This or the Apocalypse Vocalist Rick Armellino: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Late last month, This or the Apocalypse unleashed Dead Years, their hotly tipped third album. Produced by Kevin Lankford and Andreas Magnusson (Born of Osiris, Haste the Day), the record finds the Pennsylvania quintet taking their sound into new and exciting places: “Jack and I looked at our collection and realized that no one CD sounds like another,” says This or the Apocalypse singer Rick Armellino. “Rodney is heavily influenced by blues guitar and the record is just full of him using his influences on it,” the singer explains. “There is a lot more of a witty, sarcastic, angry tone in my voice. Some of the lyrics are just really pissed; they sound a lot more like me. It is the first record I listened to where I feel like I am hanging out with myself when I hear it. Jack, he wrote a lot more, our bassist wrote a lot more. Walking into the studio we didn’t really know if it was going to come out sounding like the heaviest thing we ever did or the most melodic and then it kind of ended up being both.”
With Dead Years in stores now, Noisecreep asked Armellino to take part in Noisecreep’s ongoing ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.
“I was 14 and at the mall with a 20 in my pocket. I just started learning the bass guitar and the band I was jamming Eric Clapton songs with told me not to come over anymore because I had a Deftones sticker on my P-Bass. When I got that album music just seemed different to me. It was edgy, weird, and honest. It was creepy without high school drama nerd whispering about vampires. The hard panned guitars were both all over the place, utilizing bizarre chords and effects while never fitting the mold of the standard rhythm/lead mold. Eventually, I got a cheap Telecaster from a local music store and a couple Dan-Electro pedals and spent countless nights sitting in my room, with one earbud in my ear, learning every single guitar part on that record. To this day, I can safely say that album changed my life.”
I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead, El-P (2007)
“The day I sat through this album the whole way through, I realized that hip hop could be anything it wanted to be. It could be angrier than most hardcore. It could be more thought out, more technical, more bizarre, more unsettling… I sort of realized ANYTHING could be anything it wanted to be. As a musician, you get used to archetypes. El-P, this record, and basically his whole career helped me tear all of that down a bit. As long as something makes you feel something, screw it. It did it’s job.”
Make Yourself Sick, Boys Night Out (2003)
“When Boys Night Out did their reunion in Toronto, my old roommate bought two tickets and the two of us drove all the way from PA to that show. It reminded me everything that I loved about the older melodic hardcore sound. It was fun, upbeat, the songs were all spiteful and mean, everything about it just made me want to drive around in my car and sing loud. Boys Night Out will always be one of my all time favorites. Not because they necessarily did anything particularly different than anyone, but they were my band, man.”
Signal to Noise, The Rise (2002)
“Saw’em play at the Chameleon. Got the CD. Was the catalyst for a lot of my perceptions of heavy music. Lead to my obsessions with Refused the Blood Brothers, Majority Rule, On the Might of Princes, and many other good bands. All because they played a show with Sadaharu at the Chameleon and I thought they were cool as hell. I remember blasting that album in my bedroom, feeling as if every person I’d get this CD to would be in on a really cool secret. Sometimes it bums me out that music is so easy to access now, that all you need is that quick google search to hear it. It’s much better for underground artists, but I think it aids to a sense of entitlement out of young music enthusiasts.
I don’t think I ever bothered criticizing bands I didn’t like for even a moment… I remember hearing bands like From Autumn to Ashes Haste the Day and early Underoath I just didn’t get them at all. I figured that I wasn’t ready to understand them. Now I read 15-year-olds spend hours rating bands like they have a clue what music is. None of us do. For real, I’m 26 and I’m just scratching the surface. I’ve recorded countless pieces of music for other musicians, I’m recorded countless demos, EPs, splits, full-lengths, and I don’t even know. Now I can’t even see a single YouTube video without a wall full of bizarre comments about what’s “obviously” better or worse by people who haven’t even gotten a chance to really figure out who they are themselves. That we all think we have to be experts on everything is just a bummer.”
Endnote, The Hope Conspiracy (2002)
“One spin of that album, and just like that, I’m in love with that type of hardcore. It never left. Hope Con was the first band who ever made it make sense to me. Them and Snapcase, I’d have to say. I’m sure a younger hardcore fan would listen to this and have no idea what I’m talking about. I’d simply just smile and keep listening to it. It’s so pissed, so upset. Everything I love about music. It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s just awesome.”
Watch This or the Apocalypse’s ‘In Wolves’ Lyric Video