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The best kept secret in music


So there’s all this buzz going around about a band named Nobis. They’re brutal, tight, interesting metal. You’ve got to see them. Great stage show.

Okay, but where the hell did they come from? All of a sudden, they’re everywhere, and new hardcore metal bands don’t just come along every day. That shit’s hard: intricate and fast guitar parts, ultra-fast double bass that’s heavy on the math, a singer who can summon some serious gravitas. Then I hear they’ve got a disc coming out March 11. What? Metal albums (if they’re at all good) take forever to put together. Have they been holed up in their basement for the last year?

So I called up their manager, Jason Cyr, also owner of Xact Records, which is putting out the Nobis disc, A Blurred Sense of the Divine (and who recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, and put out the past year’s Unscarred and Amaranthus discs, too).

"It’s all of the guys from Melee," he tells me. "They had to change the name because there was a company in California, Melee Entertainment, and there were other Melees — it’s kind of a generic name, especially for our genre. So we thought, ‘They’re not known enough to really make a difference, let’s just change the name and have it be a new start.’ "

That makes sense. Melee didn’t have this kind of buzz surrounding them, but they’ve definitely been around for a while, based out of Bangor. It sounds like they really took that new start to heart.

"Everything on the new album is new material," notes Cyr, "so it’s essentially a different band." It’s not that they changed their style or approach, just that they turned over a new leaf, to the point where they don’t even play old Melee tunes, even by request.

Teaming up over the past year with rising-star producer Josh Wilbur (Green Day, Chevelle), who went to New England School of Communications with Cyr and played in a band way back with Nobis frontman Tim Sereyko, Nobis have put together a crushing and menacing disc, powerful in its delivery and textured in its creation. If you’re looking for something genuinely heavy, something that goes beyond screamo and nu-metal, updates Lamb’s Blood and Ride the Lightning Metallica, you’ve found your album.

The first pleasant surprise comes from Sereyko. The album opens fairly typically, with repeating guitar riffs, down-tuned, supported by a technically proficient rhythm section. When Sereyko enters all guttural and growly, you’re like, "make sense." But then he launches into this operatic, seemingly classically trained, spine-tingling vocal, which quickly alternates with the guttural stuff, and then crushes the chorus: "Run-down and withered inside, pounding oneself to the ground under fluorescent light." The song itself is a great blue-collar anthem, more politically aware and less self-pitying than something like Slipknot, but the delivery you haven’t heard since the first System of a Down album that made you sit up and say, "What the fuck is this?"

Other times he’ll mix in distorted aside, more like indie rock, or do spoken-word Henry Rollins style, or, in "Shadow of a Doubt," even break into Erasure-style ’80s balladeering. But just for a little while. The majority of the material here is aggressive, intense, and more akin to the 15-second scream that introduces the "Destroy your disbeliefs . . . destroy, employ" coda to "Doubt." Yes, coda. Nobis have a great feel for song construction.

The vocal synchronization with the drummer at about the two-minute mark of "9 Pages" is really impressive, the more so because it’s all set in iambic pentameter: "You think you know without a doubt/ That you have someone figured out/ The mystery behind the eyes/ Revealed a man and his doomsday disguise." It makes the heart race.

Later, we get a legitimate ballad in "Rain or Shine" — five minutes and 18 seconds of heartfelt singing that only gets very heavy at the end. Of course, they come back super-heavy with the next track, "Drowning Shallow," where I love the quick all-stop before the vocals come in. Also, the guitar work from Josh Torrey here, scaling up and down behind the vocals, is quick and precise without sacrificing tone.

Combine all this with some chilling and disturbing packaging — you can download this album if you want, as Xact have digital distribution through all the major sources, but you’ll be missing out — and Nobis deliver a product that lives up to the buzz. Like good metal, that’s hard to do.

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at
- The Portland Phoenix


2000 (Melee - Self Titled EP)
2002 (Melee - Unity EP)
2005 (Nobis - A Blurred Sense Of Divine - Full Length)


Feeling a bit camera shy


For nearly four years, the members of Nobis (formerly Melee) have been scouring the infected ears of northern New England heavy metal fans. These ears, already tainted by the misleading interpretation of what modern day metal is all about, have taken greatly to the cleansing. Drummer, Lee LeVasseur, Guitarist, Josh Torrey, Bassist, Tom Small, and Vocalist, Tim Sereyko combine forces to bring to the masses Maine’s most dominant heavy music configuration to date. Levasseur’s lightning technique mixed with Smalls’ barrage of low end and Torrey’s dominating guitar prowess provide Sereyko with an entire spectrum in which to work an array of vocal screams and melodies.

An impressive resume of national acts including Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Life of Agony, 18 Visions, Otep, Candiria, American Head Charge, Blood Simple, Dog Fashion Disco, RA, Dry Kill Logic etc. compliments an already unmatched live assault of sonic power, leaving any attending a Nobis show walking away with a sense of fulfillment.

Grammy Nominated Producer/Engineer, Josh Wilbur (Atreyu, Chevelle, Green Day, Fuel, System Of A Down), once again has teamed up with Nobis, this time for their first full-length effort, "A Blurred Sense of Divine".

All it takes is one song for a listener to realize that Nobis is here to let their brand burn deep into the skin of the heavy music industry. Sit still, the pain is only temporary, the sound is forever.