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Troy Norr (Coldsteel)

Interview with Troy Norr from Coldsteel
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 March 2013, 11:18 AM

American Thrashers COLDSTEEL have been in the scene since 1986 and yet they have only released one album, “Freakboy”, way back in 1992. However, it did made quite a sense back then. Fast-forward almost twenty years afterwards and they are back again with new material in the form of the “America Idle” EP. Steinmetal had a long and extending talk with long standing vocalist Troy Norr about COLDSTEEL, his other band THEM and a hell of other interesting stuff.

Hi there Troy, thanks for taking the time for this interview for Metal Temple. What have you been up to?

Hey Lior! Thanks so much for taking the time to interview me! I have been real busy preparing for the release of Coldsteel’s first release in 20 years…”America Idle”, working a full time job, taking care of my three kids and writing material for a full length conceptual record with the band “THEM”. This record will be original material in a similar vein as King Diamond. The LP will be titled “Sweet Hollow” and is due out Halloween 2014!

It is has been nearly two decades since your band COLDSTEEL released anything, and now you guys are finally back. I wonder what happened twenty years ago after your debut “Freakboy”? Why did you guys just fade out?

Actually just about 20 years to the day! 20 years ago, Coldsteel were preparing for a European tour in support of “Freakboy”. The label, Turbo Music, had shut its doors unexpectedly and the band was left without a label, a tour or hope because of the grunge scene exploding at that very same time. Take all that and combine it with feelings to go in different musical directions and that spells out doom. The band disbanded in 1993 and went our separate ways but always remained friend until this day!

Thinking back after “Freakboy”’s release. Would you had done things differently regarding the band’s career choices and its path. Do you think that the album wasn’t supported as it should had?

I am torn on this answer but I will have to say “Yes, I would have done things differently” even though I really enjoy some of the Alternate styled sounding metal Coldsteel created on Freakboy. There are people reaching out to me even today saying the Freakboy is still listened to and loved. However, there were many fans of the band from the demo days that did not appreciate Coldsteel’s direction change. The main reason for that direction change was the grunge explosion. In the states, everyone loved grunge. It was depressing actually. If it wasn’t Pantera, Metallica or Slayer people were not interested. Americans are very trendy when it comes to music. European metal heads are different in that regard because they  will love, listen and support all forms of metal! One of the band’s recent goals with recording “America Idle
 was to regain street credit for Coldsteel by trying to keep true to the roots of the band!

Have you ever thought about re-releasing “Freakboy”, which was a hell of stand point for Thrash Metal back in the day?

Freakboy was re-released twice actually. Once in 1995 by Pavement Recordings and then again in 2012 by Battle Cry Records (Germany). The Battle Cry included 4 bonus tracks with one of those tracks being the lost version of Crackdown that I re-recorded in 2011!

Lately I listened to both the compilation of demos released by Stormspell Records of your early stuff, that knocked a few chairs, and just a few weeks ago I reviewed your comeback EP, “America Idle”, released by the same label. What do you think that changed between your early days and the present, other than your experience and lineup?

One evident change was the injection of some European flavorings. This can be heard in the song “Ashes To Ashes”. Another change was the attitude. The first demos were about energy derived from youth.  The goal with “America Idle” was to portray an image of maturity and power.

In my view, “America Idle” is a sort of a harsher way, with plenty of criticism, about the American society and where it is headed. I also tried to figure out of you are Republican or a Democrat, and I guessed that are the former or probably none since your strong inputs on the lyrics. Do you agree with my point of view or it is something else? Please elaborate.

The funny thing is I am not really a political person but am a registered democrat that voted republican this past election. Most importantly, I am PRO CONSTITUTION and taking neither sides of the movements that are out there (Occupy vs Tea Party). The US Government has been destroying our financial system by printing money whenever they want (Thanks to Nixon for Abolishing the Gold Standard back in 1973) and incrementally stripping away the liberties of the American people. The theme of the record as well as the song “America Idle” tells the people what various former presidents have once said…It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to make sure the government is doing its job. When the government is no longer working for the people and attempts to strip their freedoms, then it is time for change by revolting and replacing these said individuals. Our latest uproar is the new gun laws. There are some states in the US that are ready to fight federal agents if there is a nationwide sweep of weapons. They will fight to the death. They will RISE…which is the tagline of America Idle….We The People…Rise!

I know it is more political, but I always thought of the strong ties between Metal and politics. Where do you think America is headed and do you think that more bands, such as yourselves, should rise up, shout it out and let everyone know about what is coming?

I totally agree with your comment about the ties between metal and politics. America Idle is the very first song in Coldsteel’s history that has strong political overtones.  Back in the day, Coldsteel mainly wrote about other social issues and some fictional stories involving horror. I think America will experience a greater financial crisis in the years to come and more of the America people’s liberties will be stripped unless the current president is impeached. There will be more bands coming out with songs about the country’s state. Recently, Testament’s “Rise up” is the closest thing to the mishaps of the US Government’s involvement with the middle east but aside from that song I am not aware of any other band with such a strong concept as “America Idle”.

About your music on “America Idle”, I have to admit that it sounded a bit groovier, ANTHRAX like, than your early stuff, which was a fast attack Thrash. What made you to become less aggressive musically than earlier?

We as a band have matured musically and physically so it feels more natural to perform mainly in a slower thrashier style. I am not saying we do not like fast tunes. Just listen to “Ashes To Ashes” on America Idle. That song has a decent fast pace to it. We actually started to slow down on the demo “Perfect Peace”. When we recorded “Dead By Dawn” it was super-fast by accident. The songs were performed so fast because the band was so excited to record for the first time. In reality those songs were written to be played half the speed. We didn’t use a metronome on Dead By Dawn nor did we plot out a tempo map as we have done with “America Idle’.

What is your standout point of “America Idle”? Please broaden about it why.

In my opinion, the speech in America Idle as well as the artwork by Jan from Dargrove.net stands out the most. These two stand out points are what I envisioned from day 1 and I am so proud that the band, the engineers and the artist helped make that particular vision evolve into what we have now.

Since you guys are back, I assume that you already began working on your full length release. It is about time for a second. What can you tell about it? Will it be in the vein of “America Idle” or will you evolve your style even further?

I have good news and bad news. First the bad news. Coldsteel has not begun working on a full length release yet. If “America Idle” becomes a semi success for the band, we will then write and record a full length. All I can say is IF a full length record from Coldsteel is released in the future, it will be heavier, faster (at times) but still lean towards a more melodic approach vocally. Second, the good news…3/5 of Coldsteel were performing in a King Diamond Tribute band called THEM for 3.5 years. In 2011, THEM decided to write and record a full length conceptual record in a similar vein as King Diamond. The writing process was put on hold to write and record “America Idle”. Since the America Idle’s project been completed in Dec 2012, THEM has reformed to continue the writing process. Our projected release date is Halloween 2014 for the the full length titled “Sweet Hollow”. THEM will be metal for sure but will sound nothing like Coldsteel by adopting a more European feel. After the release of “Sweet Hollow”, THEM will be touring worldwide in support of that record. We may even do a Coldsteel/THEM show at select festival type settings.


What about the live performances? I guess that you already swarmed NY.

Coldsteel will be performing select show dates in 2013/2104. Our first show is booked for April 9th, 2013 as direct support for UDO at Revolution located in Amityville, NY (Long Island). We would like to perform some festivals and a few European dates since the band’s opportunity was pulled right under their feet back in 1992.

Troy, I wish to thank you for this interview. I have been looking forward for your return and I am glad that you are back. Though I miss your old days, I liked “American Idle”. I wish you the best of luck. Any last words for the readers?

Lior, thanks again for giving me this opportunity. I too miss the old days but think Coldsteel will deliver the goods if the fans want it. If not, that is ok there are so many things to do with what time I left in my life. lol. Also, please keep an eye for the “America Idle” video. It is being directed by Patrick Kendall (Megadeth – Headcrusher) and will feature performance and a narrative piece. This video should be released sometime in late April or early May on coldsteelny.com and YouTube. Thanks again! Metal forever!!



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