Noxious: Virginia Band Dials Up the Vicious Factor on “Ryomen”

Photo: Eric Taylor Parker

I listen to enough heavy bands these days that the term “deathcore” doesn’t really bother me like it used to. They are so many current bands packing breakdowns, guttural vocals, and cinder block-heavy riffs these days, so let's just admit the influence deathcore has had.

Noxious from Virginia pack that heaviness and seething brutality in their musical approach, alongside elements of everything from death metal to metalcore to hardcore. Forming back in 2018, the band released their debut album Chaotic Cycles, later that same year. They've been gigging in their home state and up and down the East Coast since then.

Newer influences have crept into the Noxious songwriting process, which has been apparent with each newer release. Speaking on that, guitarist Dan explained, “Influences early on were mostly from Mike, it included heavy metalcore like early Varials and some tech like Ion Dissonance, and Danza. The influences our band has taken have changed a lot over time. With the addition of two members in 2022, I would say the sound has shifted more towards the heavy metalcore/hardcore sound while still maintaining many of the elements that formed our sound to begin with.”

Noxious showcased these progressive influences with the 2021 album, Bleeding Out, where tracks like “Keeping the Silence” featured some noodling guitarwork and blinding tempo changes with the band's usual sonic assault.

After locking down their current lineup in 2022, Noxious put out the tracks “Pain of Strength” and “Left Behind,” which showed them fully embracing their blend of hardcore and metalcore. Lyrically, Zach tends to draw from real-world experiences but the band also channels a lot of that through video game worlds, creating their own grim universes along the way.

“Our biggest lyrical inspirations are probably video games, anime, and just horrible things that happen in life," Dan said. "How we learn from them or hurt from them. I like to compare how something like recovering from addiction feels like scarlet rot from Elden Ring is infesting you."

Released at the start of this year, "Ryomen" is a 3-minute ripper that finds Noxious at their tightest and most dialed in yet:

Discussing the lyrical inspiration behind the song, Dan stated: “‘Ryomen’ is about a king turning his back on his men at the peak of the greatest battle they've ever fought, except the king is my dad and I'm the soldiers, and we're losing the war." The song and its artwork make one think of such desolate battlefields seen in games like Dark Souls and also from the Berserk manga, just the kind of atmosphere they are trying to convey."

Zach’s vocals on "Ryomen" are some of the most vicious he’s ever knocked out yet, and he also gets some help from Russell Pompa, frontman for fellow VA beasts, Crucial Rip.

Photo: Steve Buvalla

Noxious have also stated that "Ryomen" will be a standalone single but that they are currently putting together a new EP which will be announced soon. In the meantime, the band has been playing around the Mid-Atlantic states, mostly Maryland and Pennsylvania due to a lack of venues in their region “The Virginia metal/hardcore scene where we are from is not what it used to be unfortunately," said Dan.

"Up in northern VA, there is essentially no scene left, the days of KC's, Jaxx, Vapez, Fearcliff are all gone. We have spent most of our time playing up north in MD and PA, as well as going down to southern Virginia and playing in Virginia Beach where hardcore is going strong."

Photo: Nathan Hockman

Dan continues: “From Northern VA we also have IA62, out west Deadswitch, and too many good bands to name down in the Virginia Beach scene. Up in Maryland, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Delenda, and others. There are still a lot of bands out here killing it.”

According to the guitarist, Noxious is looking to keeps busier out on the road in 2024 more than they have in the past. “We will be hitting the road for a couple dates in Feb and May. We should be playing in Connecticut, North Caroline, and South Caroline for the first time this year. After that, we hope to get the new EP out before the new year. We are trying to just get out there and play in as many new places as possible.”
Noxious would like to shout out: "Jon Pentz, Brandon DiFabio and the rest of Pure Bliss, Wes Ingraham, Ryan Wolanski, Matt Gagnon, Chris Davis, Lucas Shackelford, Ryan Harvey, Toni D'Aquino, Brandan Kyle, Okoya Dorsey, Caleb Good, all the homies from Reaper booking, there are so many it would be difficult to shout out everyone who deserves it and has helped us make this journey, but you know who you are."


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