ASOMVEL - Kamikaze  LP
ASOMVEL - Kamikaze  LP
ASOMVEL - Kamikaze  LP
ASOMVEL - Kamikaze  LP
ASOMVEL - Kamikaze LP

HRR 255, ltd 500, 150 x green vinyl + 350 x black vinyl, 425gsm heavy cardboard cover, 4 page lyric insert

Jay-Jay Winter - Bass, vocals
Lenny Robinson - Guitars
Ian Wright - Drums

-No Twist of Fate
-End of the Line
-Dead by Dawn
-Internet Commando
-The Ballad of Agnes White
-Womb to the Tomb
-Stone Cold Stare


Asomvel is a true blue British Heavy Metal band originally founded in Harrogate, Yorkshire in 1993. Their first official demo tape “The Blood Eye”, however, was not issued until 2003. “Kamikaze” is the band's first longplay album. Asomvel's classic line up consisted of veterans Ian Wright (drums), guitarist Lenny Robinson and Jay-Jay Winter (bass, vocals). When Jay-Jay sadly passed away in 2010, some feared that this would be the end of Asomvel. Founding member Lenny Robinson explains: “When Jay died, it was the worst day of our lives. He was my best friend for nearly 30 years, that is a long time. My instant thoughts were that we had to keep going to keep Jay's name alive. In all the time we'd been a band, there were a lot of people who thought we should just quit. We never fit into any scene, nobody wanted to know us, but we thrived on that and to be honest, we were only doing it for our own benefit. I knew Jay would never want us to throw the towel in, but I also knew he wouldn't want his name attached to something inferior.“
The “Kamikaze” album was recorded when Jay was still alive and was originally only issued on CD. “We got good reviews for 'Kamikaze'”, says Lenny Robinson. “I wasn't happy with the album when we finished it though. I was re-writing the riffs the week before we went in the studio and we couldn't rehearse it properly. Johnny and Paul who produced it were real task masters and pushed us hard. We did it in a week, which is no way to record an album, so I felt we could have done better with more time. When I listen to it now, I really think it's a great album. Jay is ferocious in his vocal delivery and his lyrics are from the heart: he believes every word he says.” A good example for that is the song "Internet Commando" of which Lenny says: “Jay was sick of faceless bastards on the internet talking trash to him and thinking they could get away with it. Jay was a fantastic lyricist, he had a certain vocabulary and intellect that you don't see every day. He used to message them and say 'Here's my address, I'm at home most evenings. Come round and we'll sort it out like men.' They would shut up very quickly after that.”
Asomvel is a three-piece and to me they have the perfect rough 'n' ready three-piece sound and approach of bands like Tank, Venom and classic Motörhead (of the Fast Eddie period). Lenny agrees: “I was a massive Motörhead fan since I got the 'Motörhead/City Kids' single on Chiswick in 1978. That's what got me started playing guitar. I was never a Tank fan nor was Jay, they were a bit tame compared to Motörhead. I was never a Venom fan either, but Jay was. He used to go everywhere to see 'em. We always found it strange how reviewers would say they could hear the Venom and Tank influence, when I wrote the riffs and I never listened to those bands, ever.” Asomvel's sound also incorporates a healthy punk influence, reminding me of Punk/Metal crossover legends The Blood and Warfare … “Well, if you hear punk influences, it's pure coincidence”, finds the guitarist. “I never listen to Punk, the only Heavy Metal albums I have are Motörhead. I mostly listen to Elvis and The Beatles, which may surprise people.”
The amount of drummers who passed through Asomvel's ranks over the years is almost Spinal Tapish, one name sticks out, however, Mark Wharton had been playing for a band called Acid Reign. Asomvel were very well aware of Acid Reign: “They were a bit younger than Jay and me. We knew them, they were always hanging around. Wharton was always a good kid, down to earth. Him and Jay were in a band together before Acid Reign. I remember, H used to work in a record shop in Harrogate. I went in one day and he asked me to buy his band's demo tape. I bought it, but I didn't really think they'd do anything … how wrong was I?”
So even if it took 16 years for Asomvel to issue their debut album, the band was pretty well established in the local scene, which consisted of quite a few good bands apart from Acid Reign: “In the mid-1980's there were two great bands in Harrogate who used to play local gigs to hundreds of kids, Syar and Mercenary. They really made an impression on Jay and me, 'cos they used to have walls of Marshalls, explosions, smoke and looked like they were having so much fun.”
"A dream to some ... a nightmare to others" is Asomvel's slogan – a very fitting statement, which was invented by Jay as well: “He said it at a gig one night. Afterwards, I said to him: 'A dream to some … a nightmare to others'? Where did that come from? I like it! He said he was watching a movie the week before and stole the line from that. Watch 'Excalibur'.”
As mentioned earlier, Asomvel have not given up after Jay's passing on. The new bassist/vocalist bears the name Conan: “Conan was a fan of the music and loved Jay. We'd played a few gigs on the same bill as his band and we got on really well with Conan, we just thought he was a great bloke … it was like we'd known him forever.”
Asomvel have already put out an EP called “Stare at Death and Spit” with the new singer, so how different is the new re-incarnation of the band? Lenny Robinson reflects: “Jay was a unique human being. I have never met anybody like him, ever. He was my hero, just the coolest, charismatic bloke who was scared of no man. He wasn't interested in musicianship, he was all about the attitude and the feel of the music, we both were. In that respect, the band is the same, but now it's with Conan. It's still my riffs and the same philosophy. There has been no shift in direction or attitude adjustment. We still always make decisions and consider what Jay's opinion would be. The last EP consists of three songs left over from the 'Kamikaze' sessions, plus an old demo. The name of the EP comes from a line from 'No Twist of Fate', that Jay wrote the lyrics for. It seemed like a very fitting name.”
Matthias Mader