Stygian started out as a Metallica cover band in the Philadelphia area. In 2006, Stygian released their debut album “Struggle” — a strong testament to traditional metal (just listen to the song “Wasted on the Day,” for instance, and will think of the great Armored Saint [It certainly put a smile on my face]). And in 2008 the band added the talented guitarist Patrick Hayden (454) to solidify their heaviness. In their songwriting and sound, Stygian still displays their Metallica influence while maintaining their own identity. This year, Stygian will be releasing their best work yet, Fury Rising.
The following is a Q&A with Stygian drummer, Steve Bacchia.
Powerline: Your promo says that celebrating a 10-year anniversary is “no small feat for any heavy metal or hard rock band.” Why is that?
Steve Bacchia: In the current climate of the music industry, it’s not very common that bands can have over 10 years together and still be in their mid 20’s. There is a lot of change over when it comes to band members and usually within a 10 year window someone’s life has changed in a manner that takes precedence over music. The most important thing this time together gives us is chemistry. No matter what kind of day we are having, how often we get to practice in a given week, or what kind of set we have to play, when we hit the stage it’s show time and everything else fades away.
Powerline: What do you think metal music is missing — if anything — nowadays?
Steve Bacchia: We all feel strongly that the majority of music in our type of genre is missing two key elements. One is quality vocals with harmonies and layers. The other is solid riffs. A lot of newer bands play chord heavy songs and the day of strong riffs and having more than 2 in a song seem to be fading.
Powerline: What is the Philadelphia-area music scene like?
Steve Bacchia: The Philadelphia scene is sort of bitter sweet. On one hand, Philadelphia is a great town that will really get behind a local favorite. Philadelphians are some of the best sports fans in the country and we also show great passion for music. You do however have to earn it and until you really break through, it’s a tough scene. There are some great venues, but the smaller ones that actually give new bands a chance don’t survive. Cover bands are big in the Philadelphia area so it’s a struggle between original music and covers. It’s about finding a niche here and winning over people one fan at a time.
Powerline: It seems like your main influence is Metallica … what are your other influences? Any outside of metal?
Steve Bacchia: We certainly have Metallica in our blood and will never shy away from that but we do also take a lot of inspiration from bands like Alice in Chains, Pantera, and Sevendust. As far as outside metal or rock, some of us enjoy classical music we may secretly enjoy a Nickelback song every now and again. It’s all about good energy, good vocals, and good riffs.
Powerline: Can you explain the mythological importance of the word Stygian and what
meaning it has with the band (besides it’s name)?
Steve Bacchia: If you must know the truth, sometime about 10 years ago we knew we needed a name. We opened the dictionary, started with the letter ‘s’ by chance and stumbled upon the word “Stygian”. It meant dark and gloomy and we thought that was pretty cool so we went with it. Years later people started telling us about the mythology of it and the river Styx. We just always liked the word and it seemed to be interesting to others so we went with it, trademarked, and never looked back.
Powerline: How has the addition of Patrick Hayden changed the band?
Steve Bacchia: Three of us started this band in middle school and we are very much harmonious with each other. In many ways this is a strength because of chemistry and familiarity. This can also be a weakness because it can be hard to stay fresh when you are with people of similar background and influence. Patrick brings a style that is comprised of very similar foundations, but his influences stretch out further to bands like Tool and Slayer, so he brings a little bit of a different vibe and lead style. He also changed us in that we finally found someone who shares the passion and love for our music and supporters as we always have.
Powerline: Compare the new album, Fury Rising, to the last.
Steve Bacchia: Fury Rising is a step above on every conceivable level. From production, to songwriting, to the overall direction, Fury .. takes us to another level. Our debut album Struggle is very dear to us and still has some great songs, but it’s very raw and the album as a whole takes a winding road from song to song. On Fury Rising we were more focused and in-tune with the current style of the band. It is as if we all sort of found our own on this new record. Each song offers strong groove, big drums, a selection of riffs, passionate vocals, and big leads. The songs tell a story ranging from simply surviving the daily pressures of life, to war, to devastating hardships. The songs fit together very well and make for an album worth listening straight through. We also made sure to take our time and do things right on a production level. With Fury Rising, you will find a much more polished and professional record that still manages to capture the true energy of the band.
Powerline: What would you like 2010 to bring for Stygian?
Steve Bacchia: In 2010 we would like the world to see what we can do. We want to get out there and share our passion for music night in and night out with audiences in every and any place that will have us. Obviously we hope our album sells well and that people really enjoy the album as a whole. We would love to get the chance to play shows with some of our favorite bands. Most of all we hope to meet the people that enjoy our music and build a large Stygian family.