It may be hard to remember what day it is the moment, but we know for sure that it’s Friday. And to celebrate that fact we’re bringing you some delicious heavy-riffing metal from New York band Nepenthe to get the weekend started in style.
The trio have honed an intriguing alt-metal sound that has moments of aforementioned heavy riffing, with pure unadulterated metal fused with occasional melodic sections.
The band sent us I Choose Violence from their latest mini-EP Sovereign, and we love it. It starts out with fast-paced blitzes of guitar and big crashes of cymbals under guttural screams, then big high-pitched vocals float over heavy guitars and drums. It suddenly drops into stabbing guitars under cries of “I… choose… I… choose violence,” then heavier vocals drop into the higher pitched vocals again.
A repeat of the quick chorus gives way to a smash of fast, heavy guitars and pounding drums and cymbals, which end on a huge cry of “Violence.” An extended version of the verse takes over, then delicious low tuned bouncy guitars jump in to bring us to a heavy ending. It’s awesome, and you can check it out below:
We had a chat with frontman Ben Neadle to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Nepenthe?
BN: “Nepenthe is me (guitar/vocals) Mike Feola (drums) and Vlad Kom (Guitar). I had been working on the project for a while on my own, but it wasn’t until 2018 when a mutual friend introduced Mike and I that Nepenthe formed. He and I have a similar background in the metal/hardcore scene and used that as our basis for our first EP Metanoia. We kept playing shows ourselves until Vlad joined in 2019 to round us out to a three piece.”
GR: You just released I Choose Violence. What should people be expecting from the song?
BN: “They can definitely expect an in your face heavy beatdown song with a lot of energy drive. I think the entire band had been feeling really aggressive the day we wrote this song and that totally was the biggest inspiration for it. The lyrics referencing one of our favorite series is also a plus too.”
GR: How would you describe the Nepenthe song to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
BN: “We’re definitely alt metal. I Choose Violence leans toward the heavier end of our sound, but we really love blending in elements from alt rock, grunge, and emo into metal and hardcore. We bounce between clean and harsh vocals, and have a lot of dynamics between clean and distorted guitars as well. Our other track on this EP titled “displacement” is a great example.
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your biggest musical influences?
BN: “Bands that influence us are all over the place to be honest. Mike has a real ear for heavy music with punk sensibilities. August Burns Red is one of his absolute favorites along with bands like Thornhill, Dream Theatre, Stick to your Guns and The Ghost Inside. But being a drummer he’s also drawn to funk and anything rhythmic with interesting patterns.
Vlad comes from the thrash and death metal scene and loves bands like Iron Maiden, Death, Paradise Lost, The Soft Moon and Rammstein. He’s always sending us some weird, cool, fast picking band he found in the deep dungeons of YouTube that sounds like it was recorded in hell.
“I myself have always been into heavy music, with bands like Gojira and Make Them Suffer have always inspired me to pick up a guitar. But I also have a love for indie like The National, Japanese Breakfast, Phoebe Bridgers etc…”
GR: Not a bad list! What influences you to write music?
BN: “Self expression is pretty much why we all play music. Our music tends to be about hardships that we all go through, personal relationships, inner demons, etc. I personally love exploring the songwriting medium, playing around with structure and odd metaphors is super fun for me.”
GR: What have you got coming up through 2020?
BN: “2020 is looking to be a good year for us. We already have a bunch of shows booked around NY and are looking to broaden our fanbase by playing in different cities around the North-Eastern US. We’re also sitting on a plethora of material so hopefully we can get back into the studio and make a record before the year is out.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about Nepenthe?
BN: “Our latest EP Sovereign featuring I Choose Violence as well as Displacement just dropped on March 5th! Go and give it a spin.”