Photography by: Tyler Church

If you ever need proof of what big softies most headbangin’ metal guys really are, listen to the boys of Cleveland band Along Came A Spider when they talk about their girl, Lola.

Lola became the seventh member of ACAS by default when the guys found her emaciated and shivering on the side of a Texas highway whilst out on tour last year. They went from town to town looking for a vet or a no-kill shelter and eventually found help in Waco where Lola was nursed back to health. A high school friend of ACAS bassist John Calo adopted Lola. She’s living happily ever after in Indiana and occasionally still gets to see the men who rescued her when they tour through the Midwest. A video the band made telling Lola’s story has been viewed on YouTube and Facebook nearly a million times.

“It’s the album we’ve been waiting our career to make.”

When not busy rescuing dogs or uploading their genuinely hilarious shenanigans to YouTube, Along Came A Spider is pushing the boundaries of post-hardcore music. A new album, to be released later this year, will see the band take a new direction in sound, style, and scope.

“We recorded each song individually as opposed to doing it all in one big month-long recording session,” Calo says. “We actually took a full year to make the record. [That process] focused all our efforts on each song individually, keeping each one within the theme and the mood that we were going for. It’s given us a much more focused album. It’s our most mature album.”

Part of that maturity and the album’s new sound came from working with producer Evan McKeever (Nine Shrines, Downplay). “He helped us get the sound we were looking for,” Calo says. “We wrote a very big rock record, there’s no screaming. Jamie [Miller, vocalist] has always been a great vocalist, but our producer really channeled a whole different person out of him. On some of the songs, there’s three different types of vocals, all Jamie.”

The band is currently in the middle of changing labels. Contract negotiations and settlements will need to be reached before ACAS can determine a release date for the new album, though it is, without question, completed.    

Changes in a band’s sound and musical direction can create rifts with fans, but ACAS is not particularly worried. “Obviously some fans are gonna pigeon-hole us and say, ‘Oh, they’re not metalcore any more. They’re not for us anymore,’ and that’s fine,” Calo says. “This album is a new direction, but it goes back to where we started as musicians, the Chevelle/Breaking Benjamin/Slipknot-era stuff plays a big influence on our new record. It’s the album we’ve been waiting our career to make. We left our previous label in hopes of going toward a different market. They’re gonna hear musical maturity. In the three years since our last record dropped, we’ve learned a lot as musicians from touring and being around different artists that are at that next level. This album is our best foot forward as far as reaching into that next level of the music industry. Fans are going to hear an honest album from us.”

“Fans are going to hear an honest album from us.”

ACAS’s gig at the Foundry opening for The Devil Wears Prada on Tuesday, March 28, was their first official gig without guitarist Justin Sobota (no longer in ACAS) and the stage debut for four of the band’s new songs. The opening track, “American Beauty”, is a ball-buster, bouncing between melody and metal, to the delight of the sold-out crowd. ACAS rolled through three more new tracks and finished their set with the anthemic “Dreamers” and an older fan favourite, “Inside The Kill Room”, both of which prompted singalongs from the eager fans at stage front. The guys all  look and act like seasoned performers, like they’ve done this before, but with the vitality and confidence of a band more certain of who it is and where it’s going that trusts its fan base will have matured along with them.

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