Ghost cover of [‘Phantom Of The Opera’] well not that it matters but it f*cking sucks.”
As the debate rages on, Ghost remains a polarizing figure in the metal scene, challenging perceptions and pushing boundaries with their unique blend of theatrics and melody.
You can watch the interview below.