Entheos – Ushering in a New EraSunday, 5th August 2018
It takes effort and drive in today’s metal market to bring something that goes outside the box. To bring in fresh ideas to an extreme sound without alienating your core fanbase is something even tougher. Yet Entheos has continued to merge and evolve with each release since their inception in 2015. Their sophomore effort, Dark Future, sits as the band’s crowning achievement to date. Taking a more cinematic feel, the band brings some ebb and flow to their material – keeping it heavy but also allowing some atmosphere and feeling in at the same time.
The band is currently out on the road with the Summer Slaughter tour, and they’ve been on the road near-constantly since Dark Future was released last November. But with hard work, the band is likely to reap some strong rewards, with a live show that’s energetic and diverse. A fitting representation of all the band can do. We caught up with vocalist Chaney Crabb after the band’s set in Worcester, MA to discuss Summer Slaughter and touring, what got her into metal, and even her interest in philosophy.
Dead Rhetoric: How has Tim [Walker] been doing on bass so far?
Chaney Crabb: Tim has been fantastic. He’s brought a new, different energy to the band. He fits like a glove. He has been a great fill-in for Evan [Brewer]. I don’t think we could have found anyone better. We tried out a lot of people and Tim just seemed like the best fit. It’s going really well.
Dead Rhetoric: You have been on the road constantly since Dark Future was released late last year. Is that your game plan for this year? To push as far as you can?
Crabb: Absolutely. We are going to be out in Europe in the fall. We are trying to take Dark Future as far as we can. I’m sure we will tour nonstop next year as well, while writing an album simultaneously. That was our plan from the get-go, to put out a sophomore album and just tour the fuck out of it. That’s what we are doing right now.
Dead Rhetoric: You feel you’ve got enough material behind you at this point that you can sit back and relax, in terms of having to write?
Crabb: Absolutely. We formed the band in early 2015 and we have put stuff out each year since then. We wanted to take this year off from writing stuff just to let the material breathe and build. We are being nice to ourselves and giving it a year off, and we’ll put out more material next year [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: So when you are out on the road, are you the type of band that can write or do you prefer going back home and sitting down and writing?
Crabb: We do a little bit of both. Navene [Koperweis] pretty much never stops writing. He’s the most maniacal writer I’ve ever seen. He’s my boyfriend as well, so when we are at home, I witness him writing constantly. Our material is always growing. He’ll do it on the road, or wherever. Some people are just built like that. They can’t stop themselves from creating. So it’s constantly happening, and we are always left with a shit-ton of riffs that we didn’t use on albums. It’s just our thing – it’s hard for us to stop writing.
Dead Rhetoric: I saw that you did two days on the tour filling in for Allegaeon on vocals. How did that go?
Crabb: It went really well! It was pretty seamless. We didn’t practice together – I had about a month to prepare. I thought it was awesome, I had a lot of fun. It’s a different thing for me. Our music is pretty different. Theirs is a bit more pummeling, straight-forward metal, and it was fun to do a set like that. I love those guys as well – we’ve done a tour before. Riley [McShane] is from where I live in Santa Cruz [CA] – I was out walking one day and we just ran into each other and he was like, “Oh hey, I was going to ask you if you could do vocals for Allegaeon for a couple of days!” It was pretty serendipitous and a lot of fun.
Dead Rhetoric: How’s Summer Slaughter going for Entheos? I know you are one of the first bands to play.
Crabb: It’s going well. We honestly had no idea what the crowds would look like, but you saw today…it was packed. It’s been a little back and forth, but we kind of knew it would be like that. Playing at 3:20 on a weekday isn’t the best for a draw. But really, to me, doing Summer Slaughter – you have to do it in order to be a ‘real’ metal band. I’ve been looking up to this tour for the past 11-12 years that it has been going on for. I’ve been dreaming of being on it. To me, it’s an achievement. It’s something we had to do.
Dead Rhetoric: As much as everyone seems to complain about it every year, it’s still a pretty dominant force.
Crabb: I know. I always think it’s hilarious to read those comments on the Internet. What people don’t realize is that they aren’t hurting the draw. They think they are, but they aren’t. I was waiting for a day like to today to take a picture of the crowd to be like, “Summer Slaughter is going to be cancelled next year, yeah right.”
Dead Rhetoric: It’s funny, because I don’t get it that mentality. I’d much rather see something like this where there are a lot of different bands on it. When you get 10 brutal death metal bands on in a row, it just gets boring after a while.
Crabb: I absolutely agree. For me, when I’m listening to one band, I want to hear something that’s dynamically challenging. A line-up like this is just that, except across the board. I’m the same as you. As much as I love death metal and whatever, I’d much rather see a line-up that has more things combined on it. Honestly, I feel like Entheos has been lucky enough to be on a lot of line-ups like that. Today I was thinking, we went on tour with this band called O’ Brother and Dillinger Escape Plan. We were nothing like them at all. O’ Brother is like an indie, folk-y stuff. They were totally out of our realm, but I like line-ups like that. When I was a kid, growing up in the scene, there weren’t a million of each band, so you had to play with a bunch of different types of stuff. I miss that. When you go to a show and every single band sounds pretty much the same, it gets real fucking redundant and boring. I don’t want to go see it.
Dead Rhetoric: With the amount of time that you’ve been spending on the road, what lessons do you think you’ve learned so far?
Crabb: A lot of the lessons that I think come with touring have to do with the way that you interact with other people. I’m around 6 dudes constantly. There’s no escaping any of us. You learn to get a lot with a million personalities. That exposure is really important. To be able to see how people vary and be able to form bonds and friendships with people who you may not hang out with when you are at home. Patience is a virtue.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you think that all of this touring will have an effect on what Entheos does in the future?
Crabb: All this touring is going to make our band bigger, so that someday we can headline a show! Then we can all curate an awesome line-up of a bunch of different bands, like we were just talking about. Doing a tour like Summer Slaughter is a step for a metal band, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds. We aren’t stopping anytime soon.
Dead Rhetoric: I know you are interested in philosophy, outside of metal. What drew you towards it?
Crabb: What drew me towards it was just this search for something more out of life I guess. I truly encourage everyone out there to explore philosophy and explore things that may not be what you believe in. Philosophy and learning about it, has made me a much more neutral person I think. My opinions are much less one-sided than they were when I was a teenager, and I can kind of see where everyone is coming from. I think that’s important, in being a human, especially in the crazy times that we are living in. People are so polarized by Donald Trump, or whatever is happening. I think it’s important to be able to stand somewhere in the middle and see where everyone is coming from. It’s the only way that we are going to change anyone’s opinion. That’s the root of my philosophy. We all need to come to more of an understanding with each other. It’s been a huge, helping tool in understanding those kind of things.
Dead Rhetoric: I totally agree there. I teach and deal with middle school students everyday, and I don’t know if kids are being fed this at home or whatever, but they are very one-directional with their opinions. It’s the same as with social media and all that. There’s no middle ground anymore.
Crabb: What has even further inspired me to become this way is that I’ve seen with my own eyes, relationships of people that I know that have absolutely dissolved over this presidency. People throwing away things that should be far more important to them, over politics and just what’s going on because they can’t see where the other person is coming from. I think that is destroying our society. It’s really tearing a lot of us apart. If we can just learn to talk to each other…a lot of people close their ears to any new information that they don’t want to hear, and I don’t think that’s the way we are going to move forward as humans.
Dead Rhetoric: Well said. So what drew you towards extreme metal?
Crabb: I guess watching local music when I was a kid. I mean, I had jammed Metallica as a kid, but when I was in seventh grade, I started going to local metal shows in Des Moines [Iowa]. It was around the time that Slipknot was becoming a huge thing. That made our local scene thrive in Des Moines. Through going to local shows all the time, I wanted to become a screamer. I loved the energy. I started listening to those kind of bands. I got really into Chimaira and Lamb of God and bands like that. Then it progressed into death metal, which became more extreme as I got older. The energy – there’s nothing cooler than watching people on stage, sweating their asses off and screaming at the top of their lungs and freaking out. It’s really inspiring. It’s a bunch of people doing stuff that you couldn’t do on the street – you’d be locked up. It’s freeing. I never feel more myself than when I’m onstage screaming at people. It’s been the backbone of my life since I was a kid.
Dead Rhetoric: That just reminded me – when you were on stage, I noticed that while Entheos is really heavy, you are all smiles on stage.
Crabb: It’s my happy place.
Dead Rhetoric: You have alluded to this already, but to finish up, what are your plans at this point for Entheos?
Crabb: We are going to just keep touring on Dark Future and push it as far as we can. We’ll put out new material in the next year or two, and then it will be the same game all over again. I don’t see this band stopping anytime soon. We’re going to keep pushing as long as we can.