First Posted: 6/3/2013
“I’d like to be thought of as the most extreme metal band in the area,” admits Prosody vocalist Ken Ebersole. Judging by the cover of his band’s newly released debut, “The Dawn of Brutality,” he may be right on the mark.
As if the cover art, which depicts a view from the Market Street Bridge of a post-apocalyptic Wilkes-Barre engulfed in flames, doesn’t scream a bloodcurdling metal yell, then the music contained within the disc underneath will.
Prosody, which, in fact, can trace its origins back to one of NEPA’s heaviest metal acts, Ossuary (Ebsersole, as well as guitarist Chris Stroud were Ossuary alumni, and album cover artist Eric Armusik was also in Ossuary), is a band built on self-determination, strong work ethic, and desire to do things their way. A bit of luck can’t be completely ruled out, either.
“It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever recorded,” says Ebersole of Prosody’s debut, done at SI Studios in Old Forge. “On this record, I experimented a lot with my vocals; the whole band has been trying stuff out. Everything we’ve been doing, it seems like it’s clicked; the right people at the right time, doing the right thing.” Rounding out the lineup of Ebersole on vocals and Stroud on guitar are drummer Bob Smith, bassist Dave Morris, and guitarist Chris Rosenko.
“Chris Rosenko was in a band called Pave The Way, who switched over to being Our Ashes Remain,” details Ebersole of Prosody’s formation. “When Chris left that band, he got together with Chris Stroud, and they came up with the idea to do Prosody. I was singing for a band called Praise the Sinner at the time. Bob was actually the drummer for a project the two Chris’ had a couple of years ago – they were starting that project again, and this time it just stuck.”
Prosody’s sound, falling somewhere within the bludgeoning intensity of classic extreme metal like Carcass and the throat-ripping, thrash velocity of acts like Kreator, with the ability to crossover to multiple fist-clenched genres a la Hatebreed, has much in common with the aforementioned bands, railing against the ills of society. Ebersole, the band’s primary lyricist, has plenty of ammunition to arm his verbal cannon.
“The title track is the premise for the record,” Ebersole explains. “That song explains how society is as a whole. Then, when you listen to the next track, “End of Your World,” it’s about what happens after that; when there’s nothing left and we have to start over because everything’s gone down the tubes.”
The cover art, which ties in perfectly with the album title, is a nod to just how far south society has become. He relates the experience of having children, how decades ago kids could spend an entire summer day outdoors with parents not necessarily having to worry about the child’s safety.
“You can’t do that now because there are predators out there,” Ebersole states. “The world’s a completely different place, everywhere you go. Things just seem to keep going downhill. “The Dawn of Brutality” is about all of this coming around; how there doesn’t seem to be justice sometimes. The cover of the album, that’s how I see society going.”
Ebersole elaborates on how everyday life inspires him as a writer. Without pinpointing any specific examples, he cites how a typical daily newscast can come and go without reporting any good news.
“There’s always something bad going on somewhere,” he laments. “That’s what we were getting at with the title of the album; this is how the world is today.”
There are, however, specific songs on the album that do deal with particular evils, such as mass murderer Ed Gein in “Cleansed in Agony” and the cryptic derangement of the Zodiac killer in “Victim of the Zodiac.”
“Those are two separate things that add to the downfall of society as a whole,” says Ebersole.
Even though all of the elements are aligned, Ebersole doesn’t call “The Dawn of Brutality” a concept album.
“If you dig deep enough, I guess you can see certain aspects of that,” he says. “It was never really thought of as that, though. None of these songs were related in any way when I wrote them. We also have song called ‘Slave of Addiction’ dealing with drugs or any kind of addiction. That’s another aspect of ‘The Dawn of Brutality,’ drugs leading to things that are wrong with this world.”
Prosody’s debut comes at an auspicious time for metal in Northeast Pennsylvania, a fact that Ebersole is quick to embrace.
“There’s an entire metal scene on the circuit now; metal has arrived,” he emphasizes. “You can go out every weekend now and find a metal band playing in this area. 20 years ago, it wasn’t like that; you had to wait a month until you got a show or you had to rent out a hall on your own – we’ve done that in the past. Often times, you had band practice and invited your friends, and that would turn into a show because there was nowhere else to play.”
A discussion of the now-defunct Moosic club Sea Sea’s sparks Ebersole’s memory of the NEPA metal scene a couple of decades or so back and the particular niche that club occupied.
“If you weren’t playing at Sea Sea’s, you weren’t playing a show,” he insists. “If you go on the Internet, you can find people all over the country that know Sea Sea’s. That was the spot. I think a lot of club owners have seen what Sea Sea’s did back then and they’re starting to take advantage of it; it’s definitely easier for musicians now to be able to play a show.”
“We’re doing this because we like it, and it’s worked for us,” says Ebersole of Prosody’s sense of musical individuality. “We write and play what we feel; it’s in our heart. I feel that if your heart’s really in something, it makes it that much easier to succeed at it, and that’s what we’re trying to do – that’s who we are.”
For more on the band, visit reverbnation.com/prosodymetal. “The Dawn of Brutality” is available now on iTunes, CD Baby, and Amazon.