Bastard sound manipulation

Experimental metal supergroup Corrections House at Rockstar Pro Arena

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Corrections House eschews publicity photos, instead favoring images of anonymous intensity; photo: Seward Fairbury, “Minister of Propaganda”

The merging of rock veterans into what some critics have termed a “supergroup” is hardly a new thing. Often what results sounds like the sum of their parts reflecting their past glories. In other instances, it’s simply underwhelming. Thankfully, neither is the case for the extreme metal supergroup that calls themselves Corrections House. One listen to their 2013 full-length debut Last City Zero dispels those thoughts almost immediately. Consisting of Scott Kelly (of Neurosis) on guitar, Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) on vocals and electronics, producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium) on electronics and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) on vocals and saxophone, the sum is definitely more than their individual contributing talents. While the music sometimes reflects elements of the members’ better-known musical projects, it definitely inhabits a sonic realm of its own. Some songs are slow and brooding, while others kick dust in your eyeballs from the first minute with pounding, distorted, industrial-like percussion, shrieking sax wails, angsty vocals and electronic blips that are just as abrasive as the razor wire guitar tones.

How the four titans of extreme music came together to create such an inspired and unexpected clamor is almost as unlikely as the sounds that permeate their recordings. In 2012, Kelly, Williams and Lamont discussed doing a tour of each man’s solo projects together with the idea of closing each show with a collaborative set of all three artists playing together.

“We thought it would be a neat thing since we all bring something different to the table musically,” Lamont said. “We said ‘lets get a hold of [music producer] Sanford Parker to record these things.’ Twenty minutes later, Sanford got back to us and said ‘I don’t just want to record this band, I want to be in this band and the tour as well,’ bringing an electronic element to our solo sets. Over time, the four solo sets and the collaborative set all become one big thing, watching this band come together before our very eyes. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my 20 years of playing.”

Sensing they were on to something special and unique, the foursome began writing and fleshing out the songs that would soon comprise their debut album, Last City Zero, which came out on Neurot Recordings in October, 2013. The album is brimming with punchy, metallic rhythms that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Einsturzende Neubaten album, saxophone that alternates between shrieking and dark tones, layers of overdriven and distorted guitars, electronic shimmers and countermelodies, and both clean, somber singing and spoken word segments as well as dirty, shouted vocals, to serve as exclamation points when the moment seems right. These musical deviations from what each individual member is known for was far from premeditated.

“There was no sense of worry or fear since we didn’t know what it was going to be,” Lamont explained. “The music came out of all four of our solo acts, different music. It just works out that way. To watch it all come together has been pretty amazing.”

Corrections House’s visual element was also something that has come about almost by accident. A friend of the band named Seward Fairbury became keen on the musical collaboration between the four members. Soon, he found himself suggesting an arresting visual representation of how the band and its music should be manifested. Soon, Corrections House had adopted Fairbury’s gritty, artistic images of faceless uniformed mercenaries engaged in scenes of violence and disturbance as the way to present their new project to an unsuspecting public. Fairbury is now the band’s “Minister of Propaganda” and is considered to be a member of the group despite not contributing to the band’s music.

“He’s a piece of work,” Lamont joked. “He kept pushing this imagery on us thinking there’s more to our music than some ordinary rock band. It’s weird, intense imagery that coincides with the intensity of the music and we went along with that. We wear our black uniforms on stage [because] it takes away the focus from the individuals and focuses it more on the unit. Plus, we don’t like taking band photos anyway.”

The Corrections House live experience is also an intense one. The band has the liberty to extend or shorten their somewhat loose, atmospheric compositions depending on the feel of the night or the audience presence – a freedom more akin to a jazz ensemble than a metal supergroup. This unbridled element of Corrections House’s performances has been captured on a brand new live recording entitled Writing History in Advance, which will be for sale on this upcoming tour, including the band’s appearance at Rockstar Pro Arena in Dayton this coming Saturday.

“Musically, we leave things open with room for an improvisational element,” Lamont said. “As opposed to just churning out songs we may choose to play a track for 9-14 minutes if need be, sort of how it happened on our first tour, and we wanted to keep that.”

While one can certainly appreciate the unpredictability of Corrections House’s live show through this new release, nothing can take the place of witnessing both the audio and visual elements first hand by seeing the quartet live in concert.

“It will be an experience that you won’t forget,” Lamont said.

Corrections House will perform Saturday, Dec. 6, at Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third Street in Dayton. Mouth of the Architect, Statiqbloom, Curse of Cassandra and Cricketbows are also on the bill. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show is all ages. Tickets are $10 in advance. For more information, please visit rockstarprowrestling.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Page Gary Spencer at Page GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.The merging of rock veterans into what some critics have termed a “supergroup” is hardly a new thing. Often what results sounds like the sum of their parts reflecting their past glories. In other instances, it’s simply underwhelming. Thankfully, neither is the case for the extreme metal supergroup that calls themselves Corrections House. One listen to their 2013 full-length debut Last City Zero dispels those thoughts almost immediately. Consisting of Scott Kelly (of Neurosis) on guitar, Mike IX Williams (Eyehategod) on vocals and electronics, producer Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium) on electronics and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza) on vocals and saxophone, the sum is definitely more than their individual contributing talents. While the music sometimes reflects elements of the members’ better-known musical projects, it definitely inhabits a sonic realm of its own. Some songs are slow and brooding, while others kick dust in your eyeballs from the first minute with pounding, distorted, industrial-like percussion, shrieking sax wails, angsty vocals and electronic blips that are just as abrasive as the razor wire guitar tones.

How the four titans of extreme music came together to create such an inspired and unexpected clamor is almost as unlikely as the sounds that permeate their recordings. In 2012, Kelly, Williams and Lamont discussed doing a tour of each man’s solo projects together with the idea of closing each show with a collaborative set of all three artists playing together.

“We thought it would be a neat thing since we all bring something different to the table musically,” Lamont said. “We said ‘lets get a hold of [music producer] Sanford Parker to record these things.’ Twenty minutes later, Sanford got back to us and said ‘I don’t just want to record this band, I want to be in this band and the tour as well,’ bringing an electronic element to our solo sets. Over time, the four solo sets and the collaborative set all become one big thing, watching this band come together before our very eyes. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my 20 years of playing.”

Sensing they were on to something special and unique, the foursome began writing and fleshing out the songs that would soon comprise their debut album, Last City Zero, which came out on Neurot Recordings in October, 2013. The album is brimming with punchy, metallic rhythms that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Einsturzende Neubaten album, saxophone that alternates between shrieking and dark tones, layers of overdriven and distorted guitars, electronic shimmers and countermelodies, and both clean, somber singing and spoken word segments as well as dirty, shouted vocals, to serve as exclamation points when the moment seems right. These musical deviations from what each individual member is known for was far from premeditated.

“There was no sense of worry or fear since we didn’t know what it was going to be,” Lamont explained. “The music came out of all four of our solo acts, different music. It just works out that way. To watch it all come together has been pretty amazing.”

Corrections House’s visual element was also something that has come about almost by accident. A friend of the band named Seward Fairbury became keen on the musical collaboration between the four members. Soon, he found himself suggesting an arresting visual representation of how the band and its music should be manifested. Soon, Corrections House had adopted Fairbury’s gritty, artistic images of faceless uniformed mercenaries engaged in scenes of violence and disturbance as the way to present their new project to an unsuspecting public. Fairbury is now the band’s “Minister of Propaganda” and is considered to be a member of the group despite not contributing to the band’s music.

“He’s a piece of work,” Lamont joked. “He kept pushing this imagery on us thinking there’s more to our music than some ordinary rock band. It’s weird, intense imagery that coincides with the intensity of the music and we went along with that. We wear our black uniforms on stage [because] it takes away the focus from the individuals and focuses it more on the unit. Plus, we don’t like taking band photos anyway.”

The Corrections House live experience is also an intense one. The band has the liberty to extend or shorten their somewhat loose, atmospheric compositions depending on the feel of the night or the audience presence – a freedom more akin to a jazz ensemble than a metal supergroup. This unbridled element of Corrections House’s performances has been captured on a brand new live recording entitled Writing History in Advance, which will be for sale on this upcoming tour, including the band’s appearance at Rockstar Pro Arena in Dayton this coming Saturday.

“Musically, we leave things open with room for an improvisational element,” Lamont said. “As opposed to just churning out songs we may choose to play a track for 9-14 minutes if need be, sort of how it happened on our first tour, and we wanted to keep that.”

While one can certainly appreciate the unpredictability of Corrections House’s live show through this new release, nothing can take the place of witnessing both the audio and visual elements first hand by seeing the quartet live in concert.

“It will be an experience that you won’t forget,” Lamont said.

Corrections House will perform Saturday, Dec. 6, at Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third Street in Dayton. Mouth of the Architect, Statiqbloom, Curse of Cassandra and Cricketbows are also on the bill. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show is all ages. Tickets are $10 in advance. For more information, please visit rockstarprowrestling.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Page Gary Spencer at Page GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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