Much like the destructive weapon they are named after, Cruel Bomb packs a lot into a small package.
Wilkes-Barre’s new EP “Man Made” is only five tracks long, but it packs all the fierce firepower of a full old school trash metal album with just three members – singer / guitarist Brandon James , bassist Kennie Barto and drummer Kyle McKeown.
When asked to describe their classic sound, James only had two words: âHeavy and fast. “
âTake Slayer, add some hardcore, make it catchy, and you’ve got a Cruel Bomb song.â
The first single, “A-10”, epitomizes that description and gave headbangers a taste of the devastation when it was released last July.
âThis is a big plane that is the heart of the US Air Force. The inspiration was Kyle and I really love the Flying Tiger artwork and inspired us to write the song on the plane, âexplained James.
âWe had a few veterans who told us they enjoyed the song because they saw the A-10 up close and saved their hides in the past. People really liked it, I think, especially the midsection.
Now, after a year and a half of writing and recording at JL Studios in Olyphant, âMan Madeâ premieres today on the NEPA stage as well as on all major streaming platforms and physical formats like CDs. and cassettes.
âThe COVID restrictions really changed the way we wrote these songs, and it was really a challenge,â James said.
“We’ve worked really hard to bring these songs to life, and we sincerely hope people enjoy them even more.”
This is the trio’s third EP in three years, so the chemistry is definitely explosive. Their collective influences include the Big Four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax), of course, as well as Power Trip, Hatebreed, Biohazard, Amon Amarth, and Sabaton.
âIn 2017, I stopped waiting to find people to do the music I wanted to do. I started doing demos for my idea, “Manhattan Mischief”. Kyle, one of my best friends, said he would love to record these songs professionally with me. Something happened with Kyle’s band with a show. We were ready to play and start running. We needed a bass player, and I recently bought my Explorer from Kennie Barto, who was already a friend in our circle. I hit him and showed him the songs. He agreed to join us and we haven’t stopped running since, ârecalls James.
“[The band name] comes from the Emperor of Japan when they surrendered after the atomic bomb was dropped. âThe enemy has started to use a new and cruelest bomb. “
Since then, they’ve sold CDs around the world, including almost all 50 states, and have had reviews written in languages ââthey can’t even read, which they’re quite proud of. Their favorite places to perform include the ‘Alternative Gallery, Curry Donuts, Lucky 13, Irish Wolf Pub (RIP), Bones Bar (RIP), The V-Spot, a barn in Ohio, Black Forge Coffee, Voltage Lounge. (RIP), The Depot and, last but not least, Century Bar, âhe continued.
âPersonally, I enjoy our local metal scene, but in a way we don’t adapt at all, and that’s perfectly okay. We play a kind of music with its glory days behind it, but we want to be a band that carries on those traditions with our own twist.
This creative spirit persisted even as the music industry closed in 2020 and much of 2021, leaving them unable to turn behind their second EP, âTrinity Terror,â which was released just two months before the pandemic hit. seizes the United States.
âWe had dates planned in the Midwest which took a lot of time and effort on our part. We really felt that we had lost all of our momentum and missed all the hard work that we put into this EP. Fortunately, we took a step back, bounced back and invested the same time, the same efforts and the same passion in âMan Madeâ. We did most of the writing while the lockdown and restrictions were in place. Once the restrictions were lifted we were ready to record, âsaid James.
âWe were able to continue playing a few shows under strict COVID guidelines which were still memorable and fun. We thought it was something that people needed to see as much as we needed to play. We were able to relax and spend time writing future songs, jamming and practicing. “
As with any good group, their process involves a few jokes before they get serious.
âI’ll write a riff, send it to Kyle. Kyle will write the drums and send it back. This process will go on for a week due to Kennie’s refusal to participate. Kennie finally participates and wants to delete the song. Cruel Bomb putsâ looking for a new bass player. “They don’t find anyone and reluctantly keep Kennie. This process repeats until the song is written,” he described with a laugh.
“Seriously, we send riffs in quarters and use DAWs [digital audio workstations] to piece together the song. When we agree, Kennie and I will sit down and write some lyrics for the song. The group gets together and performs the song. If we like it, it stays.
They don’t write with particular themes in mind, but one that comes up often in their music is war and the sinister intentions behind it, like âDogs of Warâ on the new EP.
âIt’s something that every country and almost human encounters, whether they like it or not. We also play a lot of video games, âadmitted James.
This theme is also found in all the illustrations of their striking albums, illustrated by Karl Dahmer of Dahmer Art. Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” was incorporated into the cover of “Man Made”, and this piece ended up inspiring the EP’s name.
âI was watching ‘Samurai Jack’. There is a haunted mansion episode where people are locked in these cages that looked like atoms. The original idea was a bunch of atoms, but the band came up with the final design together, âJames noted.
âMelting Hands represent the technology we created and which now controls us, as well as the advancements in the creation of devastating weapons. Now we are all locked into these consequences for the rest of humanity. “
This collection of songs opens with the instrumental track “Keystone Mosh”, a nod to their northeastern Pennsylvania roots that are found in some of their brands and merchandise featuring the keystone symbol.
âWe are three guys from working class families with deep roots in Pennsylvania. There is no one who truly carries this torch in heavy music that shows the pride of Pennsylvania. We are the people we are today thanks to the communities in which we grew up, âobserved James.
It made its way into “Bombed Squad”, a title shared by their fans.
âThe lyrics were coming from our evenings in our twenties, going to metal concerts and losing our shit on our friends’ house. We want people to feel the same energy that we felt and still feel today. Our goal is to make our fans feel like they’re at the party with their friends.
Next is âStronger Than Yesterdayâ, an encouraging and motivating track with a positive message.
âI think everyone needs a positive message right now. Whether it’s waking up and going through the day or hitting the gym for some weight training, the bands we love have written uplifting lyrics that got us through tough days – now we want to be that group for someone else. Cruel Bomb supports you.
This attitude also drives the group forward in 2022, especially after a few difficult years.
âOptimistic views are only on my mind. You just have to keep moving forward. I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings us, âsaid James.
âWe have a pretty busy month of February to promote EP. We have lyric videos coming out, guitar games coming out. As for objectives, play more shows than last year, take a big break, have fun, sell more merch, play Full Terror Assault, travel the country!
He added that their friend Gene had perhaps summed it up best.
“The real question isn’t whether Cruel Bomb explodes – it’s whether you come around!” Â»Join the bombed squad today! “