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YEAR FORMED: 2003
HOME TOWN: San Diego, CA
Scott Bixby (vocals)
Ricky Vazquez (guitar)
Ian Archer (guitar)
Allan Levy (bass)
Matt Williams (drums)
It is not unusual for bands to go through a number of line-ups before settling on the one that sticks – and makes it, and Of Hearts and Shadows is no exception. Founded out of the growing San Diego music scene in 2003 by guitarist Ricky Vazquez and bassist Allan Levy, the band went through numerous other musicians before creating this, their definitive membership. “There are tons of good players out there,” explains Vazquez, “so finding great musicianship wasn’t the issue. This band is more about an attitude – belief in what we’re doing and a determination to stick it out no matter what. That’s what our music is about and it’s who we all are as people."
The sound is guitar-oriented, the dual guitars of Vazquez and Ian Archer playing guitar parts filled with power chords and riffs that drive the rest of the music. Vocalist, Bixby, has a charismatic style that commands the stage while his screamo delivery definitely directs the band’s hardcore metal style. Drummer Matt Williams along with Allan Levy on bass round out the full, ear-blasting sound of this talented quintet. “It’s not just about belief in yourself,” explains Levy. “It’s about belief in the other guys in your band. Now, I have that faith in all the other members. Ricky and I took a long time, played through a lot of other guys, but these are the guys we know we’re going to make it with.”
The intensity of the band’s style is evident on their debut CD, Touching Base With A Chainsaw. The band’s unusual blend of screamo metal vocals with melodic riffs works well on songs like “Pretty For Nostalgia” while “Make Sure You Tell” switches the emphasis, offering melodic vocals with a distorted guitar sound for a totally different type of power, but it is just as commanding as the rest of the album. Of Hearts And Shadows has discovered that very fine line between heavy metal and hardcore and balances it perfectly. “Pull The Trigger” starts out as a riff-driven guitar song until Bixby comes in and takes over with his relentless vocal style. “Every guy in this band is into a lot of different types of music,” Bixby explains. “music that you wouldn’t think a band with such a hard sound would like.” From Danny Elfman to Pink Floyd, Poison to Killswitch, The Police to Rush and Aerosmith and Zeppelin, the band members’ influences run the full gamut of rock and roll. That variety of genres is evident in every song on the album, and the band has found a way to bring it together into a cohesive sound that makes sense.
Their music will appeal to the old fashioned metal afficianados as well as the younger screamo fans as is already evidenced by the huge following the band has established in their hometown of San Diego. “This band is about the future,” explains Vasquez, “five young guys who appreciate the music that came before, play the music of today, but are going to keep creating and stepping outside the box into the future. Music is the last free thing left to do. There are no limits, and that is going to allow us to grow with every album we put out.”