*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Tennessee!
December takes us to the fine state of Tennessee for our State of the Art Series here at MN. Bordered by Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Missouri, Tennessee is the sixteenth state in the United States; admitted June 1, 1796. At 42,143 square miles, the Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern side of the state while the Mississippi River runs down the western border. Tennessee has the 17th highest population at just over 6.5 million and boasts over 82,000 farms, production of textiles, cotton, and electrical power. Major corporations such as FedEx, Autozone, Pilot, Regal Entertainment and many others have located their headquarters there as well. If not for cold winters, I would live in Tennessee. It is the most beautiful state I have ever been to and holds many, many fond memories dating from high school to my honeymoon and my 25th wedding anniversary. I absolutely love the state! Beautiful, wonderful people and very close to where I grew up. When I learned of the recent wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, I was heart-broken. My thoughts and prayers remain focused on the fine folks affected by this tragedy. Just northeast of there lies the state capital of Nashville, where my spotlight band this week, Man Behind the Curtain, calls home.
MBtC was formed in 2011 by former members of Nashville, Progressive Rock phenoms The Ariatic Silence who wanted to create music that was “powerful, heavy, and poly-rhythmic, yet beautifully dynamic and melodic. An aural journey through soaring, ethereal soundscapes, into bone-crushing breakdowns, quirky jazz lickery, and infectious, crowd-moving grooves, with formulaic precision, all-the-while creating deep connections with listeners from across many genres with ear-capturing melodies and thought-provoking lyrics.” Yeah. An understatement. While keeping a base and soul of Hard Rock/Metal, Man Behind the Curtain throws around hints of Jazz, Punk, djent/Math, Folk and Reggae with underlying rhythms of Dance and Hip–Hop much of the time. Don’t think this is some wussified, watered down Metal though. This band is very hard hitting; barking and screaming out intelligent yet rough themed lyrics that are both thought-provoking and harsh at times. At other times, emotive clean and semi-clean vocals are used with equal intensity; similar to the pipes of Periphery’s Spenser Sotelo. So, put just about every genre in a blender and throw the switch. The seemingly incompatible result is spectacular. Oh yeah. Song structure and rhythms need a spin too. Un-freaking-predictable and manages to work brilliantly. Influences truly come from everywhere but Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, Tool, TesseracT, Karnivool and Glass Cloud are specifically mentioned on various media sites where they are categorized as Progressive Rock/Metal and Alternative. Not broad enough, but whatever; you get the picture. MBtC has been a trio but is currently a quartet including Greg Young on vocals and guitar, Christopher S. Carpenter covering guitars, programming and vocals as of September of this year (formerly the drummer and winner of IndieVille TV’s Drummer of the Year 2016), Andrew Hunt on bass and vocals and Ronald Mills Jr. picking up drumming and programming responsibilities. All members are at the top of their game and manage to color way outside the lines while remaining on the same page to create some of the most interesting and entertaining music available anywhere. A real pleasure to listen to and sure to attract just about any, non-elitist fan of music. MBtC has played energetic and fan acclaimed shows in and around much of the Southern United States and has two releases: Wormhole Soldier (EP) in December of 2012 and their killer, full length album ()isms which was released in July of this year. Mixed by Dave Demay at Song City Studios in Nashville, this release has great, balanced sound of the highest quality. While their approach to their trademark sound may be all over the map, the production was not, thankfully. Nothing worst than really good music and crappy production to ruin it. Fear not. ()isms was done to perfection! Tracks for this beast include: Backpfeifengesicht!, Leviathan, GoldStar, Wormhole Soldier, Night Court, Vertices, D.I.T.S., (Pr)Isms, Faux and Bloodsport and are available to stream below. As of writing, we are awaiting the first video off of ()isms by Tony Grissom of Verona Valley Studios but will update you when it becomes available.
In their own words: “Man Behind the Curtain are poised to take their passion for new and inspiring rock music to the next level, and to have audiences dancing to a different rhythm.”