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mark taylor


Saxon's Biff Byford was in London recently for the film premiere of Scintilla and to promote the album by a new project he has worked on, The Scintilla Project: 'The Hybrid' which features music inspired by the film.

Biff spoke to Mark Taylor where he talks about the making of the album and exclusively reveals that he is also working on a solo album.

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(UDR Music)


In a surprising move for Saxon fans, Biff Byford has teamed up with former members of Balance Of Power plus Andy Sneap for The Scintilla Project to make a concept album full of music inspired by the Sci-Fi movie 'Scintilla', which originally was going to be called 'The Hybrid', the very name of this album.

The band is built around Balance Of Power members Tony Ritchie, who wrote the majority of this album and Lionel Hicks, who works mainly in the film business these days and was heavily involved in the making of the film. Joining them is famed Metal producer Andy Sneap with Biff providing the vocals.

A pleasing album which sees Byford not too far removed from his usual vocal style but backed by a modern sounding heavy progressive rock band full of crunching riffs and majestic keyboard sounds. It works wonders.

Younger rock fans who may feel out of ease with the old trad style of Saxon can take comfort here with its sonic approach whilst Saxon fans can rest assured that this is a daring yet assuring move from their hero in trying something new without losing his identity.

Most of the songs on here are proper belters but the winner for me is the intriguing piano led ballad 'Some Nightmare' that blows the cobwebs away.

There is one extra track, 'No Rest For The Wicked', which is recorded by Saxon and originally available on the 'Call To Arms' album and is used in the closing credits of the film. There's plenty of quality music on offer here to keep the listener enlightened.

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Ally Campbell

Billy O'Brien should be at the forefront of British Film making. His first movie was the decidedly nasty and bleak farm shocker Isolation. When I was invited to the premier of his new movie I wondered if he could bend his talent to SF.

British SF has a patchy record from the Final Program to the excellent Hardware. It was with anticipation I watched O'brien's new movie.

It is after the fall of the Soviet Union. In a bunker in Azerbaijan something is being developed. A new super soldier to combat the imperial genetics and restore Russia to its dominance in the world or just a forgotten relic of the cold war.

A team of specialists are sent in to investigate and gather specimens. Much like the plot of Aliens. After a slow beginning getting to the bunker we meet the Chechen rebels who control the upper part of the facility. John Lynch is the head of the mercenaries and gives a brutal performance of a person who is right up against it.

Then we get the party moving through the corridors being attacked by an unknown assailant. A lot more could have been done with this segment as the antagonists were great.

Once they got into the lower bunker the entered an area which just looked like it had come straight out of the game Bioshock. The whole feel of the area with its brightly coloured arena showed a stark contrast to the bleak grey of the corridors.

The next scene reveals what the Scintilla project is all about. This for me is where the movie worked very well.

They had spliced human DNA with that found in a meteorite. In a similar way to the A for Andromeda series of the 60s. Albeit with a different means of transmission of the DNA code.

Next we get to see the Scintilla Hybrid in all of its glory - but wait, there are two. Something happens to one of them then the other goes on the rampage with a weapon made from a mobile phone. Lot of nastiness abides with loads of unfortunates getting their heads blown off.

O'Brien's movie is not the most original but it is a lot of fun. The start of the movie was a bit slow but at least he credits the viewer with some intelligence allowing them to join dots together.

Using Lynch as his lead actor is a master stroke. The central character needed to be at once believable and hard bitten for the movie to work.

The score was used sparingly throughout but I do think that more than one song for the superb Scintilla project featuring Biff Byford of Saxon fame should have been used in the movie. It is the best British SF thriller I have seen in a while.

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MetalTalk's Mark Taylor and Dutch Michaels at the film premiere



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