Arise the Titan’s bio describes the band’s sound as this:
“Seething from the fiery pits of hell, the progression of melodies and technical instrumentation lead the listeners into the unforgiving depths of treacherous breakdowns, only to be pulverized by twisted and menacing vocals that sodomize your ears and eternally corrupt your soul. Brutalized by something so vicious we dare to call it sound ...”
Over the phone, though, Arise the Titan lead singer Michael Leone does not sound as if he wants to violate your ears or spirit at all. It’s a friendly, even kind voice on the other end of the phone signal — very much unlike the growling angry demon-spawn he seems to be in the band’s recordings.
“I’m a pretty soft-spoken dude, generally,” says Leone. “When co-workers or someone not into metal find out what I do they’re taken aback. ‘But you’re so calm!’ ‘Yeah, I’m not yelling all the time! In fact, when I do it makes me feel a little bit better. It’s cathartic!’
“Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without it. It gets rid of all my aggression. If I don’t get to play a show for a couple of weeks it’s a frustration. It’s like being sexually frustrated, but with music. You need to have this (expletive) release!”
The Columbus, Ohio, -based band has been around long enough to have a long-abandoned MySpace page (dated 2007) and most of the members are from Circleville, just south of Columbus. The group became a serious local concern near the end of the decade and went through a few band member changes along the way.
Leone is from nearby Galion, Ohio.
“I started singing metal when I was 15, 16,” says Leone. “I was just sort of screaming along with things I liked and trying all the technique.”
He says that although he didn’t emulate anyone, he certainly admired Eddie Hermida from All Shall Perish.
“His technique is just great. His lyric writing is great. He phrases things in an interesting way. And Phil Bozeman (of Knoxville’s Whitechapel) is a (expletive) monster. Whitechapel is one of the death metal bands that I got really, really into with ‘Somatic Defilement.’ I got it just before ‘This Is Exile’ came out. So I had both of those to listen to.”
Still a big fan, Leone says he’s actually gone to three Whitechapel shows in the past year.
It wasn’t until he was 18 that he began actually taking his vocal seriously and performing with local bands, finally landing with Arise the Titan in 2011.
“They went through a bunch of vocalists before they found me,” says Leone. “Then in the summer of 2011 we recorded the album (‘Our Collective Destroyer’).”
The rest of the band line-up is Adam “AZ” Zealer and Kyle Mertz on guitars, Chaunce Martin on bass and Paul Bolin on drums.
Leone says that a lot of people might like metal if they took the time to understand it a little better.
“I think a lot of people don’t keep an open mind to it. I think a lot of that probably comes from what I do — the vocals. People just listen to it and think it’s just noise. They don’t get past the vocals, which can be unpleasant to some ears. I understand that! I try to treat it almost like a percussive, rhythmic part and let it flow together with the music. You don’t listen to it at the forefront like you do with pop music. You can focus in on different parts and most people are just used to focusing in on vocals.”
In fact, he says, it’s a little like jazz in that musicians appreciate it sometimes more than the general public.
The group has a lot of plans, including an EP later this year and a full new album in 2014. At the moment, though, the band is making regular tours and building up fan bases as they return to certain cities. And they’re living up to the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle.
“We really like to party a lot,” says Leone. “If you want to after-party with us, we’re looking to have a good time. And the people who come out are usually really cool.”
Arise the Titan
With: Swamp Fox, 1000 Plane Raid, One of the Fallen, Plague’s Prophecy, Gore Mass, Rotiron
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Longbranch Saloon, 1848 Cumberland Ave.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!