Power Theory (U.S.)
On a previous issue, this zine observed that Power Theory’s album “An Axe to Grind” is:
“Straight-up, no-tomfoolery, rocking, mean, traditional heavy metal, as Power Theory have learned from bands like Accept and Judas Priest.
Power Theory has a gritty, hard, street heavy metal sound; thus, this is not “keyboard metal,” nor “symphonic” stuff: just loud guitars, with heavy-metal riffs, and heavy-metal solos; midtempo and uptempo drumming that concentrates on hitting hard (speed is not the main thing) and double-bass kicks in the correct places; and a singer that sounds in the Udo Dirkschneider/Lemmy style.
No sugary melodies, no breakdowns, no blastbeats, no thrash, no core, no emo, no cookie-monster vocals, no stupid hardcore yelling, and any kind of stuff like that.” www.reverbnation.com/powertheory
Bob Ballinger (guitars) replies to some questions.
With “An Axe to Grind”! You have delivered a real heavy metal work, with not a single weak song to be heard anywhere. Can we begin by you telling us about where you, as a band, come from, musically? So, only the guitarist Bob Ballinger remains from 2007, when the band started? What is Colossus and Night Myst, how old are those bands? Was Bob active in heavy metal bands in the 90s?
BB: Hello and Thanks so much. We were all from common, and different, elements of Hard Rock and Metal. I think there are certain bands we all have great respect for, and are influenced by, such as Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, UFO, Manowar, Accept, Saxon, Scorpions, and Savatage. But for example our individual tastes contain: Grave Digger, Running Wild, Type-O-Negative, Metallica, Testament, Sacred Steel, Cirith Ungol …. I could go on and on haha.
Yes from the original line-up only myself but Dave came in not much longer after the start.
Colossus was very ahead of it’s time musically and first surfaced as a 3 piece unit in the early 80’s when Jay and I were very young, a cross of vintage Motorhead, Saxon, and Exciter, there was another line-up a few years later that was 4 piece and Jay and Steve as members and there are some old recordings we have. Night Myst was my first band I assembled when I fully returned to the scene in the early 2000’s. A Hard Rock-Metal band that self-released a 5 song EP called “Nocturnal Demise”, in essence it was an early foundation of Power Theory as some of the EP song riffs were re-worked musically and lyrically by myself and Dave and were recorded on “Metal Forever”, Power Theory’s debut EP. As far as being fully active in the 90’s no, for several reasons: first and foremost I was a young father with 3 sons and my place was to be with them, secondly I was not about to sell myself out and play any of the grunge, ballad, rap/rock, or new metal styles that were mainstream in the 90’s, lastly True Metal never dies so I just kept writing and knew the time would come and then boom Pantera killed the trends.
Your other guitarist Steve Stegg was in metal in the 1980s, like Sleepy Hollow? Does your drummer Lorin Savadore play on this album? Had been long enough in the band for that?
BB: Yes, Steve also was an original founding member of Blood Feast and Tapping the Vein, both bands have had good success. Lorin is the only drummer on “Axe” and has been in the band since June 2011, he is a hard hitting, double bass machine.
Now, the bassist Jay Pekala was also in Colossus and Night Myst, but he only joined Power Theory in 2011? Why is that? And Dave Santini has been in other regional bands? Is that true, like the band RiffRaff? Is that a tribute band to AC/DC?
BB: Jay was a member of Colossus but not Night Myst. We had been living in different areas and such and Jay was avidly teaching Muy Thai fighting and mixed martial arts in NJ and then we got back in touch via Facebook and he came to see us play in his area. Dave was yes, but he too was raising a son and trying to put together a band when we were introduced and he’s been with me since the first “Jam”, no ha ha it was and original metal band but one of my favorite AC/DC songs too.
Playing this type of heavy metal in this day and age, when everyone talks about the crisis of the music industry, what type of expectations of success do you have?
BB: Well, with our first release we got the attention of the market we targeted, the European Metal community and got our foot in the door, and with “An Axe to Grind” I believe we showed strong growth all around and that allowed us to kick that door open wider and start to gain a level of credibility as solid no bullshit band, and with this next release we are now writing and tracking for we have a goal of pushing Power Theory into a “cult” status in the same market and blow the door wide open. It takes some level of work every day to keep this thing going; social media, writing, pr, pr, pr and we have 2 pr companies on our team as well haha. We all have day jobs still because it doesn’t pay the bills, but that is not why we do this, we love it and are realistic to know the days of industry excess and gluttony are gone. We own all the rights to our masters and our music 100%, we invested our own blood, sweat, and money to get this thing this far and won’t stop. It will eventually pay for itself and then a little more and we know you have to invest in your business to make it grow.
It is very noticeable that you have tightened up the heavy metal quite a bit. For example, there is no love song nor ballad. Is it simply the way things have worked out so far, or do you have a problem with slow songs/ballads?
BB: Haha no problem with those kind of songs, but they are not meant for the type of music we play, slower melodic parts or bridges are okay when they fit the song theme and moods.
How much autotune is there on the vocals? How much overdubbing? If I happen to catch you at the local club, playing, would you say your singer sounds this way, more or less?
BB: There is no auto-tune at all on the vocals and I believe if you see us live you’ll like Dave’s vocals even better, again this is no bullshit heavy metal!
On the song “PureSteel” there is a noticeably bouncy drum beat. It gives the song a very cool vibe. “Deceiver” has a very “bang that head” feel. How do you go about writing songs with a heavy metal anthem style? What is the work ethic of the band, actually?
BB: The songs all start out as riffs and grow from there on, Pure Steel was a riff that turned into a song in the rehearsal room. Some of the riffs were worked out by Jay and I outside (of the rehearsal room) and then completed the songs/arrangements in there with the whole band adding parts. The band rehearses 2 times a week together and everyone does theie homework individually. When studio time is upon us we will add more rehearsal time.
You write songs about playing heavy metal music. Why do you think it is normal for you guys to write self-referential lyrics about the genre you play? Does playing a form of music considered “uncool” by many metal fans into “modern” styles and trends, do you ever feel sick of whatever is the newest thing in metal, be it the breakdowns, the people with the windswept hair, the emo screamo core bands?
BB: Sometimes the songs just have that feeling and they come out that way, but we really don’t try to force it, that’s when themes and lyrics can be too much of the overdone clichés and become too mainstream. A few years back some of the newer types of metal fans started turning their backs to the stage etc., when traditional, true, and power metal bands would play and then only face the newer death, metal core, and extreme genre bands, that’s when the Heavy Metal Scene started to weaken. It created fans who were separatists’ and elitist’s and they failed to support all Heavy Metal, whether it was their favorite genre or not, and the industry looked away from us again. Those fans were too narrow-minded to realize that the newer types of Metal wouldn’t exist if traditional Heavy Metal never existed. But the good news is I see that wall has been broken down lately as the shows we are playing are including more genres of Metal bands that are capable of crossing over.
You have a song called “A Fist in the Face of God,” which I assume is not religion-friendly. Do you have lyrics about the war in Afghanistan or things like social matters? It appears that you do not have too much on things like that, and I wanted to ask why? Do you buy into this idea that musicians should have no opinions about real things, that they should only talk about rock and roll?
BB: No, it’s not really anti-religion at all. Actually, the song is about a person who feels like he lives a good life, doing moral things the “right” way as society says to, and feels God is never there to support him because he’s always getting shit on.
I personally feel that as an artist it is very unfair for me to force my personal political and social beliefs and opinions on people through my art, and I feel there is no place in Heavy Metal for Politics and Religion. I also read a lot of books; history, fact, fiction, fantasy, biography, and a lot of my lyrics are en extension of those, but in a sub-rosa way that I relate to in people I have met and situations I have experienced that are very similar. I just recently read a line that summarized as; “A man who reads will live a thousand different lives, and a man who doesn’t read lives only one…”
Why do you suppose that it is common to hear metal people say that musicians “need to shut up and play yer guitar” and ignorant stuff like that? Do people think that musicians are like circus animals that need to obey the audience’s desire for “pure entertainment” and express no views on war, economics, corporations, capitalism, or the music business or whatnot?
BB: I’m not really sure, some people will never change and are just narrow minded and ignorant. I don’t think so but that kind of thing (protest style music) burned out on me a long time ago and it’s been overdone, again only my opinion and why I chose to deter from it.
Finally, what would Power Theory have to do to get on that New England Metal and Hardcore festival?! Do they have mostly bands with dreadlocks, synchronized jumping, emo core clean/scream stuff? I don't know that much about it! Give the necessary info to be in touch with your band.
BB: Thanks for your time also. Updates, tour dates, and news can be found at: www.facebbok.com/powertheory, www.powertheory.net, www.puresteel-records.com/powertheory.
I don’t know much about the New England festival either, but we will be paying Warriors of Metal Open Air Festival IV again in June 2013 and if you are a fan of Traditional, Power, and Thrash Metal then this is the place to be, check it out: www.warriorsofmetal.com