Metal with mettle
Pain. It’s what heavy metal is all about. But the pain vocalist Robert Castro is experiencing tonight isn’t the existential sort addressed in so many metal songs. No, tonight his pain has a different source entirely. He has a nasty head cold. His band, Detrament, is rehearsing in a suburban garage, and its audience isn’t the crowd of sweaty moshers you’d see at a metal show, but instead, a single journalist in a folding chair.
Despite the head cold and the less-than-inspiring audience, Castro valiantly manages to growl and scream his way though a few numbers before insisting any more may cause his head to cave in. Practice is cut short.
Detrament formed about two years ago to play contemporary heavy metal. Guitarist Joe Amos and bassist Dylan Arnold seem to prefer intricate, contrapuntal lines to leaden playing in unison, and vocalist Castro, thankfully, doesn’t rap. It is the first serious band for all the members of the group, with the exception of drummer Robert Sundem, the eldest member.
Though Sundem faces persistent ridicule for his abiding love of ‘80s metal, or “butt rock,” the band members claim that they are “like family.”
“There are these bands where … members are getting rotated in and out,” Arnold explains. “We probably wouldn’t be the same band if it wasn’t for everybody in here. I mean, how many bass players did you guys try to get before I came along?”
“They were all better than you,” Castro responds.
Yes. Like family.
And like all families, the members of Detrament have much in common, such as their affection for bands like Pantera, Tool, Slipknot and Mudvayne. And like all families, they have dark secrets that are better left unmentioned.
“And [country singer] David Alan Coe, I love that guy, man,” Amos admits.
“That’s crazy,” Castro deadpans, visibly disturbed.
Besides hoping to make an impression on the local scene, Detrament also intends to gain attention by playing out-of-town shows. Earlier this year, the band recorded a seven-song CD, a disc the band members subsequently decided not to release.
“We didn’t have enough time to master it and dial it in. We were jazzed at first but over time, listening to it … it wasn’t disappointing, it just wasn’t [up] to our expectations,” bass player Dylan Arnold explains.
Despite their mixed feelings about their first studio attempt, the band members intend to record a new disc. One they’ll be proud of.
“I think we’ve grown a lot since (recording the first CD),” Sundem says. “The new stuff we’re coming up with—I really like a lot better.”
Though excited about the prospect of recording this new CD, the members of Detrament still consider themselves primarily a live act.
“I think our real strength is in our live show,” Sundem says. “I feel the energy between every member of this band, and it projects to the crowd.”
“Tables get knocked over when we play; that’s for sure,” Castro adds. “It gives us energy when we’re up on stage, and we see the crowd interact like that … just to see them on their feet, up towards the stage—it just makes us play so much better and harder,” Arnold says.
OK. I’ll stand up next time.