Kolossor is a sludge metal trio from Southern New Jersey and even though they’ve only been around for two short years their membership shares experiences in likeminded juggernauts Swarm of Arrows, Wizard Eye and Meatplow. Suffice it to say they have plenty of experience in all things heavy and the proof is in the pudding, so to speak, as the band will be releasing their debut full length Crown of Horns later this week. It features ten tracks of swampy sludge metal atop a huge foundation of doom — great stuff to sink your teeth into. Just ahead of the album’s release we had the opportunity to sit down with the band and ask them our set of Profile questions so keep reading to see what they had to say and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Crown of Horns for yourself.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
Greg Frisenda (guitar, vocals): When I was 13, I came across an old acoustic guitar in my grandmother’s attic one day, and started figuring out how to play songs from the bands I was into at the time. I had an ear for it and learned how the patterns worked, good enough to play Iron Maiden and Metallica tunes. As time went on, I became more proficient at playing and constructing my own songs and realized that was a success in and of itself. Later in my teens, it was natural to start meeting other musicians in school and putting together bands.
Jay Barringer (bass, backing vocals): The sheer love of music made me want to play. I wanted to be in a band like the ones I saw on stage, from the bands I would hang out with and go see play locally to the big arena bands.
Jerry Arsenault (drums, percussion): Most of my family plays an instrument, so I was predestined. However, I was always attracted to the drums. I’m happy with where I’m at musically right now because I’m making like-minded music with some very cool and creative individuals.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story)
GF: We’re a band of strong minded individuals, and speaking for myself, I’m not interested in any type of “debasing” to get ahead. We’re of the mindset that either people will like our music or they won’t. We just do what we do, and the music speaks for itself.
JB: I’m not into “debasing” either. If an opportunity presents itself and it works out, then it was meant to.
JA: Sucked some dick, just joking.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
GF: One of the best things about metal these days is the diversity of what can be considered “metal.” Back in the old days, there was a formula to follow. It’s refreshing that metal today can be so many things at the same time. The worst thing about metal is the same as any other music scene. The business aspect is not conducive to being an “artist.”
JB: Yeah, dealing with the business side can get tiring. Weeding out the good venues, promoters, and cool bands from the not so good ones can be frustrating.
JA: I love how open metal has become. It is all over the place right now and I love that. It’s very freeing to able to try different things musically within the genre and not have to worry about being too this or not being that. The worst thing in metal right now is the lack of venues and the human garbage that calls itself a booking agent or live music promoter.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
GF: Despite personal opinions, I make it a point to not bring politics and social issues into our music. It feels more natural to write about personal struggles, or construct a song around something that we enjoy, like a movie or video game, then do a bunch of preaching. That’s best left to the professionals.
JB: I like to write whatever comes to my mind, but I try to keep politics out of it.
JA: I don’t insert my beliefs or any political agenda in our music. I hate politics. I think that politics is fear porn designed to separate and segregate people. Besides, everything is so overly politicized anymore that I think the music should be an escape from those things. I personally like to write about much more primal things.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
GF: My love of music started at the age of two, being around my uncles (one sang and one played guitar). They were immersed in the classic rock scene of the 70s and played in bands. I remember being a KISS fan when I could barely talk. In middle school, I hung in a small group of like-minded kids that were interested in the same bands. The thrash metal scene was exploding at that point, and I fell face first into it, playing my guitar and absorbing as much as I could. After that, my family household was like a Twisted Sister video. I had to fight for what I believed in.
JB: I was around 7 or 8 when I started listening to metal. I can’t think of one particular person who got me into it. My parents actually didn’t care too much.
JA: My father used to play Black Sabbath covers live back in the 70s, so I guess it’s his fault.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
GF: My biggest criticism of the critics has always been that if you want to trash someone’s creation, make sure you can back it up with your own creation.
JB: Constructive criticism is fine, but it’s hard to take a trashy opinion seriously when it’s coming from someone that has done nothing of their own.
JA: I personally don’t care what critics have to say about what I do. I mean, if they like what I’m doing, that’s cool, but if not it doesn’t bother me any. I don’t make music for critics, I make music for myself and I make the music that I would want to hear.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking about world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
GF: The goal for me is to keep moving forward. No matter what we achieve, there’s always another level to reach, but ultimately I just want to enjoy the music we make and fulfill a need to create music. When not creating music, I can be found playing video games and collecting junk.
JB: I strive for world domination. That’s an awesome hobby.
JA: Kolossor only seeks to devour the universe.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
GF: I’ve been listening to a lot of Philly and New York bands in our scene, like Heavy Temple, Somnuri, Godmaker, Hellrad, Lord Crow, Backwoods Payback, and way too many others to name. Classic albums that I still dig like the first day I heard them are Mastodon’s “Leviathan” and “Blood Mountain,” Voivod’s “Dimension Hatross” and “Nothingface,” anything from Crowbar, old Baroness, High on Fire, Torche, Iron Maiden, Rush, old Slayer, Ramones, pretty much anything from the San Francisco Bay Area thrash days, and old school hardcore punk, Bad Brains and such. And I could go on for days about Nintendo music.
JB: Anything by High On Fire, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Corrosion of Conformity, Municipal Waste and Clutch.
JA: Genesis – “Selling England by the Pound,” Pink Floyd – “Animals,” Yes – “Relayer,” Isis – “Wavering Radiant,” Opeth – “Watershed,” Elder – “Reflections of a Floating World,” Helmet – “Betty,” Jawbox – “Novelty,” Queens of the Stone Age – “Lullabies to Paralyze,” Voivod – “Nothingface,” Slayer – “Divine Intervention,” Killing Joke – “Brighter than a Thousand Sons,” Allan Holdsworth – “Live in Tokyo 1984.”
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
GF: After the release of our debut on April 6, we’re already looking forward to shaping the follow up (a loose concept album maybe?) and we’re looking to meet and play with as many cool bands as we can.
JB: I’m looking forward to writing new music. We have as much inspiration than we ever did.
JA: To release this full length album, and then to start working on the next album.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication)
Many thanks to Kolossor for their time!