Anyone that’s watched the American version of cult British TV show The Office should recognise the Pennsylvania town of Scranton. But aside from being the fictional host to the comedy, the town has also brought us the awesome groove metal sound of Threatpoint.
The quartet of Chris James (vocals), Alex Olivetti (guitar), Matt Van Fleet (bass), and CJ Krukowski (drums) have been together since 2012, but released third album R.I.P. (which should suggest it’s fairly dark) last year, and we love it.
We had a chat with lead singer Chris, and first up asked him about what influences Threatpoint’s music. He told us: “People and the world we live in influence me; I don’t write about fiction, I write about reality. Some topics include: consequences for our actions, getting rid of negative influences and people in your life, rising above hard times and never giving up. When you get knocked down, get the fuck back up and fight, don’t just lie there and wait to get run over and die!”
The Threatpoint sound harks back to the good old days of metal, with overtones of the likes of Pantera and classic Metallica, yet the band also takes influence from all manner of genres, from Testament, Flotsam & Jetsam and Devildriver, through to The Doors, multiple 80s hair bands, classic rock and even pop music.
One initial observation from R.I.P is they have some awesome song titles, with a particular favourite being Tombstones of my Enemies. But luckily their music is great too. The fantastic Angels With Broken Wings kicks into life with a brutal scream and a guitar solo with lashes of big guitar riffs and another huge solo, while the equally good Bury The Wicked is well worth checking out in the video below.
Chris told us: “We are old school, we get in the room together and jam it out. Someone always has an idea to start but we write together. I don’t think anything is unique anymore, everything has been done over and over.
“We are just putting our spin on it, however we DO NOT follow any fads or trends that so many bands do. We write as we please and see fit. Musically, we just keep on rolling in our little groove train, adding different vibes and styles to our music… Never put us in a box!”
The band has just completed a tour of the west coast USA, has a series of gigs in home state Pennsylvania in the next couple of months, and has ambitions to play overseas one day. Judging by their music, it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility.
We asked Chris for his best story of touring, and he came up with one that we thought provided a lesson for all bands out there on tour. He said: “We were in Montana on tour. CJ was driving and we missed an exit, because I thought there was a shorter way. Well it wasn’t, we Googled it and it was 45 miles to the next exit to turn around so CJ turned around in the middle of the interstate, we got off the next exit and the GPS wasn’t calculating where we were. Like it was in limbo.
“I flipped and said let me drive this fucking thing. I ended up at a dead-end dirt road, nowhere to turn around and the GPS was telling us there was a road, yeah a dead end dirt road. I wiggled the bus around and headed back, cursing. I flung the whole GPS unit out the window onto the interstate, saying ‘Fuck this, fuck Montana and fuck the GPS…We will now use a roadmap.’ Fast forward to now: ‘Hey CJ pull up Google maps on your phone…'”
Threatpoint are an extremely talented metal band – just check out the crazy solos on the video above – with great grooves and rocking riffs that can’t help but keep you entertained. Hopefully we can one day see them in the UK!