If you thought thrash and power metal were a thing of the past, then you’re absolutely wrong. The melodic speed-thrashers in Zephaniah are bringing the music back from its unfilled grave.
So, just how is a power thrash band making an impact 2016?
As Zephaniah began writing their first album “Stories from the Book of Metal,” they produced heavy riffs, catchy melody lines and turned towards a thrash format. They’re making music exciting for the newbies and nostalgically entertaining for the oldies.
Don’t get too fooled by Zephaniah. While they’re not a Christian band, the name’s meaning is “spirit of the wind and that particular book (in the Bible) is about judgment. It’s kind of got a metal background and it’s cool because it starts with a Z and Z is awesome,” says Justin Zych, founding member of the band.
The Fort Wayne band released their debut album “Stories from the Book of Metal” in 2008 with current members Zych, Logan Detwiler and Ian Bender. Though Zephaniah endured a break-up in 2010, it didn’t stop the magic from happening. After requests from promoters to continue their act, the band kicked back off in 2014, picking up Cody Johns and Shaun Cothron on the way.
After working on their music these past two years, Zephaniah released their second album, “Reforged.” With two versions out in the world (A Japanese version released this past December and worldwide in February) the band has gained nationwide recognition.
Indy Metal Shows caught up with Zephaniah’s Justin Zych to learn more about “Reforged” and what’s to come from the new generation of thrash.
Why did Zephaniah choose power metal and thrash?
We just decided to see what happened with the music to begin with and from what I liked and after figuring out what we all liked, we ended up going with power thrash. We all liked power metal but we all liked good taste not so technical stuff. We just try to make it catchy. We all like catchy music but we like to be challenged. We said, lets just play fast power metal. And it’s very progressive from there. Being power and thrash kind of limits you, so we always kind of do what we want but at the same time remember the fact that we’re a power thrash band. You’ll hear in the middle of songs and say hey, this isn’t really power thrash, but it works out for this song and sounds really good. Nothing is going to be dropped because it’s not thrash or power metal enough.
There aren’t many thrash bands around. Why do you think that is?
It’s because there’s not a lot of great singers willing to do the style of music we enjoy unless you go to a different state or country. But at the same time I think there’s a lot of people that like this style of music but they can’t put it together because there’s not enough musicians willing to do it. You can start a hardcore band and have a following in less than a month. We just wanted to play music and we’ve always stuck out.
Tell me about your second album, “Reforged.” Is there a difference between the Japanese and Worldwide release?
When we were shopping around, we wanted to get a release for each territory. I’ve worked with Spiritual Beast before and they’ve given me a good offer to do the territories and the Japanese market. And with them in the Japanese markets you have to have two bonus tracks and I was prepared for that. We recorded two bonus tracks just for that particular version. So it makes it more sellable for the customers. Dive Bomb Records takes the rest of the world because they have distributors and work with a bunch of smaller labels. If anyone in a particular region wants to license it out, all they have to do is contact Dive Bomb and then from there, everyone makes more money.
Zephaniah gives flashy shows. What do you all do on stage?
We do a lot of guitar tricks; we do a lot of drum tricks. Sometimes we play each other’s instruments. We just try to make it more fun and visually exciting. A lot of our music is very visionary and stimulating. It does help that we’re all not standing there. It’s to get people more pumped up. The newest one that I’ve done, and is still hard for me to do, is throw a pick in the air, catch it in my mouth, and spit it out into the crowd. It’s a stupid one, but its just one of those that’s fun for me to do. Sometimes it’ll hit me right in my eye and I’ll miss my mouth.
Care to share Zephaniah’s writing process?
Any member can write a song, bring it to the table then what we do as a band, is dissect it. Sometimes a song is completely changed and sometimes it stays the same and we only change a couple parts. We don’t really do too much of it. We’re just like hey, that’s catchy, that’ll work. Several songs on this album weren’t the actual originals. We’ve taken some parts out or add a different part that someone else wrote. It’s a more efficient way to write. That way, we have a song structure and from there we can edit and have the song ready for another album in the future.
Power and thrash aren’t the newest genres around. What audience are you trying to reach?
We’ve hit up both sides and right now we’re getting a lot of musicians. Younger kids like it because it’s fun to watch. Older people like it because it reminds them of the old school days. We’re basically just picking a heavy metal audience, death metal and people that like traditional metal. They all can enjoy us in a different way and that’s what we bring to the table. We’re like that band everyone can go to and agree on. So if we can just get the right management we can get out there and accomplish great things if someone is willing to invest into us.
What is Zephaniah’s next move? Working on your next album? Just touring?
We’re going to hit up all the regional tours and opening spots. We’ll continue to do tours here and there. But right now we’re continually writing and getting stuff ready for new records. Right now we’re shopping for management and we want to go to the next level where we’re touring for months at a time and able to make this a full time job. And for an independent band we all take home money. Which is nice. For all the investments we’ve put into it we’re making it back up to pay the bills. We’re making enough to where we go play one weekend and have enough money to pay the guys. We’re at a point where no matter where we play, we’re making enough money to do it as well as put a little bit extra into our pockets. It’s not a lot yet, but it will be hopefully. There’s no management, it’s just us independently doing it, working on promoting and doing all of that extra advertising. We’re looking for someone who can take us to that next level and who has connections beyond what we have.
Want to check out Zephaniah? Click here to go to their website.
Zephaniah’s next show will be Tuesday, May 3at the 5th Quarter Lounge with Entombed A.D, Exmortus, and Stonecutters.
Show starts at 8 p.m.
$12 advanced and $14 day of/ 21+
Tickets available here.