Fresh from the very north-west of the United States we’ve found something a bit special in the form of THE WITHØUT. The band has honed a sound that crosses the boundaries of multiple elements across the rock spectrum, and is highly influenced by the grit and vigour of its hometown of Portland, Oregon.
THE WITHØUT is a creative venture between five lifelong friends – Michael Draper (vocals), Spencer Arnold and Adam Smith (guitars), Wade Nelson (bass) and Joseph Graham (drums) – which straddles the genres of rock, post-hardcore, punk and perhaps even a touch of thrash. It’s frantic and heavy, but there’s also moments of melancholy that make the band delightfully engaging to listen to.
The band has just released debut EP Factions, so we caught up with vocalist Michael to find out more. He told us: “I would say we’re for fans of Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats and He Is Legend. We have moments of aggression and frantic energy balanced by moments of melody and melancholy.
“We’ve all been living in the Portland area for most of our adult lives, so we’ve seen each other play in different bands for years. We were finally at a point in our lives where we could all play together and it immediately made sense. We were fans of each others work, so we knew everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. It makes for a very cohesive and fun process.”
As Michael alludes to THE WITHØUT sounds like a combination of bands like Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats with a clear influence of the likes of Deftones and Soundgarden. It’s truly an intriguing combination that is brought to life by their excellent debut EP.
Factions kicks off with a fast-paced riff then a blast of big guitar sound in support of almost screamed vocals as we’re introduced to the band with opening track Play Tricks. It’s fast and intense, but with a singalong chorus and fun guitar riffs that’ll have you immediately hooked.
Next up Dead Gold opens up with clean vocals over a lone guitar riff then a big drum roll leads us into a heavier opening verse that sees the vocals open up before then dropping down again. Some big riffs follow as the vocals grow into gruff screams that lead into a cleaner vocal chorus with some wild drums in support. The aforementioned number of styles the band crosses over is evident in this track alone, there’s moments of hardcore punk, rock and metal fused together in this intriguing song. Check it out for yourself in the video below:
Two Wolves begins with a lingering guitar noise and teasing opening vocals then a low-tuned guitar riff joins as the vocals build gradually. The drums enter as the song builds in intensity towards heavier, almost screamed, vocals into the chorus of shouted vocals. It’s a song that you’re going to struggle not to love and bang your head along to, with big rocky riffs fused with driving drums and some really fun vocal delivery.
The EP closes out with the intense Rat Party, which in the best way possible sounds like what you’d get if you blended together Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats. The track dives straight into screamed vocals with heavily overdriven guitar support and big driving drums. That’s followed by an call-and-answer chorus of screamed vocals met with shouted response, then a section of almost spoken vocals before diving into an intense blast of more screams.
The second chorus is followed by an interlude of cleaner vocals with a really cool repeated guitar riff that gives way to another new section of more drawn-out, angst-fuelled vocals that bring this relentless track to an end. The vocals stop for a maximum of about three seconds throughout the track, which is pretty unusual but a great way to bring an excellent debut EP to a close.
To get the band’s insight into the making of the album, check out the video below:
Describing how they go about making music, Michael says: “I think its a compulsion for us. We’ve all attempted to move out of the music industry in one way or another, but we always came back. We love it. It’s a collaborative and exploratory process we all crave.
“Lyrically, the themes are all based on self-reflection. Commenting on where we are at in our lives, spiritually and mentally, and we touch on social commentary a bit. As the climate of the world continues to get more and more uncertain, I have a feeling it will become a more common theme. We’ve all partied our asses off, we’re a bit older now with families and it’s reflected in the lyrical themes, but the music itself still reflects some of the youthful angst.”
THE WITHØUT will be gigging locally in the Pacific Northwest following the release of Factions, are planning another music video and hope to be back in the studio in July / August to record another four to five song EP called New Colors. And they’re hopeful of not restraining themselves to the local scene, as Michael tells us: “We’d love to get over to the UK, so if you know of any good booking agents or bands who want to help us come over, we’re game!”