The Ashland Beacon
Eastern Kentucky is widely recognized as a breeding ground for musicians, with the most common genres being country, rock and bluegrass. Many local bands perform these genres and their offshoots such as blues and pop. And while these styles have wide appeal and fans, there is another genre that also has many fans in the area – heavy metal.
Beyond Veils is a heavy metal group based in Ashland that has been working on an album for several months and drops its first single, Shadow on the Wall, Halloween weekend. Band members are Maddison Brooke, Jordan Hellsing, and Mike Childers. The album, which is scheduled for full release next year, is called What We Keep in the Dark. A second single, New Dimension, should be available around Christmas.
“I’m the singer, and compose melodies, harmonies, and I’m one of the visionaries for the music videos,” said Brooke. “And I write lyrics.” Jordan also sings, screams, engineers, produces, and also is one of the visionaries for the music videos. Childers plays guitar, sets guitar patterns, and composes music and lyrics.
“He’s the soul of the strings,” said Maddison who said she has been creating music with Childers since they met about five years ago. Jordan is a more recent addition to Beyond Veils, which was formed about a year ago. “The concept for the name comes from aspects of our lives that we keep hidden,” said Jordan, “such as depression, addiction, mental health issues.”
The band members explained that while some people don’t appreciate the screaming and loudness of heavy metal, there is more to it than that. “Our music at the core is metal, with heavy meal and alternative music influences,” Jordan said. “There’s a lot of screaming, but it also has a melodic side.”
“It’s hauntingly beautiful, but also heavy metal,” Maddison noted. “It’s like the two sides of life – yin and yang, light and dark. If you’ve had a bad day, you can come home, listen to metal, scream and let it out.”
“It’s multi-interpretive,” Childers added. “There’s a little mystery to it. The arrangement is not conventional but it’s pleasing. It’s relatable heavy.”
Maddison said there are 13 songs on the album, “each representing shadows – the shadow of grief, the shadow of anger, the shadow of abuse, suicide, depression. It’s an outlet for people to express emotions and feel okay about it.” Jordan said the songs connect to each other, showing different sides to emotions.
“It’s very conceptual,” Childers added.
“The goal is to let people know it’s okay to feel your emotions,” Maddison said.
“We don’t want the metal to be too polarizing,” Jordan said. “Sometimes, people are not in to the screaming. We want the melody to hook them in, and then they’ll appreciate the scream-ing.” He said that when he first got interested in heavy metal, he took classes in vocal anatomy, and learned to manipulate his diaphragm, and to enunciate.
“On Shadow on the Wall, my screams are inhales, which not everyone does,” said Maddison. “If you don’t learn how to scream, it can ruin your voice and vocal cords.” Amy Lee, one of the founders of the band Evanescence, is the inspiration for her scream voice.
Maddison said this first single is “like a waltz, a dance with the shadows in your mind. It’s not a battle, it’s a dance.” Childers added, “one leads, one follows.”
“I do feel like we have something new to offer this area,” he said. “It’s not cookie-cutter metal. We want to be audible, but heavy. There’s a method to it.”
“We’re self-produced, self-promoted, we mixed and mastered everything independently,” said Childers.
“Everything is done by us,” Jordan said.
The single will be available on most music streaming services, including Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, and Apple Music. Learn more about the band on the Beyond Veils Facebook page.