DEATH RATTLE. If you’re not familiar with the New Hampshire-based groove-thrash metal band, their independently-released sophomore record Volition is out now, and quite frankly it’s a banger from beginning to end. The quintet makes music that could very well serve as the soundtrack to breaking shit and burning the house down. I had the chance to ask lead guitarist Ryan VanderWolk some questions about the band and what makes them tick. Check it:
Amps: Your sound definitely straddles the line between Death, Groove, and Thrash Metal. Is this happy accident, or by design?
Ryan: I would say a happy accident. Personal favorites are groove metal bands, PANTERA mainly, but thrash was a part of all of our upbringing, and it’s what started it all for some of us. I think maybe a touch of death just happens. We love aggressive metal.
Amps: If you had to describe the band to someone totally uninitiated, how would you do so?
Ryan: I would say we are a groove metal band in the vein of our biggest mutual Inspirations, namely PANTERA, LAMB OF GOD, and GOJIRA.
Amps: When it comes to writing songs, what is the dynamic within the group? Do they come from everyone bringing in demos, or jamming together, or both?
Ryan: It’s a collective effort for the most part. Jimmy (Cossette, rhythm guitar) and I write guitar riffs or sections of songs and put them together and then bring them to Chris (Morin) and he slowly figures out what he wants to do on drums. We have a lot of discussion on this part as we go. Then Kevin (Adams, bass) and Trey (Holton, vocals) will jump in and add their creative input. It works really well for us.
Amps: How often do you find yourselves writing? When the mood hits, or is everyone constantly humming melodies into their phones while standing in the frozen food aisle?
Ryan: Writing happens 100% organically in the beginning until we actually sit down and try to put it together. My favorite riffs I’ve come up with always happen when I’m in a relaxed state and just playing around on guitar. It’s actually a surprise like, “Oh this riff is good!” Then it motivates us to make something of it. Speaking for myself I can say that riffs are always going through my head.
Amps: You are about to head out supporting THE CONVALESCENCE. Do you have any tours lined up for 2018, and if so, can we expect you in Philly?
Ryan: We are currently on the road with THE CONVALESCENCE and they are awesome. We do not have anything confirmed for 2018 YET but there will be plenty and we hope to see Philly next year! You can expect to see us.
Amps: Away from the band, what do you like to do to relax and unwind?
Ryan: This question is actually a tough one because music for us is #1. That being said we love football, great movies and such like that, but for the most part it’s always something to do with music.
Amps: What are you listening to these days in the car or at home? Old stuff, new stuff, rock, metal, polka, what?
Ryan: All kinds of music but mostly metal. We listen to a ton of GOJIRA, we like the new album from THE HAUNTED (Strength In Numbers). Trey also loves FALLUJAH and bands like that.
Amps: What is ONE thing about you that people might be surprised or shocked to learn?
Ryan: I’ve lived my life with Tourette’s syndrome. It’s been a serious struggle at times, particularly when I was younger.
Amps: OK…full band Royal Rumble in the ring…who wins and why?
Ryan: My guess would be Kevin, the bass player. He is the strongest one of us and his arms are huge (laughs)! I’m not sure Chris and Jimmy would last too long; they are smaller guys.
Amps: What would you like people to take away from this album when the final note of (album closer) “From Blood to Black” rings out?
Ryan: I would like for people to take away satisfaction in the music but also want more of it. To feel that the album is worthy to be in their top rotation, and that it can hang with records from their favorite bands.
Amps: What would you like to say to all your fans out there?
Ryan: Thank you so much for your support. You are the engine that moves the wheels!
You can pick up a copy of Volition wherever you buy your music, and be sure to catch DEATH RATTLE in a city near you supporting THE CONVALESCENCE. You can find dates HERE.