POSTED ON JUNE 9, 2010:
Even the Dogs widens the metal playing field with new album
New Revelation. By combining influences that ranged from Motown and classic heavy metal to modern rock and modern metal, Even the Dogs developed a sound that its fans have since dubbed “groove metal.” The band performs its new album at Bob’s Friday.
If you're like me, you've been wondering lately what happened to our local metal scene. Actually, I've been wondering what happened to metal in the Midwest, in general. With the exception of a few local acts such as Mercy Street, the days of straight forward metal seems like a thing of the past.
Before giving up hope, however, I received a phone call last fall from Eddie Green, lead vocalist of Even the Dogs with some exciting news. His local metal band had just scored a record deal and landed a management contract. Maybe metal isn't dead in Tulsa and the greater Midwest after all.
If Even the Dogs is to be taken as an example, that's far from the case. After slowly developing the band and its songs, the group's live show was enough to grab the attention of audiences and a key player in the music industry, sending Even the Dogs to the next level.
Although I hadn't heard of the band, it's not like the members haven't paid their dues. According to Green, the guys who ended up banding together all knew each other from the local scene, playing in different groups five years ago.
Lead vocalist Eddie Green and bassist Anthony Hinton were already playing together in Recycled Souls at the time, a local Christian rock act that developed a solid regional following and opened for just about every major Christian act that came through the area and needed a local opener.
Bassist David Odell was in A New Kind of Army during that period and guitarist Jerry Rivera was playing in 7 Wounds, an act that was just starting to blow up about the time Recycled Souls was ending its run, according to Green.
When Recycled Souls finally came to a close, Green, Hinton and Odell came together to form the core of what would become Even the Dogs. The addition of Rivera completed the group just a little more than four years ago, and the band took its time to fine tune its songs and refine its live presence. Since each of the members already had regional touring experience, the band gelled quickly and focused on developing its sound.
According to Green, "There were a lot of 'cores' out at the time: metalcore, grindcore, deathcore ... We just wanted to bring back straight up metal and breathe some life back into the metal scene."
By combining influences that ranged from Motown and classic heavy metal to modern rock and modern metal, Even the Dogs developed a sound that its fans have since dubbed "groove metal."
Drawing heavily from bands such as Sevendust, Hatebreed and especially Killswitch Engage, Even the Dogs seems to have found its niche somewhere in that realm. In fact, Green said, "Killswitch is our biggest influence. It's that 'melody meets mayhem' factor that we love and we derive a lot of how we write from them."
Even though they emerged from the Christian rock scene, the members of Even the Dogs don't consider their band a strictly Christian act. Instead, Green classifies the group as a metal band with a positive message, conjuring darker images from everyday struggles that anyone goes through. Even the band's choice of venues stretches beyond the Christian marketplace, with the group opting to play any stage it can land: from small bars to festivals.
Playing live is where the band really thrives, and Even the Dogs has built its reputation largely on its live show, which is what Green said really grabs people's attention. In fact, it was the live show that turned heads and landed the group its current record deal.
"On August 1 last year, we opened for Head (Brian "Head" Welch, formerly of Korn) at In the Field and exec Mark Nawara (of Driven Music group, Welch's label) approached us after the show and asked if we were signed," Green said. "It was kind of funny because we'd just returned from Cornerstone, showcasing for EMI, and they told us the days of playing a show and getting signed were over. A few weeks later, we're in Haleyville, Okla. opening for Head and getting signed."
Following the appearance at the In the Field Festival, things moved swiftly, as the band signed a recording contract with Driven Music Group within two months, followed by a management deal with Donnie Frizzell and a return to the record studio to crank out its label debut.
The resulting CD, Soul Shaker, is a hard-driving album of modern metal, colored by the aforementioned bands Killswitch Engage and Hatebreed and guitar riffs that give a nod to Pantera.
Although Driven is Welch's independent label, his industry connections help provide the smaller imprint with not only national but international distribution through Warner/ADA. As a result, the May 25 release of Even the Dogs' debut, Soul Shaker, launched the band in nine countries with both hard copies of the CD in stores and digital distribution through all of the common online outlets such as iTunes and Amazon.
This summer's schedule includes a few key appearances at festivals such as Midwest Rock Fest in Wichita on July 24, alongside bands such as Buckcherry, Texas Hippie Coalition and Drowning Pool. Even the Dogs returns to In the Field (located in McAlester this year) the following week, sharing the stage with The Showdown, Jason Truby and The Letter Black on July 31 before wrapping up the summer at Rock the River in Fort Smith with Kutless, Jason Truby and Stellar Kart on Sept. 18.
Before hitting the summer festivals and looking forward to more regional touring in the fall, however, the band is holding its hometown CD release party Friday, June 11, at Bob's with Fist of Rage, Raising Adonai and Sixes opening the show. Tickets are $16 in advance or $19 at the door to see one of Tulsa's latest breaking metal bands in the close quarters of Cain's side stage.
Although the label has chosen to initially push the disc with the single "Shut Your Mouth" and its corresponding video, my gut instinct is that it won't be the one to really launch the album but merely lay the groundwork for what's to come. Tracks such as "Soul Shaker," "When We Fall" and even "Infection of Silence," with its more immediate guitar riff, are more likely to help the band break out into a larger marketplace.
Even so, Soul Shaker is an impressive debut for a band on the rise. If modern metal is your thing, Even the Dogs might be just what it takes to not give up hope for hard rock in the Midwest. Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7pm Friday for those looking to restore their faith in metal.
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