July 17, 2008

Trailer Thrash Will Test Their Metal

By Britt Combs, The McDowell News, Marion, N.C.

Jul. 17--A scary new metal group is ready to terrorize the Earth, starting with McDowell County.

And my ears are still ringing.

Check out a a video of Trailer Thrash! Click here!

Trailer Thrash is four local boys from Dysartsville. Three of them are still in high school and one graduated this spring. Despite their relative youth, the boys form a tight, organized and determined thrash machine.

The band will make its bar debut this Saturday at Ivan's, as part of Rock Fest '08. The event is an all-ages show.

Opportunity may be knocking on the trailer door. The band has been selected to appear on the Project Independent Showcase Tour at Amos's Southend Music Hall in Charlotte on Oct. 28. Trailer Thrash was one of only seven bands selected from among over 300 applicants. The tour's promoter selected them based on their MySpace page.

David Bowman, the band's drummer, is a McDowell High senior and he owns the band's trailer. Tyler Buckner is the singer. He graduated this spring. Guitarist Corey Addison and bass player Elliott Stevens will be juniors this year. They have played together less than two years.

Thus far they've played several birthday parties.

"It's kinda weird," said Tyler. "I didn't think people hired metal bands to play birthdays."

They recently played Nicky Biddix's sweet 16, they said.

"The cops came by and we thought they were gonna make us stop, but they were just yelling 'Rock!' at us," Elliott said.

They've played the Marion Underground three times. They said the venue is a great place to play, but the neighbors don't like it and keep calling the police.

"A lot of the kids our age don't like us," David said.

"They are more into punk," added Elliott.

Tyler explained his impression that heavy metal is more often appreciated by older people in their 20s, but the group is committed to the music they love. "We wrote a punk song, just to make fun of it," said David, "but we like our music. I don't want to just throw four chords together and be a punk band."

Heavy metal, especially thrash, is known for tight orchestrations, complex rhythms and fast, pizzicato guitar virtuosity. Punk, by contrast, features simplicity and derives its energy from aggressive delivery and pure speed. Punk guitarists traditionally avoid improvisation, preferring choppy power chords and stick close to the melody when soloing.

The band invited me to attend a rehearsal. I squeezed into the trailer with them, armed with camera and video camera. Four stick clicks and they launched into "Test Tube Holocaust," an original composition. Elliott Stevens appeared relaxed and loose, more like a funk player in his posture and technique. His right hand fingertips must be hard as rocks, as few bassists can get such hard attack picking with bare fingers. He uses all four fingers to pick, too, a rarity in a genre where most bassists use a flat pick.

David is plenty aggressive on the drums, with a great set of feet on the "cheater pedal," a device that allows the drummer to use the both feet on the bass drum. He augments his set with good toys like a cowbell and a very splashy "China boy" cymbal. I didn't hear him speed up or slow down, and he definitely was the loudest one in the room, as the drums certainly should be.

Left-handed guitarist Corey has strong technique and a good set-up. He works the wah pedal subtly while managing to play lightly and consistently, always on time, always supporting the song. His solos are catchy and clever, and he is hilarious to watch as he windmills his hair around, head up and usually grinning. He plays at a very sensible level and does not overwhelm the band's sound, but supports the song first and foremost.

Big, tall Tyler is clearly of the newer, Phil Anselmo-inspired generation. His voice is full of growls and roars, as opposed to the old school metal style of screaming and shrieking. Tyler's roar is both convincing and terrifying. Although I couldn't make out any of the words, he and his band mates assured me they were deep. Whatever the lyrics were, his grunts were blood-curdling.

They played three more originals for me as I snapped away on the camera, enjoying the smooth rattle and buzz of my eardrums and the nostalgic fun of being around young men with big dreams.

They seem to have a work ethic to match those dreams, which is important. Corey said, "We basically eat and sleep and come her to play." He said they were deep into song writing and hoped by the time of October's trip to Charlotte to have at least one full set of originals.

They don't seem troubled by their idea that their music is out of step with their generation. David said good music would always find listeners.

Corey added that the most important thing is to play their own thing and find their own style.

"It seems like all kinds of music -- country or metal or punk or whatever -- everybody just sounds the same and they're the ones who get famous. We just want a chance to play our own style of thrash," he said. "We'll take any gig we can get."

"We'll slaughter the masses," said Tyler, "but in a good way."


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Copyright (c) 2008, The McDowell News, Marion, N.C.

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