August Burns Red at The Marquee

By personally aiming beyond your perceived potential, you can truly grow.

That’s been the case every time August Burns Red record an album, and it’s quietly turned the Pennsylvania quintet-JB Brubaker [lead guitar], Brent Rambler [rhythm guitar], Matt Greiner [drums], Jake Luhrs [lead vocals], and Dustin Davidson [bass]-into a GRAMMY® Award-nominated heavy music torchbearer. Their journey began back in 2003 with marathon jam sessions on a farm belonging to Matt’s family in the egg refrigerator. Embracing a diehard Rust Belt work ethic, they tirelessly pushed towards the top of heavy music with a series of critically acclaimed albums and countless gigs. A hard-earned high watermark, 2015’s Found In Far Away Places marked their second consecutive Top 10 debut on the Billboard Top 200. The single “Identity” notched a GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Metal Performance.” A streaming juggernaut, both “Identity” and “Ghosts” [feat. Jeremy McKinnon] crossed the 3-million mark on Spotify. When it came time to record their seventh full-length Phantom Anthem [Fearless Records] with longtime producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland, the game didn’t change. The musicians put their heads down and rallied around the same shared goal, uncorking a barrage of infectious intensity, the boys augmented and amplified the touchstones of their signature style on Phantom Anthem. The musical equivalent of a clenched fist haymaker, the grooves hit harder, the hooks blaze brighter, and the instrumentation ignites even more intricacy.

Many religions, cultures, and stories attribute power to the number three. In Egyptian mythology, it symbolizes plurality, and “triads” of deities comprise a complete system. It’s no surprise that the god Osiris was born to one such triad alongside siblings Horus and Isis. It’s also not a coincidence that Chicago heavy metal quintet Born Of Osiris found a similar significance within that number on their fifth full-length album, Soul Sphere [Sumerian Records]. In fact, over the course of 12 tracks, the record examines three tiers originally uncovered in a dream that Joe Buras [clean vocals, synthesizers, keyboards] shared.

“The whole story of the record involves three levels,” explains Joe. “The first one is The Binding. You’re hanging, and you’re stagnant. The second is The Fight. You were hanging, but now you’re pulling away from this linchpin, whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual. The final is The Release. You break away and feel free, connected, and loved.”
In order to properly explore the “tiers,” the group—Joe, Ronnie Canizaro [vocals], Cameron Losch [drums], David Da Rocha [bass], and Lee McKinney [guitar]—strengthened their bond exponentially. Since 2007, these five individuals have played countless shows alongside everybody from Judas Priest and Rob Zombie to Bring Me The Horizon and Killswitch Engage in addition to festivals such as Warped Tour, Mayhem Festival, and Music As A Weapon. After each album since their debut landed in the Top 100, including fan favorites A Higher Place [2009] and The Discovery [2011], 2013’s Tomorrow We Die ∆live earned the band their highest Billboard Top 200 debut, reaching #27 and selling over 13,000 copies first-week. After another marathon of touring, the guys headed to Michigan to write what would become Soul Sphere. They then hit the studio with Nick Sampson recording drums and added keys and effects, Lee handling production for guitars and bass, and Allen Hassler for vocals. They managed to click like never before, by drawing on nearly a decade of Born of Osiris.

“Over the years, you get better at creating, writing, and recording in the studio,” says Ronnie. “You improve each time you make an album. Once we had the direction, it started gelling.”
Born Of Osiris preceded the album with the fiery chant of “Throw Me In The Jungle,” showcasing their anthemic side. The follow-up “Resilience” evinced another angle. Its gnashing polyrhythmic guitars collide with orchestral electronics and a forceful and fiery refrain, tapping into the band’s hallmarks while fortifying the attack. “We wanted to use that title for so long,” Joe goes on. “Collectively, we’ve had so much resilience, going through different friendships and changes over the years but still maintaining our connection amongst us.”Then there’s “Illuminate,” which tempers a wall of distortion with a big chorus. The third single “Goddess of the Dawn” snaps from a thick groove punctuated by pinch harmonics before an entrancing clean hook. “We talk about feeling lost, finding yourself, and opening up to love,” says Joe. “It’s all three tiers in one song. As far as the title goes, the Native Americans referred to Aurora Borealis as ‘Goddess of the Dawn’ before they knew what it was. Many cultures and religions would actually worship it.”

Soul Sphere could only by conjured by a group of musicians so personally distinct. Beyond Born Of Osiris, each member continues to enrich his own sphere. In addition to being a partnered Twitch gamer and streamer, Lee is involved in multiple music projects, spanning electronic dance music and progressive rock. His solo guitar project landed in the Top 10 of the Rock Chart alongside System of a Down and Black Sabbath. David runs his own jewelry line D A V I and remains an avid fisherman. Cameron splits his time between drum lessons and composition. Joe oversees and designs the band’s stage production, aesthetic, and lighting, and Ronnie envisions the sweeping sci-fi concepts inside the lyrics and inspiring the artwork. “This group is five best friends together,” adds Ronnie. “We’re all different, and that makes something cool. Not every band has the closeness we do. We’ve all known each other since high school.”

Ultimately, Born Of Osiris relay a crucial message here, together. “I hope people feel creative and want to make their own art after hearing this,” Joe leaves off. “It might get them off their couches and off their phones to really dive into something and challenge themselves.”

Heavy music can elicit a trance. Amidst the tension between extremes, it’s easy to lie back and float along the aural currents. Erra activate that sensation on their third full-length album and first for Sumerian Records the appropriately titled, Drift. The Birmingham, Alabama quartet—JT Cavey [vocals], Jesse Cash [guitar, vocals], Alex Ballew [drums], and Sean Price [guitar]—invite everyone to join them inside this sonic swell.
“The album title Drift represents what we feel to be a suitable state of mind when you’re listening to the album,” says Jesse.

Crash landing at a nexus between heavy metal, progressive, and alternative, the group entranced audiences with 2013’s Augment, which impressively bowed at #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums Chart. They’d tour alongside the likes of August Burns Red, Born of Osiris, TesseracT, and many others, building a devout fan base and receiving praise from Guitar World, Revolver, Alternative Press, and more. In 2015, the band headed to a Michigan studio with producer Nick Sampson [Miss May I, Born of Osiris, I See Stars] in order to begin work on what would become Drift.

However, the process took an unexpected turn when previous vocalist, Ian Eubanks injured his voice a few weeks into the sessions.
“It was extremely stressful and difficult,” explains Jesse. “Ian’s a very good friend of ours. He knew the limitations of his voice though, and understood why the band had to make the necessary change. The departure was an amicable one.”

Enter JT Cavey. Erra toured with JT while he fronted Texas In July, and they’d maintained a friendship since. After two months of learning the songs, Jesse and JT returned to the studio to finish tracking vocals. Now, the finished product reflects a marked evolution for the musicians. This time around, they utilized seven-string guitars for the bulk of recording. Nodding to an expanded palette of influences such as Deftones and Circa Survive, they embraced a deeper melodic sensibility and matched the groove to a slower tempo. Simultaneously, there’s no shortage of the intense riffing and celestial shredding that defined their initial attack.
“It’s still Erra, but it’s a little different,” Jesse goes on. “It’s more reflective of the evolution of our personal tastes and the different types of music we listen to.”

The opener “Luminesce” juxtaposes a spacey hum with a consistent fret tapping and seesawing chug punctuated by a bright refrain. “It’s about the ups and downs of touring,” he says. “You’re caught wondering whether you feel more at home when you’re on tour, or you feel more at home when you’re home. The song doesn’t resolve the question, but it discusses how hard it is to be on the road away from friends, family, and girlfriends.”

The title track conjures up a hypnotic hook in the midst of the musical tumult.
“The title track is about allowing your brain to fall into different ways of thinking,” he goes on. “We don’t find that through drugs. We prefer finding that through organic things like music and personal relationships. We prefer our perspectives to be kept in a natural place. That’s what the song is to us, but it’s obviously wide open for interpretation.”
Ultimately, Erra engage all of the senses with Drift and leave a lasting impression. “We wanted to portray real emotions,” Jesse leaves off. “We hope people feel affected by the way a song sounds. We hope to provide an atmosphere for their minds to relax in.”

All things considered, there’s one thing that we can all agree on: it’s time for something new. Welcome to the Odd World, where things happen.

Odd World Music, in the shape of Ocean Grove’s debut album The Rhapsody Tapes, is a proudly invented genre that describes what happens when frontman Luke Holmes, guitarists Jimmy Hall and Matt Henley, bassist Dale Tanner, drummer / producer genius Sam Bassal and studio member Running Touch put their heads and hearts together.

The Odd World is a space where what is real and what is perceived to be real blend together, a creation of six united misfits to explain the experience of being Ocean Grove.

“The Rhapsody Tapes’ explores a fascination with a warped perception of reality,” says Luke. “It tells parallel stories that come in waves… and parts of the album are written from the view of a child standing on the edge, looking out into a hyperreality in search of something.”

Melbourne’s Ocean Grove will be expanding The Rhapsody Tapes, using the written word, moving image, physical installations and digital techniques. The Rhapsody Manifesto already exists; The Rhapsody Chronicles will be delivered soon; The Rhapsody Explained will surface… later.

standing on the precipice of what is and what may be
– What I Love About A Natural Woman

The Rhapsody Tapes was written and produced entirely by the band in Sam’s bedroom, allowing Ocean Grove endless creative freedom. The album breathed itself out over a series of months and shows that dumping tens of thousands of dollars on expensive producers and studios is less effective than, well, having a preternaturally talented guy (who was just 19 at the time) in the band who can do everything.

Both a self-contained statement on and expression of what’s inside their heads, The Rhapsody Tapes – sonically and visually – was constructed in minute detail by the Ocean Grove collective, with no outside interference whatsoever. Every inch of the artwork, every note of music. Because that’s how the Odd World grows: in the shadows, bravely.

“Although some of the themes we discuss are commonly touched upon by many artists, we hope to present our art in a way that is incongruous with most, and that is the theme that binds all these songs and topics together – Odd World,” explains Dale. “We explore the nuances that come with that freedom and obscurity.”

let us come to a secret misunderstanding

There was no moment of conception for Ocean Grove; at one point they didn’t exist and then all of a sudden they did. With friendships within the band stretching back a decade-plus, they coagulated around shared ideas of art and performance and life. They grew together and treated every morsel of life as more fuel for their fire, expressed on two EPs, first 2013’s ‘Outsider’ and then 2015’s ‘Black Label’, the latter re-released in 2016 as the Sublime Edition with the addition of breakout anthem ‘Lights On Kind Of Lover’.

“The themes of our songs have transitioned throughout our releases just as we have transitioned from teenagers to young adults,” says Dale. “We have always loved to harmonise as writers on how we feel about certain themes, whether it be relationships, individualism or troubling experiences.”

Hyperreality awaits.


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