By ANDY GARDNER
MASSENA -- A former resident of Massena has found his niche with a Brooklyn-based heavy metal act called Black Anvil.
Jeremy Sosville, a Massena Central graduate, plays guitar for the band and can be heard on their recently released LP "Hail Death."
Sosville spent his formative years playing in punk bands in the North Country and says he draws influence from the greats, including Ace Frehley, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoades. The album sounds nothing like their respective brands of rock 'n' roll and heavy metal. Some would say "Hail Death" fits into a genre called blackened death metal, similar to Goatwhore, Skeletonwitch and Darkthrone.
"We consider ourselves black metal, that's what motivates us … it means more lyrically than sonically," Sosville said in a phone interview from Brooklyn.
As a band, he says they draw inspiration from Celtic Frost, Metallica and Dissection.
"If you told me we sounded like any of those, I wouldn't be disappointed," Sosville said with a chuckle.
The themes on "Hail Death" tend towards the dark side of life and human nature, according to Sosville.
"We're influenced by our surroundings here, the way we view the world, the path we choose to live versus what's expected," Sosville said. "New York shows you what man is like at his worst every single time you leave your house. You really view humanity in a different light than you would living in a less frantic environment like the North Country. You can definitely hear this hostility and aggression in our music and our lyrics."
He said his approach right now is to adapt to the band's style, as the other three members have played together nearly two decades.
"I came into it knowing that I didn't want to overstep my bounds … just put my stamp on it as necessary," Sosville said.
He said the "Hail Death" recording sessions were lengthy and intense, gong for half a day or more. They were teamed up with veteran producer J. Robbins. Some may be familiar with his work at the soundboard for The Sword.
"It was the first time I've ever done anything like that, wake up, go to the studio for 12 to 15 hours and go back to the hotel … it was pretty awesome," Sosville, a recording school graduate, said.
He says the album couldn't have come out any better, that it has an "organic and live" feel with "a more rock 'n' roll sound."
The band is signed to Relapse Records, which is a pillar of modern heavy metal. Their label mates include acts celebrated in the metal community, including Dying Fetus, Pig Destroyer and Skinless.
As for the future, the Black Anvil will play "Hail Death" in its entirety at Saint Vitus in New York City on July 20. After that, they have plans to do a full U.S. tour in the fall.
"If you told me 10 years ago 'You're going to be in the best metal band in New York City and on Relapse,' I'd be okay with that, and I am now," Sosville said.
"Hail Death" was released May 27 and can be purchased online or from FYE at the St. Lawrence Centre mall in Massena.
The album's single "Eventide" can be streamed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9GWglmpi6k