Enabler Vocalist Jeff Lohrber Hates Modern Metalcore With a Passion
Enabler vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber hates modern metalcore with a passion. “Everything that’s popular these days is void of guitar riffs, void of soul. It annoys the living piss out of me and I feel like I have to do something about that.” It just so happens that Jeff and the Milwaukee quartet play passionate, metallic hardcore better than most. And that’s sans breakdowns or Djent grooves.
“Most of these bands are as dispensable as hair bands in the ’80s,” he states. “But, the thing about hair bands is that they were entertaining. I can get some entertainment out of listening to Bon Jovi or Poison. I can’t get anything out of listening to some D-tuned mosh band.”
Here’s another thing that Jeff and Enabler hate.
Having to prove themselves as a basement-show-credible band in spite of having a drummer (Andy Hurley) whose CV includes The Damned Things, Earth Crisis (for whom he fills in for) and most damningly – Fall Out Boy. “I love Andy’s early bands Racetraitor and killtheslavemaster, but I’m definitely not a Fall Out Boy fan.” Actually, just days before this interview, Hurley turned in his walking papers.
Apparently the Limp Bizkit of Pop-Punk is about to get it back together. “I can’t tell you how sick I had gotten of the whole Fall Out Boy thing. Every single interview was ‘What’s it like to play with the drummer of Fall Out Boy?’ Look, he’s just my friend who plays drums. A lot of people see him and they’re like ‘Whoa, I didn’t expect him to play drums like that. You probably expected him to suck because he’s in Fall Out Boy.”
Now Sugar, please stay the fuck down. Enabler’s Southern Lord debut All Hail The Void is out and crushes. It’s the end-result of two years, two drummers and Lohrber having plied his road skills as touring drummer with Dead to Fall, Today Is the Day and Shai Hulud, as well as playing guitar and fronting his own band, Harlots. Enabler was born right after getting home from a particularly unpleasant tour as the drummer for Trap Them: “I had kind of a bad experience at the end with them,” he says.
Watch Enabler: Live in Scottsdale, AZ (June 25, 2012)
Add to that fellow guitarist and album producer Greg Thomas is also a veteran of Shai Hulud (who isn’t?), Zombie Apocalypse and With Honor. On the other hand, bassist Amanda Daniels, has zero priors on her record. “This is Amanda’s first band,” says Jeff. “The first show she played she was a little nervous but a tour in she was a female Cliff Burton!”
“My favorite bands in 1998 were probably Today Is the Day, Earth Crisis, Shai Hulud and Racetraitor,” Jeff gushes. “I think it’s kinda cool that I have a band now that is comprised of people who have gotten to play with all of these awesome bands.”
All Hail The Void is Metalcore with the emphasis on “Core” – as in the brutal, often crust-scraping, D-beat-driven, emotional (not “Emo”) Hardcore at the guts of songs like “Speechless” or the moody slow-crawl of “They Live, We Sleep,” which Lohrber, a self-professed “music nerd” admits was influenced by the last Amebix album. While he has seen countless bands become “professional mosh bands” and “treat this more like a job than a means of expression”, Lohrber sees Enabler embracing a more honest and DIY path. “We want to be real and honest and in your face and not afraid to play a basement,” he says with a fervor. “Who fucking cares how much we’re getting paid a night? I just want to play in front of 30 people who care what I have to say.”
Listen to “The Heathens”
Enabler’s recent tour of the U.S. opening the Southern Lord ‘Power of the Riff’ package with Black Breath, Burning Love and Swedish crusties Martyrdod proved a lot more successful than a trek through the better basements of America. Lohrber also handled overall tour manager duties for the jaunt making for an exhausting few weeks.
When asked about the things that surprised him about the scene to which they played, Jeff is candid.
“Drugs,” he states. “How can you possibly be into this? This is so not punk to me. You’re so fucking over people in third world countries by giving into this drug that is a waste of your fucking money. Seeing that alive in punk rock annoyed me. OK, ‘let’s keep the shows all ages’ but let’s bring coke to it. That’s for the bar-metal scene – let’s keep it there. I’m not straight-edge by any means but it’s completely detrimental to punk rock or DIY.”
OK, so how does Enabler “fit in” to today’s heavy music landscape? “We don’t,” Lohrber states. “We have big, loud, obnoxious guitars and real drums, not some computerized drum machine. We’re rock ‘n’ roll. A lot of what’s popular right now in Metalcore is copied off Meshuggah. I have Meshuggah records. I don’t need to hear Meshuggah riffs in 20 other bands. I think if I was in Meshuggah, I’d be insulted.
“I think for some bands, they make records because it’s a job,” Jeff states. “‘OK, it’s time to go to work, I’m going to go make the record.’ Literally, that’s why you have records like St. Anger. For me, this is something a lot deeper. This is something I have to do.”
Enabler’s All Hail the Void is available now via Southern Lord. Pick up the album here.