Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Usual Locations Deel Drie: It Hurts to be Dead & Promethium

This is part three of the Usual Locations series, which I don't think I'll be running out of material to write. Next I'll probably be writing about some Australian bands. Because the scene over there is really really something special.

Now. Here's the thing. I don't think I would have stumbled across this band through merely browsing. They do defy a little bit of definition, going only under the genre Alternative Rock. The short and sweet of how I came across this band is because the wife of the drummer sent me a friend request on Facebook. And of course being the good wife that she is she regularly puts up updates on when and where they are playing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It Hurts to be Dead.

These gentlemen hail from Wichita Falls, Texas. Well as I said before they use the term alternative rock to describe their music, which as I said before is appropriate. There is groove and fun to be had, and some aspcets of post-punk also to be enjoyed. Listening to them they wouldn't really be out of place in the early ages of grunge... actually any age of grunge since the age was fairly short-lived. It is fairly obvious that they have been playing for a while, even if not in present form. All seem to be experts on their respective instruments, Kevin Gilmore in particular sounds like his dad was Animal and he raped an octopus. Sean Snyder rather elegently plucks away on the guitar, the guitar playing sounds deceptively simple and gleefully rants into the microphone, his vocal style also on occasions reminded me of Jimmy Pop especially on Macy. Nick Thorntons bass, now if only more bands would show of their bassists like they do here, it is not quite Les "Should have been a guitar player" Claypool style of bass-plucking. I don't know who mixed it but they've left plenty of room for everyone to enjoy themselves to their full potential and no one is stepping on anyone's toes.

Their combination is probably best illustrated in the songs Tragic Part and Macy. The urge to not only tap your feet to the beat but also the table and headbang just a little is nearly overwhelming, and I'd do it if I was home alone with the speakers on full blast but as I'm trying to make sure that everyone sleeps in the house I make do with tapping the floor with a slight to and fro shake of the head while the headphones are plugged in. But the two previously mentioned songs have so far been my favourite by far, but then again I only have a choice of four songs and all of them are great fun to listen to. Which sort of leads to what I find lacking. The fact that there are only 4 songs on Reverbnation. But then again those 4 songs have now made me want to see them in live setting, it's just a shame that there's a whole ocean stopping me from doing so. So it's a minor complaint.


In my adopted hometown of Lancaster, there is a band that I have been meaning to see for some time but never got the chance. Promethium. One of the great advantages on Reverbnation is that it gives you local charts and these guys have been in the top 10 for a while, but the first time I listened to them I wasn't that impressed. Yeah, they were functional and filled a certain musical hole that was missing in Lancaster. But it was nothing that I hadn't heard before and done better. But since then they've come in leaps and bounds and turned into something more and better. Old school heavy metal in the vain of Iron Maiden, with a modern twist. Generally I cringe whenever I see someone describing their music like that, bit like Lauren Harris or, uuuggh, Sonic Syndicate, I tend to shudder a little bit.

But Promethium delivered that promise, in spades. Under influence they put Iron Maiden, Soylent Green(Dafuq), Lamb of God, Every Time I Die and Soilwork. Now I can hear lots and lots of Iron Maiden and even quite a bit of Swedish Melodic Death Metal. But as for the rest, no.  But to be honest what the musically reminded me the most of were Blaze Bayley first three solo albums.

These guys have decided to give Gary McGohan the centre stage. And boy does he deliver(Actually in some songs he also sounds like Sean Snyder). One of the most powerful singers I've come across, the only thing I would wish he'd lay of are the cookie monster growls, that is probably the only thing he can't do so well, The end of Gunslinger being a good example though Tribute to The Fallen does the cookie monster growl better, but not sure if it is Gary is doing it or someone else. But when he croons and sings he is world class, the semi-ballad Rain is a good song for him to showcase his rather immense talents. That is not to say that the rest of the guys don't deserve it, they do. The harmonized guitar attack is great to listen to and a bit refreshing to hear a band from a small city play with such professional gusto. The emotional breadth of the band is shown again in the song Nothing. Yes I'm a sucker for a good power ballad and Promethium have two of those on show on their Reverbnation playlist.

So next time their playing in Lancaster, I'll be there. Hopefully I'll be joined by plenty of others, because these guys like It Hurts to Be Dead deserve more attention than they're already slowly getting.

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