A Bullet For Pretty Boy has made a mark in the heavy music scene by taking deeply personal struggles and turning them into empowering anthems. The young Texas metalcore band challenges the conventions of this music scene by adding an expansive ambiance and atmosphere to their music that connects with audiences through messages of hope, perseverance, positivity and commitment.
Recorded in New England at Planet Z studios with producer Zeuss (Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, Hatebreed) at the helm, A Bullet For Pretty Boy's second full length studio album, Symbiosis (Artery Recordings / Razor & Tie), continues the weighty promise and strength exhibited on their debut album. Symbiosis takes everything from their debut, Revision: Revise, and amplifies and expands it.
Getting in the studio with one of the more renowned producers of underground metal, hard rock and punk albums was intimidating for the band at first. "The first day we got there, we were a little nervous, because Zeuss is the type of guy who is pretty blunt, pretty brutally honest," explains guitarist Chris Johnston. "If he doesn't like a part, he'll tell you it sucks. He doesn't candy coat it," he adds. "We appreciated his honesty. It helped things move more quickly. He didn't waste any time."
The end result is A Bullet For Pretty Boy’s most progressive, energized, fully realized work to date. The album is full of varying dynamics and musical experimentation. The band has always had the chops to think out of the box and try new techniques. Even fans often ask them how they achieve certain sounds. “We had some things where I used a slide on a couple of parts and there were some stranger parts added as well," Johnston explains. "People will ask me about my pedal board, or how I made a certain sound on a certain part. I think we'll get even more of those questions on this new album."
Vocalist Danon Saylor points out that not only is the album experimental sound wise, it's also a deeply personal record. "Lyrically, there's a lot of deep stuff that I wouldn't necessarily usually write. A lot of issues with family, it's a very honest album as far as the lyrics go."
On Symbiosis, A Bullet For Pretty Boy pulled inspiration from a deep reservoir of emotions. Saylor puts it all on the table in hopes that exploring his own struggles and offering up his own hard-won solutions he may inspire and encourage others to do the same.
With Saylor screaming harder than he ever has before, "The Grateful Prey" is easily the most pulverizing song on Symbiosis. "It's probably the heaviest song we've ever done," Saylor says. "That was my intention," Johnston agrees. "I wanted to keep it quick and really heavy. We've never done a song with just screaming vocals. On this one we decided we'd just do screaming and have no singing in it. I think it turned out really awesome." Lyrically, "The Grateful Prey" is Saylor's testimony.
In "Self Disclosure," the album's closing track, the Saylor confesses his feelings directly to God. Appropriately, the song is slower than the rest of the record and probably the peak of A Bullet For Pretty Boy's experimental side. "I was in a funk when I wrote it. It's just what I was thinking and saying out loud to God. It's very personal. It's not necessarily for anyone else. A lot of feeling went into it."
All of the guys in A Bullet For Pretty Boy came to their faith differently. Not all of them were raised as believers, but they are united in their common hope and faith in Christianity. "Red Medic," the album's first single, is anchored in the moment when Saylor says "just meeting God" pulled him out of his depression. The song serves as something of a bridge from the band's earlier work to this newer sound. The vocals are incredibly catchy, the guitar parts are ethereal and trippy, yet the breakdowns are undeniably heavy. "It has a metaphorical message in some of it. It talks about how I've struggled with depression for most of my life. The chorus has a very important message in it,” Saylor says.
A Bullet For Pretty Boy’s Symbiosis combines their fervent, immediate, undeniable passion with smooth but kinetic energy and song-craft. Weaving in and out, the band lays a sturdy foundation with heaviness and precision. It's a sound that has won them fans on US tours for the last few years with such bands as Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans and Demon Hunter and their 2012 slot on the popular Scream The Prayer Tour.
At the end of the day it’s all about the music and the message, "We just wanted to make a record that we really liked. We didn't have in mind what was really popular or what we thought kids would like. When we look back at this record ten years from now, we wanted it to be something we enjoyed, not something we made for the scene," explains Johnston.
With that forceful authenticity, A Bullet For Pretty Boy aims to continue their musical evolution even as they connect with more people.