Urban hardcore fused with metal, you say? We got you. The sound of Manchester, New Hampshire, band SEPSISS is deliciously eclectic, fusing big metal guitars, shredding solos and a bit of synth with engaging vocals.
The quintet of Melissa “Wolfe” (vocals), William “Savant” (guitars/screams), Cam “Loud” (guitars), “Mr. Goodbarz” – which is a great name – (keyboards) and Robert Pann – we don’t know why he hasn’t earned a nickname – (drums) formed several years ago in a moment of chance.
As Melissa – a model and, ahem, adult entertainer (which is definitely, we think, a first for us) – explains: “William was holding auditions for singers in Manchester. Apparently, there was another girl supposed to show up and she bailed. I tried out and, from that day, we started working out the ideas and branding.”
And, of course, the name SEPSISS is deliberately miss-spelt, as Melissa explains: “We chose the name SEPSISS on a short and obvious play off of a real word, while of course spelling it in a way that wasn’t exactly English. This way we knew it would “feel” like a word you have heard before, and it would make it google searchable.
“We started the act with that strategy and continue this way. We knew a handful of foolish bands that blew their load on naming themselves typical ‘novel’ style stock metal shit. We like it short, swift and certain. We also wanted a name we could trademark and OWN.”
The band have honed a sound that borders on metal, with elements of hard rock and poppy edges led by Melissa’s engaging vocals and joined by William’s harsher, heavier screams. And all of that is summarised by Melissa as: “Aggressive, transparent and sexy. It’s urban danceable music, with traditional heavy metal values, clean front and unique guitars.”
It’s borne out of an omni-cluster of musical influences, ranging from disco, pop and Latin drums through to tribal, Asian and African music. But, as Melissa explains, what it all boils down to is: “We’re huge fans of anthems, energy and catchy verses, not just focusing on choruses as being the nucleus of the story. William likes our music to have a ‘sitcom’ feel.”
Our latest taste of this is To Write Hate On His Arms, which epitomises the SEPSISS sound, opening up with delicious hard rock guitars then a lively blast of guitars and pounding drums. William’s edgy vocals kick in and are answered by Melissa’s big vocals, then William’s screams lead us into big singalong dual vocals.
Eyes of Empathy is intriguingly written about a murder that occurred in New Hampshire, of which William interviewed the killers to assess their psychology and personality then wrote the song from the victim’s point of view.
It opens with big drawn-out guitars, chugging chords over eerie synth sounds then a darting guitar riff under Melissa’s singalong, but seriously dark, opening vocals: “Strangers in my hallway, Peaceful dreams are swimming in my head, The demon breathes its violent breath, And suddenly, it spreads its wings, Silent screams of strings in hell, The dissonance of notes beyond the grave, All my love to fill the carpet floor, I’m sorry mom!”
A lively chorus follows and continues the dark theme of the vocals: “Eyes of empathy can never reason why, It could never mend the things I’ve seen tonight, Forever quell the screams of your denial, I won’t ever wake.” The second chorus gives way to a huge guitar solo, which continues under chugging chords then delves into guitar noise madness. Melissa’s light vocals return and build up to a final chorus. Check it out this real journey of a track below:
But a personal favourite track is the more anthemic Fair To Say, which opens with a cool little distorted guitar riff. Stabbing chords feed into an opening verse led by Melissa’s delicious high-pitched vocals. That feeds into a chorus of really cool fast-paced vocals “Hey, I will always hold you, You know I can’t keep you, But I wouldn’t leave you alone like this, Tell me when you’re lonely, I’ll be there to hold you.” Check it out below:
The band take influence from all manner of hard rock and metal bands, including the likes of Heart, Judas Priest and Alice In Chains through to Evanescence and Hailstorm.
The band has new music coming soon and they’re out on tour across the United States for the next few months. More info on their gigs is here. You can also pick up a hard copy of their latest EP Badd Blood here.
As Melissa puts it: “It’s Netflix and SEPSISS. No time to chill.” And she adds: “Just to thank all my friends and family for loving me hard and giving me a shot. A lot of people, until recently, thought I was invisible and made fun of me and my ideas. So I want to bless everyone that has continued to let me love myself and them in a healthy way, supporting my culture and career.”