Akron Hard Rockers Burn Blue Sky Embrace Diversity on New EP

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Akron hard rockers Burn Blue Sky, who play a free show at the Stone Tavern in Kent on Friday, aren’t new to the whole “being in a band” thing. They’ve been doing it for over 15 years, and while day jobs and other obligations may get in the way of pursuing music full-time, they still enjoy creating their aggressive blend of rock and metal as much as they did when they started out.

“We’ve known each other for a long, long time,” drummer Beau McGranahan says. “It’s always been fun, and I think that’s kinda what we want to keep our focus on. Being able to enjoy it, and to get satisfaction out of that artistic process.”

That attitude shines through on Burn Blue Sky’s latest work, the seven-track EP Godzimoth. The Stone Tavern performance later this month will serve as its CD release show. The band’s wide range of sonic influences each get their individual share of the spotlight on the EP — from metal bands like Pantera and Crowbar to softer, Southern fried rock like the Black Crowes.

“We’re a heavy rock band and we always have been, with elements of heavy metal. That’s kind of where our roots are,” McGranahan says. “But I think on this one we wanted to challenge the listener.”

To say that listeners will be challenged may be a bit of an understatement, as certain tracks on Godzimoth sound like they could’ve been written by different bands altogether.

Opener “Bar Ballz” comes off a hard rock ripper in the purest sense of the term, with punishing power chords hitting the audience in the face right from the get-go. The deeper cut, “Black Paw,” brings acoustic guitar and an almost folk-y vocal style to the foreground.

The vocals on the EP are a point of particular interest for longtime Burn Blue Sky listeners. Godzimoth is the first record to feature new singer Jeff Fahl, the band’s third different vocalist in three total releases. According to McGranahan, Fahl has been a friend of the band since it began; he brings a more diverse style and vision to their music.

Also adding to the fresh, unconventional feel of the new record was the way the band decided to write and record it.

“What we decided to do is book studio time with just basic fragments of songs,” McGranahan says. “We didn’t have anything written wholly at all. We went into the studio and had the parts, and pretty much just wrote and arranged it right there and recorded it on the spot.”

The experiment paid off in the end, and the five-piece emerged from the studio with what itfelt was its most enjoyable effort to date. In fact, McGranahan says it was the most fun they’ve ever had making a record.

“It was just something new,” he says, “and actually, the songs were new to us once we were finished with it. That was really refreshing.”

Lovers of hard rock, metal, and even more acoustic-oriented sounds are sure to find themselves refreshed by Godzimoth’s diversity as well.

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