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When you attend a local show, sometimes you want to dance, sometimes you want to sing and sometimes you just want to go batshit insane. Well, what better way to release those crazed, inner beasts than at a rowdy metal show?
If you’ve got an itch to bang your head and maybe even flail around a little--because really, nobody will be judging your wild moves--then look no further than the show coming to the Smiling Skull Saloon this Friday.
If you like rock, blues, doo-wop or, better yet, a combination of all three, then you’re in luck because the Dayton two-piece outfit Army of Infants will be coming out to blow your minds with some hard rock 'n' roll. They’ll make you feel like you’re back at a sloppy, seedy club show rocking your faces off the way rock intended.
Jacob Pflanzer pounds away at his drums while Jared Welch shreds on his guitar and delivers distorted vocals. It’s the stuff good ol’ rock shows are made of and the two pack more than enough bluesy punch that you’ll throw caution to the wind and probably knock over, or you know, throw a chair or two in the process.
Athens’ own Empirian will also be playing the show, bringing its own heavy dose of metal. Don’t expect the blues of Army of Infants in these tunes--Empirian’s music is the stuff you’re probably going to really thrash around to. Swimming through the slush of sharp guitar solos and get-your-blood-pumping bass beats, metal fans will clamor to the stage to lose themselves in Empirian’s energetic, raucous music.
Another Athens group will also be showcasing its tunes this Friday. Sothoros formed in 2008 and, while the band experienced multiple member changes, founding member/guitarist Connor Chamberlain and drummer John Montgomery have stuck it out and made sure Sothoros persevered. (The name comes from the George R. R. Martin book series A Song of Ice and Fire. Sothoros is an island inhabited by cannibals in the story.)
“Martin, the original vocalist, and I were really into the series when we formed the band,” said Chamberlain. “Fantasy isn't our main drive for lyrical content anymore, but the band still enjoys it, and we're happy to have the band name we do.”
Today, Chamberlain says that Sothoros draws lyrical inspiration “from the occult, the outskirts of society where entheogens, hallucinogens and spirituality are of interest” and that he “[likes] to think of it as exploring subjective reality in its different forms. Not only does this realm of thought influence [their] lyrics but also drives the atmosphere [they] attempt to create through [their] sonic waveforms.” Chamberlain also attributes Opeth, Meshuggah, Decapitated, The Faceless, Animals As Leaders and Periphery as just a few of the group's influences.
With the changes to the band's lineup also came a change in the style and sound of Sothoros’ “sonic waveforms.” What used to be a “mixture of thrash, technical death metal and black metal” ended up transforming into a more progressive sound. Chamberlain summed up the band in three words as: "progressive ambient metal." According to him, the major difference is that Sothoros has become entirely instrumental.
“We are looking for a vocalist, though, one who can hopefully manage some clean, ‘real’ singing and also harsh metal yells and screams,” he said. “Our new sound is also different in that it is more rhythmically technical, yet simultaneously more groove-based, so the songs can appeal to even the untrained ear. We incorporate more jazzy clean guitars now and layer clean guitars over distorted ones to produce a richer, and hopefully catchier sound than before.”
While Chamberlain enjoys playing in his hometown of Athens most of all, he wouldn’t mind seeing Sothoros returning to tour in areas like Cleveland, Columbus and other Ohio cities.
But the future is uncertain. Some members are preparing to leave school, are busy starting families and others might even leave the Athens area. However, Chamberlain assured that even if a break-up or hiatus is in store for Sothoros, the band will go on.
“It won’t be the end of the band because I intend to write music under the name Sothoros for as long as I can,” he said. “If we disband in the next year or so, I will correspond with Spenser [Morris, Sothoros’ original bassist] and John, wherever he might reside, and continue to produce Sothoros albums over the Internet.”
Yet, while the fate of Sothoros hangs in the balance, fans can look forward to a new album being released in the next couple of months as well shows in Athens every month.
If you’re looking to get your dance on this Friday night, then get your stompin’ boots on and prepare to rock out at the Smiling Skull Saloon. The show costs $4 and starts at 10 p.m.
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