This Fires Embrace
Walking up the stairs, I feel pure energy overwhelming me. Taking a moment before I actually step into the room to just take it all in. Listening to the intense drums, crunchy guitars with the bone chilling solos. Hard hitting bass that will make your legs shake and to top it all off, some of the strongest vocals in Ohio. The song ends, and I step in to the practice hut of This Fires Embrace with a smile on my face.
Listening to the music, the first word that comes to your mind may not be “Christian,” but take a listen to the lyrics and its real message being sent to you. Dedicating 125% to Jesus Christ. Stating at concerts, “This is how we have church.” All the members have a religious background, although it hasn’t been the happiest of stories for them. Ranging from recovering alcoholic in the local Columbus bars to a farm boy with a big family in the country.
Consisting of Aaron Benner (former singer of Liquid6Teen), Marc Leist (former guitarist of Anubis), Zack Koah (former guitarist of Sons of Korah), Steve Malone (former bassist of The Dawn Chorus) and Josh Hall (former drummer of Me(n)ile). These 5 Christian hard rockers come together to form one of Ohio’s most talked about bands. Taking 2nd largest Christian band in Ohio, and 14th largest indie label band in Ohio. They’ve played with such acts as Trapt, Shinedown, Pillar, Decypher Down, Spoken, Bobaflex, Staple and others.
I sat down to ask about how the band just happened to form: “It was really just luck. We found each other pretty quick.” Says Aaron. “It was about a week after I had left my old band [Liquid6teen] that Marc and I got together. And after just one session, we found Josh through our friends in Staple. And from there Josh knew Zack and Steve.” Josh, with a slight smile on his face, said “I was pretty hesitant to call Steve…I just wasn’t sure if I could be in a band with a guy who wore girl pants. Thankfully he grew out of that!!” Going through the band, we talk about some major influences.
Marc states “I listen to everything, really. Rap, country, old rock, nu metal. I really like Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash.” Steve: “My first real ROCK album was Metallica, Master of Puppets. Amazing album…after that, I got every Metallica album to the black album. And from there I got into some of the nu-metal and even some experimental emo type stuff.” Josh simply says “Meshugga” with a grin. “Our best songs are written when we are all together,” says Aaron. “The first song we all came together and wrote was ‘Home again’, and the power that song has definitely shows it. It’s one of the more powerful songs on ‘Redemption.'”
Marc comments “sometimes I’ll have a riff I like that I’ll bring in to show, but a lot of the times, it’s just all of us messing around at practice and something will just form really fast. Sometimes I’ll come up with a good riff and Josh just instantly has a beat for it.” Aaron adds “we aren’t afraid to back off of something to better the song. We don’t write to make for a sweet guitar riff, or a vocal melody that sticks out. We all know that when we are writing, we need to do what is best for the song. And sometimes that means backing off a bit.” After selling about 850 copies of their debut album, Redemption, the band is currently working in Schwab Studio’s on the 2nd album, set to release in the spring or early summer. Material for a 3rd album is already underway. I had to ask: “So, what is your most memorable show that you’ve done?”
After some slight discussion, including broken strings, thrown chairs, Alrosa Villa and fights, they all agree on one show. “It was a recent show, in Canal Winchester.” and everyone looks at Aaron to continue it. “Well, my girlfriend’s birthday had just passed. I pulled her up on stage and sat her down on the stool in front of everyone. We played the song ‘Faithfully’ by Journey, it’s one of her favorite songs. Towards the end of the song, I walked over and grabbed a box, got down on one knee and proposed to her. Thankfully she said ‘Yes’!”
Written By Josh “Sixner” Davis, Copyright OOTB Publications, 2007 Photography By Neil Shumate