It's impossible to compartmentalize a band as chaotic as the Number Twelve Looks Like You.
Hailing from the tainted soil of New Jersey's Bergen County, the frenzied six-piece — the masterminds behind Mongrel, which lands in stores June 19 — meld elements of extreme metal, death metal, jazz, grindcore and hardcore to create an unclassifiable sound that's poles apart from other bands'. And singer Jesse Korman says that's just the point.
"We don't want to sound like anybody else," he explained. "We stepped it up to the point where we've killed everything we've ever done previously, while a lot of bands that started out heavier have seemed to be going more melodic and easier on crowds — at least that's the trend. It seems to be the path a lot of these heavy bands are going these days, and we didn't want our fans to be like, 'Oh no, it's all just going to be melodic.' We wanted to make sure we really kicked some ass [on Mongrel]. I don't know where we fit in, genre-wise, but this record's definitely something you've never heard before. On top of being incredibly heavy, there's stuff in there that's just the catchiest stuff I've heard in so long."
The Number Twelve Looks Like You, who worked on Mongrel with producer Casey Bates (Heavy Heavy Low Low, Gatsby's American Dream) over a four-month period in Seattle, have attracted a wide array of fans since their formation in 2003. Lovers of many rock subcategories — including emo, metal, punk and hardcore — have fallen under the band's spell. And TNTLLY's fanbase is sure to swell this summer, as the band has been named as one of the acts for the third annual Sounds of the Underground Tour, along with Gwar, Shadows Fall, Chimaira and others.
"It's always funny to us, when we pull up to a show," Korman said. "We love looking forward to seeing who's going to show up, because we can never, ever figure out our fanbase — and when we think we have, we're just so wrong. It's a mutt of a crowd, but you never want to hold yourself back from more fans."
While there's no thematic link between the Mongrel and the LP artwork, Korman said the cover features a humanoid creature that suffers from schizophrenia and that it embodies the unruliness of the music.
"We tried to make every song as different as possible, so the whole theme behind the album is mongrel," he said of the album, which features 10 tracks in all, including "Jay Walking Backwards," "Alright, I Admit It ... It Was a Whore House" and "Paper Weight Pigs." "You can't really define what a 'mongrel' is — it's just a crazy mutt — and all of our songs are just all over the place. We wanted this album to be just complete chaos, with no direction at all. And I think people will be surprised that the songs are actually good. Musically, we've really touched upon some genres that have absolutely nothing to do with our scene at all. And it works, somehow."
Fans can catch the Number Twelve on the road with Horse the Band through Thursday in San Francisco.
The rest of the week's metal news:
Norwegian quartet Winds have finished mixing their fourth album, Prominence and Demise, which is scheduled for release later this year. The album is the follow-up to 2004's The Imaginary Direction of Time and features guest appearances by Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity), Agnete M. Kirkevaag (Madder Mortem), Lars Nedland (Solefald) and Øystein Moe. ... Finnish folk-metal band Finntroll will release their next album, Ur Jordens Djup, Tuesday. The album was produced by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki, Finland, and includes "Grynyng," "En Maktig Har," "Ormhaxan" and "Korpens Saga." The latter has been posted on their MySpace Page, and they'll release a video for the song in the coming weeks. ...
Still Remains have been added to this year's Warped tour. The band has spent the last 10 months writing and rehearsing their second studio album, The Serpent, and started recording the disc at a Los Angeles studio with producer Steve Evetts (Saves the Day, He Is Legend) on January 21. ... The third album by experimental grindcore band Pig Destroyer, Phantom Limb, is scheduled for release June 12. The disc, three years in the making, was recorded at Rockville, Maryland's Omega Studios, where Bad Brains previously recorded. Baroness singer John Baizley created the artwork. A series of East Coast record-release shows are currently being planned. ... Speaking of Baroness, the Savannah, Georgia, psychedelic-metal band has entered Jam Room studio in Columbia, South Carolina to record 10 tracks for their upcoming album. Kylesa guitarist Phillip Cope is producing. ...
High on Fire are scheduled to enter a Seattle studio in May with producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden) to record their fourth album. The yet-untitled disc is tentatively scheduled for release in September and will be accompanied by a headlining tour. ... Into Eternity have been handpicked by Dream Theater to open their monthlong summer U.S. tour. Dates have been announced from July 27 in Los Angeles through August 21 in Boston, and additional shows are forthcoming. "We are blown away to be going on tour with Dream Theater," guitarist/singer Tim Roth said in a press release. "There would be no Into Eternity without Dream Theater's influence on our music. The progressive sound that we have comes directly from them." Redemption, which features Fates Warning singer Ray Alder, are also on the bill. ...
Sludgy metal duo Jucifer will launch their spring tour Sunday in Lansing, Michigan. Dates are scheduled through June 22 in Johnson City, Tennessee. The group recently shot a video for "Hennin Hardine" with director Marc Pilvinsky of Bare Ruined Films. The clip is scheduled to go to video markets in the days ahead. Pilvinsky also shot the band's recent "Pontius of Palia" video. ... North Carolina's doom-metal outcasts Weedeater have signed to Southern Lord, which will release their next album, Good Luck and God Speed, this summer. The disc was recorded in January and February and produced by Steve Albini at Chicago's Electrical Audio Studios. The album has taken the band a while; Weedeater have long been under the watchful eye of the Lord, which placed them on the Southern Lord South by Southwest showcase in 2003 and featured them on the compilation Let There Be Doom in 2004. Weedeater launch a tour today in Raleigh, North Carolina, that runs through May 30 in Atlanta.