By Stephanie Stevens
In the last few months, I have seen some great talent coming out of Rhode Island, and now NOXII ARENA can be added to that list.
They are going to grab the metal scene by the balls, and make a damn mess out of them, with the band’s self-titled debut 7 song EP. What I love about the disc, is that they are bringing the metal attitude, by consolidating so many subgenres of metal like; death core to metal core, in order to make the record appealing to so many music fans. The intricate technicalities, will make the well-practiced musician realize these guys can play some damn good metal, and to the layman music fan, who can appreciate, and still get into the styling they play.
For me, the disc had a lot of favorites, but I would have to say that “ZIARI” had that, in your face aggressiveness, layered with some groove. “COMMON GROUND,” a little filler instrumental, was a pleaser; a little airy and more subdued, pretty in a dark way, and a good way to give your ears a little breather. “INCEPTING TERROR,” was a darker and intriguing track; a lot of hills, valleys and change ups. “BRED FORANNIHILATION,” is a brutal introduction to the band, gritty and in your face vocals, music that is penetrating, intricate and powerful. “QUEEN CITY INN,” is speedy and aggressive, with a lot of solid guitar work.
NOXII ARENA lays out the metal, in this self-titled debut disc, and is going to be entertaining, to see in a live presence. I had a chance to find out a little more about this Rhode Island 5-piece, when I recently chatted with the band.
FIRST, THE BAND NAME, WHO CAME UP WITH IT, AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
When guitarists Mikey Ferrara, Jared Souza, and drummer Jon Camelo started the band in 2011, it was a while before we came up with a definite name. One night hanging out, we started looking up different historical topics, to find something suitable for a metal band. Mikey came across the word “Noxii,” which in Roman times, was defined as a prisoner sentenced to death in the Colosseum. So essentially, these criminals would be thrown into an arena, and killed for the entertainment of all the viewers. One of many examples, would be throwing a Noxii into the arena blindfolded and naked, to square off against a lion. We decided this is almost as metal as it gets, and decided on calling the band NOXII ARENA. Not only had a nice ring to it, but also directly translates to an arena, where criminals are ripped apart for viewing pleasure. If that wasn’t metal enough, we wouldn’t know what to name this band.
BEING A BAND THAT WAS A THREE PIECE, AND NOW A FULL 5-PIECE BAND, HOW HAS YOUR MUSIC CHANGED OR EVOLVED SINCE YOU FOUNDED THE BAND IN 2011?
When the band started, it was just the three-piece instrumental, not because the three original guys planned for that, but we were just impatiently waiting for the right guys, and wanted to showcase what we had at the time. Over some time, Matt Perrault, an old buddy of the guys, expressed his interest in playing bass for us, and added a whole new layer to the band. He didn’t just strum similar notes to the guitars, he wrote elaborate parts, that complimented every song perfectly. After a few years, with a couple of vocalists joining and falling out, after a while we came across Andrew, who had heard of us, and was dying to join a new project. After his first tryout, we decided he had the perfect dry sounding tones that we were looking for in a vocalist, and it has been the five of us ever since.
YOU GUYS JUST RELEASED A LYRIC VIDEO FOR “BRED FOR ANNIHILATION,” WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS SONG TO BE THE PLATFORM FOR THE UP ‘N’ COMING ALBUM, AND WHAT IS THE SONG ABOUT?
We chose “BRED FOR ANNIHILATION,” because it is one of our heavier songs, and we felt that our audience would really enjoy this one. The song sort of coincides with the concept of zombies, and the idea of your close/loved ones transforming into something lethargic or mindless. Vocalist, Andrew Shea, was inspired in writing the lyrics, by some of his favorite zombie films, like Evil Dead and Night of the Living Dead.
WHEN DID THE ALBUM COME OUT? HOW DO YOU FEEL THIS ALBUM IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER LOCAL BANDS, IN THE RHODE ISLAND AREAS SOUND?
The album came out 9/1/17, and is available on ITunes, Spotify, YouTube and more. Our sound, in general, is a little different from local bands, in the Rhode Island scene, we feel. We try to bring elements from each members’ different influences. You can hear it in the album, how every song is different from the next, but each track still remains true to our sound. We’ve always strived for two things in our sound, keeping it original, while also keeping it heavy and fun.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE PICK UP THE DISC?Our disc can be ordered online through our big cartel page or picked up from our merch table at our shows.
WHAT INFLUENCES HAVE MADE NOXII ARENA THE BAND IT IS TODAY?
This band grew up a lot, while the New England metal scene was prevalent so we always listened to bands like Unearth, Killswitch Engage, The Acacia Strain and a bunch more. There are tons of bands between the 5 of us, but along with those, Whitechapel, August Burns Red, Veil of Maya and bands similar to those have had a big part in our influence.
IF YOU COULD WRITE WITH ONE OF THOSE BANDS, THAT YOU STATED ABOVE, WHICH BAND WOULD YOU WRITE WITH? WHAT IS ONE QUESTION YOU WOULD ASK THEM ABOUT SONGWRITING?
I guess this question could be different, depending on which member you directed the question to, but I’d say we could all agree, that writing a song with Veil of Maya could be most enjoyable. We love the tight, technical and heavy side of songs, and breakdowns so I think being able to pick their brains about stuff like that, would be beneficial and fun for us.
WHAT IS THE EASIEST AND HARDEST PART IN WRITING A METAL SONG, IN THIS DAY OF AGE?
That’s a good question, because sometimes a whole song can come super easy to all of us. Other times, we can just give up for a night of writing,, when we realize we’ve spent 2 hours on one small part of a potential song. It’s easy to know when you have something good in the works. Everybody in the band can feel it, and we get all giddy like a bunch of schoolgirls. What’s hard is keeping it fresh. A lot of parts we could sit down and spit out, might sound cool and might actually be really cool, when we first hear them, but to make sure it’s something people haven’t necessarily heard a hundred times, can jam us up.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR LYRICAL CONTENT VARIES FROM SONG TO SONG, AND WHERE DOES THE INFLUENCE OF LYRICS COME FROM?
Almost every song on the album had been written long before our vocalist Andrew joined the group. Unfortunately for him, we had named most of the songs, just by using names from past inside jokes/stories, and just naming the tracks with a name, we felt fit the vibe of the music. With all that in place, Andrew had the challenge of writing every lyric, based a little bit on the existing title, and a lot on how he thought the songs felt. Andrew always tried to write his words, with a sense that he can take the listener through a story, from start to finish, and nailed every one, if you ask the rest of the group.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FANS OR MUSIC FANS IN GENERAL TO WALK AWAY FROM AFTER HEARING YOUR MUSIC?
We want them to hear something they haven’t heard in a while, realizing that we are a versatile group with our sound, and of course we want them to feel the energy and vibe we aim for in each track.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE METAL SCENE AS A WHOLE THROUGHOUT THE STATES, THESE DAYS?
We feel although the metal scene is growing in a weird sense, that these days, it can be a little disconnected. If bands spent a little more time helping each other out, instead of creating sort of a “metal competition,” the scene would be even better off.
ARE YOU GUYS PARTNERING UP WITH A RECORD LABEL? AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WHEN IT COMES TO THAT?
We haven’t partnered with a label just yet; however, we are still in the market for one. Any label that appreciates our sound, and wants to help us in the growth of this band, is the type of label we want to sign with.
ANY SHOWS IN THE UP ‘N’ COMING MONTHS? PLUS, ONE NATIONAL BAND YOU WOULD LOVE TO OPEN FOR IF YOU COULD?
Of course, now that the album is complete, we hope to tour and play with bigger and bigger bands as we have. We’re beyond excited to play alongside Whitechapel, Carnifex, Rings of Saturn and more on Nov. 19 at Fete Music Lounge in Rhode Island. It’s hard to name a band we’d love to open for, because we’ve been blessed to play with a handful of huge names already, including Unearth, Suffocation, Soulfly, and more. We’ve yet to play with a number of bands though, so playing with August Burns Red, just to list one of hundreds, would mean a lot to all of us.
DO YOU FEEL A LIVE SHOW IS AS IMPORTANT AS WRITING A GOOD SONG?
Absolutely, If your live performance isn’t outstanding, and drawing the audience’s attention, than you might as well be playing to no one. We pride ourselves, especially in sounding as tight, if not tighter, than the album at every show.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE TRYING TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS, BE IT IN MUSIC OR OTHER ENDEAVERS?
We would tell them never to give up, and to keep pushing. Making it as a musician or a band isn’t easy, and it takes the right group of people to make it happen. You will experience a lot of bumps along the way. The key is to keep pushing, and don’t be afraid to argue or debate. Being is a band is like having 4 different girlfriends, so compromise is key. You want everybody in the band to be content, and pleased with how everything is working and if not, interest and drive can start to fade.
PLAY A GAME THIS OR THAT.
Metallica or Megadeth?
Most of us would say Metallica
Pepsi or coke?
Coke, Coke, Pepsi sucks, and Coke
Football or baseball?
Football, only a few guys in the band are big sports guys, but football first
Small venue or big festival?
More ears, more energy, the better I’d say. Gotta be a festival
UFC or WWE?
Probably UFC now, but if we were all 12, and it was still WWF, then no contest
Blondes or brunettes?
Blonettes. Idk pretty ladies in general are good with us
Tacos or pizza?
A lot of long practice nights have ended with both, but right before I answered with pizza, I realized that I can’t count how many times this band has gone to Taco Bell.
CONTACT NOXXII ARENA