Local Hard Rock Act Nine Shrines Launches National Tour with Nonpoint on Monday at the Agora

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Nine Shrines might be the best local hard rock act you’ve never heard. The group, which recently signed a deal with the Mascot Label Group, just issued its debut EP, Misery, and will start a national tour this month with Hinder and Nonpoint.

The band plays at 6 p.m. on Monday at the Agora Ballroom with Nonpoint. The concert will mark only the third time the band has played in town.

Nine Shrines founder and ex-Attack Attack! drummer Andrew Wetzel lives in Columbus, but the other members — guitarist Andrew Baylis, bassist Devon Voisine, guitarist Evan McKeever and singer Chris Parketny — all live in Cleveland. Since the band members had all spent time in other groups prior to forming Nine Shrines, they knew of each other before they got together at the suggestion of a mutual friend.

Wetzel and Baylis initially began writing together and then recruited Voisine (Life on Repeat), McKeever (Downplay, Before Their Eyes) and Parketny (Stranger to Wolves).

"At first, there was no theme, and we were just writing music,” says Parketny in a recent conference call with Wetzel. “After a while, we got to know each other. While we were talking and becoming friends, it all lined up. We all had the same story. We had these bands that were doing well, and they all went to hell. It just made sense. The album does have a concept now. Wetzel’s band went pretty far, for example, and that break up was devastating.”

“The general theme is that ‘misery’ has left you,” adds Wetzel. “You go through the stages of grief. A lot of the songs are pretty angry. It’s a way for us to channel our frustration in a creative way.”

The song “Parasite,” for example, features menacing vocals and alternates between moody interludes and heavy sequences.

“Being in a band is like being in a romantic relationship,” explains Parketny. “You have a relationship but physically, it’s not a sexual one. The lyrics show how you have to either figure out how to make things work or enough pressure builds up that the relationship explodes.”

Another highlight, “Lost,” chronicles the struggles of trying to cope with a drinking problem. The stripped down approach the band takes on the tune makes it into a compelling power ballad. The songs on the EP all strike a balance: they’re consistently both heavy and melodic.

“Me and Baylis do a lot of writing,” says Parketny. “His old band was more or less an alternative type of band. After these problems we had, we just got angry and pissed off. We just wanted to vent, but we want to keep that element of the melody that we had in our old bands.

“When Baylis and I started talking about what we wanted to do, we saw this as the rebirth of the active rock scene,” says Wetzel. “The whole genre is budding. When the metal scene collapsed in on itself, the bands started trying to break into the active rock genre. It was important for us to retain the heaviness of the scene we were part of. We also really enjoy the melodic nature of big choruses. Our version is what you hear.”

Parketny says the band constantly writes new material to “keep the juices flowing” and has already started to think about how it plans to follow up the EP with a full-length.

“We had time to sit and listen to Misery and gauged reactions from fans,” says Parketny. “Our plan for the full-length is to inject steroids into Misery and spread the divide between the soft and hard and the heavy and melodic. Now that we feel sure of the sound of our music, we feel prepared to push the boundaries.”

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