IT ALL STARTED WITH A STICKER: Manzuk and Richey used to be roommates and always joked about forming a band. "We said we wanted to form a fake band called Iron Bison and we printed stickers before we even started jamming together." Richey cites old school Every Time I Die as well as hardcore/metal bands such as the Chariot and Norma Jean. Unlike those other acts, Iron Bison functions as a duo. "We do well at filling out the sound for a two-piece," says Richey.
FUELED BY BEER: The band describes its music as "beer-fueled basement punk metal." To provide the deafening sound, Richey runs a bass amp simultaneously with his guitar to give the music more impact. "I click the bass on and off to give the illusion of depth," he says. "We are considering expanding the group, but we've been a duo since the start."
A LONG TIME COMING: The band recruited Chris DiCola to record its full-length debut, Searching for the Sun. Along the way, it had a few setbacks. It was originally going to release the disc about a year ago, but a computer crash killed off five songs. "We had to redo a bunch of stuff and our drummer had a baby boy," says Richey when asked about the delays. "We were at a standstill for a little bit."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "An Ocean Ahead," the hard-driving single from Searching for the Sun, features parched vocals and speed metal guitar solos as Richey screams his lungs out. According to Richey, the song is "really old" and took some tweaking to come to fruition. "We kept trying it live, and it wasn't working, so we kept scrapping it," he says. "We rearranged the parts, and I really dig it now. Lyrically, it sounds super negative, but it's one of the most positive songs we have. I wanted something that sounded really aggressive." For the upcoming show at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood, the band will play the album in its entirety and deliver a set that includes songs the band has yet to perform live. "Live, we've never played the album all the way through and there are some interludes we'll throw in too," says Richey. "For anyone who has seen us before, it'll be different than usual." Edorra, a "punishing group" from Youngstown, will open the show along with the local punk act Two Hands and the Sabbath- and Kyuss-inspired band Blackwater.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: facebook.com/IronBison666/.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Iron Bison performs with Edorra, Two Hands and Blackwater at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22, at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood.