With a twist
What’s in a name?
“A bad band name limits how far you can go,” says Sam Spivey, vocalist and guitarist of the Reno metal band Authmentis. “I’m a dick about the name. I came up with a bunch of rules.”
Spivey’s rules: No “the.” No animals, countries or states. No references, obscure or otherwise, to books, movies or, worse yet, other bands’ music. And so on. Eventually, he discovered that, by process of elimination, there was nothing left to do but invent a new word. Thus, “authmentis,” a faux Greek neologism that Spivey defines as Original Mind, also the title of their first record.
Probably the best side-effect of a name like Authmentis is Google precision. You search “Authmentis” on Google, and you get the band’s website, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Reverbnation, YouTube clips and so on. A band with a more commonplace name requires the addition of the word “band” or “music” or “Reno” or something to yield the right results.
For the members of Authmentis, a big concern was that people not make assumptions about the band based on the name. So, what does the band sound like?
“We’ve been called ‘metalcore with a twist,’” says guitarist and backing vocalist Casey Alden.
It’s basically heavy guitar riffage as played by angsty young men since time immemorial (or at least since Black Sabbath). There’s a lot of the atmospheric groove metal of Tool, some of the sprawl of … And Justice for All-era Metallica, and even some Foo Fighters-influenced pop songs. The vocals range over a variety of styles, some aggressive, some melodic, mostly both. Spivey’s voice sometimes finds a surprising, unexpected middle ground between Bad Religion and Creed. It’s guitar-shop rock as played by four Reno dudes raised on hard rock radio.
Spivey’s brother Matt is the bassist, and drummer Dave Emerson is a relatively recent recruit. The group formed on New Year’s Day in 2005, though they’ve gone through a number of line-up changes. The band just released its second album, House of Shadows.
Lyrically, Spivey says he writes about “stuff that inspires me.” The song “The Thorn Engraved,” for example, is partially inspired by the video game Hitman. Perhaps not coincidentally for a band inspired by video games, their next gig is a midnight release party for the next Call of Duty game, on Nov. 7 at The Summit Gamestop store.
Spivey says that on House of Shadows, the lyrics and music have taken a “darker” direction.
“A lot of the music is about darkness and how it can empower,” he says. “For me, as an introvert, it’s about being angry, which is why music is great for me. It’s therapy. All my frustrations, whenever I get upset, I hold on to it. That’s why I need music.”
He cites as an example the song “The Ruiner.”
“That song’s just really depressing,” he says. “It’s about how the more you try for something, the more you struggle, the more things fall apart. It’s about a guy who pursues a girl, and the more he does, the more she hates him. It’s, you know, emo stuff.”