The Huber Breaker: Machines of Corruption
Like a glimpse into the future, I can remember when Beyond Fallen front man, Joe Karavis, performed an Iron Maiden song during a talent show at Hanover Area High School. So it’s not surprising that he and his band, currently celebrating a decade together, have performed in venues like the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany. Beyond Fallen is currently preparing to release a new CD on September 7th.
Looking to use imagery that was specific to Northeastern Pennsylvania, vocalist and cover designer, Joe Karavis, chose The Huber Breaker as the backdrop for the cover art for their fourth CD, “Machines of Corruption”.
“It fits very well with the theme of the title track. The Breaker is kind of scary to me, and I thought it would make a great cover”, explained Karavis. Like just about everyone else in Luzerne County, Joe has family ties to the coal industry, “Yeah, I had some family members that worked in the mines… it made them pretty miserable I guess.”
The Huber Breaker, which has been abandoned since the late 1970s, has been a popular Urban Exploration site for decades, and is often described by explorers as “ a death trap” and “twisted metal” because of the condition of the structure. “I went there to take the photos and I wanted to get done and out of there as fast as I could”, said Karavis about his experience photographing The Breaker. “It’s very quiet, and you feel like something or someone is about to jump out at you”, he explained.
I asked Karavis why he’s remained true to his heavy metal musical roots. “It was the type of music that best suited my voice. One thing led to another and I just went with it”, he replied. I wondered if the genre has changed since his high school talent show days. “It’s evolved”, Joe explained, “but not to the point that it’s gone too far away from the things that make the genre what it is. Many newer bands are doing some interesting things. It’s a style if you take it from the basics, that can branch out into many directions.”
Beyond Fallen, which has quite an international following, is often described in articles as a “US Power Metal” band. I asked Karavis if that means that it has a different sound than Metal from bands in other countries. “I don’t think the labels on styles always interpret into what the music sounds like. Some people have called us that style. It could be that it’s faster and more energetic than traditional heavy metal, with a more riff-driven approach, but that’s not always the case”, Joe explained.
In discussing NEPA’s influence on his artistic vision, why there is an interest in NEPA grown music abroad, and how music transcends geography, Joe said, “We tapped into a niche. We just found that we had more interest from the European metal community in what we were doing, so we focused more on that. I think we have some similarities with the Midlands Birmingham region of Great Britain, where legendary bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest came from. A blue collar industrial region. It’s also not exactly a cultural Mecca here like New York, London, Paris etc. so you try to find inspiration in other ways.”
While Beyond Fallen enjoys an international fan base, they do all of their recording locally at SI Studios in Old Forge. “It’s always been great working at SI”, said Karavis, “This is the fourth time this band has recorded there. We are lucky to have a studio like that in our area. The guys there are professionals, and we feel comfortable.”
Joe Karavis writes all of the band’s lyrics himself, which have been described as politically and socially charged. I asked Joe what fans can expect to find on their new CD. “We have different topics for each song. One is about the Roman Emperor Caligula, corrupted by his own ego and hunger for power. The title track is about how humans are used and abused. The CD has all the lyrics included so I’ll leave the rest up to the listener”, he explained.
Photo Credit: Keith A Barbuti
I asked Karavis when he started writing his own music. “I think when I was in grade school me and some other boys used to make up our own words to popular songs, like dirty limericks etc. The first couple recordings I did were horrible, but you have to start somewhere”, he said.
When asked what he wanted people to know about the new CD, Karavis responded, “We are proud of it. Hopefully everyone will like it. It’s not for everyone, but it’s very creative and the songs have a lot of energy. We had more time to write these songs than the ones on the previous album. Every time we record there’s a sense that this could be the last thing we ever do, so we try our best to make it great.”
Cheri Sundra © 2013
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