Melodic Metal Band, Covalence, Release New Single

Covalence is a four-piece, dynamic rock/alternative/metal/grunge band that regularly explores the melodies and rhythms of the punk, progressive, and doom metal genres. Founded in the autumn of 2016 by its versatile vocalist/rhythm guitarist Carter Manson, the band also features kinetic co-vocalist/lead guitarist Harrison Hammett, cool but intense bassist Tad Long, and accomplished drummer Richard David Hodges.

While Manson's meticulous guitar playing and sometimes gritty and full-throated while other times more tame, smooth vocalizations define and exemplify what Manson refers to as the "hard/gentle blend" of the band's primary sound. Hammett's raw, aggressive performances and electrifying stage presence add a depth and variety uncommon to many bands of Covalence's ilk. Underscored by the powerful bass thrum of ever-tone-conscious Long and the thunderous precision of Hodges' drums, Covalence harmonizes its myriad of talents into galvanic, crowd-pleasing concerts that have resulted in growing recognition and burgeoning respect in Knoxville's music scene."I think we do a good job of putting on a great show," says Manson, (16). "Some bands might have really great, tight music, but they don't put on a good show. I think that Covalence has a good mix of both: being entertaining and fun as well as having tight and well-performed music."

Manson says the band's inception was not a planned event, but was more of a serendipitous coming-together of the band's members. "Things started out with just myself jamming with a friend of mine who played drums. Eventually, Tad (Long) started playing bass along with us. As the three of us got more material together and played at open mic nights, our drummer at the time realized that playing gigs was not his thing, so we asked Elle Baldriche (now drummer for garage/psych rock band Hot Dharma) to drum for us. During our freshman year at L&N Stem Academy, Tad and I found Harrison (Hammett) and asked him to be our lead guitarist. Eventually, one gig led to another and then, suddenly, we had broken onto the music scene. Elle decided to pursue other musical interests, and so we got our good friend Richard (Hodges) to be our drummer."

"Ever since their first show, I knew they had this sound that I wanted to be a part of in some way," says Hodges (19). "The guitar tones were amazing, the drums were right-on, and the bass was crazy!" Though Hodges is one of the most sought-after drummers in local music circles, and presently serves as percussionist for The Shaun Abbott Band, The Sydni Stinnett Trio, Whiskey on Sunday, Nightfly, The American Idiots, and 4 Eyes, he readily agreed to take up the sticks and keep the beat for Covalence, "Now that I've gotten to know all of the guys, my love for the band has grown even more."

Manson says that the band acquired its name ("Covalence {kəʊˈveɪl(ə)ns} : relating to or denoting chemical bonds" -- Oxford Dictionary) after a month of good-natured argument over it. "We got asked to play our first gig as an opening band for The American Idiots and we didn't even have a name. After throwing some ideas around, I suggested Covalence. It took some convincing," grins Manson, "but the rest of the band eventually agreed. I'm a big chemistry nerd. That was a huge factor in choosing that name."

For a band named Covalence, all of its members know that onstage and offstage chemistry had better be good, even between performers whose styles differ a great deal, such as Hammett's and Long's. Any concert-goer attending a Covalence gig could most likely spot the differences between the two performers' methodologies within a few bars of the first song. "I have always viewed performing as just an extension/physical embodiment of the music," says Hammett (18). "I always ask myself what emotions I'm trying to get across in the music, and I let myself be completely overtaken by the rawest form of that emotion for the duration of the song. I let my performance just be a release and expression of that emotion." As a result, fans oftentimes witness a wide range of examples of that type of expression: they may see Hammett striding the stage, leaping into the audience, and/or pounding the floor with his bare hands (during a show at 'The Concourse' he once climbed a support post and hung from a rafter), all of which tend to energize the band, the music, and all in attendance.

In contrast to Hammett's emotional delivery of the band's music, Long's approach is more cerebral and tone-focused. "It's not necessarily important to me to stand out or be adored onstage," says Long (16). "I focus on my playing. Although I'm constantly adjusting tones and frequencies, I do like to just get into the zone and sink into all of the music happening around me." Long believes that the contrasts and similarities among the band's talents create a potent musical chemistry of which each member plays a part, has a role. "It's like this," he says, "Harrison is our wild card; he's the crazy-loud, fuzzy amp guy, the one with insane solos and his hair flipping around; Carter is our leader, the guy who keeps us in line so that we get the job done in practice and in preparation so that we can be confident about our shows; Richard is our rhythm, our heartbeat --to feel the rumble of his double bass pedal onstage is like nothing else. As for me: I'm there to take care of the bottom notes, to add 'balls' to our sound. Together, we make that raw, tough sound of Covalence."

While initially playing mainly covers of songs by Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, All Them Witches, and the Deftones at venues such as The Concourse, Open Chord, The Grove Theater, Pilot Light, and The Birdhouse (among others) their covalent bonds have held, and now Manson says the band's new focus is to work on perfecting its image and honing its sound. "Our next big step is to make ourselves more appealing to bigger venues," he says, adding: "Crafting our image, getting a press kit together, recording an EP... I want people to walk away from our performances realizing that teens can do some amazing things."

Manson says that the band is presently developing original material (they currently have written 5 songs, the first of which, "Burn", was recently recorded at Ridgetone Studio for inclusion in the band's first EP, the release date and title of which have yet to be announced). "A lot of people have this idea that teens can't form a cohesive group or be mature enough to accomplish big things," Manson points out, "but we hope to show them that they can start having a little more faith in this generation. In the next two years I think we'll have a lot of original material, maybe an album or two's worth. And hopefully, we will start expanding our horizons, booking gigs in other cities. There's no telling where the future will take us."

-- J Brian Long

Listen to their single "Burn" below