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As in the words of the great actor Morgan Freeman when he did that hilarious narration from The Shawshank Redemption at the Graham Norton Show: “At first I didn’t think much of BALANCE OF POWER. I thought they were just another dime in a dozen hard rock band. That was my first impression of the band. But after I had heard their new album, I still had hope.” That ‘new album’ would be Fresh From The Abyss, out via Massacre Records on April 19th. Actually, I really got hooked on songs like Never Be Here Again, Abyss and One More Time Around The Sun, the first three singles that have been released from the album so far. And from then on I knew, I would stop at absolutely nothing to get an interview with BALANCE OF POWER‘s newly acquired singer Hazel Jade Rogers. So I threw some questions at her.

Interview by: Henk van Nieuwenhoven

To be quite honest, BALANCE OF POWER was recommended to me, but I was very reluctant to include it on Female Fronted Power. However, after I had heard the new album “Fresh From The Abyss”, I was completely turned.
Thank you, I’m glad you turned!

The discography of BALANCE OF POWER is kind of weird. In the early years, after the formation in 1995, they made album after album, five in only seven years time! It suddenly stopped in 2003 and then there’s a huge gap until 2024 when the single “Never Be Here Again” came out, after you had joined the band in 2023. Did Tony Ritchie (bass) and Lionel Hicks (drums), the only two original members in the band, tell you what happened in 2003?

At the time I was based in York, UK and ended up recording “Never Be Here Again” as a trial run in my tiny apartment over the kitchen sink on my Mac!”

been looked after well. Their offer was also extremely good in the current climate!

The first single in the new lineup was “Never Be Here Again”, a hard rock song with a strong 80s vibe and a video all shot in black & white. How did you manage to shoot that video clip in such a beautiful mansion?

BALANCE OF POWER albumcoverthe band’s choice for the 3 videos.

“Fresh From The Abyss” opens with “Last Man Down” that literally breathes, oozes and sweats 80s metal, and more specifically the DIO period. You heard that before?
Yes, I was surprised initially at the DIO references, but can perfectly identify with that now! I often get compared to

Yes, I was aware of the band’s history. Both Lionel and Tony were very up front about the story of BALANCE OF POWER. Having worked in bands myself for over a decade, it’s not uncommon for people to come and go for one reason or another. Interestingly, in 2014 they did do another album under the name “Scintilla” for a movie of the same name with virtually the same lineup as “Fresh From The Abyss, barring of course me! However, they had the singing prowess of Biff Byford (Saxon) as lead singer, and I believe Andy Sneap (Judas Priest) was also on the album!BALANCE OF POWER hallAs said, you became the lead singer in 2023 and with you also came two new guitarists, Adam Wardle and Chris Young. How did they and yourself got involved with BALANCE OF POWER?
My manager had dealt with Toby Jepson through some music business consultancy with him, and around a year later Toby contacted her to see if I was interested in trying out some session singing for Lionel and Tony on the album. At the time I was based in York, UK and ended up recording “Never Be Here Again” as a trial run in my tiny apartment over the kitchen sink on my Mac! Bizarrely part of what I recorded was used in the final recording for the album! They were so impressed with my efforts, that they decided to ask me to join BALANCE OF POWER, and the rest is history! I believe Adam was recommended to Tony and Lionel as he has an excellent pedigree and was on the ‘loose’ so to speak. Chris of course had been my guitarist for over a decade, and so I put him forward.

The return of BALANCE OF POWER was announced on your Facebook page on January 23rd, 2024 and only one day later you mentioned that the band had signed with Massacre Records and a new album “Fresh From The Abyss” would be released in April. Things can go quickly in the tumultuous music business, apparently…
Yes, Lionel and Tony had been thinking about signing with a record label as the album was coming to fruition and they had a few potential labels in the pipeline. In the end they decided to go with their old label as their previous experience with them had been very positive and they had

We were very lucky! Fortunately, Lionel found the venue (I’m not sure if he was advised or not), but with his other ‘profession’ being a film producer, I guess one of the things they do is check out filming locations! It was a beautiful venue, seeping with history! Carlton Towers has featured in a number of films and series, so it’s no stranger to mad people running around with filming equipment!

After that, you released “Abyss”, a much rawer and darker song than the first single. Does it reflect the times in which we are living now, where people more and more start to lose faith in God?
For me it was a fun song with attitude. I think people are moving away from formal religion, but this in no way reflects on their belief in a God, as they continue to reflect on a deity greater than themselves and hope that there is some sort of continuation of life after death. I do believe in negative (evil) and positive (good) energy, or yin and yang, and think that people can be consumed by either side. We all have the capacity in us for great good or evil, but for the most part I try to stay on the positive side! I do love the imagery on the darker side though!

The third single off the new album is the ballad “One More Time Around The Sun”. Please tell us more about this beautiful song.BALANCE OF POWER singleI loved singing this song, as it’s a singers dream ballad. It’s a beautiful concept that Tony had of wanting to be with the one you love so dearly and as age creeps up and our time is limited and finite on this earthly planet, hoping for that extra bit of time with them. So ‘one more time around the sun’ together! I’m also very chuffed that I contributed to it in a small way by altering the melody line of the chorus, so I really feel ‘part’ of the song. I hope it gets picked up as a film track, as I do think it has that quality in it.

You work exclusively with Toby Jepson, who got you in the band, and his company Big Bad Films for your videos. What makes him so special?
Lionel and Toby have known each other since they were children, as they both grew up in Scarborough and became firm friends. They’ve also crossed paths through music many times, and now Toby has moved into film production. Both him and Lionel are working together now on some film projects. It made sense that Toby, who had a strong background in the music industry (not least through Little Angels) and now film production, was

Ann Wilson (Heart), and occasionally Doro, but I think the DIO reference works well for the overall sound of the band.

In “Monster” you sing the line: “There’s a monster in my head”. Is it a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde story?
Again, Tony wrote the song, but I think we’ve all got a monster in our heads, haven’t we? That moment when we just see scarlet red! It’s a great fun song, and I really enjoyed singing it, loved the ‘gang’ vocals too!

As said, “Fresh From The Abyss” harks back to the 80s on many occasions, for example on “Rage Of Ages”. Can you name some bands that BALANCE OF POWER have been compared with from that period?
I do know that the influences of the band include Dream Theatre and Porcupine Tree, so perhaps that is reflected in the music. Bands such as Genesis would also have had an influence.

“Velocity” sounds almost like a long lost Van Halen song that you revitalized. In it, you sing: “Still it burns”. Does it irritate you that people from the press always compare you with other bands?
To be honest, if it’s a great band, I don’t mind at all. Sometimes it’s very complementary to be compared to successful bands and singers! I think we all want to pigeonhole sounds, so we refer to other patterns in our head, quite expected really. Ultimately of course we want to sound like us, and not someone else. But there’s not a band on the planet that hasn’t absorbed influences from other artists!

Will there be another single (with a video) taken from the album on or after the release day, April 19th?
Yes, we’re hoping so. We’re working on it! We also will start writing for the next album too!BALANCE OF POWER HJRIt’s very hard after Brexit for UK bands to come over to Holland. But please, can you try anyway?
I would love to. I’m Irish, so I’m allowed, hahaha! We’re looking at potentially gigging as soon as possible, but we had to rebuild the band back into the psyche of the modern audience first and foremost. We think after the album is released, we should hopefully get back to a bit of gigging! I love gigging myself, and we have talked about going on tour, so watch this space!