Over the years, I have been exposed to many sub-genres of hard rock and metal music, so as a rock music fan, it’s completely insane that I’ve never really been exposed to what many call “Symphonic Metal.” Perhaps it’s that as we go through life, we tend to get comfortable in our musical taste and tend not to venture out quite as much, and I’m as guilty as anyone of this, but the goal was to change all of that when I was invited to sit down and talk with Elantris, an up-and-coming rock band from Ohio.
Comprised of band members Lindsay Victoria Ketchum and Thomas Ullom on vocals, Garrett Chetock playing guitar, John Dobosh on bass, Mark Liber on keys, and Erik Liber on drums, Elantris (formerly Blackthorne) were out on the road supporting fellow Symphonic Metallers: Epica, Lacuna Coil, and Insomnium.
Elantris keyboardist Mark Liber and guitarist Garrett Chetock took time out before a show in Atlanta to fill me in about the tour.
My first question for them was what they considered the difference is between Metal and Symphonic Metal. I was able to deduce it all comes down to the additional musical layers and textures. So a band like Elantris that has heavy riffing guitars from Garrett who cites Metallica as one of his earliest influences, also has layers of keys and sounds from Mark, who talked about a band like Dream Theater influencing his approach. You get growling aggressive vocals from Tom, but it’s paired with angelic beautiful vocal choruses from Lindsay. If you look at other bands from this genre, there is similar formulas occurring, but all have a completely unique style and sound.
When Elantris landed the opening slot for this tour, it was a major win for the band. Playing in front of three incredible bands each night and having the opportunity to win over their fans goes miles into building a foundation for a new band. To say they were ecstatic would be putting it lightly. Putting a cherry on top of this massive metal sundae, was that for their first major tour the band would also be traveling in a bus as opposed to a van and a trailer like so many newer bands are consigned to these days.
Unfortunately that bonus nearly backfired on the band when, in a freak accident, the glass turntable from the bus microwave shattered after being dropped on the floor slicing the Achilles tendon of drummer Erik Liber. It could have meant the end of the tour for Elantris with only five dates left to play, but as you have heard many times before the show must go on, and one can never underestimate the bonds and camaraderie that are formed on tour. Enter in drummer Ryan Blake Folden from Lacuna Coil who stepped in, learned the material, and is helping the band finish out the tour.
After my conversation with Liber and Chetock came to a close, I wandered over to the massive line of concert-goers entering the venue. By the time we made ourselves through the doors, we got in just in time to see the band take the stage. While Elantris went on first, they were greeted with an almost capacity crowd. They hit the stage with a thunder of guitars, drums, and keys. Given the limited amount of stage the band had to work with, they did a great job unleashing a massive amount of aggression and a rhythmic spirit into the wild.
The band whipped through 30 minutes of songs from the “This Sacrifice,” which was released under the band’s original name Blackthorne, and at the end induced an already frenzied crowd into a roundabout mosh pit, which I happily watched from a safe distance in order to preserve my quality of life.
Elantris together with Epica, Lacuna Coil, and Insomnium gave new meaning to wall of sound and provided a night full of loud guitars, swelling keyboards, and anthemic vocals to produce music for the masses in attendance and satisfy their left-of-center taste in metal.
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