A Kick-Ass Campaign

For local metal band Affiance, a working-class approach has started to pay off

Since forming in 2007, Affiance has slowly built up its following by steady, nearly relentless touring. It's had some help along the way. Its 2007 debut, Calm Before the Storm, a six-track EP, quickly caught the attention of Bullet Tooth Records, a well-respected metal label. In fact, label head Josh Grabelle has been quoted as saying that he was "blown away" when he first heard the group play live shortly after the release of its debut, and he immediately offered them a contract. The deal has worked in the band's favor. Thanks to the success of the heavy-hitting single "Call to the Warrior," a song that was used in the video game Rock Band, the band's popularity escalated with the release of its full-length debut, No Secret Revealed. Produced by Carson Slovak (August Burns Red, Texas In July), its new album, The Campaign, is another big step forward. It kicks off with "Kings of Deceit," a song that features dynamic guitar solos and parched vocals courtesy of Dennis Tvrdik. With its politically charged lyrics, the album comes off as if it were something by a heavier System of a Down. Featuring guest vocals from August Burns Red's Dustin Davidson, Memphis May Fire's Matty Mullins, and Rise to Remain's Austin Dickinson, the disc is sure to connect with heavy metal fans. Tvrdik recently spoke via phone about the band's slow-but-steady climb up the metalcore ranks.

How long has Affiance been together?

A long time. We've changed members a lot; the first two to three years of our existence is kind of irrelevant. There's only two original members left, as we've been together a little over three years. Right now there are only four of us — our bassist just parted ways — so we're in the process of figuring out what to do. We're still cool [with him] and everything; he just didn't want to do it anymore.

Are you all from around Cleveland?

Basically. Our drummer is from Buffalo, and he moved here to join the band, but we're all Cleveland. I'm like die-hard about Cleveland. I love the city; I would die for the city. Before music, I wanted to be the mayor of Cleveland. I was going to Cleveland State.

What's the journey of a Cleveland metal band like?

I feel like there's not a lot of new, up-and-coming acts coming out, which kind of made it harder for us at first. We started getting serious in 2008 and 2009, and it hasn't been until recently that we've been more recognized even in our own hometown.

Your first full-length was No Secrets Revealed. What did you want fans to get out of it?

All of our stuff is kind of themed, but that first CD, lyrically, was like an awakening, trying to be aware of what was going on around us instead of just living in a bubble, not thinking of the future or the impact of our lives, but with a political twist, kind of. We wrote it over three years ago. and we've grown a lot as a band musically; we've come a long way. There are only a few songs on that album I still listen to.

How'd the Peabody's release party come about?

Every time we play Cleveland, we play Peabody's, and the last few times we've almost sold it out. Hopefully with this, we actually do sell it out.

Do you know the other bands playing?

Yeah, most of them. For the most part, we had input in picking them. There's of few of them I don't know, but my brothers in one of the bands, a smaller up-and-coming local band. And we're friends with Sirens & Sailors. Along Came a Spider and Skies of December are bands we've been playing with for years.

How has your single "You Will Be Replaced," off your sophomore album next month, been accepted?

We released that song as an in-between single, because we knew we needed to get new music out, but we weren't finished recording the new album. So we went in the studio in March and recorded "You Will Be Replaced" and went back in the summertime and finished the album. It's kind of like a bridge from No Secrets Revealed and the new album. Lyrically, it's just about us being pissed off. The whole "you will be replaced" thing is basically us saying, "Hey, generic, cookie-cutter bands that are getting all the good tours and agents and managers. You will be replaced, because you're replaceable." Mediocrity is being cranked out, so we're like, "Hey, you're going to be replaced."

Who do you hope to tour this album with?

[If I could pick] anyone, I'd probably say Iron Maiden or something like that. But realistically, probably Kill Switch Engage, As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, someone like that.

What's something fans need to know about the band?

That we're real. Everything we write about is about something real. We're regular guys who are passionate and driven, and we want people to be encouraged by our music to follow their dreams and go after what they believe in. Our whole thing is to seek truth, free of injustice. But also sometimes we like to be goofy; I might stand on the Lorain/Carnegie Bridge in my underwear.