When inspiration strikes, an artist listens. For Ethan Sipes, vocalist of hardcore metal band Deathsong, that inspiration was “Dead Poet Society.”
On Nov. 4, Deathsong released its self-titled debut EP on the Pataskala, OH based label Delayed Gratification Records. It’s not immediately obvious when Sipes screams over chugging guitars and booming drums, but he cites the late ‘80s drama starring Robin Williams as a primary influence over the lyrical content of the release.
“It’s reflective personally but it’s also about the movie,” Sipes said. “There (are) just little things that I feel that the movie tells.”
One of the film’s main characters, Neil, served as a particularly relatable figure to Sipes while writing song lyrics for the EP.
“I feel like Neil wasn’t able to live for what he wants to live for, so he became OK with death and thought that was the better option,” he said. “I think that’s the underline of the EP: to live and die for what is true for you.”
The lyrical themes of death and hopelessness fit appropriately on top of the dark and aggressive songs of the EP. Sipes lists acts such as Code Orange, The Chariot and Converge as influences — all bands performing similar breeds of metal and hardcore.
Musically, elements of noise — guitar feedback and jarring synth sounds — stand out as a defining characteristic of the band, setting it apart from its previously mentioned influences. This more chaotic element of the band comes largely from guitarist Jack Sipes, Ethan’s younger brother.
“The fact that I don’t listen to a lot of bands like us kind of helps me out with writing something more creative but still in our vein,” Jack Sipes said. “I’m inspired by a lot of bands that don’t sound like us whatsoever.”
The brothers actually have a history in the Columbus music scene, though never with a group as heavy as Deathsong.
The Sipes brothers previously played in two bands: Dry Bones, a post-hardcore group in which Ethan Sipes contributed vocals and his brother played drums; and Snow Day, an emo band with Ethan Sipes on drums and Jack on guitar and vocals.
The change from previous bands to Deathsong involves more than just style, though. The brothers said the band members have taken a more serious and professional approach to this group.
“We try to not outdo ourselves, but keep pushing to the next step and not feel stuck,” Ethan Sipes said. “I feel like that’s what happened with all our other bands, we hit this point where it was like ‘alright, we’re kind of doing the same things over and over again.’”
For the “Deathsong,” part of taking the next step was sticking with a familiar record label, Ethan Sipes said. Both Dry Bones and Snow Day released music through Delayed Gratification Records.
Delayed Gratification’s first release in 2013 was Dry Bones’ debut album, “Father Figure,” Ethan Sipes said, and as the Sipes brothers have developed as musicians, the label has developed as well. “Deathsong EP” is the label’s 16th release.
“This is the first time we’ve had CDs available before (the music) was supposed to come out,” Jack Sipes said. “I feel like we’re striving to just do it right.”
Deathsong’s next show is on Nov. 18 at Double Happiness, 482 S Front St, with Adversary, Carev Dvor, Headrush and Divebomb. Tickets cost $7.21 in advance via Ticketfly, and $10 at the door.