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Thrust's Ron Cooke: ""The Helm Of Awe" was originally a kind of sphere of magical power to strike fear into the enemy. It was associated with the power of serpents to paralyze their prey before striking."

Interview with Ron Cooke from Thrust
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 September 2020, 9:24 PM

If there is one thing that this pandemic is bound to take away when it comes to creativity of artists is that there will barely be that sensation after a long period of time of supporting a latest album that will inspire the music for the next in line. As a matter of fact, that burning fire will be sorely missed. Gladly, that at least for the current year, Metalheads can enjoy the fruits of the previous year, along with the motivation that came in because of those ventures of that year. Thrust, the 80s Heavy Metal heroes of once a magnificent Metal scene, return with "The Helm Of Awe", a strong standpoint that their legacy still goes strong. Steinmetal had a talk with veteran guitarist, Ron Cooke, about the pandemic, the new album, the presence of Thrust in modern day Metal, and more…

Greetings Ron, it is amazing to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

I've been doing great keeping my Fist Held High! Honored to be included in your magazine Metal Temple!

It has been more than six months ever since the pandemic struck most of the world, and it appears that it would probably remain in the foreseeable future. How have you been coping with it? Do you feel that people adjusted their mindset and behavior to the situation in your local surroundings?

We've been dealing with the pandemic like everybody just keeping safe as we can. Basically just with family. It's been tough sometimes the home confinement and cancellation of shows. Everybody is feeling the crunch, but hopefully the world will come out better than before.

Without losing too much time, after 2.5 years Thrust returns with a new album, “The Helm Of Awe”. With a lot of bands nowadays, whether signed or unsigned, take their time in order to establish themselves a strong foundation for the next record, there aren’t too many bands that are as if on the clock with their album releases. Throughout the process of making the album, did you feel a certain pressure to get it over with?

No not really, we didn't feel any pressure at all. We were just so on fire from our last album "Harvest Of Souls" and all the shows we did, that our creative energies were just pouring out into songs. Before we knew it we had written all the songs for our new album "The Helm Of Awe"

When I checked out the artwork and the album’s title, it made me think of the ancient cultures of South America and their tribal habits and customs. On the other hand, the title is quite cryptic to comprehend with asking for a clarification. In your perspective, what do you make of this mystery?

Love that, what is the "mystery" of the new album? Well it is kind of to me almost turned into a concept album. We really wrote about are feelings we all have been going through the last year or so. When you read the lyrics on the new album you will see an inner connection between humanity and the world right now. "The Helm Of Awe" it symbolize protection and victory in battle. Invincibility. Also "The Helm Of Awe" was originally a kind of sphere of magical power to strike fear into the enemy. It was associated with the power of serpents to paralyze their prey before striking. "The Helm Of Awe", as described in the manuscript \[the Galdrabók] is a power, centered in the pineal gland and emanating from it and the eyes. In Aristotle and Neoplatonism, it is for much medieval magic, the spirit connects to the body via the pineal gland, and the eyes emit rays of spiritual power.

From what it seemed to me, “The Helm Of Awe” doesn’t tell a specific story, but rather unravels several types of themes. In your view, what are the main themes that are presented? On which of those do you find yourself more than the others?

The themes for the new album are really what describe the story tracks like "Black River" "Purgatory Gates" "Battle Flag" etc….really take the listener on a journey. I have to say that the artist for the album Jan At Darkgrove really did a killer job of taking our ideas and concepts and making a great album cover.

Is there any song on “The Helm Of Awe” that might provide a hint or a message in regards to what has been happening in the world nowadays?

Yes, I believe the whole album is about what is happening these days.

At least by judging from your previous album, and this here one, Thrust has been consistent in its efforts to maintain that same musical approach bred in the 80s. Now, with our current era filled with examples that show a progression and modernity within the music, with newly found subgenres, how do you see Thrust as a relevant member of this diverse market?

Yes, we still take our sound that was bred in the 80's our roots and we really take it to a whole new higher energy level. We've really all grown as musicians overtime and I believe it really shows in our songwriting. "The Helm Of Awe" is definitely our best album so far.

Have you felt throughout the last 3 years that you were going against the grain musically in light of the modern direction of the US Metal scene, even though you had support from a considerable amount of fans?

Not really, we don't feel against the grain we just keep writing and doing the best we can and also staying true to us and metal.

Even though it hasn’t been long since your previous album, yet I do believe that any band out there, no matter how old school in direction, made some kind of an evaluation of your progress in order to come up with an even better result for the next record. How do you think that Thrust perfected itself throughout the creation of “The Helm Of Awe”?

I think the more albums we do the more seasoned we become. It's just natural progression. Our love for the music and the friendships of the fans really keep us moving forward.

Whether the songwriting, or recording processes, nothing is never easy. What would you say were the challenges of the band, or you personally, while “The Helm Of Awe” was in the making?

Well yes, there were challenges with the new album in the recording studio, it is mainly about focus and to properly know our parts. We finished recording all the songs in about 2 weeks.

The album certainly has one of the most powerful openers that I heard recently, “Black River”, straightforward US Metal of the old guard, as it should sound and be felt. What is your appreciation of this track? It seems that you guys have a lot of energy in you to spread out.

We always want to have a good contrast of song on any album we do. We like the energetic songs as well as the slow deep heavy ones. I think there are quite a lot of musical surprises the album.

Whether this pandemic will be out of the way or not, have made any plans for 2021? Maybe even start working on a new album?

Our plans for 2021 are to get back on the road and play as many live shows we can. We have been really missing all the shows and friends in our hearts.

Ron, I can’t thank you enough for the effort on this interview, many thanks for continuing to show the might of the old US Metal scene. Cheers.

Thank you for having me and we will always be thrusting to keep the metal movement strong! All the best! Peace & Love!


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