Last week we featured an early look at The Last Reign’s powerful new EP, Prelude, in which the band offers up three tracks of top shelf melodic death metal yanked straight from the 90s highlight reel. To be clear, it’s not a knockoff nor does it ride any coattails. Instead, it puts an exclamation mark on the melodically epic side of things while leaving just the right amount of heft and harshness so that one facet doesn’t outshine the other. This EP has made a huge impression here at Nine Circles so we reached out with our Profile questions to find out more about the band. Read on to see how it went down and don’t leave without snagging a copy for yourself.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
Brian Platter (guitar): Despite my immense metal background, Stevie Ray Vaughan is really what got me into playing music. Back in my early teens I saw the VH1 Legends story, something clicked and that was it. I haven’t put the guitar down since. I’ve never had any preconceived notions as far as where I should be in terms of success. The most I’ve ever hoped for is that people will listen to and enjoy the music we’ve created.
Vince Mayer (drums): I come from a very musical family: my grandparents were in the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and my dad was a lifelong guitar and bass player. He bought me my first drum set at age 11 and ensured I had lessons/gear/transportation throughout my musical journey. I’m proud of the records I’ve been on so far but the upcoming recording with The Last Reign will be on another level; I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
Seth Welty (bass): I also come from a musical family, I grew up with my step-fathers band rehearsing in my basement and going out to watch my grandfather drum in his jazz band. I picked up my first bass around 12 years old and never looked back. I was lucky enough that my brother was, and still is, a drummer so there was extensive drum and bass sessions. Shout out to him; Joey Galligan of The Bunny the Bear/Misery Loves Company. My only intent for playing bass was to have fun, and that I have. I’ve played plenty of awesome venues and met a ton of awesome people and hopefully that will continue with wherever The Last Reign takes us next.
Adam Svennson (vocals): I first got into playing music by joining a few friends that were kicking around the idea of starting a band way back around 1998. Like all teenagers, we had delusions of grandeur and wanted to be the next Metallica! Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen. Since then, my definition of success has changed significantly. At this time, I’m happy to play for anyone that enjoys the music, that’s all I could really ask for.
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.)
About ten years ago, an old band I had played a battle of the bands. It was an all day event and the bands were selected by audience reaction at the end. Needless to say, unless you were one of the last few bands, you were not going to win. So we decided to have a bit of fun with it. We set off originally in search of banana hammocks, but ended up picking very pink casual outfits from the girls section at Sears including short shorts, skorts, v-neck shirts and bathrobes. We obviously didn’t win, but that’s also the only thing people seem to remember from that day, haha. And I’m pretty sure I flashed the crowd a few times being one of the guys wearing short shorts and propping my leg up on the monitor Steve Harris style.
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?
Overall, I think it’s great that metal has been slowly making its way back into the mainstream and that people seem genuinely interested. An ongoing frustration I have with the scene is the lack of support from other musicians, especially when they expect you to show up to their shows. That’s just disrespectful.
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?
One of our biggest issues socially is definitely the use of cell phones and the internet in general. Hank Moody (aka David Duchovny) said it best with a short monologue he did on the show Californication from 2007 … “Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it’s really given us is Howard Dean’s aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People… they don’t write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King’s English.” We discuss the decline of man in our music and that it will most likely be by our own making and I think this is the start of it. Skynet man, life imitates art.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
BP: I was exposed to metal quite early on by my brother in the late 80s. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, amongst others, were constantly playing on his stereo. Although it didn’t sink in when I was first exposed to it around the age of 7 or 8, metal was definitely flowing through my veins. By my early teens, I couldn’t get enough of it. I have never experienced any issues from my family. In fact, my mom still comes out and supports my band whenever she is able to.
VM: When I started on drums, I jammed with a couple guys from school, playing radio type stuff like KoRn, Kid Rock or Metallica. In 2001 or so I was introduced to bands like Fear Factory and Dream Theater, found Soilwork by accident while looking up Dream Theater videos, and that laid the groundwork for my playing and musical tastes in general. My family is very supportive, I remember when Soilwork and In Flames were on tour but nowhere near Buffalo, my parents drove me and a friend all the way to Cleveland so I wouldn’t miss it!
SW: I was exposed to it essentially in the womb. My mom was into all the old school metal. Sabbath, Priest, Poison, Metallica and everything else were constantly being played at home or in the car.
AS: I was somewhere around 14 or 15 when I was first exposed to heavy metal. I had gotten my hands on a CD of Megadeth’s ‘So Far, So Good… So What!’ From there I started finding similar bands such as Metallica and Pantera and slowly evolved into liking the heavier stuff. When I first heard Death’s ‘The Sound of Perseverance’ I was hooked for life. Coming from a Christian household, listening to metal music was not something that I was brought up with. For obvious reasons, my family did not take the news well. They referred to metal as evil or devil music and thought I was worshipping Satan and the whole nine yards. As an Atheist, the thought of worshipping Satan or God are equally ridiculous to me, but that is a conversation for another time.
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?
Just keep it honest and genuine. There’s nothing worse than a generic review. I’d much rather someone love or hate the album, at least then, they are passionate about it and will most likely entice a new listener. And give details because then that’s useful to us for future releases.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
Obviously world domination is top of the list, duh! Until then we’ll settle for our regular day jobs that include a geologist, IT, graphic designer and control room operator.
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)
As a musician, I feel that you are doing yourself a disservice if you don’t listen to at least some music outside of your primary genre of interest. One of my favorite albums recently is Dark All Day by Gunship. They are a synthwave band that has been around for a few years now and are definitely one of the stronger artists out there today. Another album that gets regular spins is Under a Western Sun by Son of Aurelius from 2014.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
We have big plans for the next year, with our sophomore release slated for the Summer of 2020. A concept album that will be accompanied by a novel as a companion piece. We also plan on hitting more cities throughout the year, including a small tour in support of our new album.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite
Many thanks to The Last Reign for their time!