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Des Moines, Iowa, United States | SELF

Des Moines, Iowa, United States | SELF
Band Metal Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




In a world of Heavy Metal drenched in unrecognizable unsatisfactory bands that all seem to look and sound alike. Lyrics that can't be understood, and a beat that only a drunk eclectic octopus can comprehend. In these days of cloning band after band, it is very comforting to know that there are still a few Metal bands out there, beyond the horizon in a state called Iowa, that are just ' raw '. Recently, I received an album by the name of IMMORTAL, by a band by the name of ONLY. After listening to this album in it's entirety from the first second of the opening track ( MORTAL ) to the last second of the closing jam ( THE ANCHOR ), I must admit that not only was I impressed, but relieved to know that there is hope for fans of Metal that aren't entranced by off beat guitar innuendos, un-rhythmic cadences of pure Metal blasphemy, and a plain lack of talent.

ONLY is a pure METAL / HARD ROCK band that can only be compared to acts such as MACHINE HEAD, STONE SOUR, CHOICEFATAL, AND SOIL. And dare I say it, old school PANTERA. IMMORTAL is just a great fucking album that is nothing but hard, in the face of all that oppose it, and noble. There are no poses or keg - banging clowns to be heard anywhere within the confines of this masterpiece. With a ballad that is smooth from start to finish, entitled IMMORTAL, and a pure Metal anthem by the name of WAKE UP, and a song called THIS IS NOT FOR YOU that can only be described as " Pump Your Goddamn Fist, and Bang Your Fuckin' Head Metal ", I must get to the point and let you know that IMMORTAL by ONLY is a great fucking album. Order It! Buy It! Steal It From A Friend! I have it and love must you.


"The Anchor: Q&A With ONLY"

When a band can make you move before you even realize you are doing it, it has got something.

With atomic tracks like the song "Wake Up", the Des Moines metal band ONLY will make you want to stand up, kick over your chair, and bang your head with reckless abandon like the best rock anthems would.

"ONLY is a culmination of the energy of punk, the intensity of metal, and the grooves of rock" according to its Myspace site, and having seen the bands live show, I am inclined to agree. ONLY BRINGS IT every time they hit the stage, and are equally as tight live as they are on their recorded efforts. ONLY can suck you in with their hooks alone, and with huge choruses like the ones contained in the song "The Hunted", you may just find their songs stuck in your head for a long time to come.

This is a band that is truly capable of getting major label recognition.

Only answers our questions!

Names of band members and what instruments they play, and ages:

Sol Bales - 25 years old- Vocals
Erich Tran - 31 years old - Lead Guitar
Mark "Sparky" Reinking - 32 years old - Guitar
Joe Shields - 33 years old - Bass Guitar
Celestino "Sal" Ramirez - 29 years old - Drums

Day jobs:

Joe and Sol work for an IT company in Des Moines, Iowa, Erich works for a Mortgage company, Sparky works at an Insurance Company in the IT department, and Sal works a few other jobs.

Background story of your band:

Only was established in 2001 after the demise of a band called "W.A.D." Joe and Erich started that band, and Sol joined W.A.D. at the tail end of the band. We lost our drummer, and decided to start a new project called "ONLY". ONLY worked as a 4 piece until we lost yet another drummer, and found a new drummer, and a second guitarist to become a 5 piece. We have now been a 5 piece band for about 3 years or so.

How long have you been together

A little over 6 years now.

How did you get together:

I knew Erich from working at Best Buy with him, and he was in a band with Joe called "W.A.D." Sparky was a friend of Joe's, and we asked him to audition for the band when we started looking for 2nd guitar players. Sal joined through auditions held in Des Moines for drummers. He contacted us while he was in Tennesse and wanted to travel to Des Moines (His family lives here). He auditioned, got the job, and moved here again.

How did you name your band:

Joe and Erich saw a sign that said Only 99Cents, and just said "what about the name ONLY?" It's free advertising, because you see it everywhere you look, and it also relates to the message the band sends in their music: Individualism. So it really worked out well for the music and the overall feel of what ONLY is about.

Main influences of each band member:

Erich Tran: KISS, Slayer, Type O Negative, 80's Hair and Thrash Metal

Sol Bales: Black Flag, The Misfits, Late 70's early 80's punk

Joe Shields: Life Of Agony, Faith No More

Sparky Reinking: Tool, Life Of Agony

Sal - Anthrax, Pantera, everything you can think of...

Age each member started playing music, how, and why:

Erich started playing drums at a really young age and eventually got a guitar I believe at age 10 or 12...maybe earlier. He was moved by seeing KISS. Erich has been a KISS fan for years.

Sol started playing bass guitar and singing at age 12. He always sang at a young age to the radio, but didn't want to be in a band until age 12. It wasn't until he heard "Ghost Rider" by Rollins Band (On The Crow Soundtrack) that he wanted to be in a band and play music.

Sparky started playing guitar at a later age...maybe 18 or 19. Can't remember, and don't really want to guess. He was in a band called Fissure for awhile before joining ONLY.

Joe played bass for many years, and started probably around the same age as Erich and Sol. He was heavily influenced by early Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Faith No More.

Sal also started playing drums at a very young age.

Each members live gear:

Erich Tran - Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Rackmount Head, and Mesa Boogie Cabs. ESP M-2 Custom Guitars, also a Nuno guitar.

Sol Bales - Audix Microphones

Sparky - Marshall Heads, Marshall Cabs, Gibson Explorer, SG, and Flying V.

Sal - Spaun Drums, Sabian Symbols

Joe - Ibanez Basses, Hartke amps

Funnest venue played

The most fun venue was probably an indoor skate park in Omaha. We played on a Half-Pipe

Best gig:

The best gig we've played is probably when we opened up for the DUMFUX in Des Moines on New Years Eve. It's Corey Taylor's Cover band, and they have a few vocalists in the Des Moines scene sing punk songs, and 80's rock songs. It was a blast. Sol also sings every year in it as well.

Worst gig:

Probably would have to be this tiny club in Kansas City... I don't even remember what it was called, but Erich's amp kept cutting out, and we had power issues, and the stage was barely big enough to fit the drums on it.

Most memorable moments:

Probably going to the studio at Catamount and working with Tom Tatman our producer on the new album. Also all of those out of town shows, where no one promoted, and we played to like 2 people...the worst shows are always the most memorable.

Any messages in your music:

I'd like to think that our music delivers a positive outlook. We like to explore the light and dark side of life.

Any advice for young musicians first starting

Practice, practice, practice, and stick with it. This industry is probably the toughest business you can be in. There are a lot of bad times, and a lot of good times. You just have to look past the bad times and try to get through them and make it happen for your band, or your solo career, or whatever you are trying to do. A lot of bands think that something will happen for them if they just wait around and make good music, but you really have to MAKE things happen. Promote at local shows, promote online, etc... anything you can possibly do to get your name out there. People have short attention spans, so you have to keep your music and your name out there and in their face at all times.

Any Iowa bands people should check out:

ONLY:) of course! and On A Pale Horse, Facecage..there are too many to name. Iowa has just as much to offer as any major city.

PR: We just recently teamed up with an Australian Label called Only! Music (what are the odds eh?) they are going to help us distribute our cd's in Australia, and it will be out the first week of November. We have a lot of fans through myspace that are in Australia and the UK, so these guys are helping us get our music to them. Check them out at

We also have our new album "Immortal" coming out on October 16th in the US. Starting October 16th, we will also be posting our new single "The Hunted" on our myspace page, and who knows, you may even hear it on a radio station near you!

We also started up our street team called "THE HUNTED", so contact to become one of "The Hunted" today!

- American Death Threat Magazine (

"Review: Gross Domestic Product"

"...Only turned in a compelling performance, showing a lot of promise and getting the crowd to pump their fists to the music." - Juice (Des Moines Register) - 4/1/2007

"Festival offers something for everyone"

"With their ... high degree of animation onstage, (Only) presented a AAA-caliber show." - Iowa State Daily - 4/2/2007

"CD Reviews - Only"

ONLY's MySpace page says they are "so underground, you will need a shovel," and that they want a record label. I have to wonder why a label hasn't, yet, picked them up. Though I, fully, respect any band that can make it on their own for any amount of time. Listening to ONLY's, independently, released track, Wake Up, will do just that - wake you, the Hell, up. Sol Bales's vocals, melodically, roar through heavy blasts of Celestino "Sal" Ramirez's drums, Mark Reinking's guitar, Joe Shields's bass and Erich Tran's guitar bringing, to your ears, a sound reminiscent of Pantera, and the likes. Listen to ONLY now at, and look for their full-length album this Summer, 2007.

by Micah Hargrave
May 8, 2007


"Only - Profile"

Des Moines, Iowa… who do you think of? Well now you can add another name to sit alongside the elder statesmen from the American Midwest. Only have built a fearsome live reputation, the intensity of metal alongside groove-laden rock, is combined with the energy and attitude of punk. Building on the momentum of their first two independently released discs, 2007 saw the arrival of ‘Immortal’, with more hooks than an anglers convention, fused with crunching riff and soaring melodies this album should finally see the band break out onto the world stage. While comparisons with the likes of Stone Sour are inevitable, the band display a depth that few acts can come close to. So Only aren’t re-inventing the wheel, it’s just that theirs is fitted to a Ferrari and not a fucking Skoda… time to take notice.

-posted by Paul Barker
- Planet-Loud (

"CD Review: Only 'Immortal'"

Written by Chelsea Marie Hicks
Monday, 07 January 2008

The new album Immortal by Only is an extreme heavy rock album that all head-bangers and metal affectionados will certainly appreciate.

Leaving no room for ambiguity, Only kicks off the album with 'Conversation', a seriously loud track that expresses a sincere feeling of containment and entrapment that artists of all genres manage to convey through their work. The whole way through Immortal relays a constant abrasive rock sound that is loud, severe and characteristically accurate to the features of heavy metal rock bands.

There are a few exceptions where the band does in fact veer off their destined rock path. Take 'The Hunted' and 'Immortal' for instance. Both tracks highlight the bands piano prowess in turn lending to a not quite mellow, but not quite metal sound that takes down the normal rough noise that generally fills up the majority of the album. In no time however, Only returns to the intense guitar riffs and screaming vocals that give them their heavy metal repertoire with tracks like 'Three Martyrs', 'Serenade' and 'This is Not For You', but that is to be expected of course. Closing up with a final metal and guitar filled track, with this album Immortal Only has made their mark on the Des Moines music scene as one heavy metal act not to be ignored.

- Des Moines Music Coalition (


Only (3-song EP) - 2002
Apparitions (5-song EP) - 2004
"Wake Up"/"The Anchor" (2-song sampler) - 2007
Immortal (full-length album) - 2007



"IMMORTAL is just a great fking album that is nothing but hard, in the face of all that oppose it, and noble. There are no poses or keg - banging clowns to be heard anywhere within the confines of this masterpiece." - HEAVY O'KEARNEY - LIFESBLOOD Magazine

"Only is clean sounding, original rock right down to the core and it shows on stage. They are a talented group of guys and in my opinion, the next big thing to come out of the midwest." - Suzi Richmond - DJ (KAZR-LAZER1033) - DES MOINES, IA

"Only has carved out a unique stylistic niche - metal aggression, with a sort of 80's arena rock sensibility. Very effective, very accessible, great stuff!" - Producer, Tom Tatman (Stone Sour, Living Sacrifice)

Founding members Erich Tran (guitar) and Sol Bales (vocals) formed Only with a mission: create concise, hook-filled songs, and high-energy live shows, that are visually and sonically compelling. The new band hit the ground running in 2003 by winning Iowa State University’s VEISHEA Battle Of The Bands. After the addition of guitarist Mark Reinking, Only turned in a killer performance at Minneapolis’ legendary First Avenue, and shared the stage with several major artists including Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Local H, Nothingface, Adema, Vixen, and Kill Hannah.

2007 marked the realization of Only's greatest achievement to date: the release of their first full-length album, "Immortal". The twelve dynamic, hook-filled tracks, recorded with renowned producer Tom Tatman (Stone Sour, Living Sacrifice), showcase the band's ever-expanding range and songwriting abilities. The album is currently available on iTunes and CD Baby in the U.S., and has earned over 117,000 plays on Myspace to date.

Solidifying the lineup in 2008 with drummer Aaron Plaskas and bassist Josh Brainard, Only has built a local reputation with their thematic live shows (e.g., Top Gun, superheroes, 3-D). Only's shenanigans were on full display at the Des Moines Music Coalition's 2008 Crossroads Conference, and Gross Domestic Product showcase (both 2007 and 2008).

Following a much-needed break, Only begins the new year fine-tuning a set of all-new material, tentively scheduled for release in mid-2012. The new batch of songs contains some of the fastest, heaviest, weirdest, and most unforgettable moments of the band's nearly decade-long career.