Those that visit the Drunken Mermaid regularly know that we are all metal heads here, especially after that shot we ran of a two-year old Nicko McBrain disciple playing Powerslave. So we are especially jacked to share our interview with Bryan Holland of Reverence, the best metal band we’ve heard in ages (and we don’t say that lightly, coming from the old school Sabbath, Purple and Long Island Öyster camps… )
drunkenmermaid.com: Reverence is comprised of some pretty accomplished names in metal. How did Reverence come to be?
After finishing my last tour with Tokyo Blade I decide to build a new metal band from the ground up. I found Todd Hall (Jack Starr’s Burning Starr) on Myspace while in my search for a premier vocalist, to me it was essential to find someone whom I could write with, had a similar personality and goal for the band and above all was a stellar vocalist, I found all of those things in Todd and thank the Lord almighty for his guidance. I am longtime friends with Savatage, Crimson Glory drummer Steve “Dr. Killdrums” Wacholz so as soon as Todd and I had a few demos recorded, I approached Doc and he signed on immediately, as did Frank Kruckel, who was my bassist in Tokyo Blade. Doc recommended Sanxtion guitarist Pete Rossi as our second guitarist and upon hearing his additions to our demos we knew he was the right man for the job.
drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us what each one of you brings to the band.
With Todd and I being the core writers, Todd brings amazing vocal talent but also his very smart lyrical and melodic sense. Doc, sheeesh, its Dr. Killdrums…I’d pick Doc over Mike Portnoy any day! Pete is a stellar guitarist, a real shredder yet has an amazing feel for melody, while still being very humble. Pete added a lot of texturing to the songs and co-wrote some very cool songs that definitely took the band to a new level. Unfortunately Frank left us just after recording the album due to some family stuff so Todd brought in Ned Meloni his bassist from Burning Starr and so far Ned has been nothing but a complete professional and am very glad he is now a permanent member of Reverence.
drunkenmermaid.com: In the pantheon of metal, which bands do you most resemble?
I think we have some similarities to early Judas Priest, Dio, Queensryche and Savatage. But a lot fans have commented that they think we sound like Metal Church, Malice to Sanctuary and Metallica. I think we probably have a wide field of sounds that connect us to several notable groups, which can’t be a bad thing! It’s really interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts on who we’re compared to, seems fans hear the music differently from person to person, I think that’s a really cool thing to be able to connect to so many people.
drunkenmermaid.com: For our readers who don’t know Reverence yet, what songs should they start with, the ones that really sum up who you are and what you are capable of?
I think a few songs like Bleed For Me and Too Late have the essential Reverence signature sound to them with catchy riffs, soaring layered vocals while still being really melodic, but I think even Revolution Rising and When Darkness Calls fall into that too.
I don’t really view it as an art form so much, we’re just trying to write our own blend of early 80‘s metal style. That kind of style seems to have been a bit of lost for a while and we figured if we wanted to hear the style we loved so much we might as well make it ourselves. I’ve already started toying with new ideas and riffs for the next album so I don’t think you’ll see us stray to far from the first album, maybe a bit heavier and darker but it will still have our signature sounds that many really seem to love.
drunkenmermaid.com: Tell us about making the video for Bleed for Me.
The ‘Bleed For Me’ video was shot on Mothers Day, Sunday May 13th in a club called The Vault in Bay City Michigan. They had a nice stage set up and great lighting rig so it worked perfectly for what we wanted. We had a great time shooting this video and I think it really captures a feel for what the band is in a live setting, I think you can really feel the cohesive vibe within the group. Bleed For Me was actually the last video we shot of three that entire weekend, the first being the video for Too Late and the second being for the song After The Leaves Have Fallen which will be released in a couple months.
drunkenmermaid.com: Theatrically, what makes a great metal performance?
I think you can feel it if the band is gelling and flowing together, you can feel if their fake or genuine. I think the band needs to do more than just stand there, some bands like Dream Theater are stellar musicians but boring to watch, you have to find a good mixture of showmanship and be musically proficient too, I guess it all depends on what each band is trying to say and represent, too.
drunkenmermaid.com: What’s the best audience you’ve ever played for?
That’s a tough one, I’ve played in front of amazing sold-out crowds in Athens, Paris and Germany. It varies from open-air festivals to clubs, too. Both have a special place in my heart and have a totally different vibe in connecting with the audiences, so it’s really hard to pick but those few places stick out in my mind as some of the best audiences.
drunkenmermaid.com: What metal song do you wish you’d written?
So many good songs…I can think of three I’d love to have written: Balls to the Wall, Hall Of The Mountain King and Take Hold Of The Flame…pure classic metal!!
drunkenmermaid.com: When will you be releasing your next album? What can you tell us about the new tracks?
With When Darkness Calls having been released just two months ago we haven’t really given a lot of thought into the next album. I have started messing with some leftover riffs and new ideas with a couple song brewing but I would say that continuing to promote this album with another video coming out in a couple of month and our European tour this fall are the next things on our mind the most. I would really like to get another album out sometime next year but at this point it’s anyone’s guess when that will be. The working titles of the songs I have so far are “Liberty or Death” and “Til the Bitter End” but once I give them to Todd those could all change or not be used at all, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Hopefully the wait won’t be long. In the meantime, you can hear some truly amazing metal at Reverence’s website, their facebook page, and their ReverbNation page. We’ve also shared the Bleed for Me video our facebook page.