Senior Jack Ruley, vocalist for Elon’s only metal band, Wake Leviathan, is working with his band members to bring the group into the spotlight.
The band, which played its first show in a local garage last week — dubbed “The Crowbar” — said it recognizes the novelty of performing on campus.
“This is all very new territory,” Ruley said.
The band only prepared for three weeks before hitting the stage Friday.
Wake Leviathan’s music spans different genres, from fast-paced black metal to ominous doom metal. Instrumentally, the band consists of one drummer, guitarist and vocalist. Combined with the band only having two amps, they have taken alternative routes to creating a loud metal sound.
[quote]“I want it to be over-the-top, because Elon is such a sheltered community. There’s people looking down on other people for being different. - Alain Monyette, guitarist for Wake Leviathan[/quote]
“I spent a lot of time getting it to where the guitar sounds bigger than it is,” said junior Alain Monyette, guitarist for the band. “I play music with a low-end drone in order to have the melodies pop, so I can have a bass and a guitar at the same time.”
Monyette writes a majority of the band’s music, while the band members improvise most of the lyrics. Both Monyette and Ruley said they feel Elon is the perfect place for metal music.
“There’s so many misfits and outcasts,” Ruley said. “It should be a firestorm of people that want something out of the ordinary at Elon.”
Wake Leviathan played an hour-long set, with The Crowbar lit by small fluorescent bulbs to accent the band’s aquatic theme. The walls were covered in graffiti and pages torn from H.P. Lovecraft novels.
The atmosphere was defined by Monyette’s droning guitar with quick notes cutting through and Ruley’s screaming vocals and stage presence, which he created by exploring the space and yelling his vocals in people’s faces.
Elon alumnus Ryan Swanzey opened for Wake Leviathan, playing acoustic arrangements of Bad Brains and Radiohead songs. Swanzey also played original songs, one solo and one by his band The Pikeys, where Pikeys vocalist Lynn Bullis joined him.
“I’m not trying to play something that I know is a safe choice,” Swanzey said. “I want to challenge the audience, and if they’re not on board with it, they’re not on board with it.”
Though the band admitted Elon’s heavy metal following still has room to grow, Friday's show attracted about 40 people. Ruley said the turnout gives him hope for the future of the metal fanbase.
“Elon should be an awesome place for metal and experimental stuff,” Ruley said. “It should be awesome, because there’s a very small group of people who are actually ‘Elon’ and then 70 percent of people don’t fall into that.”
With the absence of a metal audience on campus, Ruley and Monyette still pushed for the show, advertising through Facebook and fliers.
“I want it to be over-the-top, because Elon is such a sheltered community,” Monyette said. “There’s people looking down on other people for being different.”
Ultimately, the decision to perform came down to the band’s passions.
“Alain and I have known each other for a while and have always talked about music, and I’ve been dying to do something with people,” Ruley said. “It’s really just, ‘I love metal, he loves metal, let’s do something. Let’s create something.’”
People who attended the show said they were excited Elon now has a metal band on campus.
“I think it’s probably a long time coming,” said sophomore Jesse Scarborough.
Monyette and Ruley spent time after the concert playing together with Monyette’s older brother on drums. Ruley said he was pleased with the way Wake Leviathan’s first show went, but had no plans for the future.
“Do we have anything planned? No,” Ruley said. “Would we like to have things planned? Yes.”