Kerrigan are one of the most promising newcomers from Germany playing traditional heavy metal. The band was formed in Freiburg in 2019 by Bruno S. (guitars, bass) and Jonas W. (vocals, guitars). The duo recorded a demo tape consisting of original compositions “Intruders”, “Force And Will” and “Heavy Metal 2020” plus a cover version of “Rest In Peace” by Wolf (UK). »Heavy Metal 2020« was later released by Fucking Kill Records on tape and vinyl. For their first full-length album »Bloodmoon« Kerrigan have inked a deal with High Roller Records.
Jonas starts to explain how Kerrigan came into being in the first place: “When we jammed on some traditional heavy metal riffs during a rehearsal with our funeral doom band Lone Wanderer, we quickly recognized how much fun we were heaving playing this kind of music. The potential was huge. We met again for another session in our rehearsal room and in no time the song ‘Intruders’ was more or less finished.” Bruno adds: “It all felt pretty natural, playing these uplifting classic heavy metal numbers in between our more doomy material. We just experimented with the first few riffs we wrote for Kerrigan and it was apparent we wanted to record a little demo containing this new material. So the beginnings of the band were really spontaneous, of course inspired by the multitude of metal bands we were listening to back at the time (mainly NWOBHM and classic heavy metal in general). Chris of Fucking Kill Records gave us some great support and put out »Heavy Metal 2020«. These four songs won’t be on the new album, by the way. The demo represents where the band was at in spring 2020. I think it’s best to leave it at that. We had more than enough new material for »Bloodmoon« and beyond anyway.”
For »Bloodmoon«, Jonathan Döring, an old friend, joined the band as session drummer. Jonas: “He did such a great job on the album that we would definitely like to carry on working with him in the future.” Bruno takes up the story: “For the demo, we didn’t want to lose time by looking for band members and thereby slowing down our creative process. We decided to stick to pragmatism and record all instruments for »Heavy Metal 2020« ourselves. The drums were programmed though. Surely not the ideal solution but our mixer Damon Good did his best to enhance the sound. For »Bloodmoon«, Jonas got Jonathan into the band and he turned out to be a superb drummer. He played some astonishing grooves on the album, which we would not have written without him.”
»Bloodmoon« features fantastic twin guitar leads in the style of the mighty Trespass. As already mentioned, Kerrigan covered “Rest In Peace” by Wolf on their »Heavy Metal 2020« demo. So is it fair to say that the New Wave Of British Heavy Meal has been one of the main sources of inspiration for the Germans? “Yes,” confirms Jonas, “Wolf was one of the bands we were listening to a lot during the initial jamming phase of the band, and their ‘Rest In Peace’ is a once in a lifetime hit. Furthermore, there is no way around the grand masters like Maiden and Priest anyway, we can not deny the huge influence they had on us. Apart from the bands of the NWOBHM period, I was also listening to a lot of Heavy Load and Accept, whose ‘Neon Nights’ is such a great song. Twin guitar leads do not only sound great, it’s also a lot of fun to play them. It’s a stylistic device which should not be overdone though as there is a danger of ending up as Maiden clones.” Bruno adds: “Listening together to ‘Rest In Peace’ is possibly one of the main reasons for Kerrigan to exist. That’s why the cover version of it just had to end up on the demo! When we wrote the first songs for the band I was also listening to a lot of Quartz, Alien Force and Grim Reaper. Besides the obvious classics, the NWOBHM for me always was at the core of heavy metal music.”
Whereas the opening number “Eternal Fire” as well as “Forces Of Night” are both pretty fast, songs like the title track or “Hold The Banner” are rather mid-paced. Playing really fast is not Kerrigan’s main objective, is it? “Our style of song writing is rather melodic, incorporating lots of vocal harmonies, this possibly works better with mid-tempo songs,“ explains Jonas. “I love playing really fast once in a while though, but only for short bursts, otherwise it would get too boring pretty quickly. Let’s see how fast Kerrigan will play in the future ...” “Varying the tempo to some degree was very important to us,” knows Bruno, “for me the main focus was on melodies and on vocals. A pure speed metal album to me is too one-dimensional. Anyhow, we will speed up as long as we feel the urge to do it. I would rather doubt though that you will hear constant sweep picking on a Kerrigan album.”
“My favourite Kerrigan song is ‘Bloodmoon’,” says Bruno closing off the interiew. “If you ask for the ‘typical Kerrigan composition’ though, then I still think it’s ‘Intruders’ off the demo.” “I don’t have a clear answer to that question,” reflects Jonas. “When we wrote the album my favourite song changed around four times over. But if I had to pin it down to a single track, then it would probably be ‘Mesmerizer’, as it combines a good story with lots of vocal harmonies, a quite interlude with a lot of intersting riffs. And this is what Kerrigan is all about for me.”