Over the past 25 years, the metal genre has gotten not only harder, but faster, scream-ier, thicker and scarier. That’s why rising Pennsylvania-based quartet Crobot’s knack for refreshing and fun groove-based hard rock stands out.
Crobot – which headlines Tremont Music Hall on Tuesday with Year of the Ox and Teratorn before touring with Anthrax and Volbeat in May – didn’t set out to be a certain kind of band. But they did discuss what they didn’t want to be.
“Digging into the first conversation when we started the band, it seemed like the airwaves ... were just stale,” says frontman Brandon Yeagley. “We said, ‘Let’s not do that. Let’s not try to go for any certain sound. Let’s sound like everything we love – Clutch meets Soundgarden meets Black Sabbath meets the Black Crows meets Prince meets Funkadelic.’
“If you can’t dance to it, you can bang your head to it, but it doesn’t make you feel anything in your hips. That’s something we want to bring back.”
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Yeagley grew up in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, raised on classic rock, metal and an old-school aesthetic that is very much a part of Crobot’s sound. As a vocalist, he echoes Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Ronnie James Dio, while musically the band moves from psychedelic stoner rock to groove-based metal that places them in the company of bluesy contemporaries like Clutch or Maylene and the Sons of Disaster.
Lyrically, though, Yeagley writes more in the realm of a Tolkien-versed Led Zeppelin, creating an interesting juxtaposition: Sonically, Crobot’s music is realistic, gritty and earthy; but lyrically, it’s a fantasy land.
“Fantasy goes hand in hand with hard rock,” says Yeagley, referencing bands like Uriah Heap, Rainbow, Dio, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. “And I’m not one to sing about heartache or hardships or maybe they’re buried deep in a story about hanging from the gallows. It’s certainly not going to be on my sleeve. That’s not my style.”
On songs like “Queen of the Light” – the closer to Crobot’s first full-length album, “Something Supernatural” (which is being re-released as a deluxe edition) – Yeagley gives the devil’s bride very human desires and emotions, as she longs for something more than her dark existence.
Crobot will release four new tracks digitally and on a 10-inch record April 21, with the full album due on vinyl in May.
But the question remains. What is a Crobot anyway?
“A dirty vulture bird that probably took a dirt bath of some kind and is OK with that?” says Yeagley with uncertainty, explaining that the name is actually a tribute to another band. “In our beginning stages, we were huge Crowbar fans. We were fans of that stoner rock vibe they give off. Someone said, ‘Why don’t you call it Crobot?’ We thought that sounded pretty awesome.”
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WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday.
WHERE: Tremont Music Hall, 400 W. Tremont Ave.
DETAILS: 704-343-9494; www.tremontmusichall.com.