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March 22, 2012
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12 Days Silent finds new voice, releases new metal album

By Michael Swanger

Iowa metal band 12 Days Silent plays an all-ages show on Saturday, March 24 at 5 p.m. at the House of Bricks to celebrate the release of its new self-titled album. Caustic Vision, The War I Survived and Against the Artificial will open the show. Tickets are $5 in advance, available directly from the bands, or $7 at the door.

If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Marc Roe, the new lead singer and one of two guitarists for the Ottumwa-based heavy metal rock band 12 Days Silent, found that out the hard way.

The quartet was midway through recording its new album last year when the creative process came to a grinding halt after “personal and professional differences” forced singer Matt Black out of the group. Determined to press on, guitarist Roe, bassist Curt Culver and drummer-singer Josh Baker decided to scrap all the songs that they had recorded with Black and rewrite a new batch of tunes with hopes of recruiting a lead singer to take over vocal duties for another album.

Fortunately, things didn’t work out the way that they had hoped. Because after a series of auditions for a new vocalist left them less than inspired, the three remaining members decided to look deep within themselves and cover the vocal parts on their own while adding guitarist Chad Robinson to the mix. The results — as witnessed on the band’s new self-titled album for Los Angeles-based End of An Era Entertainment — might surprise the band’s fans and help it gain new ones, as Roe’s powerful vocals are unveiled for the first time on record to good effect.

“It was taxing starting all over and rewriting the album, but in the end, everything worked out for the better,” said Roe, 37, adding that he had previously thought of himself as “just a guitar player who had some experience singing background vocals.”

The biggest adjustment for Roe has been acting as the band’s frontman onstage during its live performances. He said he draws inspiration from bands that influenced him over the years, from Metallica, Slayer and Machine Head, to Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine.

“It’s been a learning experience working the crowd,” he said. “The attitude of it all I’m not used to. I’m used to laying back and playing guitar and taking a drink when I want to. My consumption of fluids has gone down onstage since taking on this new role.”

Roe’s onstage role may have changed, though he still plays guitar, but since the band formed in 2009 he has played some big stages in central Iowa as 12 Days Silent has opened shows for national acts like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Taproot, ILL Nino, Soil, Green Jelly, Flaw and Smile Empty Soul. Next month, the band will open the show at 7 Flags Event Center for the “Metal Alliance Tour” featuring Devildriver, The Faceless and others.

“Opening shows like that gives us an opportunity to play in front of a large crowd that you wouldn’t normally get to play in front of on a local level,” said Roe, who started playing guitar at the age of 13 and credits his older brother’s collection of heavy metal records for influencing his musical taste at a young age.

12 Days Silent will perform songs like “This Testament,” “An Angel Falling” and “Life Burns” from their new album during an all-ages CD release party at the House of Bricks on Saturday, March 24. Roe said the dark, thrash metal, guitar-driven album, which includes a guest vocal performance by Dead Horse Trauma’s Eric Davidson on the duet “No Soul,” is about “people’s trials and tribulations,” and he hopes that it uplifts the listener in some way.

“I hope that people can look at themselves through the music, and, if they have problems, to know that there is a way out — that life begins every day, so you can wake up and start anew,” he said. CV

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