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The best kept secret in music


"Five styles mix for one fierce sound"

Around 1:30 a.m. local band Katharsis ends their show with their version of Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me."

For those who've stayed for another Mug Night at Boli's, it's a good ending to the high-energy, high-volume set. Good, but not perfect.

Afterward, band members thank the crowd and start to pack their equipment.

A single person leads the crowd into a rhythmic chant of "Ser-a-phim ... Ser-a-phim."

Garrett, Patrick, Cory, Eric and Ean gather on stage one last time to perform their latest-recorded song.

This is the perfect ending.

Thirty minutes before the show started, the members of Katharsis demonostrated their strong sense of professionalism and took a few minutes to chat with me.

Their name — meaning a release of emotional tension — was created three years ago by guitarists Garett Bissonnette and Patrick Spohr.

"We wanted people to leave feeling emotion," Bissonnette said.

Our intense conversation quickly ended when Bissonnette was slapped in the face by another member, causing a cigarette injury that forced the guitarist to finish the interview caring for his left eye.

Moments before their friend and musician Rob Legere opened the night, the Katharsis guys sat around in a front booth mocking each other and laughing at Bissonnette's "sex symbol" title. Ean Hirst is a sex symbol too, but according to the rest of the band it's a given because he's the frontman.

All the guys have been playing music separately since they were in high school or younger. Spohr and Bissonette were introduced through a co-worker. It was then that the two musicians began auditioning for drums, bass and vocals.

Bassist Eric Pyburn knew Spohr from their former band, Rhetoric, and drummer Cory Granger met Bissonnette at their job. The ground work of the band was laid, now they needed a vocalist.

They went through many singers before they saw Hirst at a Battle of the Bands show at Scores eight months ago.

Since then, they've been successful at gaining recognition from the community, including winning the Battle of the Bands at Ham's earlier this year. According to Legere, they won "hands down."

Their sound derives from a combination of varied personalities and personal idols, and is most evident in their original music.

"That's what makes our band so great," Hirst said. "We all have our different influences."

Their first three recorded songs, "Climb the World," "Captivity" and "Seraphim" combine admirable musical talent, while the passionate lyrics remain open to the listener's interpretation.

"You take it how you want to take it," Bissonnette said. "You get whatever message you get from the songs."

And that message is more than the heartbreak and loss that you hear in most mainstream music. These guys write about life in general.

The Greenville-based band's always working on new songs, a process that can take one practice or many months. Hirst said their goal now is to have five solid songs to record a demo. After that, they'll shoot for 12 songs and a first album.

Katharsis plays throughout eastern North Carolina two-to-three times a week while also working day jobs. But Hirst says being a musician is a full-time job for them while they continue to advance.

"We're focused on growing as a band, our onstage performance, as well as our musical performance," he said.

Off stage, the focus is shared. The members are dedicated to promoting other musicians through the Support Local Music campaign.

All for one and one for all? How very, well, kathartic. - mixer - Greenville, NC


Climb The World - featured on local rock radio station 99x, both on air and used for station promotions.

Seraphim - featured on local rock radio station 99x.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Katharsis has been a work in progress since 2003. Seeking edgy music with a positive message, guitar players Garett Bissonnette, of One Word, and Patrick Spohr, of Rhetoric, got together to trade riffs and immediately felt they had to passionately pursue the music that unfolded. Settling for anything less than the best was not an option. They auditioned many drummers and bass players before finally finding Cory Granger, a local college student, and Eric Pyburn, Patrick’s bass player from Rhetoric. With the musicians in place, the search for a singer was long and arduous. After two singers came and left, the four members of Katharsis discovered Ean Hirst, of Seraphin, running sound at a local bar. As soon as they heard his voice they knew they had found their front man. With the ensemble complete, they immediately started an intense writing session.

The band had been writing and rehearsing with and without singers over the previous year and a half before finding Ean. Combining the original melodies created by Katharsis and the lyrics written by Ean, Katharsis is brings a new sound to rock music, fusing the best of every world and never settling for anything that doesn’t live up to the title of being “cathartic”. A unique musical style, complete with vocals reminiscent of Alice in Chains, a melodic feel on par with A Perfect Circle, and the overall catchiness of Incubus, sets the stage for Katharsis’ powerful positive message.

They are currently playing at least twice a week from Virginia to South Carolina, winning audiences and club owners over with their music and professional demeanor. They consistently strive to be the best at every endeavor from writing to performing and producing. Katharsis is never satisfied with anything that isn’t invigorating or original. Always improving, growing, and amazing crowds, Katharsis is at the beginning of a journey that promises to produce one of the best shows the music scene has seen in a long time.