Now You Know: VerscythëMonday, 28th April 2014
Location: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Style: American power metal of an older variety; melodic with nuances of late 80’s/ early 90’s influences.
Personnel: Justin St. Pierre (vocals) ; Chris Reed (guitars) ; Jeff Rull (guitars) ; Jack St. Pierre (bass); Kevin Camille (drums)
Latest release: A Time Will Come (self-released/ independent)
The quantity of metal bands attempting to gain an audience in today’s scene trumps my youthful discovery and blossoming in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. So when I gain the chance to go out on a local metal weekend night and turn out to discover a new band to my liking, I consider this a hidden bonus. Fortunately, the debut album from New Bedford, MA based Verscythë entitled A Time Will Come lives up to their professional live presentation – and is sort of a throwback in the melodic power metal realm to a time when Queensÿche, Riot, Fifth Angel, and Heir Apparent carved out their stake in the business.
Taking their name from the book 777 (signifying an army and a war cry), vocalist Justin St. Pierre tells us about the origins of the quintet: “After adding all of our birthdays together, the total number yielded 93 which led our guitarist Jeff Rull to the name Verscythë. We all knew each other from previous bands around the New Bedford area since 2002. Kevin Camille spent a few years for instance in the melodic death metal band Beyond the Embrace, and Chris, Kevin, my brother Jack and myself also played together for a few years in a power/ heavy metal band called Kreagen. By chance in 2011 we were all out of bands and free to join forces to create Verscythë.”
A Time Will Come hit the streets in early 2013, a 10-song effort that is meeting with critical acclaim all across the globe. I was curious about the writing and recording process through the band’s eyes, as it definitely harkens back to the 1980’s and early 1990’s scene. “I don’t believe we ever set our sights on playing any particular style,” St. Pierre explains. “Recording was fun. We had all been in other bands who have recorded so it wasn’t stressful at all. It took a year to complete the recording, but we just had fun and kept it relaxed and I think it shows on the finished CD.”
“All of our writing styles are a little different, but close enough to entangle within themselves to make an album that we believe to be cohesive throughout.” Reed adds. Fellow guitarist Rull explains, “The writing process wasn’t too bad because Justin, Chris and I all had songs written and when we got the feel of the band we knew the songs we had would work.”
One of the strongest aspects of the group lies in the multi-octave vocal prowess of Pierre. Able to hit the highest bird call notes with the greatest of ease is not an easy feat, and something he works at diligently. “I took around six years of singing lessons. I’ve been singing my whole life, but I just wanted to do it right. I never knew how much went into singing the right way so taking lessons definitely made me a better singer. When I was really young, singers like Frankie Valli and the Beach Boys with the high vocals and harmonies just amazed me. As I got older, hearing so many new awesome bands and singers, there were so many that inspired me, but the main ones would probably be Bruce Dickinson, Michael Kiske, Geoff Tate, Sebastian Bach, and Freddie Mercury.”
Being from the southeastern part of Massachusetts, I was curious to learn their thoughts on live performances and the scene in their neck of the woods. “Whether there is one person or 100 people watching, we feed off of the energy,” Reed says. “We have been very fortunate to make a lot of new friends and fans at each show and look forward to continue to do so.” And drummer Kevin Camile adds, “The scene in the New Bedford area has been virtually gone for a while now, but lately there have been some new promoters and clubs breathing some much needed new life into the area. There’s a lot of up-and-coming bands just waiting to get the chance to get the local scene going again.”
Verscythë possess a distinct sound in an era of groups that may be darker, heavier, or more extreme in their style. Being that your influences are of an older variety, do you feel like a “Stranger in a strange land?”to quote a classic Iron Maiden song in terms of being different and unique? Reed answers: “At times, I guess it can feel that way, but we don’t mind being different. Bands like Iron Maiden are bands that everyone, whatever style of metal people listen to seem to like, so us having that kind of sound does make people take a little more notice.”
With plans on the horizon to write and record their next full-length album in a year, the band isn’t against tapping into the hands of social media and new technology avenues to expand their fan base. “We are looking to start streaming our own web shows,” Rull says. “By doing so we can start playing shows for all the cool people overseas that do not get to see us live.” Reed adds, “It always sucks when there is a band that you like and they never tour anywhere you can see them so this is a really good opportunity for us to be anyplace that people want us to be!”