Today, the heavy groove and thrash metal sensation known as Gathering of Bones, led by founder Christopher Vitale, is ready to unleash their latest sonic assault upon the world. Their single and album, 'One Reality,' is set to re-ignite the groove metal genre with its high-energy, no-holds-barred sound.
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the song 'One Reality' and the message it conveys?
As objective truth manifests in two main forms – philosophy-based truth and science-based truth – I care about promoting the necessary balance between faith and reason. As such, I also care about clear, irrefutable distinctions between objective truth and subjective truth.
“One Reality” explores what objective truth means, while also adding some satire about personal agendas superseding actual reality. The “one reality” is that objective reality exists – it’s here to stay.
How has the band's sound evolved since its founding in 2017, and what sets Gathering of Bones apart from other metal bands?
Much of Gathering of Bones’ sound has been built on offering a kind of “something for everybody” angle to metal music. If you think about it, most popular metal songs, within the past ~35 or so years, have either had a strong thrash element or a strong groove element – or both.
And though there is now a wide array of metal genres, some of which have a lot of personality and creativity to offer, the combination of thrash and groove, in my view, is a kind of bridge between various metal genres.
Still, the GoB sound, overall, has matured a bit since 2017. At first, most of the songs were a barrage of punches to the face – constant intensity, wanting to give the most bang for the buck within three to four minute songs.The songs today still have quite a bit of energy / intensity, but now with more dynamics, more focused on telling a story, though still within the three to five-minute timeframe.
What can fans expect from the music video that accompanies 'One Reality,' and how does it enhance the overall experience of the song?
Hopefully a captivating, motivating, thought-provoking, yet adrenaline rushing experience.
You've mentioned influences ranging from Metallica to Gojira. How do these influences manifest in your music, and how have you made this style your own?
As the guitarist / primary composer in the band, I have always loved metal music based on outstanding technical work blended with memorable hooks. I especially love catchy riffs, an impressive array of chops, expressive guitar solos, and powerful drums. For example, when I hear people hum parts of Metallica songs – the catchy drum fills, or guitar hooks, melodic basslines, etc – that’s exactly the effect I want my songs to have on people. That the music resonates with them so much, they want to memorize every single hook in the song. Hooks are powerful: I don’t think they ever go out of style – they always draw listeners in. Just like a hit movie with many memorable lines – it’s the same with music. GoB strives to do the same.
Could you share some insight into the process of creating 'One Reality,' from songwriting to recording?
For much of my music life, I have been kind of a one man band in my head. When I begin writing a riff, I almost immediately hear the bass and drums (and other instruments sometimes) playing along with the riff. I also hear exactly what I imagine for the bass and drum parts, though I almost always defer to my peers to write their parts.
Funny – and amazingly – enough, my peers often end up writing what I basically imagined anyway! And if a song ends up going in a different direction – tempo,different dynamics, effects, and so on – from what I may have originally imagined, I simply let the process go in that direction. I may be the primary composer, but I also want my peers to be 100% happy with their contributions to the songs – that their own musical *voice* can be heard in every single song.
Above all, the songwriting journey should largely be, well, a journey. We work, rework, rework again, and rework yet again, until we all exclaim “that seriously rocks!” by the end of the song.
The single's title suggests a deep philosophical theme. How does this theme relate to the band's values and message?
GoB cares greatly about solid morals and values. This includes, as mentioned earlier, a deep appreciation for truth and all that it entails. “One Reality” reflects GoB’s concern about ideas that polarize people, and that healthy discussions about tough topics must start with a sincere desire to get to the truth.
How important is it for Gathering of Bones to inspire independent musicians to create and share their music with the world, and what advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Thanks to distributors, PR companies, and other music related businesses that strongly support indie music, musicians have no shortage of options to help get their music heard. However, this also means being as well-rounded a musician as possible.
I know that many musicians want to focus mostly on their craft; they care about staying true to their art and being accomplished musicians. Yes, being authentic in your work is crucial – but so is having good business sense, knowing how to navigate the music industry, and using all helpful tools and means possible to build a professional portfolio: band website, branding, high quality recordings, social media presence, solid communication skills. Musicians must know how to – and not be afraid to – *network* in the industry. As the old saying goes: You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. Musicians must make “taking chances” a staple in every part of their career.
Your music is described as a fusion of groove and thrash metal. How do you balance technicality with catchiness in your compositions?
I give much of the credit to my first two guitar teachers: My first teacher was mostly about economy in playing / less is more / make all notes fit at the right place at the right time. My second guitar teacher was a bit of the opposite: be a master at riffs, chops, solos, shredding, don’t hold back, make your listeners’ ears bleed with non-stop excitement. I tried out both camps in the first five or so years of my guitar playing. From there – including a whole lot of growing up along the way – I took what I considered the best from both worlds and have strived to strike a good balance ever since. In fact, many of my favorite guitar players have that special knack for being both technical and catchy: Mark Tremonti, Nuno Bettencourt, Dave Mustaine, James Hetfield, Rob Flynn, Tommy Victor, Joe Duplantier, Dimebag Darrell, Tom Morello, Joe Satriani, Zakk Wylde, John 5, Jonas Jarlsby, and the list goes on!
Can you share some details about the creative direction of the captivating music video and how it complements the intensity of the song?
The visual element is meant to capture the intense sound in the song, while also being thought-provoking.
In the realm of heavy metal, what does it mean for Gathering of Bones to "break boundaries" with 'One Reality,' and what kind of impact do you hope the single will have on the metal community and your fans?
By “boundaries,” I mean allow metal songs, regardless of genre, to have a life of their own and not be overly boxed into a certain time period or social trend. Sadly, I see many metal enthusiasts stay so hyper-focused on their favorite genres, that they look down on other genres, or think a certain style of music is now “old school”; or they expect metal music to have no ceiling when it comes to creativity or originality.
Or some musicians spar over what is the ultimate tuning – B standard versus drop C versus E flat versus drop D versus E standard, etc – or who has the most intense sound, or who is the most daring, or who sounds the most “metal” overall.
Once upon time, the whole idea of metal was to rebel against the status quo and do what you want with your high-energy sound. It’s a bit bizarre now to encounter metal “purists” or metal snobbery. Why can’t a great piece of music simply be, well, a great piece of music? GoB hopes to show that there’s room for all kinds of metal out there.