Having the right balance of clean and unclean vocals, impeccable drum beats, hard-hitting bass, and formidable guitar riffs means nothing if people cannot find you. After a stellar first year, Devon Drusky (vocals), Brian Clark (guitar/vocals), Richard Alkire (bass), and Jordan Marich (drums) have decided to retire the name, Ataxia, for their post/hardcore metal band. It was not an easy decision, because as Ataxia, they played Warped Tour in Cuyahoga Falls, won First Place in Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands, and co-headlined at House of Blues/Cleveland….all in 2014. Not to worry, because Ira Hill promises to be even better as metal music lovers worldwide will now be able to find them.
Music is a leap of faith. Ira Hill believes that music requires an artist’s full concentration. It is not a part time job, or hobby. Lyrics from the song, “Ghosts”, featuring Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills, declare, “I’ll close my eyes for the last time/And I’ll see what I believe for the last time/I’ll chase this dream for the last time/This is the last time I will believe”. The “last time” in this song is indicative of how they approach their music. It has to be the best and to Ira Hill, it is all or nothing.
Negativity is a positive force. Ira Hill has faced their fair share of obstacles to becoming who they are today. Naysayers from all sides were quick to point out the pitfalls of music as a career choice. Money is tight, work is time-consuming, but Ira Hill meets every bump in the road with more determination to make their mark in the music world. Drusky explains, “I love when people doubt. I love when people say I can’t be a musician, or we can’t be a band. And every time someone says that, I work even harder. It’s cliché, but I literally won’t stop (until I succeed)”. Instead of being discouraged at adverse reactions, Ira Hill uses it a force to drive them forward.
What’s in a name? From the first song, I decided the name of the band would not change how I feel about the music of Ira Hill. Introducing the set with a haunting spoken narrative, Ira Hill took the stage and captured the audience as soon as the lights came on. The perfect layering of clean and unclean vocals by Clark and Drusky makes me rewind to make sure I did not miss a note. Marich moves across the drum kit at lightning speed with faultless beats and fills, leaving my heart pounding in time to the music. Clark’s sweet, melodic guitar riffs that open, quickly build to thundering breakdowns as powerful as any Rachmaninoff march. Ira Hill has a stage presence that invites the crowd in, they have as much fun as the audience. They bang, they jump, they love what they do, and their enthusiasm is catching. This year, Ataxia is gone, but Ira Hill is excited to announce their new release, and first album, Just Keep Swimming, under the new band name. Call the band by any name, just call me first for every show!