Stoke-on-Trent trio I Am Pariah offer an intriguing metal-based catharsis to the frustrations of modern society. The band flirt between classic and modern metal sounds, with huge metal riffs and ripping guitar solos, fused with elements of punk and rock, driven forward by anthemic vocals that lament the current state of the human race.
The band first formed from the ashes of several local bands a few years back, went through a few line-up changes and now, with the recent move of Ben James from guitar onto vocals, they’re ready to make their mark. The trio, completed by Dave Snell (bass and programming) and Steve Westerholm (guitar) have honed a huge sound that’s hard-hitting and deliciously more-ish.
As Ben explains: “I Am Pariah’s sound is ultimately us venting our frustrations, which comes across as riff-driven tracks, with big singalong choruses. I feel that every song of ours is different, because we just write how we feel. For example, I previewed some of the songs to a select few family and friends, and they all collectively described that the sound of the band shift shapes and borrows from other genres, but holds an identity that is I Am Pariah, they could always tell it was us.
“As a teenager, I watched my idols strut around on stage and challenge every belief my elders had about what was ‘normal’ and acceptable. Music was provocative and scared people to the point where it was something other than sounds coming from a speaker. I think I can say we aim to bring that edge back in our delivery. Music is also coping mechanism for me, it’s that friend that is always there to talk to you, and tell you that everything’s fine. And a reminder that if everything’s not fine, times do change. I would like to hope people find similar comfort in our songs.”
The realisation of this is new EP Procreate//Annihilate, which is out on November 30, and epitomises the band’s exploration of the frustrations of modern society. In their words: “The EP title is relevant to what’s going on around us. Nowadays it seems some people are brought up with no respect for anyone or anything, and the only thing they do is cause misery to the ones that surround them. It also symbolises the way in which young adults are conscripted to war for unnecessary gains, a life of violence with no reprieve.”
The EP’s lead single is Cult Society, which opens up with a huge smash of guitar riffs and pounding drums through an opening verse of cool vocals that flow into a chorus of more singalong vocals that end on the line “And so we blow our brains away.” Shouted vocals over a big slappy bass give way to a big guitar solo, then another one takes over and feeds into a final blast of the chorus, before ending on the big jumpy riffs. Check it out in the video below:
The other track we’ve heard from the EP thus far is Heavy In Japan, which is a bit of a throwback to the likes of classic metal with a hint of Faith No More. Fast-paced vocals “Inspiration is the only God I wake up for on Sunday, Egotistic procreation, The price to pay is love,” of which the last word hits a really cool high note. Big singalong vocals “A time when dreams were real, The place that angels fear” follow over ascending guitars and pounding drums, then drops into another edgy verse.
A shouty, almost spoken pre-chorus features the great lyrics “Animals in penetration, Cannibals of a nation, Fuck the law, kill the squad, Because playing God is not my job.” Then palm-muted guitars support shouts of “I got my plane booked man, Cuz I’m heavy in Japan, A dirty dastardly plan, Because I’m heavy in Japan” then it flies into a huge guitar solo. Check it out in the stream below.
These tracks give us a great taste of what’s coming on Procreate//Annihilate, and we think it’s going to be pretty awesome. On the EP, Ben tells us: “We can’t wait for people to hear what we’ve been working on for the past nine months. I have had numerous conversations with people like ‘Hey! Cult Society was such a sick track, why haven’t you released anything new yet?’ and it pains me every time to make people wait, but preparation and execution are key to us.
“People take you by surprise sometimes too, I’ve had people whose playlists don’t even have rock in them say ‘I don’t normally like the heavy type of stuff, but this is pretty catchy,’ which leads back to what we wanted people to hear with this record. You should expect an aggressive sound, but there will always be those moments that take you by surprise, and have you singing along, because the song meanings are our real lived experiences, and are relatable.”
As alluded to, the band are a modern reincarnation of the likes of Pantera, KISS and Iron Maiden, while they also draw influence from bands as diverse as Avenged Sevenfold, Green Day, Marilyn Manson and T-Rex and.. erm.. video game music such as Nobuo Uematsu and Masayoshi Soken – which is definitely a new one for us.
As Dave explains: “There’s definitely a mish-mash of genres going on because we love so many different styles of music. It all depends on how we’re feeling on the day of writing as to what comes out. I think that is a good thing as we can always explore different vibes/feelings with every song we write and we don’t necessarily have to be careful of what it sounds like, if it sounds good to our ears then we use it.
“I’ve come up with riffs, vocal ideas in my sleep before, or even whilst taking a shower. Having the ability to just track it down as a rough idea is awesome. We can then work on it at our next writing session and bring everyone’s ideas to the table. There are so many negatives going on in the world today, so it feels good to be able to vent our frustration about some of these things through our music, and hope that when someone is listening they can fully relate to it and understand where we’re coming from. It’s all about connecting with the listener.”
The band are keeping themselves busy with a couple of gigs upcoming, at The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton on 1 November, then The Rigger in Newcastle-under-Lyme on 15 December.