They say you have your entire life to write your debut and six months for the follow-up.
OBEY THE BRAVE catapulted to the top of the metalcore pack in less than two years, thanks largely to the experience the five men in the band gained through hard touring and the amassing of mercilessly heavy discographies in prior outfits. In short order, Obey The Brave took their message to the people, armed with the gritty crunch of classic acts like Hatebreed and Madball and the melodic heft and energized spirit of Epitaph label mates past and present like Pennywise and NOFX. The shadow of Pantera looms large over heavy music and there’s a hint of that timeless sound in there, too.
Aggressive might, old-school attitude and pit-demolishing anthems propel Salvation, the group’s second album, which brims with the chemistry and unified vision Obey The Brave crafted touring the world with bands like Chelsea Grin, Emmure, We Came As Romans, Blessthefall, Counterparts, Stick To Your Guns, Stray From The Path and more.
“As soon as we announced the formation of the band, we had management, a label and we were already on tour,” vocalist Alex Erian enthusiastically recalls. “Miguel and I live in Montreal, the rest of the band live about two hours away in Ottawa. We were friends, but we all know each other much better and we’ve toured about 26 countries together. These guys aren’t just friends now – they are roommates, best friends, brothers.”
Obey The Brave smash the “sophomore slump” stigma by nature of the way things came together. They had only been together for a few short months when they crafted their debut, Young Blood, which captured the fire and excitement of new possibilities, collective focus and passionate power. Salvation is the fully realized sound of a band whose identity has been cemented on the road, operating with renewed vigor and fire.
“Salvation represents us more accurately, as people, lyrically and musically,” declares the former Despised Icon frontman. “It’s got a bit more punk rock influence, a bit more hardcore. Deep down, we still have metal elements. We consider ourselves a metalcore band. We grew up in the hardcore scene, in the punk rock scene, and enjoy it all.”
Erian’s former group, Despised Icon, was a “band’s band” who counted genre-standard bearers in likeminded groups among their fans. The band dissolved right around the time former Canadian metal merchants Blind Witness and Dark Rites were calling it quits. Erian with Blind Witness’ John Campbell (guitar) and Miguel Lepage (bass) plus Greg Wood (guitar) and Stevie Morotti (drums) of Darkness Rites made for a “supergroup” of sorts. Obey The Brave had thousands of fans on Facebook before they had released a single note of music. The music video for their first single now has over 1 million views.
“Back in the Day” sets the tone on Salvation, alerting listeners that while the new album retains the core elements of the band’s debut, Obey The Brave has diversified. It recalls the heyday of energetic hardcore and metalcore both musically and lyrically. It’s nostalgic for a simpler era before smartphones and Facebook, but looks forward, too.
Another refreshing element on Salvation is the way the album bucks the trend of overly sappy “self-help” style lyrics that have plagued the scene of late. Erian concedes that he’s been guilty of that in the past, but he’s running counter to that now with the song “Into the Storm.” “I reread some older lyrics and I feel like I sound like a cross-fit trainer or something. I mean, that’s cool, but that’s only a part of who I am. There are ups and downs. Things aren’t always perfect and you can’t always be smiling.”
There’s also the track “Raise Your Voice,” which strikes back at the Internet haters who live to tear people down. It encourages listeners to stay the course and remain true no matter how much opposition is out there.
“I’ve been taking screenshots of some of the more horrible and ridiculous things people have said about me that are so over the top,” Erian says, with a dismissive laugh. “I’m more afraid of indifference than a positive or negative response. As long as people are noticing and saying stuff about it, good or bad, I'm doing something right. It’s about overcoming the fear of having to be a people pleaser or trying to avoid negative criticism. Fuck it, man! Do your thing!”
The phrase “next level” gets thrown around a lot, but Obey The Brave has reclaimed and redefined that cliché. It’s not about record sales, huge tours, tons of press; that stuff is just a byproduct of what it’s really about for them: the lifestyle. Obey The Brave have already achieved the “next level” because they continue to live life on their own terms. Salvation is the soundtrack to that belief, mentality, and relentless path forward.