All images courtesy of Chipster PR
By Kimmarie Erickson
I can remember asking a young heavy metal musician what he wanted out of his career, to which he said, “Rock and roll all night and party every day. Isn’t that what every musician wants?”
In his defense, he was 19, and it was the early 1990s. I am willing to bet that if I asked that same guy the same question now, he would most likely have traded partying for career longevity and relevance.
Speaking of relevance and career longevity, I had the pleasure of chatting with Minnesota-based band A Rising Force, a band that seems to have mastered the art of staying both relevant and successful in the music industry for decades.
Formed in 2014, A Rising Force is comprised of five musicians that each possess genius musical prowess and enviable backgrounds that contain stints with other very successful bands. I had received the band’s EP, and as I was preparing for the interview, I noticed that the promo pic for the new album, Eclipse, showed 4 rock star-looking dudes that most likely have been professional musicians since Ronnie James Dio first hoisted the Devil Horns.
Then there was Billy Schlump, the fresh-faced ham with the Charvel guitar. He was dubbed “The Hamm” about two seconds into him introducing himself. Schlump may only be 23, but his playing style is rooted in the fundamentals of guitar gods. Then we have bassist extraordinaire Brian Lorenson, a purveyor of rhythmically complex and syncopated bass lines, and Leni DIMancri, a guitarist whose playing style echos that of groundbreaking guitar legends like Toni Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore.
Of course, no heavy metal band worth its salt is without a phenomenal drummer such as A Rising Foprece’s Petar Savage. This 30-year drum veteran’s intricate and maliciously technical style is undeniably legendary. Lastly, rounding out this heavy-hitting quintet is iconic frontman David Reed Watson.
To say that these guys are like a family would be an understatement. Even though the current lineup has not been together for very long, these five guys are what I like to call an “aspen grove band.” The synergy that connects these five musicians is indisputable. As each member introduced themselves, all five stated, “How lucky they felt to be in a band with the other 4 musicians,” and each one was truly sincere in that declaration.
A Rising Force released their second album, Eclipse, earlier this summer, and the singles continue to zip up the charts. I mentioned the not-so-subtle difference between the two albums, “The transition thing, getting a new singer,” Watson explained.
Watson replaced the original frontman after the first album, Undertow, came out. I inquired if the heavier sound on the second album was because of young Billy Hamm, but the guys all assured me that, “The current members all collaborated on it.”
I honestly would describe Eclipse as a perfect storm of fun cock rock, old-school heavy metal, with just a smidge of nu-metal. I talked to the guys for about half an hour, and I swear we laughed the entire time. These guys are as genuine as they get, and I never sensed even a hint of big ugly egos.
Just as we were wrapping up the interview, I asked what they saw themselves doing in the next 6 months after they finished touring with Tesla, “I would like to see us start writing songs for the next album,” David chimed in, with Leni adding, “The new stuff is going to be completely fresh. When you have five songwriters collaborating, it’s kind of like a musical salad, and you just keep adding ingredients.”
I don’t think there will ever be a greater analogy than that.
As I say adieu to you, dear readers, here is a little tidbit of Skullgurl advice: listen to the music of A Rising Force immediately. I promise you will be thanking me.
A Rising Force is:
David Reed Watson – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Brian Lorenson – Bass, Vocals
Leni DIMancari – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Peter Savage – Drums, Vocals
Billy Schlump – Lead Guitar, Vocals