Matt Woods - Guitar
Ryan Carroll - Drums
David Galloway - Vocals
Zack Bates- Bass
There probably isn't an up-and-coming hard-rock act in the world that, to some degree, has not been influenced by Metallica. element±eighty is no exception, but, as guitarist Matt Woods explains, the impact of Metallica on his band isn't quite as obvious as listeners might assume. "I was in a physical science class in the ninth grade, and was trying to think of a name for the group," recalls the 23-year-old musician. "I remembered that Metallica got their name from the periodic table, so I started scanning through it and saw that mercury was the eightieth element. It's also the heaviest liquid metal, which I thought was kind of cool and went along with the whole heavy-metal vibe."
Formed in Tyler, Texas, Woods and the other members of the group--vocalist Dave Galloway, drummer Ryan Carroll and Roon, the bass player--have fashioned a unique musical chemistry that's altogether electrifying. Blending brilliant hooks with head-banging harmonies, element±eighty unites the finest...what else?...elements from the metal and mainstream rock realms into a compositional concoction that'll soon be exploding from speakers around the globe.
"We like heavy riffs, but we also try to bring in a good deal of melody," says Galloway. "A lot of people seem to think that, to be heavy, you have to play just as fast as you can. That's totally untrue. We work on playing really tight together, because playing tight makes you heavier, but we also work to write songs that have lots of emotion; that is, songs that people can relate to and understand. We want something they can sing along to, but at the same time, halfway through they can slam into their best friend. So we try to be heavy, but offer plenty of hooks and memorable parts, too."
That mix of heaviness and hooks clearly comes through on the band's self-titled debut Republic/Universal Records CD. The effort, set for release on October 28th, was produced by Scott Humphrey (Rob Zombie, Powerman 5000). In fact, according to Woods, the first single from that recording, "Broken Promises," encapsulates everything that element±eighty is striving to achieve through their music. "It feels like the entire album in one song," he claims. "It has both the heaviness and the melodiousness we're looking for. It really hits every genre that we touch upon on the CD."
A key constituent in successfully delivering those sentiments is Galloway's versatile voice. His mind-blowing delivery, which can instantly morph from a smooth whisper to an earsplitting wail, is downright dramatic. Coupled with Carroll's authoritative drumming and Roon's deep bass beats, it's an amazing attribute that is at times harrowing but invariably harmonious.
"There weren't really any rock stations around where I was growing up," explains Galloway. "All I got to listen to was pop, so I learned about hooks and vocal melodies and things like that. But later on I got introduced to heavier music and liked it. I liked the screaming and the singing, and I wanted to do both, especially when we started Element Eighty, because the music called for it." "Dave could milk girls with a ballad on his acoustic guitar and that would just piss us off," adds Woods, offering a more detailed--and humorous--reason for Galloway's burgeoning interest in hard-rock music. "We'd go to a party, he'd bring out the guitar and the chicks would be all over him. He'd steal all the attention, but then I was like, 'Dude, get with it...' I started trying to get him to listen to heavy stuff, and he started to learn how to get that rasp in his voice. Now he offers the best of both worlds."
Whether performing hard-as-nails noise or radio-rock riffs --oftentimes within the same song- element±eighty truly does intertwine, in a thoroughly original manner, sounds and ideas from throughout the musical spectrum. With influences that range from Smashing Pumpkins and Tool to Led Zeppelin and, Pantera, their sound is altogether fresh and yet, somehow, familiar. "We're striving to be the tightest band in the world," proclaims Woods. "All respect to other bands, but every time we go on stage we're out to kill. We're out for blood. We really want to steal the show every night."
With that do-or-die performance attitude, coupled with music that's both innovative and important, there's little question that element±eighty has the right chemistry for success.