You won’t hear any parents yelling at their teenagers to turn down the screeching vocals of metal band Piracy — because this Santa Monica-based outfit doesn’t have a vocalist.
Piracy, which takes Santa Monica’s TRiP by storm Thursday, July 18 at 8 p.m. is comprised of guitarists John Shippey and Jace Mastel, rhythm section bassist Carrick Inzunza and drummer Sky Willie. Despite the absence of lyrics, the Santa Monica quartet’s song set marinates in the thrash metal tradition. Listeners can hear some classic metal turns in the brooding urgency of the riffage on “Doorway to Norway,” the mid-tempo stomp and crunchy riff inversion of “Lady Jo,” and the staccato intro to “Jodin,” which quickly ramps up to a galloping-horse percussive assault laden with Metallica-style pregnant pauses before an aural kaleidoscope of fret-board noodling hits those horde-of-bees high notes.“Wolves” comes out loping with a Medieval Gothic punch before shape-shifting into a Teutonic march of dread, while “Black Horse of Steel” presents Piracy at their most “Ride the Lightning,” evoking “Call of Cthulhu”-type instrumentals from the early Metallica vaults.
Although Piracy formed in 2005, members of this Santa Monica hard-rock collective have known each other since their days at Lincoln Middle School when “Jace and I met skateboarding,” said Shippey. The band began rehearsing in drummer Sky's Venice Beach garage, where the notion of hiring a singer never factored.
“It wasn’t so much a decision as much as what we had available at the time,” Shippey said. “We had no PA, low-quality equipment.”
Organically, Piracy began formulating themes and suites for their metal opuses. Some songs derived from Mastel’s interest in Norse mythology. “Jodin,” for example, is an alternative pronunciation of Norse god patriarch Odin. The song follows “the title young Viking boy, born into a battling society,” while in “Wolves,” the group sonically portrays “a picture we see in our heads; a very primitive and and wild feeling we [tap into]."
Indeed, the earlier, more sinewy and musically verbose Metallica figures into the mix as group influences. Shippey also singled out Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pantera, “and, of course, Black Sabbath. I’m also a huge Eric Clapton fan.”
Like something out of “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” Piracy’s live debut took place in Santa Monica at Olympic High School’s “Battle of the Bands.” And even during its relatively brief existence, many of the venues Piracy has played are now defunct, including Arcadia (once next to the carousel at Santa Monica Pier) and the Air Conditioned Lounge in Venice. Piracy played the final night at Central, formerly on 14th Street in Santa Monica. They have also performed at the Good Hurt club in Mar Vista, Knitting Factory and the former Temple Bar. Piracy looks forward to debuting new tunes at TRiP. Last December, Piracy released its self-titled debut, a seven-track album. Shippey promised a more “conceptual” follow-up for summer/spring 2014. In the meantime, Piracy will give the July 18 audience a preview.
“We’ve been working on some new material,” he said.“It’s very exciting to play that for crowds who haven't seen us before.” Piracy will appear in a bill with Taro Hart, City of Blue, Biblical Proof of UFOs and Vatican Volume at TRiP, 2101 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. Piracy also performs at Santino’s, 1611 Pacific Ave, Venice, every first and third Wednesday at 10 p.m. Information, tripsantamonica.com, Piracymusic.net.
-Michael Auschenker, The Argonaut
July 18th, 2013