Interview: Mastiff “It’s coming. I don’t know whether we’re allowed to say when but we have a date, it’s in the bag.”

We have a thing or two in common with our guests today, we both have our own hot sauces with the same company, Chilli Of The Valley, ok they have two, but who’s counting. Also we have unfinished business as we had to postpone an interview due to falling foul of a ridiculously hot chilli related incident prior to our last meeting at Tech-Fest that left us incapacitated!

So to the people who made the Reaper roulette that destroyed us, and made our sauce, Chilli of the Valley, Dan, this one’s for you.

Hello Mastiff! How’s it going? It’s been a minute since the album came out.

“Two years.” exclaims Jim

So it has! We ask if there is new stuff on the way.

“Yes, there’s another one,” says lead growler Jim. ”We recorded it in April and we got the masters back literally two weeks ago, we’re all happy. It’s coming. I don’t know whether we’re allowed to say when but we have a date, it’s in the bag.”

And is it more of what we’ve come to love from the band, blackened, hardcore, gnarliness?

Phil takes this, “I’d say it’s a touch, not softened, but definitely refined. We spent longer recording it. So I think it sounds a bit more of a finished product. Not hugely polished or anything.” Lee agrees, ”The people that have heard it outside of us, and I think we agree with this, the sort of feedback we’ve gotten is that it’s more direct and just sort of straight progressive than anything we’ve put out before.”

We’ve noticed a revivalist movement towards Swedish death metal sounds, a guitar sound made using the notorious Boss HM-2 Pedal. Is this something they’ve utilised?

Lee offers his arm up, “I’ve got a tattoo of one!”

That’s how much they like the Swedish tone!

We move the conversation to their signature hot sauces. There’s, “Acid Breather” and the fearsome looking, “Skin Stripper.” We remark that it looks pretty savage.

We know this company can do, savage as we mentioned and “Acid Breather” seems to be a jalapeno based sauce, this all sounds disarmingly civilised!

We brought, local groove metal act, Pulverise’s new sauce as well, “Slam Time,” also made by Chilli Of The Valley. We promised the quintet we’d have another band review it so here we go…

So we’d best start off with Mastiff’s sauce really. We say dunking a chip. Despite the name, Acid Breather turns out to be lovely!

Was it your idea to have the sauces be a green and a red colour?

Jim muses, “The colour I normally think of (for Acid Breather) is yellowish green.”

So that’s why it’s jalapeno and it’s got a good garlic punch. We know that Dan down at Chilli Of The Valley loves his garlic as he grows black garlic as well, which makes him pretty unusual.

Munching away we swing back to music. We noticed Mastiff had a really good showing at the Damnation Festival in 2022.

“That was good fun,” Phil smiles, “that was when it stepped up to the Manchester Bowler’s Arena. We didn’t play the main day, we played the night before, but it was still really good.”

We noticed that both nights got equally packed.

“It was a single stage” says Lee with Jim joining in, “I think Damnation wanted to test the waters. Obviously we walked into that room going, (pulls face) fuck!…”

“I think – The 2019 one” (At Boom, Leeds) Lee offers, “felt like it was sort of associated by proxy with Damnation. We didn’t feel like part of the same event, whereas last year we were in the same room on the same stage.”

We think it was incredible to just see the likes of Pig Destroyer playing on an arena stage, which is something you’re not going to see very often!

With that it’s back to the sauce talk!

Next up before we start stripping skin we have a go on Pulverise’s sauce. The recipe is by their guitarist Tom and Chilli Of The Valley manufactured it. It’s got an interesting secret ingredient in it, can Mastiff guess what it is?

Jim asks politely, “Is it cat hair?”

It’s not cat hair.

Lee answers in a mumble “its lamb!” (Something we imagine its best we don’t hear)

Never mind, we’ll come back to that!

So we ask how the hot sauce collaboration came about.

“TechFest!” Exclaims Jim, Phil adds, “The sauces were in the canteen I dabbed some on the chilli that was in the slow cooker and it was really good!”

Techfest was a great weekend. We think it’s a very unique festival in an old aircraft hangar.

“We kind of like always un-tech-techfest.” laughs Phil, “There’s lots of these unbelievable setups and we go on, cavemen with amps and stuff.”

We offer that it’s a nice change from so many pretty, virtuosos.

Anyway guys, did you guess the secret ingredient?

Mastiff bassist and Catafalque noise monger Dan Dolby asks, “I don’t know, it starts off quite fruity and mild, Habanero?”

No, we tell them, it’s got cola in it, a genius move, we think, because the sugar offsets the chillies really well.

“That first hit you get, you’re kind of like, oh this is not hot, and then it comes in. I like that, it’s a good sauce. We’ll check them out.” Dan give’s it his endorsement.

There you go Pulverise, I told you we’d get you a review!

Now it’s time for the Skin Stripper, we’re anxious after Tech Fest, will we have to reserve some time off?

“Hopefully not! We’ve got however many hours in the car tomorrow! Got a gig in Edinburgh that could be interesting.”

If we’re not tip top tomorrow either, we’ve got it on camera!

We remark that this one is quite…Viscous, Mastiff agrees!

It’s actually really nice at first and not that scary, it’s smoky. It is surprisingly pokey for a Scotch bonnet sauce with fermented garlic. It’s not going to completely ruin our day though, which is great…phew!

Pleasantly relieved, we ask about future live plans.

“There’s one in the works for the album early-ish 2024 around the album release date.” says Phil, Lee also says that on the run up to the album release they’ll be, “busy making videos and making tits of ourselves.”

Wrapping things up we remark that today, despite scary names, has been a tremendous success! We were not expecting this tasting session with Mastiff to be, really nice!

With that we wish the band good luck with the forthcoming album and we promise to see them down the front of the awesome brutal live assault that followed!

You wouldn’t use the word nice for that!

Interview & Images By George Miller –

Main Band Promo Image: Nick Sayers