Band Spotlight, February 2010 – ICHABOD CRANE

    

     Ichabod Crane is the main character in Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” described as superstitious, cruel and depraved. ‘Ichabod’ is also an ancient Hebrew name that means inglorious or shameful (it was customary to call children derogatory names so they would be less appealing to demons).

     The band formed early 2006 with Scott (vocals/guitar), Adric (guitar), Dave (bass) and Andy (drums), and a live demo was recorded that fall, with a 6-song self-titled EP following in the spring of ’07. A few lineup changes and almost a year later, a second EP entitled “No Son of Glory” was recorded during the winter of 2007-08. This was expected to be the end of the project, but the addition of Mike (guitar) and Adric’s switch to bass renewed the band’s vigor and drive. With the addition of Chadd (drums) in the fall of 2008, the group began writing their debut album. “Wearing the Horns” was recorded during the summer of 2009 and was the first official Ichabod Crane release. Shortly after the release of the album, the band parted ways with both Chadd and Adric, who were replaced by current members Brandon (drums) and Matt (bass).

      The new lineup facilitated a new digital EP titled “Redux ’09” which the band made a free download. With a solid new lineup and increased focus, Ichabod Crane has begun writing a follow-up to “Wearing the Horns” and expects to invade as many people’s personal space as possible in the new year…

INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT FROM ICHABOD CRANE

This month, the band spotlight goes to Ichabod Crane from Akron, Ohio. We are speaking with Scott, to get an idea of what makes this incredible band tick.
Crucible: Scott, thanks for doing this interview, and congratulations on being the spotlight band for the month of February! How are things going for you guys?

Things are great! We have a (relatively) new lineup, a new digital EP and more new material on the horizon, as well as a band spotlight thanks to Crucible!
Crucible: You seem to have been plagued with a few lineup changes in the relatively short time you have been together as a band, but it looks like shit is smoothing out for you at this point. You have just added Matt from Of One Blood on bass. How is that going for you? He sounds awesome on the new material!
 

 

It’s going really well; he’s a great match for us musically and personality-wise, and we’re looking forward to our new lineup’s debut in February. We’ve definitely had our share of lineup changes as we’ve worked to find the right personal and musical chemistry. We’re finally at a place where we have a talented lineup with a unified musical vision, and we hope it shows when we hit the stage.
Crucible: In regards to your lineup shifts, one thing that made me chuckle is the shirt in your merch list that blatantly states “ICHABOD CRANE NEEDS A NEW SINGER!” What can you tell us about that particular shirt?
 

 

Ah, the infamous singer shirt… I guess casual observers see me singing and playing guitar, assume I’m just filling in on vocals and ask if they can audition. It always makes me think, “Am I really that bad?” Instead of getting all butthurt, we decided to lampoon the situation with a shirt design. Most of the time, people seem to get the joke, but one time I almost got the shit kicked out of me for a comment I made about the shirt on the mic… Good times!
Crucible: One thing I made clear in your review is that your songs have a massive Rock feel to them. Your riffs are huge and instantly headbang-able. What influences bring this quality to the forefront? I mean, I can hear everything from extreme Metal and old school “tough-guy” Hardcore to Southern Rock. Would I be off the mark to reference Southern Rock with you guys?
 

 

Definitely not off the mark. We are all big death and thrash metal guys, which influence a lot of our riffing, but we all dig southern rock too. We definitely go for the darker, bluesy stuff in our riffs. The tough-guy parts are all Mike and Brandon; they grew up listening to Agnostic Front and Remembering Never, so it’s an inevitability, and rounds out our style well. I think the way we arrange songs may lead to a ‘rock’ feel. We mostly work within a traditional rock song structure, but try to stay away from too much repetition.
Crucible: Ichabod Crane is truly a band that stands alone. Your material is more original than that of other bands. Have you coined a genre term for yourselves? If not, where do you see yourselves under the huge Metal umbrella?
 

 

Thank you, that is a huge compliment! We are always striving to rise above the herd in today’s crowded metal scene. We’ve referred to ourselves as “dirty metal” in the past, but I think that the addition of Brandon and Matt have brought us much closer, in a good way, to the current wave of thrash revival. Overall, I guess we just play extreme metal.
Crucible: Why did you choose to re-release some of your “Wearing the Horns” material on “Redux”?
 

 

Within a couple of months of releasing “Wearing the Horns,” we went through 2 member changes that facilitated a new demo to showcase our new lineup. The “Wearing the Horns” material was still relatively new, so we took 3 of our best tracks from the album and added the Boyz II Men cover, since we think it’s goddamn hilarious.
Crucible: When I look at your listing of shows you have coming up, you seem to cross genre barriers a lot. Do you find yourself being accepted well by fans of all genres?
 

 

We’re usually unconcerned about the kind of crowd we play to, we just get on stage, have a good time and shred for our 30 minutes. Some people don’t really go for the harsh vocals, but even those people seem to appreciate the guitar or drum work.
Crucible: I understand the meaning behind the name of Ichabod Crane in relation to you guys as a band after reading your bio. It just makes sense. I also know where it comes from. My question is: How did you choose Ichabod Crane to begin with? Most bands would be thinking of more a) obvious (Cannibal Corpse, As I Lay Dying), or b) completely obscure (Absu, Shub Niggurath, Cirith Ungol) names for themselves, but you chose something out of left field (essentially a children’s story…not something that would immediately come to mind for a Metal band), which I think is great.
 

 

Our original drummer Andy suggested ‘Ichabod,’ which was already taken, so I suggested we just add ‘Crane’ to it (since he was who we were referring to anyway) and there it was. There are 2 kinds of people who don’t know who Ichabod Crane is- the kind that have never even heard of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and preteen girls who immediately start swooning over Johnny Depp when they talk to us. Because of this, we have a joke that our band’s alter-ego would be called ‘Jack Sparrow.’
Crucible: Describe a typical Ichabod Crane show for us.
 

 

After load-in, Mike commences Operation White Lightning (a top-secret drinking ritual), while Brandon listens to ‘Reign in Blood’ on his iPod; Matt secretly farts around us, and I get all pissy because SOMETHING ISN’T GOING RIGHT. Expect a few dirty jokes interspersed between the shredding that will unintentionally offend at least one person in the crowd. We get a little sweaty during our set, but still hope for some high-fives and man-hugs afterwards.
Crucible: Have you guys shopped “Wearing the Horns” or any of your demos? Is there any label interest yet?
 

 

We had planned on shopping the full-length, but didn’t get a chance, so we will be using “Redux ‘09” instead. We have our eyes on a number of labels that we would be interested in working with, so we’ll see what 2010 has in store for us in that department.
Crucible: I used to live in Cleveland from 1988 to 1991. At that time, the Metal scene was huge for Ohio, with labels like Auburn Records and bands like Breaker, Destructor, Seductive Blasphemy, Attaxe, Mercury, etc all making their way and playing shows together. It was really tight knit, which set the Ohio scene apart from other regions. Is it still that way?
 

 

There have been some killer metal bands coming out of Ohio in recent years, and though we can’t speak of every scene in the state, our Akron/Cleveland scene is full of awesome bands and people. It’s tough sometimes since there aren’t as many people into extreme metal here as in, say, New England. So we work a bit harder and appreciate feedback more than we would if it was easy to bring in the crowds. The same can be said for all of the bands in our scene. It’s nice because none of us act like rock stars, we’re all just normal dudes playing metal.
Crucible: What other bands do you consider friends in the scene?
 

 

We’re good friends with Karen Page (who recently signed to Rotten Records and will be releasing their album in February), Under a Dead Sky, Seed of Ignorance, Erasing Never and Here Lies Another. They’re all awesome and deserve a listen!
Crucible: What do you guys have planned for 2010?
 

 

Playing as many shows as we can, getting some new merch printed and writing the next album. We’re already 2 songs in and getting pretty stoked about how everything is coming together.
Crucible: Any last words?
 

 

You mean people really want to read more of my ramblings? Nah!
Crucible: Thank you so much again for this interview! I look forward to seeing where your progress takes you from here. I wish you the best of luck in the coming year, and keep in touch. Maybe my band and yours can trade shows at some point this year.
That would be sweet, just say the word and we’ll make it happen! Thanks again, Lael!

REVIEW

 

ICHABOD CRANE Wearing The Horns
 
     You just cannot go wrong when you name your band ICHABOD CRANE. As stated on their MySpace page, the name, of course, comes from the Sleepy Hollow character, who was described as being superstitious, cruel and depraved. The last two adjectives go a long way towards describing the music of the band, ICHABOD CRANE. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, ICHABOD CRANE play a vicious and thoroughly infectious form of Metal that should appeal to anyone who hears them.

Wearing The Horns is seriously riff-heavy stuff. Melodic Death Metal and Thrash slam headlong into a huge wall of solid Rock. Instantly headbang-able, I can feel big Classic and Southern Rock influences here that mix well with the extreme Metal on display. Drawing parallels to other bands is not such an easy feat here, as Ichabod Crane have truly succeeded in carving out their own sound. So many bands claim to defy genres, but rarely deliver. Meet the one band that does. The sludge Metal of Down and Crowbar, the blackened Thrash and unholy screams of Goatwhore, the slight Metalcore tinge of current day As I Lay Dying, the melodic Death of very early In Flames and Dark Tranquillity, and a touch of the mathematic mindset of a band like Dillinger Escape Plan all make an appearance here. Cover the whole thing with a sheen of Molly Hatchet and harder edged Skynyrd material, and you should be able to get some slight idea of what I hear. I know the above description sounds like it could be an absolute mess, but it is truly cohesive, and make for one of the most original Metal listens I have ever heard.

ICHABOD CRANE have my vote for “Songwriters of the Year”. The way they structure their songs is done so well that while a riff may be repeated, it never gets old, flowing seamlessly into the next riff with a fluid grace. There isn’t a whole lot of stop/start going on here. A perfect example of this would be track number five, “Fickle Hearts”. I had to keep starting the song over just to hear the opening riffs again. It’s a very simple walkdown, utilizing octave runs that slide into each other in an almost serpentine fashion. It’s one of those riffs that, among others scattered throughout the CD (“A Lot Like Hell” opening and verse riffs, “Empusa” bridge riff, “Hitchcock Blonde” opener) that you wish you had thought of. I simply cannot think of a single song here that is not incredibly written.

The sound quality is of particular interest here, as well. The guitars have that warm, tube amp crunch to them, and bring a cool mid-school Hardcore feel to the whole thing. Especially during a slow bridge, or breakdown, such as in the chorus section of “A Lot Like Hell”. At the same time, every note and chord played is clear as crystal, so that during the Blackened sections, you can actually feel the veolcity of the tremolo riffs and hear every note while a full chord is played. Nothing is muddy, and IC does not hide behind a wall of distortion to cover up mistakes. The vocals are plenty loud, but restrained, and showcase plenty of brutality without dropping into the sewers for a full Grind or Brutal Death Metal vocal. The lows are suitably savage, and the high screams will send chills up your spine. The two styles are alternated between fairly often and evenly, with neither one taking precedence over the other. The drums are crisp and truly sound live, instead of compressed to death and triggered. There are plenty of blast beats to be had here, but this drummer knows how to lay back and play with tons of finesse when needed. My only disappointment in the sound is in the bass department. The bass is mixed a bit lower than it really should be, coming up for air primarily when there is a jazzy walking bassline to be had, or during a part that contrasts strongly with the guitars. This makes the overall tone of the album a tad thin, but this is a very minor quibble, and quite acceptable, given the level of playing and songwriting ability on display here.

ICHABOD CRANE have sincerely latched onto something special here. If they can keep up the momentum put forth on Wearing The Horns, they will prove themselves a force to be reckoned with in the extreme Metal realm. Listen with your eyes wide open, folks. This is truly powerful shit.

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