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Casa Nueva is hosting a "Big Metal Show" including a performance by Denounce Your Martyr, a metal band from Columbus, on Saturday 

Q&A: Denounce Your Martyr guitarist talks songwriting and progressive metal

Paul Bolin, the guitarist for Columbus metal band Denounce Your Martyr, spoke with The Post before the upcoming free metal show at Casa Nueva.


Although metal lyrics can be difficult to decipher at times, a careful listener may realize Denounce Your Martyr is singing about the video game Dark Souls.

Denounce Your Martyr, a metal band based near Columbus, will be joining fellow Columbus metal band Asylum Effect and Athens bands Watch Them Rot and TFU for a free show at Casa Nueva on Saturday.

Paul Bolin, a guitarist for Denounce Your Martyr, spoke with The Post in a phone interview to discuss screaming in metal, Dark Souls and writing progressive and technical songs.

 The Post: Some people are turned off by the screaming used in metal. As a metal band, how do you use it as a vehicle for expression?

Paul Bolin: We play really heavy tunes, so we just really couldn’t find singing to be in our music. …We actually have … two frontmen that scream and they layer things. We’ve always been into music that have that kind of vocals, so it just kind of fit naturally to our style. With all of metal music, it would be weird to sing dark lyrics. Our lyrics aren’t particularly dark and evil. A lot of our lyrics are about a lot of ancient mythologies. … A lot of our other songs are about the video game Dark Souls. We have three songs about that video game. We’re all big fans of it.

A lot of the earlier songs that we had, had a message of “denouncing your martyr,” based on our name. None of us really have a religion, but we’re all very happy people. We’re basically saying you don’t need a religion to enjoy yourself. That’s kind of the message that we originally intended to bring.

P: How exactly did you incorporate Dark Souls into your music?

PB: Our vocalist kind of wrote about the character in the game. The lyrics are basically in the perspective of the main character. A good chunk of us in the band are video game nerds.

P: How would you respond to the misconception that people in metal bands are angry all the time?

PB: We’re not angry people whatsoever — music is kind of our release. We kind of put all of our anger out into aggressive music and it keeps us sane. There is some truly angry music out there, but a lot of people scream with a lot of emotion, as opposed to just using their voice.

P: How have you seen the band change since forming?

PB: I joined the band (which formed in about late 2012) around July of 2013, so I was the last member. When I started, we were playing a completely different set of songs than we are now. The music has gotten a lot more technical — it’s progressive. We’ve taken a couple of years to write three or four songs because the songs are so intricate it took us a long time. We’ve gotten tighter playing together and tighter as people.

P: What’s unique about writing a progressive and technical style of metal?

PB: Odd time signatures — it’s not just standard 4/4 rhythm. Everything is a little spastic. It’ll be going like a 4/4, … then we’ll switch to a 6/4 or something like that. Pretty much just using weird scales, just trying to fit as many notes into a part as you can.

P: Was that a form of writing you were already familiar with or did you have to learn to write that way?

PB: We’re all big fans of progressive music, like Rush or metal bands that do it nowadays. Myself, I’m not very music theory-inclined, but our bass player is a theory guy. He can explain music theory better than most people I know. He’s going to school for it so he can read music. He writes the majority of our stuff. We’ll come up with stuff, and he’ll piece it together, so it makes sense. 

P: Are you working on any new music right now?

PB: Actually, we are. We’ve been writing constantly. We’ve been in and out of the studio. We’re trying to knock out the songs as we write them instead of having them all together and going at one time. It kind of helps because if we record it then change something, we still have time to go back and fix it. Right now, we’re full-on in the middle of writing a full-length album. We’re about halfway done and about a quarter of the way done from finishing recording it.



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