KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
Update: The Huntington Beach, Calif., band not so long ago at the forefront of the screaming metalcore scene has pulled a 180 with its impressive Warner Bros. debut, "City of Evil." Now the quintet, led by vocalist M. Shadows, is leading a charge back to the lyrical, epic metal of the '80s, inspired by gods of thunder from Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and, especially, Guns N' Roses.
"We were mixing too many styles before," Shadows says. "We were lumped into metalcore, but with this record we really wanted to get out of it. It's a sinking ship, and we didn't want to be on board when it completely sank."
So no more screaming? "We didn't even know why we were screaming. One day, we were just like, '[Bleep] this, there's no way we're gonna scream on the next record."'
The reaction? "We knew it was a big leap forward, but we also knew a lot of people would hate it. I've been hearing it out here: 'This is complete crap. Listen to how bad the vocals are.' I get kids coming up saying, 'Hey, man, sorry about your throat. I still like the new record, but I can tell you're really struggling on things.' And I'm like, 'Wow, this is what we're gonna have to go through.' They just don't get it. They think we're sell-outs."
Then vs. now: "Four years ago, we were on the smallest stage at Warped, and we were the only band that screamed," Shadows recalls. "Now we're on the main stage, and we're the only band that doesn't. It's weird, to see our stuff just sailing over kids' heads. We're a sore thumb sticking out."
So Warped isn't fun this time? "We don't really relate to any of the other bands anymore. We're friends with the Transplants, because they're also completely different from everything else on this tour, and the Offspring have been cool. But it just feels like a stagnant scene and we're stuck on this tour with a bunch of bands that aren't going anywhere."
And you are? "We think so. We want to be talked about alongside System of a Down and the Mars Volta. We don't want to be seen as some Gothic hard-core thing."