After a brief departure from the scene in 2008, Philadelphia’s Single Bullet Theory has added one more to the chamber. “IV” gives fans a caustic blend of metalcore, hardcore, and even thrash with some NWOBHM and industrial elements.
Vocalist and guitarist Matt DiFabio (ex-Cipher, ex-Pissing Razors) combines harsh growls ala Randy Blythe (Lamb of God) with gritty and powerful clean vocals and many variances in between. The band is rounded out by bassist Jeff Kalber, drummer Acácio Carvalho, and guitarist John Ruszin who also produced the album.
This week Matt DiFabio set down his guitar long enough to take us through the new album.
1. Diabolical: This track lyrically is sorta out of the typical realm of SBT lyrics. I usually write about the human psyche or different topics that may be personal or close to home. This song however came together very quick vocally and musically. I wrote this from a third person perspective on a serial killer. Basically, when you read about one of these assholes in the paper or on the news. I try to outline the thought process, the grasp for power, why this person may want to kill… whether it’s over lust, pain, jealousy….. whatever it may be. There are too many of these sick bastards out there and what’s worse is the way they get sensationalized in the media. More people can tell you what Heidnik or Gein are famous for then what Darwin or Edison are famous for. Musically, I wanted to create a whirlwind of speed and intensity, the song sorta barrels down the tracks like a rogue freight train with no brakes. I think this was the perfect opening track for “IV”
2. What Have I: “What Have I” is about looking back at your life’s accomplishments and really questioning where you are in life. The quest for something better, the ability to change yourself given just a small gleam of hope. Really the only thing stopping you from achieving your dreams is the voice inside you that tells you that you can’t! I think the chorus of the song really tells it all with “open your eyes, you’ll recognize me, I’m the voice that’s tearing you apart”. Vocally, this is the song where I introduce a predominantly “sung” verse, leaving just the chorus’ for the gravelly vocals. Musically, the song bares one of the heaviest riffs I have ever written during the bridge and an incredible solo courtesy of Mr. John Ruszin.
3. The Wake of Betrayal: This is one that hits very close to home. It’s about going through massive loss through a separation from someone who meant the world to you and tore every part of your trust and love out of your soul.. The song goes through all parts of the loss, the denial, the anger, the pain, the darkest parts of healing yourself and the eminent “rising up from the ashes”. It’s a rather long track that ranges from brutal death metal-ish vocals to all out “painkiller” shrill vocals. I am particularly proud of this song.
4. The Hands of The Wicked: Questioning religion is something that every person on earth has given a thought to! This song takes you down the journey of trying to find out what really drives a person because in my humble opinion, it isn’t any organized religion. Humans need to think for themselves a little more than praying to some statue or article of jewelery. Musically the song sorta has an Iced Earth vibe to it. Another track that Ruszin lights up the fretboard as well.
5. Leviathan Smiles: Written in a “tongue-in-cheek” way about things always being dangled in your face only to be yanked away just as you reach them. Sometimes the thing that your chasing turns out to be the worst thing you ever could have been after to start with. This is a particularly heavy song and i think has one of our best chorus riffs ever. Sorta like an old Anthrax meets old Voivod feel in the chorus.
6. Auctioneer of Souls: AOS is mostly a musical journey featuring 17 blazing guitar solos by the likes of myself, John Ruszin, Attila Voras (Nevermore), Jeff Loomis (Nevermore), Curran Murphy (Annhilator, Shatter Messiah), Tim Roth (Into Eternity), Riggs (Rob Zombie, Scum of the Earth), Carlos Alverez (Shadowdance), John Perez (Solitude Aeturnus), Pete Blakk (King Diamond), James Murphy (Testament, Death), Rob Doherty (Into Eternity), Mark Simpson (Flotsam and Jetsam, Beautiful Creatures) and Jack Frost (Seven Witches, Metallium). Any guitar enthusiast should definitely take this song for a spin. It’s a very, very challenging piece of music that I think came out great.
7. Samsara: The heaviest track on the disc. “Samsara” is the song that explores the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. The vocals were mostly written by a close friend of mine, Mark Shviema, who was once the singer of Single Bullet Theory. I feel this song has a totally different vibe for me vocally and I find myself likening it to a hybrid mix between Fear Factory and Paradise Lost. We really tried to push the boundaries on “Samsara” and I think we pulled off a massive slab of metal with it.
8. Letting Go: “Letting Go” could be the continuation of “The Wake of Betrayal”. It’s about coming to terms with the fact that certain people are like a cancer and are best removed completely from your life.
9. Echoes of the Past: Sort of an introspective view of the things you may have done in your life that you’re not real proud of. Sorta the baggage that hangs over your head long after a certain thing or action has been done. Everyone has a skeleton in their closet. This song is about how long it takes to shake the debris off and leave the wreckage of your past behind. People deserve second chances in life. People don’t deserve third or fourth chances.
10. Spirit Crusher: (bonus song) – A great Death cover we did. It features a guest performance by Matt Thompson (King Diamond) on drums.