Constricted ready for Feb. 8 gigWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been nearly a decade since local progressive metal outfit Constricted started to take shape. While it’s taken some time, lineup changes and a couple sweet contracts involving Hershey’s and Rally’s, the band said its chemistry is in a good place.
Featuring Vince Rinker (bass), Joe Genovesi (guitar), Will Ackerman (guitar), Ray Tharpe (drums) and Ryan Mullins (vocals), Constricted is excited to unleash its music live to fans this year. That begins with a show at Headliners on Feb. 8 that also features Earth Below Us, A Year in the Dark and Aeris.
“Me, Ray, Joe and Will, the day everybody joined we’ve been in it for the long haul,” Rinker said. “The only way out is in a box.”
Constricted’s core of Rinker and Tharpe has been playing music together for quite some time. The two are cousins and got exposed to lots of old school rock by their dads, including the likes of KISS, Ted Nugent and Judas Priest. Nearly 11 years ago, the pair met Genovesi when he was taking guitar lessons from Damien guitarist Chuck Stohl.
At the time, Genovesi was just a teenager and recalled not being taken so seriously by his elders.
“They wanted me to play for them, and they thought that I would suck and that they’d laugh at my expense,” Genovesi said of Rinker and Tharpe. “However, I started playing some stuff and they really liked what I was playing and asked me to be in the band, and it’s been that way ever since.”
After a couple of years jamming together, Rinker said the trio wanted to get more serious about its music. They discovered Ackerman via MySpace and brought him in for a tryout, which included playing Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper.”
“We didn’t discuss who was going to play what arrangements as far as guitar-wise,” Rinker said. “It just fell into place. Both guitar players knew which solo to take without saying and the rest is kind of history along with the binding agreements.
“Joe joined the band over a Hershey’s candy bar. Then Will got luckier, and he was offered Rally’s in the offer.”
Though Constricted’s offer wasn’t rich, its musical ability is. Influenced by the aforementioned Iron Maiden as well as Dream Theater, Opeth, Pantera, Camel and Yes, among others, the band showed off its technical ability on its self-titled 2010 demo.
“We all didn’t start out that great [of players], obviously, but we just kept pushing each other because of the stuff we were getting ourselves into,” Genovesi said. “And then things that we got into we wanted to learn how to play so that way we could play it together. Through that it kind of helped all of us evolve as musicians and as individual players.”
Constricted’s progressive metal sound has continued to evolve with its latest addition in Mullins. Mullins replaced longtime Constricted vocalist and friend Tony Knisely, who split with the band amicably in October.
“Actually, I was a fan of the band before I even joined, so it’s really cool getting a chance to play with them,” said Mullins, whose first live show with Constricted will be on Feb. 8. “As soon I heard that Tony was leaving, I was like, ‘Really?! Maybe I’ll have a chance.’ And low and behold, I did.”
Constricted has been working on new music with Brett Dennison of FireFly Studios. Though Knisely’s departure was difficult in the midst of that recording, Mullins has since been adding his flavor to the group’s dynamic sound.
“It does have more abrasive vocals in certain parts, but it would be almost like Between The Buried And Me [in] how they jump from clean vocals to abrasive vocals,” Mullins said of Constricted’s latest material. “It’s a good mixture.”
Lyrically, Mullins added that he also blends the personal with the conceptual.
“I write about things that have happened to me or people I know, a lot of things happening in the world,” Mullins said. “But I try to write vague enough where people can interpret it however they want to.”
With Mullins fitting into Constricted from both a musical and chemistry standpoint, Constricted is eager for the new year with its new singer.
“He fits in with all of us, and we all listen to a lot of the same stuff,” Tharpe said of Mullins. “He’s showing us new music, so it’s just really refreshing when you have everybody [together]. All of five us guys are really good friends.”
Headliners is located at 4500 N. Detroit Ave. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m. For more info, visit innovationconcerts.com.