Very few bands are bold enough to know who they are and what their music is about from early on. For Southern California metal band Solus Deus, they took their love of extreme metal with groove and a stompy punch to its sound to create a sound they call thug metal.
Thug metal? Yes, thug metal. Heavy metal with the right amount of thug.
“That is exactly what we’re trying to say. It’s not like we’re trying to be a “subgenre or anything like that. It’s a sound,” said vocalist Jey Collins, about Solus Deus’ sound. “The song describes what we feel about it. It talks about Cannibal Corpse and Tupac and going into the extremes. That’s what we’re influenced by.”
The band started in 2012, with Collins and guitarist Wayne Miller, who played on Bleed The Sky’s debut album Paradigm in Entropy. The two began writing music together, sharing a common bond of heavy music.
“Me and Wayne have been always trying to get together to write music, even before Bleed The Sky. So we’ve been trying to write together for a long time. We were able to meet up and get some stuff rolling.”
Drummer Austin D’Amond, Miller’s former bandmate in Bleed the Sky (and ex- Chimaira) was quickly recruited into the fold. “He said ‘We gotta ask Austin to join. He’s my favorite drummer.”
“Then we got Tony (Aiello, bass) and then we’re sitting there and I told my wife, “it would be awesome to get Rocky Gray (guitars) to play on this part.” So we sent him some tunes and see how it goes.”
While the band recorded two EPs (Solus Deus EP and The Bloodtrail EP, available at http://solusdeus.bandcamp.com ), the original plans were for Solus Deus planning on being a part time band at the time. But their plans changed and now they are going on full speed ahead. “It was put together while Austin was still in Chimaira and he had this off time to do this test run and trying to keep this rolling. So we’re going to do more in the future. There were a lot of people who wanted to see us so we wanted to put this together. It’s definitely a different experience with your band mates when you perform with them.”
D’Amond wrote the guitar parts on the song “Thug Metal,” as well as brought in guest vocals on “Punishment” by TJ Frost from The Elite.
Gray is the sole member not from Orange County, CA. Being from Little Rock, AR and cutting his teeth in Living Sacrifice, Evanescence and We Are The Fallen, he brings studio and touring experience to the band and helped their sound come together.
But the early moments of Solus Deus did not involve Gray, but was immediately sold on what they had going on.
“We had some Garageband recordings pretty much done. When we sent them, he said let’s keep it going. We didn’t have a lot of finished songs until we were in the studio. We brought it together there and formulated the ideas in there,” Collins said.
“The first three months we were really going at it, he was aboard. A lot of it was me and Wayne always trying to get together and it never happened. We would always jam with each other over ideas.”
“He brought all of this experience, going in and doing all of the solos, and helping us combine it into what the songs we want to achieve with Ben Schiegel [producer].”
Even though a couple members were previously in Bleed The Sky, Solus Deus’ sound draw some similarities to their previous outfit. Fans will recognize some subtle similarities, while adding new influences that make their sound stand out.
“All of the influences of Bleed The Sky is still there. Most of the band likes the same kind of music. With Wayne and Austin, they were the driving force. You can tell they could work together so well. They bring the brutalness, experience and skill. They’re a tight knit unit.”
“We definitely knew to keep it brutal and heavy. We also love a lot of bounce and groove. Austin, since Bleed The Sky, since I’ve known him, they called it thug metal. It had that West Coast influence of hip hop, where most of us are from. It’s just that bounce and groove. Everybody has that same likeness – just heavy, brutal, a bunch of grooves and bounce, and what we found we liked.”
Interview By Rei Nishimoto