The Percy Bysshe Shelley poem for which it’s named is old—published 200 years ago, in 1818—but Reno doom metal band Ozymandias has only been around for about six months. Bandmates Sahara Harrington, Daniel Lee, Ray Huarte and Jacob Rosol are getting ready to play their sixth show together. Then, after another performance—on Oct. 6—they’re planning to “go underground” to record their first album. It’s likely to feature all six of the originals its members have written together.
While the band is still somewhat new, its members are longtime musicians, and bassist and backing vocalist Rosol and guitarist Huarte have been playing together casually for several years.
“We had a mutual love of music,” said Rosol. “I’ve been in bands forever. I used to be in Out for War. They’re a bigger punk band around here. … But Ray and I mostly played classic rock covers and shit, but mostly Black Sabbath.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, their current band’s sound reflects that influence.
“Someone said, ’It’s like Black Sabbath meets Sleep,’ and that was the most flattering compliment I’ve ever gotten,” drummer Lee said.
“Whenever my dad or my dad’s friends have asked me, ’What kind of music do you guys play?’ I try to stick to classic doom—so, Sabbath, Spooky Tooth,” said vocalist and backing guitarist Harrington. “I think, especially because of Ray—he plays a very classic [style] of guitar—it pulls us back a little bit further, more to the ’70s feel than to the 2012 feel.”
Harrington likes to joke about becoming the vocalist for a doom metal band when her only prior gigging experience was with “a really terrible, all-girl, acoustic band thing … in high school. ” But while her clear, powerful soprano vocals would fit right in with a modern indie band, they also work undeniably to amplify Ozymandias’ nostalgic metal character.
“I think Danny put it kind of well when he said, ’vintage doom blues,’” Huarte said. “I don’t know. We have a different sound. It’s not straight, droney doom stuff like you hear sometimes. We like heavy music.”
They also like heavy themes. It’s part of the reason they chose the name Ozymandias for their band. And, yes, the bandmates are aware that their outfit’s name is more than a poem. They’ve seen the “Ozymandias” episode of Breaking Bad and agree—for the most part—that, indeed, it is one of the best episodes of any show on television. And, yes, they’re aware of the Ozymandias character in the Watchmen graphic novels. Rosol is a fan. Nonetheless, they want to be clear—Ozymandias, the Reno band, is named after “Ozymandias,” the Shelley poem.
“We had started writing this song called ’The Traveler,’” Lee recalled. “And that’s basically what ’The Traveler’ is about—the overwhelming megalomania that causes people to build monuments in their honor. So from that came the name ’Ozymandias,’ because that’s a poem specifically about monuments that have crumbled.”
The bandmates will start recording after their Oct. 6 show, and their first album is planned for release sometime around the New Year—but with tracks like “The Traveler” and their other originals, they’re hoping it’ll feel a bit classic.
“You know how that 2008 Mustang came out with 1968 lines, and everyone was like, ’It’s the new thing, with vintage lines!’?” Lee said. “We’re trying to be that for doom metal, except not a Ford.”