Something Beautiful
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Something Beautiful

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
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"Around Hear"

What happens when a couple of metalheads get fed up with society and decide to make their voices heard? They make a goth metal album, of course. At least that’s what Dale Tippett Jr. and Justin Smith did. Recording under the name Something Beautiful, they spit their brooding, angry vocals over a dark layer of metal guitar hooks and in the process spread their anti-agenda agenda through songs like “On Death & Dying,” “God Hates Me,” and “Heresies & Blasphemies.” - Illinois Entertainer


"States Of Being Review"

"Though you hunger for relief from
putrid animosity you
stand and stumble in despair while
odors rise up through the air
reminding you of your decay
and how you gave your life away
to sadness with a smiling face
your madness made you fall from grace"

With such lyrical and conceptual premises deriving from subjects such as the invisible cage of rules and lies imposed by the so-called progressed system, that is capitalism and democracy, can one sum up the vision of the Chicago duo. Thru three chapters they want us to ponder over and realize what isn't told or is understood by media but we don't pay too much attention to any longer owing to overexposition: global famine, wars, terrorism, unlimited resource-hounding and exploitance are plagues that could be very quickly erased if THEY (politicians, burocrats, capitalists, corporations, weapon producers, reconstruction companies, church leaders) wanted to; but to them it is more profitable to keep things so and let the majority of us like mindless cattle imposing their will by all means.
A SLOW, CONSTANT CHANGE IN MENTALITY IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO STOP OUR PLANET SELF-DESTRUCTION. AND IF EVEN THIS DOESN'T MOVE YOU AND YOU ONLY GO ON WORRYING ABOUT YOUR LITTLE WORLD, TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION IT'S TIME FOR RADICAL CHANGES AND THERE IS NOT PLACE FOR MANY ON MARS, REMEMBER!
IS THIS HOW YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN WANT TO LIVE ? I DOUBT...

Therefore we can't but wait for a a band escaping from the easy Metal canons, risking to astound in positive or in negative, certainly not leaving indifferent, as clearly couched by "On Death & Dying", "The Weight of the World" and "The Fear that Remains", examples of dramatic modern Metal strenghtened by pulsating rocky samples. It's also right to mention the above-the-average drum parts, the vocals alà Afi ranging the complete tone-color spectrum; tho a fine Maidenian break at the end, the blend is original, probably hard to assimilate at once, but then destined to conquer.
The second part of the CD begins with "The Lie", a cool song where the icy on the cake is represented by eccentric, yet very inspired high vocals, while "God Hates Me" is my favourite track for two simple reasons: best title (indeed it seems written by or for me), and odd patterns, followed by several strata of operistic vocals.
Things quite abruptly change with "Love Is", a somber composition, in which only beats, vocals and shy keyboards appear to mourn a betrothed girl lost for eternity.
Really unique, "Where Dust Belongs", deploys human Rap beats and dreaming vocals; they are not spoken as it happens with Rap 99% of the times, they are sorta a white gospel, so as to turn the track to a hymn to awaken people with regard to today's growing state of human desperation.
In order to conclude the second act we meet "Heresies and Blasphemies", a rather long piece on the trail of the most creative Mudvayne and American Head Charge. Once again main singer Dale Tippett, Jr. reveals all his talent of 'pusher of stupefying vocals' preceding a bass break and dark, very heavy guitar riffs. Something Beautiful take out the ace from their sleeves drawing out a whispered acoustic break, later getting slightly close to the early A Perfect Circle. Afterwards it goes back to Mudvayne precepts and Thrash rhythms once dear to the shamefully undervalued Texan heroes responding to the name of Anacrusis. Another bass break and threatening vocals different from the standards close the assault; you've gotta believe me, one needs big balls to write such a song!
Another potential hit might be "A Statement of Being", thanks to perfect, moving, penetrating vocals; unbelievable classy Gothic metal with refined guitar lines; there really is no wrong pause or random detail here; in case you are into Evergrey and Danzig, their fusion with the Illinois act's mark is bound to make you go nuts.
A bit below the average because of a faulty recording, "Dancing in Rubble" improves thru a standing ovation refrain; it becomes very wicked by utilizing a good 4 extreme genres in few seconds' time and in the end it fades into Gothic metal, first mysterious and later symphonical.
In "Some Kind of Destiny" the orchestral structures are not so far from Virgin Steele meets Savatage, but most of all Saviour Machine.
Time for the last change of scene: "How Do You want To Live?" is a steady and frantic track containing gothic and even brutal vocals during the Death-core moments. In this case the 2-piece enters upon an experimental kind of Metal bringing forward what was expressed many years ago by bands like Watchtower or Anacrusis again, yet in a theatrical manner and with different vocals to them, repeatable not without difficulties on stage. It's a shame that the production doesn't support the vocal traits thoroughly, however the piano/guitar solo duet compensates that, deignly closing this dramatic piece of art cut clean thru.

This extravagant and corageous combo have proven to be heirs of the 90s Crossover innovators (Rage Against the Machine, Jane's Addiction, Alchemist and the likes), and the ones came out in the last 10 years (Tool, System of A Down, etc.). After some fake newcomers' disappointments, they are among the few to compose not with the unrewarding intent of sounding forcedly strange at all costs; on the contrary their music spontaneously springs forgetting the rules and the fear of sporadic physiological mistakes when walking unusual ways. Last but not least, positive signalizing for the front and back-covers, bringing back the times of the early anti-multinationalistic Napalm Death's and the apocalyptic Terrorizer's covers.
All of this renders "States of Being" a record especially recommended for open minded fans in search of real pioneers and not the nth Progressive band.

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th June 2006 - MARKUS GANZHERRLICH @ RockMetalBands.com


"Do-It-Yourself Projects Pile Up Fast"

Chicago also continues to be a hotbed for gothic music, both of the raucous metal variety and the gentler ambient style. Something Beautiful definitely fits in the former category, as evidenced by the duo's four-song demo, which approaches the ethereal sounds of Evanescence with a thrash-rock edge and some inspired electronic arrangements. Guitarist-vocalist Dale Tippett Jr. and bassist-vocalist Justin Smith have landed a prime gig opening for Fear Factory at the Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin in Milwaukee, on Aug. 10. (www.denythepain.com)
by Jim DeRogatis - Chicago Sun-Times


"Beautiful Days"

A gothic heavy-metal band of just two members. A church musician playing secular music.

Something Beautiful appear to be a host of contradictions packed into a two-man performance, but guitarist and vocalist Dale Tippett Jr. says that the challenging relationships create something, well, beautiful.

Tippett has been playing guitar for 20 years, and Something Beautiful isn't his first band. When his previous group sunk, he recruited the former band's bassist Justin Smith to play a list of songs Tippett had been hiding from the other uncommitted band members.

He dubbed the new effort Something Beautiful, taken from a label he had scribbled on the side of a cassette. Though Tippett describes the group as "gothic progressive metal," they have an unusual problem: They're a duo, while many of Tippett's songs call for drums, keyboards, strings and other instruments.

To overcome the challenge, Tippett creates some of the extra instrumentals as loops on his computer, the drum and string parts he records himself, then he exports them all to his iPod for playback during live shows.

"It's deceptively difficult," he explains. "We're not playing with live musicians, so when we make a mistake, that messes the whole production up." As a result, their live shows are airtight.

A 15-year church musician veteran, Tippett laughs when he reveals he plays "secular music."

All that church experience means he is no stranger to religion--especially the aspects he feels are unnecessary and incorrect. He uses Something Beautiful as an outlet for not only discussing, but also educating and informing listeners about new additions to the Christian belief he feels require re-examination.

"There's so much going on inside of church politics that is really disturbing … [for example,] a lot of mainstream churches preach that God wants you to be rich. … 'Keep your money away from the poor,' Tippett says. "They're doing a lot of harm. … There's too many people not paying attention to it, they just sit back and take what the establishment says to believe in."

[ Michael Schmitt is a RedEye special contributor. ] - RedEye Chicago


"Tracking 'live' music is Something Beautiful"

Back in early summer I was invited out to meet friends for Scary Larry from Rebel Radio’s Birthday Bash; -of course, live bands played. One of my friends who works for the band Something Beautiful, instructed me to, “check out the drummer,” in the band, as I’m a big fan of rhythm sections. As the night progressed, bands played and left the stage. I was in deep conversation with my friend [and] my back toward the stage when he said Something Beautiful was on stage now. Part way through the second song on their play list, I turned around to see them as I said, “Hey, these guys are good!” Although I clearly heard the music of an entire band playing, there were only two guys on the stage, and no drummer! Inmediately, I suspected that my friend was playing a joke on me, -as many of them do-, so I did a quick glance around the place to see if anybody was playing remotely, or wireless, and just not up on the stage. Nope, just Dale Tippett Jr. on guitar/vocals, and Justin Smith, bass/vocals. Something Beautiful, “tracks” their music.

Tracking, is a music industry term for using music software programs to compose, arrange, mix and master their music. The band Something Beautiful does not use preprogrammed beats that are available in some software programs. They compose all of their music, note by note and play live with their music accompanying them. Since this hard rockin’, Gothic-style metal band won me over with their music in a club, I decided to see them at a larger venue, The Pear Room, in Mokena, IL., where they played with internationally acclaimed bands Ed Guy and Kamelot.

I was so proud of our homeboys, as they took the stage and immediately started to rock the crowd. The crowd, which had quite the mix of cross over music fans from all ages and all music genres, welcomed and cheered on Something Beautiful as if they were the headliner band for the show! Since their show went off without a glitch, I had a few questions to ask the band, especially since it takes some serious guts to go on a big stage and deliver the type of show they do. I do feel that a lot of bands would not succeed.

So I asked the band members:
CATT: “What was the deciding factor to play live as just a two-piece?”
JUSTIN: ”We were originally in a band called Dark Ritual, which when we were at our best we performed as a three piece (guitar, bass, drums). Then we decided it would be neat to have another guitarist so, we put out an ad for a second guitarist to join the band. We went through countless auditions of terrible guitarist after terrible guitarist. Eventually we found a guitarist who we thought would work out alright. He spent one year with us and it turned out to be the longest, most painful year we have ever had. Toward the end of the year we wouldn’t talk to each other, we would literally just walk in the rehearsal space pick up our instruments, play, and put the instruments back and leave. We would hardly look at each other. This situation is what eventually caused our drummer to quit and join the Air Force. Dale and I didn’t want to continue on the way we were so we fired the second guitarist and then we sat around for a while wondering “What are we going to do now?” Dale had been using Cakewalk for a while at that point, to arrange music, which gave us a crazy idea. Just play as a two-piece. So we spent the next year or so trying to find drums that sounded good. After much experimentation, we finally found an adequate sound, recorded a demo and booked a gig. We played our first show as a two-piece on February 3, 2004 at Elbo Room.”
DALE: “Yeah, we killed like seven computers in the process! I remember we still had to do Dark Ritual material to fill out the set, too...”
CATT: “Since you track your music, do you have an audio tech to assist you while you're playing onstage? If not, do you control your tracking yourselves from onstage?”

JUSTIN: “No, we don’t have an audio tech to assist us. Dale usually has control over the iPod.”

DALE: “We set a play list before each show, then, we go straight through. It puts a lot of pressure on us, to know the song order and remember the cues, but I think it helps keep us focused on the performance.”
CATT: “Are you afraid of a software crash while you're performing?
It's happened to some of the best of national acts and performers and they have audio specialists running their programs.”
JUSTIN: “Sure we are worried about software crashes. When we started playing out as a two-piece we used to take a CD player along. We would then borrow a drum throne from one of the other bands and bungee cord the CD player to the throne. But the CD would still skip. So we then moved on to minidisc that worked well until the minidisk player just couldn’t handle life on the road, so to speak. That is when we first started using iPods. So far that has been the most stable and to date has only skipped once. And that skip is because somebody spilled water where the iPod was laying. The only thing we are really afraid of is when we cannot hear the drums through the monitor. But we have done this enough times to be able to work with the sound guy so that we don’t have that problem.”

DALE: “J's right, the biggest thing to worry about is that the sound guys understand what we need in the monitors. I usually prime the guy, and tell him that all we need is the track and vocals, but every so often we end up playing with our heads aimed at the floor wedges to try to hear the snare drum through the guitar!”
CATT: “A lot of bands like to play their music, "Unplugged," playing acoustic guitars. Knowing that you're tracking, do you write any of your music so that if you did have a software crash you can continue your show, ‘Unplugged?’”
DALE: “That's something that I frankly have not put too mush thought into... I actually do most of the writing on acoustic guitar, and the upcoming record, "Songs About Angels" was written primarily on acoustic guitar. But as far as the show goes, if we have a hardware issue, we got a backup iPod. Most venues cancel shows if they're having electrical problems, and if we're going somewhere that doesn't have a PA or just has a really lousy one, we'll just bring our own - Jon (a DJ from WHPK) has a 3,000 watt system that we end up using quite a bit.”
CATT: “A lot of people think that tracking is cheating. Do you play all of the instruments on your tracks or is it all selecting and arranging from programs?”
DALE: “It's a pretty common misconception is that we are taking some kind of "easy" way out. What folks don't know is that all of the tracks exist in an orchestral-style score in my room somewhere. Each note of every track - drum fills, organ arpeggios, string bits - they were all composed by hand. There's not a single sample of another person's work in any SoB (Short for Something Beautiful) track. In that respect, I view it as being the furthest thing from cheating. If anything, it tends to be a much more involved process for us, since we need to know the mechanics of drum parts, the ranges of stringed instruments, and the mathematical details of every time signature change.
As far as performance goes, if one of us misses a beat, or forgets to complete a phrase, the track will NEVER wait for us to catch up. We don't have the luxury of taking an easier tempo to give ourselves a break. We're locked in, and that forces us to know our parts inside and out before we even think of doing a new song live.
I admit that it may seem odd - two guys onstage doing metal... I've even joked about renaming the band "Gimme a Funny Look", but the best compliment i ever got after a show was when this guy walked up to me, shook my hand and said, " I was trying really hard to NOT like you, but I couldn't help it! You guys ROCKED!"

Something Beautiful is a band worth checking out. If not for their music, for any musicians who considered playing tracked music live and want to see it performed properly.
Visit SoB at www.denythepain.com or http://www.myspace.com/sobmusic where you can hear their music and link to purchase it as well. It is also available on CD Baby, and i-tunes.

Catch their next show on November 7th, 2008 at Nite Cap. (5007 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL).

Also, Watch for the new movie release, Humboldt Park, where Dale Tippett Jr. has a part playing a guitarist, of course! - Chicagosrock.com


Discography

Streams of Consciousness (TBA)
Songs About Angels (2009)
States of Being (2006)
Four Song Demo (2004)

Photos

Bio

Something Beautiful (SoB) is Chicago's premiere gothic-progressive metal band. Comprised of three members, Dale Tippett, Jr. (guitar/vocals), Justin Smith (bass/vocals), and Eric Kummerer (drums/vocals) bring to life a musical experience that recalls Dream Theater, Danzig, Fear Factory and Tool. From the demanding epics (Dreams About Your Skin, The Ending) to the headbangers (Daughter of God, Heresies and Blasphemies), SoB does it all with intensity and finesse. Something Beautiful's two full-length albums States of Being (2006) and Songs About Angels (2009) are available on iTunes and the band's official website www.denythepain.com. You can keep up with the band by following on Twitter, friending on Facebook, and subscribing to the band's podcast, the Something Beautiful Radio Network, available for free on iTunes.