Unfortunately, far too many current extreme bands (particularly in Long Island) seem to be congregating into two equally disturbing groups. One faction is concerned with proper male eyeliner application, ultra-tight pants, and earlobe plugs of record-breaking size, while the other branch is focused on tough-guy posturing, finding ways to add more predictable breakdowns (i.e., beatdowns, mosh-parts) into their tunes, and encouraging supporters to jumpkick girls and destroy venues.
Luckily for the free-thinking lovers of aggressive music, there are exceptions - like Long Island's Drowned Sorrow. This band is rejecting trends and focusing on things that truly matter: creating inspired original music, performing high-quality live shows wherever possible, maintaining artistic integrity, and using a DIY approach to build a legion of followers that share a similarly fervent passion for extreme music.
Drowned Sorrow formed in May 2000, and have self-released three recordings - the 2004 demo "Superimpose a Smile," Demo 2006, and their recent EP "Fittings At the Coffin Shop" (released February 2010). The band, which consists of Seth Abrams (guitar), Scott Borow (drums), Joel Koos (guitar), Derrick Prince (bass), and Dan Roberts (vocals) has played live shows with the likes of Through the Eyes of the Dead, God Forbid, Rosetta, and Arsis.
The following is an exchange between the Long Island Metal Music Examiner and Drowned Sorrow:
Long Island Metal Music Examiner: What are the origins of the name Drowned Sorrow?
Drowned Sorrow: The name Drowned Sorrow is synonymous with our sound. Early on we were all really into Crowbar and southern sludge. We were writing a lot of mid and slow tempo parts with dark melodies over them. It was about embracing the individual expression of each member as a release to form the continuum of the band.
LIMME: Where did the EP’s title “Fittings At The Coffin Shop” come from?
DS: The name “Fittings At The Coffin Shop” is meant to provoke thought in many directions dependent upon perception. We are not sure how many people actually know when they are going for their fitting, but we are all in line.
LIMME: Would you consider “Fittings At The Coffin Shop” a concept album, or perhaps simply an album where some (or all) of the songs are built around similar lyrical (and/or musical) themes?
DS: “Fittings At The Coffin Shop” was not designed to be a concept album. The music provides consistently surprising and powerful contexts. There are affinities in lyrical themes, but the subject matter differs between most of the songs.
LIMME: What extreme vocalists have influenced your style? On “Fittings At The Coffin Shop" I hear vocal similarities to Zao’s Dan Weyandt (for some of the deeper growls), as well Converge frontman Jacob Bannon (vocal delivery), and although neither may have influenced you, I just thought I'd share that observation. Who, if anyone, influences your lyrical style/the way you write? Is all the lyrical content on “Fittings At The Coffin Shop” drawn from life experience?
Dan Roberts (vocalist and lyricist for Drowned Sorrow): I have been a fan of heavy metal and aggressive music since I was a kid and developed several influences over time. Chris Barnes (early Cannibal Corpse), Chuck Schuldiner (Death) and Glen Benton (Deicide) were my introduction to the nature of extreme vocalists. I enjoy the raw energy and intensity of Tim Williams (Vision Of Disorder) and Josh Scogin (Norma Jean/The Chariot). Your comparison to Jacob Bannon’s vocals is very flattering. I really admire his approach. I also like the power of vocalists Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation) and George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse). I have always been fascinated with the lyrics of bands, the meaning of them, how they are structured against the music and the effect a vocalist’s delivery has on the listener. I really like the passion and sincerity of the lyrics in Shai Hulud songs. They are well written and there is a lot of energy in the presentation.
My lyrics revolve around my view of reality over the course of a moment that has affected me. I include a lot of detail to create a visual and define the intensity of the emotion. These may be personal experiences or my feelings as I witness the experiences of others, but they are all genuine.
LIMME: What are some current extreme acts that you admire (either locally or in general), and if you could develop a tour with anyone (in an ideal world) who would you hit the road with?
DS: We share in the diversity of extreme music and admire a lot of bands from Lamb of God, Mastodon, Behemoth, Deicide, Converge, The Red Chord, and Every Time I Die to The Chariot, Gaza, Decrepit Birth, Architect and Withered. Some of the bands that we have played with locally like The World We Knew and Stray From The Path work very hard and are a part of some great tours now. Ideally, it would be great for us to tour with bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Converge, Misery Signals, Shai Hulud, Arsis, Cephalic Carnage and Cattle Decapitation.
LIMME: What is your favorite Long Island venue to play (past and present)?
DS: A few years ago there were a lot of shows at the Centereach VFW. There were two stages and it could handle tour packages with several bands combined with several more locals. A lot of great bands, great shows and merch tables that would line the walls. It was an indoor festival in our backyard. [Regarding current venues,] Fins Pub in Oakdale has been a really good venue for some years now. A lot of bands that come out further east on Long Island will play there. The venue is very inviting and accommodating. It’s a real community and they want to put on good metal and hardcore shows.
LIMME: What other projects/bands have current members of Drowned Sorrow been involved with in the past?
DS: Derrick (Bass) - The Ancient Enemy
Joel (Guitar) - Put Down, Food
Seth (Guitar) - Playground Thug, Desperate For Acceptance
Scott (Drums) – Kubiac, Fallingwithin
LIMME: In the opinion of the band, how has the Long Island metal/hardcore scene/musical landscape changed in the last ten years?
DS: The metal and hardcore scene seems to fluctuate based on the availability of venues to host shows. All over Long Island there are bands playing aggressive music, but there is not always a live forum for these bands to congregate and perform. A few years ago there were several smaller and DIY venues that would host a lot of shows and attract some of the 3 to 5 band metal/hardcore tour packages. Local bands on the shows worked hard to promote them and the turn outs were great. Unfortunately, fights and damage to the venues stopped them from booking these shows. There are always bands and promoters trying to find new and different places to play, especially venues that honor the all ages crowd this music directly targets.
LIMME: How does the band plan to support “Fittings At The Coffin Shop?” Local shows only (as you say on your site, 'backyards, basements, living rooms, kitchens and squats')? Larger touring plans?
DS: We work hard to create opportunities for ourselves and will consider any that come our way. Shows! Shows! Shows! We want to play as many shows as possible. We love the energy of live performance and believe this is where an audience will gain the true essence of our music. We prefer to play places without age restrictions which make those intimate house shows so appealing. Any exposure is good though and anywhere is even better.
Drowned Sorrow's next scheduled Long Island show is April 13th at Broadway Bar in Amityville in support of Rose Funeral and Wretched (presented by Cat-1 Strong Island Booking). The Long Island Metal Music Examiner will be reviewing Drowned Sorrow's new EP "Fittings at the Coffin Shop" in the very near future.
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