Portland, Oregon's Proven set a lofty goal for themselves when embarking on the production of Truth Reign Supreme in 2007. They were a relatively new hardcore band looking – like the rest – to quickly put themselves into the realm of the Hatebreed's of the world: true heavy music that still remains relevant amid the poppy crossover emo trend that has done nothing but give the venerable genre a black eye.
Like Sick Of It All's Call to Arms, Proven's approach on Truth Reign Supreme is not whiny, melodic hardcore but melodic hardcore that remains loyal to the tradition of what classic hardcore is all about. The brutal opener, “Heaven,” sets the tone immediately with its old school gang chorus and impressive breakdowns. You won't be disappointed to hear Biohazard legend Billy Graziadei himself making a guest vocal appearance on "The Compromise" or the act's menacing bouncing call-and-answer shouts and gutsy double-bass assault on "This War" & "Bond". But it's clearly the thunderous "Pack It Up" that will leave the most lasting impression on the listener with its undeniable recognition of what came before them as they now step up with devil horns raised high in the air, more than ready to dominate.
All in all, yes, Proven has only just begun to prove themselves as the new kings of hardcore, but they are back at work in the studio working harder than ever today and getting ready to unleash their next back-breaking collection of heavy music songs in 2009.
The Metal Den’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted
a new interview with PROVEN members Marc Halverson and Karl Whinnery.
Rocket: Let's talk about the lineup change for Proven in 2008. Who are all the new members?
Marc: Keith, our original bassist returned to the fold joining Stone on guitars. We snagged Karl for bass. He and I took PROVEN management back in house, at least temporarily to get the business side of things sorted out. We’ve got talent, fresh blood, drive, and the know how. 2009 will be sick. We’ll be touring more and actually promote the CD in ways we didn’t on the previous two EPs. Hopefully get new management in ’09 also.
Rocket: You guys are recording a new full length, right?
Karl: Yes. We’re currently recording at Black Diamond Studios in Portland. We’re going to have 10-12 tracks on this release including a cover of Machine Head’s Davidian. We weren’t going to announce what cover we were doing but hell, you get an exclusive! We’re also working on a companion DVD with footage from our Ireland tour, some of our crazier parties, and random show footage.
Rocket: Where is it being recorded and who is producing it?
Karl: We’re recording at Black Diamond Studios in Portland, OR. Gabe Johnston is engineering it. We’re also co-producing it with him. We may also have a surprise or two in store with some other outside people lending in either guest appearances or producing capacity.
Rocket: Do you have a release date set?
Marc: Not yet. We’re really taking our time on this one. We banged the other two out pretty quick so we’re taking a different approach on this one. So far it’s really paying off. We’re currently thinking about March of ‘09.
Rocket: The last Proven EP 'Truth Reign Supreme' was produced by Billy Graziadei from Biohazard. What are you guys looking to do with the new recordings? Will your new material continue with a steady diet of heavy riffs that you're known for?
Marc: The new CD will show the continued evolution of PROVEN. We’ve got an established sound that people know and love. We’re continuing to build upon that and expand it. We want to push ourselves – we’re not content to just repeat the same release over and over. We’ve still got the brutal and ruthless metal and hardcore riffs – those won’t be going away. We’re taking full advantage of the studio this time – we’re not copying and pasting crap but we will use things like 808 hits to put our sound over the top. There are other surprises that we don’t quite want to give away yet.
Rocket: Who are the hardcore metal bands of today that you respect?
Marc: Madball, Throwdown, Biohazard, Full Blown Chaos, The Destro – they don’t get enough respect. Parkway drive the – aussies know how to tear it up!
Karl: Machine Head – they just keep getting better and better. The Abominable Iron Sloth (if you don’t know who they are you should find out!). Lamb of God – can’t wait for the new CD. Gojira is sick, Winds of Plague – recently fell in love with them.
Rocket: What labels are you most interested in shopping the next EP with this time around?
Karl: RoadRunner, Relapse, Century Media, Metal Blade to name a few. Basically the metal labels that are currently supporting the bands are growing and keeping the heavy music torch alive. There’s ton of other “indie” metal labels that are sick too. I could be here all night naming them!
Rocket: Will you guys preview a new Proven track soon?
Karl: Yeah, soon as we get a track with bass/vocals we’ll probably stick a preview up on the myspace page. If you check out the video section there’s already a preview hidden in there.
Rocket: With all the killer unsigned metal acts Proven played with this year who are some of the bands in the underground scene that have impressed you the most?
Karl and Marc: Oh man, there’s so many! Across the Sun from Portland – symphonic metal as they call it – we just call it amazing. The Abominable Iron Sloth – I’m not sure if they are currently signed or not but they are dirtiest sludgiest riffing band ever. Justin’s vocals are insane! Bedlam Massacre – they are heavier than heavy riffing with brutal vocals. There are so many great bands in the Northwest that we haven’t even touched the surface! We’re glad you asked! Thoughts of Ruin and Five Will Die from Ireland are extremely sick if you wanna hear metal from across the pond!!
Rocket: Which show this year do you feel was the one that you guys really performed at your best?
Karl: I can only talk since I’ve been in the band but the two that stand out to me are Hell’s Kitchen in Tacoma Washington and the WOW Hall in Eugene. The Hell’s kitchen show was for a Dimebag memorial show – we played 5 minutes alone, 25 years, and Slaughtered. Pantera was such an important band to everyone in the band – just look at all the photos of us – one of us is always wearing a Pantera t-shirt. It just happens. The WOW Hall show was crazy because of the events leading up to it – Oregon got nailed in a snowstorm (the show was last night and I’m looking at 3-4 inches of snow right now, that’s unheard of here!) that whole week so we weren’t even sure if we could make the two hour drive down there. Took forever because of all these wrecks on the freeway but once we got there all was good. Probably two hundred people braved the snow and ice for a metal show. We played last at midnight to an intense crowd – the kids were going crazy. We’ll have some video of it up on the myspace page soon.
Marc: Two of the coolest people we’ve ever met gave us the opportunity to tour Ireland – Rory and Kas. We went on a whirlwind tour of Ireland for a week ending at Waterford. The show was absolutely insane. Small venue packed with 300 Irish metal heads going insane. The Irish know metal!
Rocket: It's been another great year for metal in 2008. What are some of the new album releases this year that are your personal favorite?
Karl: Machine Head’s “The Blackening” is a landmark release from a band that was down and out only a few years ago. You can definitely hear the Machine Head influence on our new CD already. (The special edition came out in ’08 so it qualifies)Gojira’s “The Way of all Flesh” has one of the best songs I’ve heard in years – Vacuity. The “stomp” type beat with the dissonant drone strings….amazing.
Marc: Terror’s new CD, Soulfly’s Conquer is great. Too bad this wasn’t 2007, so many good CDs were released then!
Rocket: I like to have fun with this next one. What's the funniest thing that's happened to you guys while performing live on stage this year?
Karl: We were up in Tacoma playing a show with Two Headed Chang, Akuma and Bedlam Massacre. I show up to the venue and the guys in bedlam were flashing off their balls trying to get people to look at ‘em, kinda like in the movie waiting. That kept us entertained as we were waiting for the show to start…during our set the singer from Akuma almost hit me in the nuts – so I busted my balls out on stage. I didn’t think anyone noticed because I was on the far right, against the wall. When we got off stage a friend said everyone in the audience said everyone recoiled in shock when I did it. We watched the camera and everyone jumps back a foot when I pulled ‘em out. Haha.
Rocket: What was the best 'band' moment for you personally?
Marc: The Tacoma show – Pantera’s the reason I got into metal and the show was dedicated to dimebag, and Pantera in general. It’d sad they aren’t here anymore. In March I played in front of my brother for the first time, and that felt great. Family is very important to us. And not just “blood” family, good friends count too. Especially with the US going how it is….it’s nice to look out and help your friends. Everyone will try and kick you when you were down, your friends should be there to make sure that doesn’t happen since no one else will. Having Billy from Biohazard produce our first two CDs is obviously a high point – we have a living legend involved with us!
Karl: For me? It’s the recording. The first time I heard the drums back……..holy fuck!! Watching everyone do their thing – they are such badasses. Stixon is phenomenal in the studio. He’s a complete show off live and he tears it up in the studio too. Keith working out a few new parts in the studio too – he finalized his solo for Kick the Bottle and did some crazy shit with a wah pedal coming back into the riff and it was a jaw dropper!
Rocket: How can fans help support the Proven cause?
Marc: If you can’t come out to shows, buy merch or CD’s online. It’ll help us pay for the new CD! J Coming out to shows, saying “hi” is awesome, we love that. Also all the nice comments and messages we get from people telling us how much they love what we are doing is great, we won’t get rich doing this but when someone sends us a nice message….makes all the headaches go away. Thank you PROVEN fans you rock!
Rocket: What are some of the upcoming shows for PROVEN in 2009?
Karl: Jan 3rd is our next big show – it's at the Hawthorne Theatre in Portland. I just clipped a couple of songs to send to KUFO for our radio ads for it. Sick! We’re playing with Quandry, Rustmine, and a Darker Grey. We bring the metal to this show. Run mothers!
Rocket: Thanks for rocking this out with me. Go ahead and give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Marc: Biggest supporters? So many! Obviously you, Rocket, and The Metal Den, you rock! We really appreciate everything you’ve done for us! Blabbermouth for running an article on us, that was neat. Rory and Kas from Ireland – they will probably never know how freakin cool that was to go over there! We love those guys! Boots from Little Metal Devil productions, he rocks. HotCarl over at KFLY for the constant love! Can’t forget my “good” twin Toby also! Lisa Wood over at KUFO for spinning us too.