Now You Know: Shaded Enmity

Wednesday, 9th October 2013

Formation: 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Style: Melodic death metal that is simply too good to go unrecognized.
Personnel: Joe Nurre (vocals, guitars); Jesse Heidner (bass); Simon Dorfman (drums): Spenser Hodge (guitars).
Latest Release: Forsaken and Forgotten (self-released)

Honesty, anyone?

“You have no idea how much it bothers us that the labels we loved and respected growing up are now signing bands like Butcher Babies, Destiny Potato, The Browning, In this Moment, Surrounded By Monsters, and yes I will say it, Suicide Silence. Are we bitter? Of course we are. I am probably the most out of all of us, but our drummer Simon would disagree. I have sunk over $25,000 into my band the past six years. It’s not like we are looking for a handout. We are an extremely hard-working band. At this point we would like to be recognized by a respectable label that believes in us and our music. We have put more money into Shaded Enmity than most labels put into their new bands. We have contacted every single metal label out there. There isn’t one we haven’t hit. No joke.”

The above quote from Shaded Enmity mainman Joe Nurre is the result of years upon years of frustration, knowing that his band is better than the trend-of-the-day bands labels are so apt to signing. He certainly has a point – Shaded Enmity’s hyper-intensive brand of melodic death metal is upper echelon all the way; no filters, no pegging off Gothenburg or Death, just flat-out golden melodies, epic song structures, and compositional abilities that are top-notch on their new album, Forsaken and Forgotten, which is self-released, of course.

“We have had some interest from some smaller labels but quite honestly it wasn’t very intriguing and the offer wasn’t tempting enough,” continues Nurre on the label subject. “At one point, we had some interest from one of the main artist representatives over at Century Media records but after we finished the album he informed us that the label was moving towards signing more rock bands and that they were done signing ‘underground’ metal bands, otherwise they would go bankrupt. That is about as much interest as we have had. We were opening for Cattle Decapitation once in Seattle and their guitarist came up to us after the show and said that we were the first local band in any city that they have played that he has actually wanted to watch and was blown away when he heard us. He couldn’t believe we weren’t signed either. This year alone, I have probably been asked at least 800 times why my band isn’t signed.”

Moving along, DR can rattle off at least a half-dozen cuts on Forsaken and Forgotten that are more than up to snuff, most notably “Sadness in Summer Rain” as well as “And Life Was Great…” two instant earworms, dominated by the band’s ability to be technical, melodic, and memorable. “In order for me to write these melodies in these songs, I have to be going through something in my life that I can directly translate into a feeling in a song,” admits Nurre. “Some of my best melodies come out on my worst days. Shaded Enmity would probably be more of a straight death metal band if these melodies didn’t exist so I make sure to always put them in the music.”

As another detour from the norm, Nurre and co. place a vast degree of thought and emphasis on their lyrics. In place of genre-standard death, gore, horror, and Viking topics, real-life issues are discussed, many of which ring a little too close to home for the singer/guitarist, most notably, “What Have You Done, Oxycontin?”

“That song is about a very close family member of mine whose life has been completely destroyed by that terrible drug,” he relays. “Many people that I have known have had struggles with this toxic substance and I have watched it destroy families. Chances are someone in your own family or maybe one of your readers has a close personal friend or family member who has been affected by this. It doesn’t just destroy one life, it takes down every life that it can around it.

“As I mentioned earlier, I try to incorporate very personal elements from my life so that it can reach and touch the listener in a good way,” continues Nurre. “I have actually received many emails from different listeners telling me how much a certain song from Shaded Enmity, or how this band has gotten them through many difficult times in their life because they know there is someone that has had that experience and has seen the same pain. I always like getting those emails because as I get older I want to have a more positive effect on people’s lives because I enjoy helping them even if it’s just through song.”

On a lighter note, Nurre has spent the last two years as part of Jeff Loomis’s backing band. Loomis, always looking to buck the trend of being a singular guitar shred-showman, has filled his band with a stellar crew of players, one of which happens to be Nurre, who also functions as the band’s touring manager. Since it would be impossible to not learn something from the former Nevermore shredder, we asked Nurre what the primary takeaways have been.

“One of the biggest things I took away from playing with Jeff was the amount of experience I got touring. We did like 75 shows together or something like that and it was a cool feeling getting to go on stage every night because that is something that I really do love doing. I also did the tour managing for Loomis for the last 2 tours we did and this is where I really got to know the ins and the outs of the industry and now I understand it better than I ever have. Another great thing I got to take away from it was the memory of having played with one of the greatest guitar players this century has seen. Every single night Jeff would play with 95% accuracy or greater, and it forced me to be on top of my game when it came to my parts and it made me be a better player because I was inspired to be as accurate as he was.”

As for what lies ahead for Shaded Enmity, Nurre is optimistic, but realistic at the same time.

“For the rest of the year I am probably going to start working on the next release,” he concludes. “Obviously if no label has picked up Forsaken and Forgotten, that’s not going to deter me from writing more music. Other than that we have one or two shows left in the year but you can expect us to stay fairly active!”

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