CONVERGENCE After the critical success of 2009’s Darkness Comes Alive, metal “side project” collective Doomriders are already working on new material.
It's hard to begrudge Doomriders' front man Nate Newton when he stops in the midst of rattling off the band's tours with the likes of Red Sparowes, Clutch, and Disfear, among others, in the two years since the release of Darkness Come Alive off Salem-based Deathwish Inc. "Honestly, I'm having trouble remembering everything," he says with a laugh.
For brevity's sake, here's a recap: Doomriders changed drummers last year (Clouds drummer Q replacing Cave In's J.R. Conners), and toured everywhere from Australia to Europe when Newton wasn't on the road in his main gig as bassist of Converge. Throw in the Jesuit reunion that Newton was a part of this past year and it's a wonder Doomriders managed to begin work on a follow-up to their 2009 sophomore record.
Although stopping just short of confirming a new album is on the way, Newton acknowledges Doomriders are writing new material. However far off the record is, it should be highly anticipated considering the band's substantial growth between 2005 debut Black Thunder and Darkness Come Alive. Nothing against the first record, but it had the feel of a side project — a bunch of guys from Cave In, Converge, Cast Iron Hike, and Disappearer channeling influences into bursts of unhinged rage and tongue-in-cheek anthems of rebellion (see "Deathbox," a skatepunk track with about as much lyrical nuance as the theme song from Skate or Die 2 on the NES).
"Black Thunder, those were the first songs we wrote as a band," Newton admits. "Half of that record was our demo. I like all the songs and I'm proud of it, but Darkness Come Alive was much more the sound of a band that had grown and developed together." A critical success, Darkness saw the band hone their mix of Thin Lizzy harmonics and a death n' roll stomp that brings Genocide Superstars to mind, but as a much darker beast. Newton cites the new material as having much of the same chemistry and edge as Darkness, with special praise for their new drummer. "Q's got a very different style than JR did," he says, "a more punk energy, and I think that's coming through in the new stuff we're writing."
Although Doomriders have proven to be more than a mere side project, the band still provides Newton with an outlet for songwriting, something that "would never fly in Converge." It's also a refreshing change of pace from the touring grind of one of the biggest metal/hardcore bands in the world. Newton looks for the right words to describe the stresses of near constant road work, hesitating to call it a job and expressing how lucky he is to be able to make a living from it. Coming home and playing in Doomriders gives Newton the chance to let loose. "I'll be like, okay, I get to play guitar now and just be a loud idiot . . . and it's refreshing."