Does dark metal hook you? Then prepare to be devastated by The Devastated when the band plays The Basement all-ages venue on Saturday, April 21.
The band is out on the road, promoting its first full-length, "The Devil's Messenger," from Century Media Recordings.
"It arrived on Valentine's Day," said Greg Wilburn, lead vocalist and band founder. But since the record features tuned-down, chugging guitar riffs and death-core guttural vocals, he laughed and said it's probably OK that you got your girl hearts and flowers instead of this record.
The Riverside, Calif.-based band came about last year as personnel from two existing bands combined forces. Wilburn, (lyrics/vocals), Eric Correa (guitars) and drummer Andrew Holzbaur are the final lineup of a band formerly known as Oblige. They were joined soon after recording "The Devil's Messenger" by guitarist Manny Contreras, formerly of Impending Doom.
"We went to Century Media as Oblige, but decided to treat this as something new and fresh, so we gave it a name that had been kicking around in my head for years. The material was slightly different from what we'd done before. And then, with Manny coming on board as well, all of us wanted a fresh start. It was time."
The Inland scene
Riverside and surrounding communities have become something of a hotbed for metal in recent years, with bands like Suicide Silence and Winds of Plague coming up as breakthrough groups from that area.
Wilburn notes that it wasn't so much a club scene that brought the sound together. There are not that many places to play in the Inland area, he said, especially places that the young fans who tend to gravitate to death-core can attend.
Instead, the bands breaking through now originated from kids who hung out together as they were growing up.
"We knew the Impending Doom guys, and Manny, forever. We all went to North, the same high school. Before the guys in Impending Doom really got going -- they were a little younger than us -- they would come to Oblige practices and hang out with us. The Suicide Silence guys, too -- Mitch (Lucker, lead singer of Suicide Silence) is one of my best friends. We all do try and all get along, because people resurface here and there in other bands." Wilburn laughed. "It like a big soap opera, in a way."
A million ideas
Wilburn said he wrote all of the lyrics for "The Devil's Messenger," then he, Correa and Holzbaur would get together and jam to work out the musical elements.
"Since Manny came in after the record was done, he's added his own bit to the shows already. I can't wait to see what else he brings to the table. He has a million ideas, and we have a million more, and I can see a new record starting to be written pretty soon. There is a lot of cool stuff floating around."
Wilburn wants to get a few new songs recorded with Contreras on board.
The mistake Oblige made, he said, was not releasing material often enough to keep the buzz going. He believes that making at least a song or two available to fans on a frequent basis is key to keeping on top of the heap these days.
"With this band, I want to release stuff all the time, and show people how we are going as a band and developing. My idea is to release an album, then maybe get a free EP out there, and then an album, and a song here and there, too. The idea is not to keep them waiting too long, get the kids to expect something almost constantly, get them knowing that this train is never going to be late.
"I think that is the key -- stay in people's faces. You have to. With this many good bands out there, it is easy to get forgotten if you don't."