Local Rockers Death Weapons Release Debut EP

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click to enlarge Local Rockers Death Weapons Release Debut EP
Courtesy of James Isom
Singer-guitarist James Isom and drummer Patrick Ginley had a great run with the local rock outfit the Quickening. For a solid decade, the band regularly recorded and performed. The group would dissolve in 2008 and then reform in 2014 to release one more EP.

“We had a stall and a restart but got more than ten good years out of the band,” says Isom via phone. His new band, Death Weapons, has just released its debut EP, Born to Destroy. “We were really fortunate in that we came out of the gate really hot. We didn’t know what we were doing; we just practiced and practiced. We knew the guys from [the local rock group] Disengage who had worked with Bill Korecky. He was a great producer, and when we worked with him, we embraced click tracking and tireless rehearsing. We had an EP that came out in 1999, and we got some great gigs at the Grog Shop and the Euclid Tavern. We made a lot of friends with that EP.”

But then, in 2007, the group spent an entire year in the studio recording an album. Isom says the band fizzled after that.

“We released that album with a show at the Grog Shop with the Burning Brides, and then that was that last show that lineup played,” he says.

A couple of years ago, Isom and Ginley joined up with bassist Brennan Carden to form Death Weapons, a band influenced by acts like HUM, Mastodon, Melvins, and Every Time I Die.

“Patrick and I still always play and write regardless of what else we might doing,” says Isom.

After Isom wrote “Bobby Alaska” and realized it wouldn’t work as a Quickening song, he and Ginley decided it would best to start a new group. The EP’s other two tracks, “Born to Destroy” and “Sorry Not Sorry,” came shortly after that.

While some of the album was recorded in March when coronavirus concerns hadn’t yet escalated, Isom had to finish his vocals during lockdown. He recorded them at his home, and his wife would take the kids to the park for a few hours, so he would have the place to himself.

“[‘Born to Destory’ and ‘Sorry Not Sorry’] weren’t written until I got a feel for Brennan [Carden] and what his taste in music is,” says Isom. “We wanted our first release to be an EP because you don’t know where you’ll be in a year. We didn’t put restraints on styles."

With its dynamic guitars, “Born to Destroy” resembles Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins, and “Sorry Not Sorry” emphasizes the heavier side of the band’s sound. Its chugging guitars solidify Mastodon comparisons.

“With ‘Sorry Not Sorry,’ I mastered the juxtaposition I was going for,” says Isom. “It’s a super heavy and confrontational song, but it’s about me feeling like I can’t be myself because of artificial or real limitations. It’s about being a square peg in a round hole. No one really fits in. If they do, they’re not being honest to their true self. It’s an homage to being your true self.”

Isom says the band is currently talking about recording a 7-inch with another local band, and he has a solo album in the works too.

Currently streaming on Bandcamp, the EP comes out on all other digital platforms on July 28.

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click to enlarge Local Rockers Death Weapons Release Debut EP
Courtesy of James Isom

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]clevescene.com.
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