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Locals Only: : Instant Messenger

Local Metal band Kill the Messenger wants to be the voice of the voiceless

By Jacob Richardson · June 23rd, 2004 · Locals Only
Kill the Messenger
Kill the Messenger

Megadeth. Billy Joel. Otis Redding. Even Bj�rk. When asked about listening habits, this list of artists is surprising and diverse, especially considering that it comes from local Metal band Kill the Messenger.

Despite this random namedropping, KTM's original music shows they have Hardcore in their hearts. How they express such a love can range anywhere from concentrated composure to insurmountable fury.

Besides what they listen to, Kill the Messenger's members -- guitarist Craig Brousch, drummer Aaron Williams, bassist Rob Riggs and vocalist Jeff Faris -- bring different levels of experience and expertise to the table. One of the most rewarding parts of being exposed to such a range of music is that it constantly challenges each member to get better and grow as musicians.

"It makes the music more interesting when we're challenging each other all the time," Faris says. "It makes (it) that much cooler when you can go outside the box and play something that you're not quite so comfortable with or you wouldn't have thought of."

The scene in Cincinnati for original bands isn't known for its open-minded acceptance of less mainstream genres of music.

The city's clubs aren't clamoring to book Metal acts. Dancing to Pop tunes is more profitable than being reminded of society's gross imperfections.

"Look at what's getting played to people," Faris says. "People don't hear (good music). Advertisement on radio is ridiculous, and all you're hearing is Nickelback 24 fucking hours a day!"

The lack of venues to promote Metal music likely stems from stereotypes placed on the genre (harbingers of violence, anarchy, Satanism, etc.). Even the name Kill the Messenger has been falsely construed by many as being anti-religious.

"We're probably the goofiest people," Faris quips.

Since many of their songs deal with issues plaguing society -- racism and sexual abuse, for example -- "goofy" is one of the last ways one would expect to describe KTM's off-stage persona. But their songs are brutal because their message requires aggression. KTM tries to be the voice for people without the courage or outlet to speak themselves.

"These people need to say something and, if they had the opportunity they'd like to scream about it," Faris explains. "There's a lot of people I feel can relate to it."

Yet they also stay away from using persuasion in their lyrics to direct the listener to one correct conclusion. They view themselves more as reporters instead of judges.

"A lot of songs are "choice' songs," Riggs says. "You choose to suffer, you choose to be in misery, you chose this path. It's nothing anybody has done to you."

KTM is unwavering in their belief that these subjects need to be addressed and their songs need to be heard. Such persistence is starting to pay off.

"At first (the local Metal scene) was very claustrophobic," according to Riggs. "Fortunately we're not the only band that works hard. I think the Metal scene is pretty good right now, probably better than it's been in 10 years."

This upward pendulum swing of attention has been a slow process, but KTM -- as well as other artists with whom they frequently share bills -- has devoted a large amount of effort in trying to make sure more groups are playing to larger crowds whenever possible. This alliance among local bands is a real feat considering that only a short time ago "nobody would help each other out," according to Faris. "They wouldn't hardly talk to each other."

When asked what they're working on right now as far as recording, live shows and touring, they simply answer, in unison, "Yes." Who knows where they'll show up next. It might be a benefit concert, a headlining show or perhaps even Ozzfest.

"We want people to know we're here and we're not out trying to promote bad things like drugs or anything," Riggs concludes. "(We're trying) to show the community that Metal isn't bad."

KILL THE MESSENGER (killthemessenger.org) plays Saturday at Troyz in Reading with Wretched Guild.


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