Based out of Allentown, PA, the mighty Sinister Realm present heavy metal in the glorious tradition of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Their latest magnum opus is entitled World Of Evil, a destined to be headbanging classic recently unleashed through Shadow Kingdom Records. Sinister Realm has opened for the likes of Accept, Diamond Head and Tim Ripper Owens, gaining a strong fan base with their exhilarating metal anthems. Here is a recent interview we conducted with bassist John Gaffney to find out more about this rock solid metal act, the concepts behind the World Of Evil title, opening for the legendary Accept, their Anvil cover song, and other topics. Read on as we journey into the Sinister Realm…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Sinister Realm, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m John Gaffney, bass player and founder of Sinister Realm. The band has been together for about 5 years now.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
The band is based out of Allentown, Pennsylvania which is in the North Eastern part of the state. There’s a pretty strong metal community where we live and people are supportive. Just like anywhere else I guess we’ve had our ups and downs with clubs closing and such. I would definitely recommend a very great female fronted power metal band from our area called MindMaze. They have an album out called “Mask of Lies” and it’s really great stuff, look them up.
Is there any story or concept behind the title World Of Evil?
That sometimes when you read the newspaper or watch the news it just seems like we are living in a world full of evil. The things that we do to each other can be really awful. Trying to be a “good” guy amongst all this can sometimes make you feel like you are standing alone.
How does World Of Evil compare to your previous albums on Shadow Kingdom Records?
I think that it combines elements of the first two album with some doomy moments and some more traditional metal moments but it’s also a step forward with some more ambitious epic songs like “Four Black Witches” and “The Ghosts of Nevermore“.
Select two songs from World Of Evil and what inspired the lyrics.
“Prophets of War” was inspired by watching the news and always seeing some know-it-all talking head, pounding his fist on a table claiming we have to fight these people or that country or that if we don’t do something about this or that it will be the end of the world. These people seem to enjoy planting and growing anger and hatred in people. The song “Bell Strikes Fear” is about us destroying our planet and when the doomsday clock strikes midnight we are all done.
Who did the cover art for World Of Evil and how much input did you have on it?
A gentleman by the name of Augusto Peixoto at Iron Doom Design. We are both Candlemass fans and I met him on their forum, I checked out some of his work and liked it. I saw a background he had for one of his pictures and asked him if he could change it up a bit to fit the theme of “World of Evil“. He was great to work with and I’m really happy with the results.
What could one expect from a live Sinister Realm show?
Lots of energy with a generous amount of fist pumping and head banging. Basically a solid old school style metal show.
What was it like opening for the legendary Accept and did you get to hang out with them at all?
It was awesome, they are a great band and definitely an influence on me. Wolf Hoffman is one of my favorite guitar players. He is so melodic and tatseful. We didn’t really have a chance to hang with them but by chance I met the bass player at a local bar (He lives near Philladelphia Pennsylvania) and was able to have a long chat with him.
Any strange or scary happenings from the road or at a show you could share?
No not really, we run into some strange characters here and there but it’s always a fun time.
If Sinister Realm could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
From the past I would love to open for Ozzy during the Randy Rhoads era, just for the chance to see Randy live and those first two Ozzy albums are very influential on me. For a current band I would say Candlemass. Leif Edling’s songwriting is very inspiring to me and I’ve been lucky to get to know him over the years so it would be fun to play with them.
Has Anvil heard or commented on your cover of Forged In Fire and what made you chose that song for the Tribute album?
I know that they listened to the album and made some general comments on how they thought everyone did a great job but nothing specifically directed at us. I’ve always loved the song “Forged in Fire” as it has a really cool heavy groove and a bit of dark sinister feel to it. It seemed like an obvious choice.
Are you involved with any other bands outside of Sinister Realm?
I’m currently working with a really great singer named Rich McCoy, we’ve been writing some songs in an epic doom metal style. The band is called Majesty in Ruin and we hope to have a demo out in the near future.
What’s up next for Sinister Realm?
A bunch of live shows and hopefully some touring to support the new album. We have an EP with 4 or 5 songs we plan on releasing early next year, that will be a limited edition thing that we will press up ourselves.
Any final words of wisdom?
Stay heavy…stay clean…and stay metal.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you for the questions and for supporting Sinister Realm and heavy metal. Please visit www.sinisterrealm.net for all the latest.
Sinister Realm is:
Alex Kristof – vocals
John Gaffney – bass, guitar, background vocals
John Kantner – rhythm & lead guitar
John Risko – lead guitar
Chris Metzger – drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)