About a year ago, a couple of teenagers were listening to music. They began jotting down words they heard. “Shrieks” was a good word, so was “impaled” and Shrieks of the Impaled was born. True to its name, the death metal band is loud, fast and brutal, definitely not mainstream, and often misunderstood.
The band members are all students at University High School where they are all enrolled in music theory. They practice in drummer Ben Hall’s basement in Spokane Valley. “Our message is creativity. There shouldn’t be boundaries,” Hall, 16, explained, “Our songs are about brutal stuff, the stuff found in movies and on the news where they show the blood and gore but bleep out profanities. We never cuss in our songs.”
The band is also clean – no drinking or drugs. They recently attended a party where they were the only sober ones in attendance. “We really are the opposite of what people think,” Hall said.
Roadies Zach Walker, 17, and Jacob Ottmar, 16, transport the band and the equipment to area shows. Jason Ehrhart, 17, plays bass, Jerrid Davis, 16, plays guitar, and Aguseya Guseynov, 15, brings lyrics to life with deep growling for songs titled “Blind Mutilation,” “Rotting Corpse Flesh,” “Corpse Revival,” and “Kingdom of Flesh.”
Death metal is a genre of music that began about 20 years ago, and it has quite a following. While the genre pushes the envelope, it also versatile, complex, and hard to do with its tight and fast sound. It is also just another venue for teens and others to blow off a little steam. If a listener does not take the lyrics literally, one could consider that the Shriek’s song “Death in Ossuary” has a deeper message, one about the forgotten piled in tight confinement for eternity due to scarce burial space or over-population.
The band members are self-taught for the most part and spend much of their time fine-tuning their sounds. Band members have all been in bands through middle school. They just recorded their debut EP “Welcome to the Kingdom of Flesh” with Amplified Wax and are working with Beneath the Fog Productions to release a mass distribution of their CD. They have performed about 25 area gigs with other local bands as well as touring bands such as Insanity, Eterna Nocturna and Mortal Remains. The band is also in a partnership with Monumental Booking and Ehrhart is currently settling an endorsement with Basson Amplification.
They appreciate their fans who call themselves “The Impaled” and the venues, including the Cretin Hop on north Howard Street, that offer them a forum in which to perform. They consider The Impaled and other supporters as an extension of their own accommodating families.
The Shrieks are serious musicians and plan on continuing their efforts. After high school, they all want to proceed with music, with jobs on the side. The band members and the roadies are in this to the end, and they hope to be going on professional tours with national acts in the future. “We’re going to go for it,” said Ehrhart. “If we didn’t try,” Hall added, “I’d hate to think ‘what if’ for the rest of my life.”
A brave girl jumps from the rocks on the west side of Tubbs Hill as her two friends watch. (Don Sausser/Facebook photo)
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