My 1st exposure to Symphony of Malice was A Very Cherry Christmas at Cherry Street Station in Wallingford, CT. They kicked off the evenings events and set the standards high for the rest of the bands of the night. Their heavy and intricate sound impressed myself and everyone else in the room. The next time I saw them was while we (Agrippa93) were sharing the same bill for a benefit show at Cook’s Cafe in Naugatuck, CT. Despite the poor handling of the event, the bands playing that night were high caliber and once again Symphony of Malice stood out.
I’ve been wanting to visit The Room, a new venue in Brookfield, CT that just opened recently, since I 1st heard about it, and when I saw Symphony of Malice on the bill for Saturday, I figured it was a great opportunity to catch up with these guys and find out what they were all about.
I arrived just in time to see their set and met up with Gus Sinaro (vocals and guitars), Mike Gliniak (guitars), Jeff Curtiss (bass) and Steve Libero (drums) in a quieter place outside after they had time to wind down. It was a bit of a cold night, but this was really the only place we could hear each other over the music of the band that was currently on stage.
Agrippa: Tell me a little about the history of the band. How did it start?
Gus: I started this project a couple years ago. I recorded the whole thing by myself, because I couldn’t find reliable musicians down where I live in Stamford (CT). I released the CD and then a year after that, Mike, the guitar player, found me through BandMix and we started talking about getting together and auditioning stuff. He finally joined. Then we found Steve, our drummer and Jeff the bass player.
Mike: I help find the rest of the members of the band. Steve, then Jeff came along afterwards. Actually, I met Jeff here (The Room) for the 1st time and asked him if he was available. We needed a bass player.
Agrippa: How about the name of your band? Where did that come from?
Gus: When I was thinking of a name I was thinking of how I could express all the negativity in my life...how I could put that in a positive way. Symphony, because it’s melodic metal band. Malice, because expressing all the negativity out.
Agrippa: I know bands don't like to box themselves into a genre, but what would you classify yourselves as?
Steve: I would say that we are more of a Progressive Metal band and that we kind of bring it to the table every time we play. Every body’s got their certain parts that we do. Everything is solid. The parts are very clear to understand and I think we all love the music that we’re doing right now. This is the road that we want to take to get to the end.
Agrippa: If you could identify yourselves with any other band, who would you say you sound like?
Steve: Machine Head.
Mike: Shades of Metallica and some old school Metal.
Gus: I Absolutely agree with Mike. Old school thrash Metal influences and some new school like Trivium. Metalcore.
Guss: Maybe. Anthrax. Except I don’t sing the high pitch.
Agrippa: What does the future hold for your band? What's the short term plan?
Mike: To record. We’re going into the studio (Dexter’s Lab) on March 31st to record our new EP. We have six songs. Seven songs. Then get out there and push it with shows.
Agrippa: Long term plan for you guys?
Steve: Long term is we hope we all get along with each other and we keep this thing going. Play as many shows as we can and hopefully we’ll get a good fan base, so we can start playing the venues that we want to play. The Webster Theatre main stage, play Toads Place, and then get up to start doing festivals and whatnot. Then going on tour down the road after that.
Jeff: Have some fun in between.
Agrippa: Do you have any advice for upcoming bands trying to make it in the CT Metal scene?
Steve: It’s a very hard business and you have to do a lot of suffering.
Jeff: Have a good time with it. Don’t take it too seriously, ya know.
Gus: Stay hungry. Invest in the band and write good songs.
Mike: there’s always going to be ups and downs. Don’t let the downs keep you down. Gotta push forward and pursue.
Agrippa: Who are your major influences in music and in life and why?
Gus: Layne Staley of Alice In Chains. I’m very big on Alice In Chains. I’d say Metallica are the godfathers of Heavy Metal for me. Black Sabbath of course. I like justice and freedom, so I’d say Martin Luther King Jr. I’m against greedy corporations and corruption.
Jeff: My influences would be Metallica all time. All the old school Testament. Slayer, Megadeth. King Diamond. I’m on a big King Diamond trip right now. Loving it. Machine Head, Trivium, a lot of older music. In life? I’d say my wife and kids. That’s what keeps me going.
Steve: I would say my biggest influences are Anthrax, back in the day. Definitely have to go with Metallica and Alice In Chains. I’m a big Sean Kinney fan back in the day with the drums. Life influence? Live, love, life.
Mike: I would say bands-wise, or guitarist-wise; Randy Rhodes, Dimebag Darrell, my all time favorites. A little bit of Eddy Van Halen in there and a bunch of new guys. There’s a who slew of new guys from Trivium, Machine Head. Children of Bodom. They just played the other night . For life? World peace and Metal.
Agrippa: Let's say you have to throw away your entire music collection except for 1 album. Which one is it?
Jeff: I’m going with Metallica. It’s between Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets. I guess I’ll have to go with Master of Puppets. That would be my one album.
Gus: I’d say my favorite album of all time is definitely Ride the Lightning by Metallica. That’s what got me into Heavy Metal.
Steve: I’m gonna go with some rock and roll. I’ll have to say Alice In Chains, Dirt.
Mike: I would have to say Cowboys From Hell (Pantera).
Agrippa: What would you say is the one thing that makes you stand out from other metal bands in Connecticut?
Gus: I think the drive, the work ethic, and determination to succeed. Also focusing more on the song writing and quality rather than quantity, I’d say.
Agrippa: Who's the jokester in the band?
Agrippa: And the serious guy?
Mike, Steve, and Jeff: Gus.
Agrippa: Do you get nervous before a show and if so, how do you deal with that?
Steve: Just when we have to be rushed on and off the stage. That’s it.
Jeff: I don’t get nervous. I never get nervous. I was off stage for 11 years and I got right back on it with no nerves.
Mike: I would have to say that the biggest thing is to get rushed on stage and have to do it in 5-6 minutes...set up and ready to go. It’s just too much at times. You gotta do I it guess. Sake it off and jump in.
Agrippa: What was the single most memorable show, good or bad?
Steve: When Gus’s voice went up and cracked.. He lost pitch in his voice. That was our acoustic performance.
Gus: We were playing at the Webster and I just bought a new amp, so I accidentally pressed down the wrong button and it took me to a different effect bank. I got lost. It was after a solo, so I had to find my preset by going back to the preset I was on at first and I was back on time though for the last chorus.
Mike: We had a set list that we were going to do at the Webster Underground and we got in 3 songs. Going into the 4th song, I was trying to get my levels set, so I didn’t hear what these guys said for the next song. I ended up going with what we planned with to begin with and, BAM; I’m in a clean channel and these guys are like playing a different song. That was a mess. We had to start over.
Steve: We played it off good though. We acted like Gus’s amp was off so he shut his guitar down. He turned it back on and we did the song over again. It worked out perfectly.
Agrippa: What's your favorite Symphony of Malice song to perform?
Steve: Another Hole In My Soul.
Jeff: Another Hole In My Soul.
Mike: I’ll agree too
Gus: Endless Desolation.
Agrippa: Out of all of your songs, which is a the definitive Symphony of Malice song: The one you would give to a new listener to get a good idea of who you are?
Mike: Endless Desolation.
Jeff: I agree with him. Endless Desolation.
Steve: I agree with Mike.
Gus: I agree with everyone else.
Agrippa: There are are ton of metal bands in CT, but who is your favorite to gig with and why?
Mike: Arcane Malevolence.
Agrippa: What is the one band that you would love to open for?
Steve: Definitely Machine Head.
Agrippa: Of all the venues in CT, which is your favorite to perform at and why?
Steve, Jeff, and Mike: Cherry Street.
Gus: I’m trying to think of good shows that we’ve played...The Webster.
Steve: I love Cherry Street because the guy that owns it, Dennis, he supports a lot of local bands. He helps them out as much as he can and he gives every one an opportunity to there. He never harasses bands to pay to play. Any body can come in there. There more than welcome to if they want. He’s a very respected man.
Jeff: Dennis is awesome there. The place is always packed. It’s centrally located in the state. Everyone knows that that place is there. It’s just fun to play.
Mike: And it’s like right at home. Like a right at home bar.
Gus: It’s not close to my home at all. I’m the one doing the driving so, fuck these guys.
Steve: They got PBR on draft and its the coldest thing I’ve ever tasted. The best beer I’ve ever tasted.
Agrippa: What's that one piece of gear that you just can't live without?
Mike: Mesa Boogie.
Gus: Coreblade Hughes And Kettner.
Steve: My double bass pedal.
Jeff: My Music Man Bongo bass. Love it.
Agrippa: What's your opinion on the current Connecticut Metal scene.
Steve: It’s dying out.
Jeff: I don’t think so. It depends on who you’re playing with. If there’s good bands people come out. If the bands suck and if its not strong people aren’t gonna come.
Gus: I don’t think the problem is the bands. I think the venues are charging bands to play and that’s kind of tough, because if you’re not signed you don’t have money. You gotta buy tickets or try to sell the tickets. That's what slows down the Metal scene I think.
Mike: I would have to agree with that. Connecticut has turned into a party band scene and its real hard for Metal to get exposure and noticed. We need to step up as musicians and metal bands and come together push forward and try to see what we can do to change that.
Steve: I think most of the bands that play together do need to support each other. Every time they play out every body goes out and sees these bands. Bring more people and more people. It’s going to build as it goes.
Agrippa: You talked a little bit about the EP you’re working on. Can you expand on that a bit?
Gus: The next EP we’re recording...we’re recording the old one, but revised versions. We’re improving a lot of parts, because the 1st one I recorded was kind of rough around the edges. We’re fixing it and improving the sound quality and adding 2 more songs.
Agrippa: What's the writing process like for you?
Steve: Once we get done doing the CD, we’re going back into the basement and we’re gonna start writing as a band...getting all new material down and create a whole new set list to add to the old songs too. We’ll have new songs out. That probably wont be until sometime after summer. Maybe next year if that. Depends on how long it takes us to with each other.
Agrippa: Anything that you’d like to add?
Steve: Love the guys that are in your band. Support them. Help them out and everyone stick together and everything will work. If not, then everything falls apart.
Jeff: If I can give one shout if I can. I give it to my buddy Ron Kuczuk BTH, A good friend of mine. He’s going through tough times.
From left to right: Mike Gliniak, Jeff Curtiss, Steve Libero, and Gus Sinaros at The Room in Brookfield, CT.
Find Symphony of Malice here:
About the author
Agrippa is a the general adviser, internet tech sorcerer, and a reporter for the Metal Cyndicate of Connecticut, as well as the author of his own blog about music and music production, Agrippa: Thought Manifest. He can also be found fronting his own band, Agrippa93, on vocals, synths, sequencers, samples, and piano. Agrippa also has an industrial solo project called, Agrippa's Laboratory. Both projects are produced through his label and studio, Sickle Pation. You can follow him on twitter via @agrippa93, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.