TRENTON — It’s hard to believe, but tech-metal
wizards Isyou do not intend to torture ears.
thunderous five piece band aim at expanding minds, or at
least changing mainstream views of brutal, heavy metal.
county’s loudest musical experience is brutish and
terrorizing has erratic song structures with expansive time
signatures and rock blasts of pure mayhem — but it’s not
what an expert ear would consider traditional heavy metal.
evil or rejected.
these irregular guitar collisions that aren’t there to
intentionally wallop your brain, but to expand it.
In fact all
those preconceived notions people have of metal’s morbid
communion and devil-worshipping fanbase is an old school
looking in the right places, metal’s seen a technical
makeover over the years which has expanded the genre to
mind-boggling musical soundscapes.
wants to join that growing trend.
why I love metal,” said guitarist Paul Plumeri, the name
sake son of the famed Trenton bluesman. “It’s because metal
is really indescribable in words.
to describe bands (like us) as tech, math rock, whatever it
is, but you can’t do a band justice in words alone. Because
in metal you can do whatever you want. All it has to be is a
bit heavy and it’s metal.”
which is the Japanese translation for together, shy away
from the mainstream style most would consider “metal.”
Disturbed, Metallica, System of a Down or anything in
make-up out of your head right now — Isyou’s more in line
with the current, kick butt, hardcore charges in between the
Buried & Me, Converge (the grandfathers of spastic metalcore)
and Jersey’s Dillinger Escape Plan.
musically, Isyou — like its contemporaries — are closer to
King Crimson’s erratic waves of explorations, but faster and
are head crushing, the guitars strive on breaking land-speed
records, the vocals are throat-gargling yet
thought-provoking and, unlike most metal bands, bass player
Chad Looney makes his own galloping attempts instead of just
following along with the guitars.
start of this project I want to have musicians that all had
their own identities,” said Plumeri, a Nottingham grad.
notorious in metal for being just totally pointless,” he
said. “It’s basically like a tuned- down guitar. But our
bass player does his own thing. He’s totally out side the
box of what we’re doing, plays outside of the lines of
melodies of what the guitars are doing and is totally out of
his own mind.”
2005 demo is like this steel-cage match with barbed-wire
baseball bats, that’ll either give you a brain aneurysm or
make you punch through a brick wall, except there’s this
dash of Luchadorian beauty to it.
not the band’s best effort, Plumeri admits.
Being in a
genre that Plumeri explained is open to constant change,
Isyou has some of the same critical breakdowns seen in
Meshuggah. But there’s also this blistering instrumental
scheme that’s constantly changing, with odd time signatures
and funky bass grooves.
Isyou uses these solemn, free-jazz elements to trap
listeners into its next wave of savageness that’s used to
completely damage your soul.
said, Isyou’s technical edge is there to battle and test the
normal psyche — even to shake up the status of modern metal.
goal of the band is to break away from any genre definition
for a metal band,” Plumeri said. “As I told the drummer, and
as I told the rest of the band, if we can ever be described
in one word then we failed. So in that way, we want to be
known as versatile and want be able to appeal on a lot of
different levels but still be brutal and technical at the
when the band’s style is so obscure.
But a lot
of what Isyou’s gone through, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa and
even Converge went through in gaining acceptance.
a valiant idea to knockdown barriers — especially in a
musical landscape owned and operated by the media and money
making giants in the record industry.
bands like Lamb Of God and Trivium, has found its niche
lately that has allowed loud music to poke through a bit,
but it’s not the kind of style Isyou projects or even
instance, the guys (Plumeri, Looney, guitarist Al Rende,
drummer Mike Castro and singer Chris Proniewski) were
battling it out at KatManDu a few weeks back as part of
Russo’s Music $25,000 Battle of Bands.
It was one
of the band’s typical blurring live sets, with Proniewski
spitting his usual fiery, political prose, as the rest of
the gang shreds its ear-smashing audio punch.
Most of the
people there were waiting for the next band — who sounded
kind of like this Hootie and-Blowfish-type band that makes
all the girls swoon.
Isyou the babes seemed to hide under the tables — peeking
out a bit toward the end at the musical mastery and jazz
wanders, while still frighten by the auditory attack.
guys have moved onto the finals this October, probably
because of Isyou’s unmatched musicianship and because one of
the judges said its music that night was so fast and insane
his pregnant wife had to leave the room because the baby
seemed to be kicking its way out of her belly, Plumeri said.
musical climate makes people hear one way,” explains Plumeri,
who wasn’t shocked the guys moved on or that many people
remained dazed at Isyou’s speedy musical profile.
one musical mind. They either want to hear a Fall
Out-Boy-type of a band or some kind of rap,’ he said. “But
the line is really thin between those things, and they don’t
want to be challenged. I don’t think people want to be
challenged by music.
point, I can’t blame them. Maybe the stress of life makes
them listen to some mediocre garbage.”
sees itself as the black sheep of the Trenton music scene.
It’s the only tech-metal band around, so its not always get
ting the type of audience it deserves.
Trenton scene is just as erratic as Isyou’s metallic blasts,
but the band’s aspirations go beyond the Delaware River.
Dillinger Escape Plan and Between the Buried & Me as its
contemporaries — psycho metal musicians who push the
math-core style boundaries past mainstream standards.
wants to challenge listeners just as King Crimson challenged
remembers when Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were pop bands
who were also awesome musicians and doesn’t under stand why
a progression in style, like in his band, can’t be
considered the norm.
worried about the main-stream, but I’d love to make peo ple
open their minds to this kind of stuff,” Plumeri said. “The
crappier the mainstream gets, the stronger the underground
gets, and I think that’s hit the high- water mark now.”
out Isyou with Towers Open Fire at the 449 Room (339 S.Broad
St., next to the Conduit) Aug. 31.