Interviews : Unearth
With Mike - (ex) drums
First of all, tell us how the split with your long-time bass player Chris Rybicki came about?
Rover just couldn't put as much time into the band as he'd like to. We had a lot of tours scheduled, and he wouldn't have been able to make any of them. It was a completely mutual split, and he's still a good friend of ours, but we needed to find someone full-time.
The band has a tour coming up with Poison the Well in November. Are you currently looking for a new bass player?
We just recently found a new bass player. His name is John "Slo" Maggard, and he used to be in a band called Flatlined from western MA. He's a good guy, and a good bassist, and we think he'll work out well. Thanks to everyone who had contacted us about the vacancy, though!
I have heard many zines and websites compare you guys to Shadows Fall [in part due to their lack of knowledge of other good underground bands], but if I could compare Unearth to any band out there, I'd say Prayer for Cleansing [RIP]. But since those guys a broken up, how would you describe Unearth to the people that are not yet familiar with your band and your music?
Haha, well, being compared to Shadows Fall is not a bad thing, but I agree that we don't sound much like them at all. I think we sound more similar to PFC, but without the Black Metal parts. Basically, i'd just say our music is a mix of very aggressive parts and very melodic parts. If I had to describe our music to a HC/Metal fan, I'd say it's a mix of Euro-Metal and newer-school American HC. If I had to descibe the band to someone outside of metal/hardcore, i think i would have a hard time explaining.
I only recently picked up your debut on Eulogy Records "The Stings of Conscience" and was almost blown away by some of the riffs the band writes. One of the first bands that comes to mind is Iron Maiden. What were some of the bands that had a big influence on Unearth and what are you listening to at the present moment?
Both of our guitarists are big Iron maiden fans, and I'm sure it comes through in the music at times, especially on songs like Only The People. Other big influences for us as a band have been Overcast, Meshuggah, In Flames and Earth Crisis. As for me personally, i've been listening to a lot of doom metal recently, stuff like old Celestial Season, My Dying Bride, and Anathema, also a lot of Melodic Death Metal like Extol and some power metal stuff like Sonata Arctica and Rhapsody -- they are my current favorite band.
While I already mentioned how great the riffs are, it is your drumwork that keeps everything in place and actually makes the music as interesting as it is. One of the specific examples is on the opening track, "My Heart No Longer Bleeds" [2:25 - 3:07.] Your double-bass work is precise. Do I hear a new Gene Holgan or Dave Lombardo in the making?
Haha, thanks for the compliment, but those two guys are truly unreal. Maybe in another 20 years i could reach that level -- like most drummers out there I'm still learning every day. I just try to play beats that are right for the music, and try to compliment and highlight the guitar playing. And, just for the record, I'm glad Dave Lombardo left Slayer.
What has been the response to the new record so far? It seems like it would be as accessible to the metal crowd as much as the kids into hardcore [your main audience], because "The Stings of Conscience" is predominantly a metal record with occasional hardcore breakdowns.
The response to the record has been phenomenal, and we're very excited about that. We see mostly hardcore kids at shows, mainly because most of the time we are booked on hardcore/metalcore shows. Shows like the New England Metalfest are great to play because they expose our music to a more metal audience. I've always considered us to be more of a metal band. It's perfectly fine to play hardcore/metalcore shows, but it's great to get up there in front of a completely metal audience from time to time.
What are some of issues that Unearth takes on lyrically? Is the band SXE?
[Trevor - vocals]Lyrically I like to take a positive stand on things. One Step Away and My Desire are both songs that deal with not giving up and continuously reaching for your dreams. I also have songs that deal with some personal and political views. Vanishment deals with the constant disregard for the world environment. I have seen sXe and vegan kids looking to make a 'change' for the better, but then throw their garbage out the car window. That doesn't make much sense to me. Monition is about the lack of religion in todays society. Religion was put in place for a reason. It doesn't matter what religion you are, but the general rules are not to kill, steal and commit wrong doings to your fellow man. With religion fading out it seems that these ideals are also fading. I am not a very religious person by any means, but people do need to follow some sort of loose guidlines to continue living healthy and productive lives.
Unearth is one of a kind on your record label. Do you think that it helps you in a way, where kids that are not into that kind of music visit the site because they like Keepsake for example and get turned on to your music?
Eulogy Recordings is a pretty diverse label, and we're very glad that John signs a lot of different types of bands. It's good to have that kind of exposure in scenes outside of your own. John likes to mix it up, and I think it benefits his label greatly.
What have been some of the highlights of this year for you? Any special shows or bands that you got a chance to play with?
The summer tours were all very fun, especially the Poison the Well/Martyr A.D. and Brother's Keeper tours. The NE Metalfest and Hellfest were both insane and a ton of fun - the crowds there were electric. Playing with Crowbar was also very cool; they are one of our favorite bands of all time.
I know that it's a bit premature, but have you started writing for the new record? If so, then what do some of the new songs sound like?
We've written about six new songs since we recorded Stings. The new songs are still predominantly metal tunes, but the breakdowns are still there as well. The metal parts are more technical, and the breakdowns are heavier than ever, i think. Actually, one of the newer tunes [Internal War] will be on the upcoming East Coast Assault III comp, which should be out soon.
Do I hear some Black Sabbath or stoner rock influence in "Vanishment," [3:12 - 3:39]? If so then it further shows how mature the band is, because there is almost everything from death metal to new school hardcore to Swedish influenced riffs mixed in this record and it flows very smooth on your record. I love it.
Thanks man. Yeah, Buz is also a big fan of the swamp-rock riffs. We like to experiment with different styles within the style we play, and we like for the music to be diverse and fun. We never throw ideas out without giving them a chance, and I think this has resulted in a pretty interesting mix. We try to never write anything monotonous, and we like each song to have it's own personality, but the songs must be energetic as well.
What are the band's main goals to accomplish in the future?
We want to just to keep touring and play our music in front of as many people as we can. We look to tour in Europe next year, maybe with Liar, and continue playing in the States.
Any final comments or words of wisdom that you would like to share with us?
First and foremost, thanks for your time, and thanks to anyone who has ever supported us in any way. Also, watch for the Limited LP on Gladiator Records in November, and check out our website at www.unearth.tv for more info!