After the Lakeland-based melodic death metal band Sanctum shifted members, retired its material and performed its last show in 2011, some members regrouped as Wirethrone. Still pressing onward as an incarnation of the brand of music they represent and as individual musicians, Wirethrone has continued its Florida performances in areas such as Tampa and Orlando. On Feb. 18, Wirethrone participated in a Battle of the Bands hosted at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Although the band did not win the grand prize, its members were determined not to let it hold them back and were optimistic for their future.
Unlike Sanctum, Wirethrone does not make use of keyboards and is instead going for a more guitar-oriented approach to songwriting and performance. However, the band tries to incorporate multiple influences to form a more distinguished sound. “We’re a pretty eclectic group with a lot of different genres covered,” said guitarist and main songwriter Trey Hawkins. “Our drummer Steve Behr and I have experience playing jazz in high school. As far as musical tastes go, we come from a broad spectrum even within metal. In Wirethrone, we try to focus more on technicality, unlike Sanctum, which was more simplistic but also more symphonic. However, we still remain true to our melodic death metal roots.”
Due to members’ previous relative success as Sanctum, Wirethrone has had a great start in the local music scene and has retained connections to top-level musicians such as Seven Kingdoms. Hawkins said, “Our first show had us opening for Obscura (Relapse Records) and Enfold Darkness (Sumerian Records) and we’ve built a good friendship with the guys from Enfold.” Band members agree that the Obscura concert was their greatest marked accomplishment and have shared that they enjoy creatively challenging each other and being able to format what they are hearing into full songs. “We are happy with the product we have so far as we begin to record our album,” said Hawkins.
While the Battle of the Bands event seemed to show bias toward the more popular country and pop/rock bands, Wirethrone performed with style and energy all the same. “Honestly, we knew we wouldn’t be playing for a metal crowd,” said Hawkins. “We didn’t expect to win the first prize. We just wanted to come out and play and make money in the process.” Can it be presumed that the local music scene is not hospitable to metal bands or musicians trying to offer something different than the mainstream? The band opines that local musicians on the whole do not support each other enough. Hawkins offered, “There are so many bands out there playing, hurting the supply and demand business aspect of music. There are a lot of talented musicians today and you have to dig through a lot of local musicians that put heart and soul to their work. That’s a part of local music, creating something creative to share with the audience… and that’s diminishing nowadays.”
Second guitarist James Harper added, “We need to have more people coming out to more shows.” Newly recruited bassist Taylor Haplin (formerly of Agerasia) believes that “people view the local scene too much as a competition, not as a family. You don’t get out of the local scene by not supporting each other.”
Wirethrone was eager to share what it has in store for the band and its fans. Hawkins finally stated, “We’ve added two members and we’re getting ready to begin the preproduction demo stage of all songs and hopefully mid-March and early April we will enter the studio to record the first album. Matt Johnson (former guitar player for The Autumn Offering) will record it. No new shows will take place until the album is done, and it will be released exclusively on the Internet via iTunes, etc. Afterwards, we’ll be looking at setting up some tours. Until then we want to get new members up to speed and better ourselves as musicians.”
After completing its new recordings, Florida music fans can anticipate great results from Wirethrone. Its artfully accomplished melodies combined with equally distinguished rhythms make for a force to be reckoned with in the genre.