Big Rock,” says Ron Scalzo, lead singer of the newly-formed Return To Earth’s sound. “It’s good to finally say it – and mean it. The three of us know what we’re capable of, both as a group & as individual musicians. With RTE, we all recognize that we did it right this time around.”
Captains of Industry, the new album by Return To Earth, is the aggressive hard rock debut from the Jersey-based trio of Scalzo, guitarist Brett Aveni, and former Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie (now on tour as the newest member of Coheed and Cambria). Highlighted by the awe-inspiring precision of Pennie’s backbeat, Aveni’s catchy rock hooks, and Scalzo’s passionate, harmony-heavy vocals, Return To Earth promises not to disappoint when it comes to providing rock & metal fans with that trademark “Big Rock” that Scalzo refers to.
All three members of RTE sport impressive musical resumes - Pennie, in particular, hones his craft as one of the most heralded drummers working today. His groundbreaking drum style provides the backbone for RTE’s aggressive brand of rock. Pennie also wrote a lot of the material & contributed in the form of synth & loop programming. “Brett & I have been itching to work with Chris for years,” admits Scalzo. “He’s one of those prodigies that make the rest of wonder why we even bother trying to make music.”
Brooklyn native Scalzo is no slouch in the music-making department, having achieved moderate success as electro-rock singer/songwriter Q*Ball. With three self-released critically-acclaimed albums under his belt, Scalzo has purveyed that moderate success – and a lot of long hours – into an underground DIY label, Bald Freak Music. The upstart’s growing roster includes Guns N’ Roses guitarist Bumblefoot, who releases his impressive solo work on the label, and buzz-worthy pirate metal band Swashbuckle.
In late ’06, with Aveni & Pennie both on a rare break from their respective musical ventures, Return To Earth was born, as the two got together repeatedly, bouncing off song ideas, jamming, & writing material that would become the vast majority of songs on Captains of Industry. Fast forward a few months later, when the two approached Scalzo about singing, and also about releasing the material on Bald Freak.
“It was a no-brainer,” says Scalzo. “We knew we had some solid stuff, but some of the best music can be misrepresented. No one cares more about this than we do, so why not make sure it makes its way into capable, passionate hands – our own.” Tracking was completed in mid-2007, and the mixes made their way into the able hands of Bumblefoot, whose highly underrated production skills put the finishing touches on 16 songs laced with catchy “big rock” choruses and energetic, cutting-edge hooks.
“I think we all just wanted to make a heavy rock record together,” says Scalzo. “Personally, I was psyched to actually sing over heavy guitars & blast beats for once – it was a challenge & I’d like to think the quality of the music brought out the best in our performances.” Scalzo’s melodic style is reminiscent of Patton and Trent Reznor, and the layered, lush vocal lines in most of the RTE choruses recall bands like Muse and Queen.
Fans of Pennie’s previous project, The Dillinger Escape Plan, shouldn’t be disappointed by Return To Earth’s “mainstream” style, either. The relentless “math rock” rhythm of DEP is evident in songs like “South 20th Street Riot” & the title track, while songs like “I’m Alive and Well” & “Get Your Knife” showcase the restrained ferocity of Aveni’s guitar playing.
“We’re all passionate about music, and have a shared affinity for bad 80s metal & newer rock with lush production – bands like Radiohead & The Mars Volta,” Scalzo explains. “We’re three guys with three different perspectives – but you can hear the influences in our own tunes, loud & clear.” As with all great bands, when Return To Earth make music together, the disparate influences and personalities coalesce into a single vision.
Captains of Industry is that vision – a barrage of cutting-edge “Big Rock” sure to put Return To Earth on the map. “We’re psyched,” say Scalzo, “to put this out to the masses & start playing these songs live.”
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