Fit For A King & In Hearts Wake
Like Moths To Flames, Phinehas
Sat, December 16, 2017
Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm (event ends at 10:45 pm)Trees
This event is all ageshttp://www.treesdallas.com/event/1545439/
“There was a big chunk of time after that attack where I was looking over my shoulder,” explains guitarist, Bobby Lynge. “Nobody wants to live their life in fear. Nobody should have to contemplate going to a concert because they’re going to get mowed down by a guy with a machine gun. It’s infuriating that that’s even a thing.”
“We were in Germany during the attacks, and with four days before we were playing Paris, we were all flooded with the reality of death,” remembers the band’s lead vocalist, Ryan Kirby. “I couldn’t stop thinking about how fragile life is, and how deeply death affects you.” He spent the remainder of the tour—with other members Jared Easterling and Tuck O’leary—writing what would turn into Deathgrip, a record that represents not only the inescapable nature of death, but it’s grip over how we all live our lives.
Take the track “Pissed Off,” a song that portrays the band’s emotional reaction to the murders. The lyrics “We live and die in a hopeless world / Laying waste to the innocent with no regret, I’m sick of it,” expose their rage and frustration at continued acts of terror. Overcome by how inevitable tragedy is, Kirby called out to others to share their experiences, too. “I asked our fans to share life stories with us,” he notes, “and I was shocked by how many people wanted to.” The most common theme, flaunting itself over and over again, was death.
For instance, the song “Cold Room” deals with the death of a child. Taken from the experience of a fan who wished to remain anonymous, the track examines a mother’s experience with abortion. After becoming pregnant again later on in life, her struggle to feel worthy as a parent was crippling. Another experience, shared in the song “Dead Memory,” deals with a family member. “My wife’s father abandoned her,” Kirby explains, “so I wrote about death from her perspective—the death of her spirit. She felt abandoned and empty inside.” Lyrics like “Your touch, poisonous / You’re nothing to me / Would you even notice if my world was falling apart? / Would you even care if my heart stopped beating?” engulfs the listener in the poisonous effects of silent desertion. “People can lose their minds over the depression of loss,” notes Kirby. “It has such a grip over our lives; it truly affects how people go about living. Processing through our grief in this record was really therapeutic, and we hope it is for our fans too.”
Musically, the record is just as provoking. Fit For A King returns with just as much grit and moxie, carrying with them a sound similar to past releases Descendants and Creation/Destruction. “We don’t want to be limited to one kind of metal, and we don’t try to mold into one thing,” says Lynge. “We really take pride in that.” "Their flexibly is showcased in their ability to tour with a wide scope of acts, from metalcore, to metal, to hardcore.
Although their presence in rock music is sizeable, their egos aren’t. “More than anything, we want our fans to be our friends, and we want to stand out as gentleman,” expresses Lynge. The result of their agenda is not only a catalogue of commanding metal music, but a compelling and well-built voice, one that rests on the willing shoulders of a band set on being open handed.
Ark is both a dynamic breath of fresh air for the metalcore genre as a whole and a treatise on one of the world’s great impending issues. Today, in some parts of the world, water is already more expensive than oil, a trend that is spreading. In Hearts Wake – comprising frontman Jake Taylor, guitarists Ben Nairne and Eaven Dall, bassist Kyle Erich and drummer Conor Ward – are bringing this distressing issue to the world’s attention.
“No matter what side of the world we live on, water connects us all,” says Jake. “Every living thing, and every human being that ever was or will be, is born of water. The plasma in our blood is 92% water, our brains 75%, and even our bones are 30% water. The same water that shapes our Earth is the same water within each of us.”
“This record is an ode to the Ark, that is our ocean planet. Just like a ship, if one part is compromised, all life is threatened. What happens on one side of the world affects the other. If we don’t work together to repair our home and restore the integrity of its natural resources, we will all go down with the ship. Since water is our lifeblood, it needs to be respected, protected, and acknowledged not only as a basic human right, but as an essential human need.”
In conjunction with the release of Ark, In Hearts Wake have joined forces with Tangaroa Blue to lead a series of waterway clean-ups in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and at home in Byron Bay. Marine debris is one of the major environmental issues worldwide and In Hearts Wake – along with their fans – will first tackle this problem on the local level before taking the initiative global with a series of clean-ups in the works for future overseas tours.
“We were looking at scheduling in-store signing sessions during Ark release week when it occurred to us - why don’t we hang out with our fans and work together to do something positive. By doing this we get to spend time with the amazing people that continue to support us, and show everyone that positive actions, large or small, all help to make up the bigger picture.”
Ark follows ‘Skydancer’ (2015), ‘Earthwalker’ (2014), and ‘Divination’ (2012) in further cementing In Hearts Wake’s status as one of the leading lights of melodic metalcore. In 2016 they released the unique collaborative Equinox EP alongside label mates and compatriots Northlane, and have looped the planet multiple times in the name of spreading their ecological, humanitarian and urgent environmental message.
In Hearts Wake have won new friends and fans from multiple US runs including Vans Warped Tour, and stints supporting Parkway Drive and August Burns Red. They have also taken the fight to European festivals such as Download, Graspop, Groezrock and Vainstream and successfully toured South East Asia and are becoming bigger than ever at home in Australia.
The foundations for the band stretch back to the early 1980s, when Jake’s stepdad took the role as frontman for Massappeal, one of Australia’s first-ever hardcore bands. In 2003, when Jake was 13 years old he saw Massappeal re-unite to support Henry Rollins performing Black Flag. From that moment, his path was set.
The members of In Hearts Wake grew up in the hardcore enclave of progressive Byron Bay, inspiring the band to spread a positive message throughout the world. They have drawn from local eco-ethics and applied them on a global scale.
“As members of In Hearts Wake, we believe there’s an opportunity to do good as well as enjoy the journey along the way,” says Jake. “Music is an amazing release from all that’s frustrating and complicated about this world, as well as a lot of fun – we love that side of it. But it can also be empowering and inspiring at the same time. Heavy music, like rock ‘n’ roll in the ’60s, often confronts injustice, ignorance and imbalance, becoming a catalyst for social change. Now like then, people want to move and be moved by the music and feel its message.
“In Hearts Wake are all about the music, the message, and the mosh pit–they run through our blood, like the water running through our veins.”
Upon the band’s arrival, fans quickly became as passionate about the group’s songs as the young men who composed them. When We Don’t Exist took the early promise of the group’s debut EP, Sweet Talker, and expanded upon all of its ideas. When We Don’t Exist is broader, catchier and more fired up than the vast majority of the likeminded genre records being downloaded, streamed and otherwise consumed around the world. One listen to the group’s output is all the evidence one needs to understand why the Like Moths To Flames has dominated on the road on The AP Tour with Miss May I and The Ghost Inside, the Scream It Like You Mean It Tour with We Came As Romans and Attack Attack! or supporting groups like DRUGS. The two newer songs on the deluxe edition – “Learn Your Place” and “Shapeshifter” – inch even further toward that proverbial “next level,” looking toward the future.
Vigilant fans of the metalcore sound were well aware of vocalist Chris Roetter before the band began. Like Moths To Flames is the culmination of all of his travels, experience and relationships from the years he spent fronting Emarosa and Agraceful. The rest of the band cut their teeth in smaller acts as well. Guitarist Eli Ford was formerly in My Ticket Home. Drummer Greg Diamond came from The Air I Breathe, while bassist/backing vocalist Aaron Evans (who started LMTF with Roetter) and lead guitarist Zach Huston played in TerraFirma together.
“Aaron and I were in bands that had seen the bad side of the music business,” Roetter explains of the group’s formation. “This time around, we wanted to make sure that we were playing music that we had a good time with. We wrote music that we liked that we knew that we would like to play live. We knew we wanted to go out and have fun we want to do it our way, however we wanted.”
The band found their footing with their debut EP and then really developed their sound with their first full-length, which is chock full of angry bile and exposition reflective of a singer with plenty to get off his chest.
Like Moths To Flames embarked on the “A Metal Christmas” tour to support their inaugural EP on Rise Records, together with Texas In July and A Hero A Fake. After a lineup reshuffle that resulted in the current incarnation save for the drummer position (which shifted shortly thereafter), the band recorded their first full album, which was released in November, 2011. In the following January, they hit the road on the S.I.N. Tour with D.R.U.G.S., Hit the Lights and Sparks The Rescue. Next they found themselves back on tour with their friends in Texas In July. Next came the summer’s Scream It Like You Mean It Tour. The year wrapped up with Like Moths To Flames joining The AP Tour.
In an era of verse/chorus/verse screaming and singing, Like Moths To Flames aims for a more organic blend of the two styles that serves the song rather than a formula. Even as people continue to discover When We Don’t Exist, Like Moths To Flames are putting their eyes toward the bigger prize of album number two, which the band intends to make even “darker” and “more eerie.”
Spending ten months out of the year on the road, the group is fully committed to making music their long-term lifestyle. At the end of the day, the band’s raison d’etre is simple. “I want to be able to connect with people through writing songs,” Roetter says. “That’s something that I've been able to do since I was younger and that's something that I want to continue to do. We want to be able to meet fans and people and play our music. More time out on the road playing shows for more people is going keep lighting the fire under the band to keep it going.”
The New Wave Of American Metal defined by the likes of As I Lay Dying, Shadows Fall, Unearth, All That Remains, Bleeding Through, and likeminded bands on the Ozzfest stage and on the covers of heavy metal publications has found a new heir in PHINEHAS. Even as the NWOAM owed a sizeable debt to Europe’s At The Gates and In Flames and North America’s Integrity and Coalesce, PHINEHAS grab the torch from the generation just before them. The four men of mayhem find themselves increasingly celebrated by fans, critics, and contemporaries, due to their pulse-pounding brutality.
Make no mistake: PHINEHAS is not a simple throwback. PHINEHAS is a distillation of everything that has made the genre great since bands first discovered the brilliant results of combining heavy metal’s technical skill with hardcore punk’s impassioned fury.
SEAN MCCULLOCH has poured his heart out through his throat with decisive power, honest reflections on faith and doubt, and down-to-earth charm since 2007.
Drummer/backing vocalist LEE HUMERIAN has powered the band with momentous thunder since the following year. Bassist BRYCE KELLY and guitarist DANIEL GAILEYcame later, forging a foursome in the spirit of the sledgehammer-like delivery of Pantera.
The band’s modern interpretation of a now classic but criminally underrepresented sound achieves new creative heights with Till the End. The group’s third album is theirfirst for Artery Recordings, home to scene kingpins Attila and Chelsea Grin. The mid-2000s style stomp of “My Horses Are Many” (watched by over half a million people on YouTube) and “I Am the Lion” from thegodmachine (2011) melted seamlessly into the molten lava-like Southern metal groove of “Blood On My Knuckles” from The Last Word is Yours to Speak (2013). A hint of that Lamb Of God-type flavor persists on Till the End (particularly in “Coup de Grâce”), but PHINEHAS is now even more ambitious than ever.
The searing sing/scream combo akin to their buddies in Haste The Day collides with a bigger-than-before shred-tastic technicality from Gailey, who brings his considerable chops as a former guitarist for Becoming The Archetype into the established PHINEHAS stew with stunning results. Matching the monster riffs and brutalizing drumming pound for pound in passion, McCulloch doesn’t mince words when attacking the polarizing hypocrisy of many American Evangelicals. “How can you love a God you cannot see / when you hate your fellow man standing in front of me?” he bellows in “Dead Choir,” one of the album’s most aggressive but melodic tracks. “You’re a liar and a fake,” he declares, before reminding fellow believers: “Without Grace we would all be dead.”
Elsewhere on the album, PHINEHAS mine the esoteric intelligence of Thrice, while maintaining a consistently heavy, catchy, and often wonderfully complex density.
Standouts include “Tetelestai” (“It is Finished” in Greek) and crowd favorite “White Livered,” which features guest guitar work from Dominic Dickinson of Affiance. An acoustic intro gives way to guitar sweeps and brutal but hopeful vocals in “Till the End,” which closes the album with a repeated refrain of, “Live free or die / Till the end.”
A commitment to personal, professional, and musical excellence; an urgent calling to share hope, faith, and unconditional love with the masses; a relentless hunger to connect with diverse groups of people all around through their music and their message – these are the things driving PHINEHAS. Whether on tour with bands like For Today, Close To Home, War Of Ages, and Sleeping Giant; at events like New England Metal & Hardcore Festival and South By So What; or on a showcase with Beartooth, PHINEHAS will share their catharsis with the broken, the searching, and the hurting, Till the End.
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