The dark, emotive music Reigns produces stands apart from that of its peers in the metal scene.
John Downing, Stuart Hetherington and Loren Postier of the band Reigns rarely perform vocals, an uncommon approach to heavy metal.
The heavy metal community in Tulsa is a small, close-knit group, according to the members of Reigns, a local trio of musicians involved in the scene. But even within that microcosm, the dark, emotive music Reigns produces stands apart from that of its peers.
Rather than indulging in the primal, aggressive approach to vocals so often found in the metal genre, Reigns’ catalog is largely instrumental.
“It’s 85.73 percent instrumental,” jokes Loren Postier, the band’s co-founder, frontman and bassist.
Postier provides vocals on the few occasions when the band employs them, sometimes with co-founder and drummer Stuart Hetherington singing backup. But the majority of Reigns’ unique brand of metal trends toward the progressive rock side of the genre, incorporating odd time signatures and meter, as well as classical elements like the use of several musical movements within the same lengthy song.
Hetherington says, “We’ve always been pretty dynamic with our sound. We definitely would be lumped into the stoner/doom metal category, but it has never been about screaming. There are not a lot of vocals. It’s a lot of peaks and valleys.”
Starting in 2011, Postier and Hetherington performed together as Reigns for a year as a two-piece with just bass and drums. But from seeing their first show, guitarist John Downing was a fan.
Downing was already an established musician who had been heavily involved in the ’90s East Bay, San Francisco, hardcore punk scene. In fact, he was a big influence on Postier and Hetherington.
So, when Downing approached the band about becoming the group’s third member, he was met with little resistance.
“We immediately said, ‘Yes,’” Hetherington explains. “It was a no-brainer.”
When it comes to the structure of their music, Postier’s bass is the heart of Reigns’ sound. Using a variety of effects and a loop station, Postier takes the instrument to new heights, often utilizing it more like a rhythm, or even lead, guitarist would.
“He’s a real tap dancer up there,” Hetherington says of his bandmate’s approach to the bass.
Reigns has steadily gained a following not only in the metal community, but also in the Tulsa music scene at large.
A major aspect of the band’s draw comes from the reputation of its live shows, which are known as organic and somewhat improvisational. The members say they like to work within a loose framework when performing, resulting in a unique experience at every concert.
As far as Reigns’ future is concerned, the band says it would like to tour regionally. The group also says it would like to record a full-length LP in addition to a couple of split records sometime soon, but no hard plans are in place.
At the moment, the trio is focused on writing new material, always hoping to keep their fans anxiously waiting for what their next performance will bring.
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