From Chicago comes HEMI, a power trio that, on their way to world domination, just released their studio album Avalon. From the opener Re/Vengeance (in which the Bad Brains in their best hardcore mood knock on wood) to The Final Deletion, HEMI shows itself to be a power trio in which their unified force is many times greater than the sum of the individual parts. With fierce, personal lyrics by bass player Trent Zuberi, who together with drummer Mike Cieplik provides a rock solid basis, and the adventurous input of guitarist (and keyboard player) Tim Wilkens, the band offers with Avalon a versatile listening experience in which classic metal ingredients together with multicoloured and imaginative accents are successfully assembled into aural cluster bombs. Listen to the intro of Decay and the instrumental Avalon Averted, songs in which atmospheric music creates a cinematic space in the head in which images are chiseled that - long after the songs have finished - remain in place. More as an addition than standing in stark contrast comes Death Wizard, a knuckle sandwich of a song in which the instrumental ornaments between the choruses provide exotic highlights. From Death Wizard it goes at a gallop to the steel staccato riff of Darkhorse, after which The Final Deletion marks the end of a metal trip that, with its 25-minutes, might have taken a little longer.
With Avalon, HEMI has created a piece of work that incorporates a great diversity of influences. The band members on where these influences come from:
TRENT: I personally am rooted in older metal from the 70's and 80's with a big emphasis on the power side such as Manowar and DIO and then to the thrash aspect of Anthrax and Megadeth. I also absolutely love 80s New Wave and Pop.
My biggest contribution to the album were the lyrics. Which I bring from personal feelings along with fantasy-like storytelling. I would say the emotion of my lyrics is always rooted in some feeling I am experiencing or a personal aspect I am dealing with but I like to also tell a story because I feel like I want to give the listener a chance to put themselves in the shoes of the story alongside me. I am a huge fan of metaphors and symbolism as well, my lyrics are littered with it constantly and it's such a trip when someone actually picks up on it or catches it because then I know they were seeing it through my eyes. I always like to keep in mind that a musical work is just as much a story as it is a composure. Yeah the riffs and beats will pulsate through your body and make you bang your head but if you can captivate someone with words strong enough that it moves their mind as much as their body, you really engage a listener in a much deeper way.
TIM: Trent and Mike are much more rooted in classic metal and thrash as well as classic rock. While I have great respect for the originators, I draw much more influence from metalcore, melodic death metal, prog, and punk. My favorite bands combine different sub-genres of metal into a cohesive sound (Revocation comes to mind), and with our contrasting influences that was our goal on Avalon.
When it comes to musical influence in writing, I have played classical and jazz piano my whole life so I always had appreciation for metal bands that add those sounds into their music. Many don't realize how much commonality there is between metal and classical music, and now more and more modern prog bands like Intervals are incorporating jazz stylings into their sound. Beyond that, I am a huge hiphop fan of all kinds, just as much if not more than metal! I find the two genres strike a perfect balance when thrown onto the same playlist
MIKE: I am very into the classic "big-sound" powerful bands such as Led Zeppelin, Metallica, DIO, and Iron Maiden. Pretty much anything with a big booming sound.
Outside of metal I am really into Jazz. It's one of those genres that I grew up listening to that always interested me, specifically as a drummer. Some of my biggest influences are Chick Corea and Dave Weckl. Their fusion styles really opened my eyes to what more is possible from a drummer as it relates to other styles.
Trent Zuberi - Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar
Tim Wilkens - Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mike Cieplik - Drums and Percussion
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