This Fires Embrace
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This Fires Embrace

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Columbus, Ohio, United States
Band Rock Metal

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Press


Debra Cordle
staff writer


On Jan. 27, the gymnasium of the Grove City Church of the Nazarene
morphed into a venue of limbs a-flailing, air guitars, crowd surfing,
mini mosh pits, but only during certain songs, and even some
adolescent female swooning for the guitarist and bass player for
Central Ohio's most prevalent heavy metal Christian rock band, This
Fires Embrace.

Heavy metal and Christian music may seem like strange bedfellows, but
this band is able to make it work. Having played in church venues,
bars, music halls, and even at at the 99.7 FM Blitz Bash, This Fires
Embrace manages to mix all the styles together and still maintains a
message, without being preachy or judging other, as Josh Hall says.

The band consists of three Grove City boys, drummer Josh Hall,
guitarist Zack Koah and bassist Steve Malone. Rounding out This Fires
Embrace are Circleville natives Aaron Benner, the lead singer, and
guitarist Marc Leist. Wearing similar Johnny Cash style black shirts,
this quintet of young men rocked their loyal fans and accumulated new
ones, all the while sharing the message of their belief in Jesus
Christ through song.

One fan who believes in the band and that message is Ohio State
student, Ronee Poe.

"These very talented musicians live what they sing about. All of their
lyrics are positive and are very Christian. They are telling kids that
there is hope in the Lord."

To talk of the nexus of This Fires Embrace is to talk about a tragedy
that took place at a Columbus music hall on Dec. 8, 2004. Benner was
the lead singer for Liquid 6teen at the time. He was backstage with
friends when a gunman stormed the stage set of the Alrosa Villa where
popular heavy metal band, Damageplan was playing, killing their lead
guitarist Darrell Abbott and three others. While the media turned
their eyes toward this establishment in Columbus, Benner, a witness to
the shootings, turned his elsewhere.

"Seeing something like that made me want to get out of music. It made
me want to quit out of faith."

Instead of quitting the industry, he met Leist at a Christian music
event in Circleville and talked about forming a faith-based band.
Through mutual friends, and many prayers, they met up with the Grove
City guys and a new band hit the scene.

They released their seven-track debut CD, Redemption, in May of 2006.
They dedicated their song "Sad December Day" in the memory of all
those who perished at the AlrosaVilla.

"I truly believe God brought us all together," says Hall, a 2005 Grove
City High School graduate. The rest of the band echoed his sentiment.

A means of connection:

Since its 2003 launch into cyberspace, MySpace, according to an August
2006 report by Rupert Murdoch, has over 100 million accounts. Many of
those pages are for up and coming bands, such as This Fires Embrace,
to help fans stay up to date with what they are doing, to promote
upcoming shows and to gain new fans worldwide. With their world map on
their MySpace page, This Fires Embrace gets international interest all
the way from South America to the Land of the Rising Sun and to the
Commonwealth of Australia.

"It's great for us to be able to interact with our fans," says Leist.
"We get a ton of friend requests and we each spend lots of time
talking to them. It's rewarding, but very time consuming, especially
with having dial-up."

Positive interaction with fans is an integral part to a band,
especially with this one. From experience, they know how music can
affect a person. During their rendition of their Redemption album, one
female audience member burst into tears when they played "Song For You."

Throughout time, music has been an escape, a means to get away for a
while and relate to someone or something else. While it may be
difficult to tell Linkin Park, for example, how their music has
touched them personally, the men from This Fires Embrace are all too
willing to share their time before and after playing to lend an ear.

"We feel like this is our ministry," says Benner. "We want our fans to
send us messages and tell us what is going on in their lives. We want
them to tell us what their problems are because we have been through
that also and can relate. Through our music, we want them to know
there are other things out there besides violence, drugs and alcohol.
Obviously we are not ordained, but we are ministers in every way."
- Columbus Messenger


Sixner
staff writer

Walking up the stairs, I feel pure energy overwhelming me. I take a
moment before I actually step into the room to just take it all in.
I'm listening to intense drums, crunchy guitars, bone chilling solos,
hard hitting bass that will make your legs shake and to top it all
off, some of the strongest vocals in Ohio. The song ends, and I step
in to the practice hut of THIS FIRES EMBRACE with a smile on my face.

Listening to the music, the first word that comes to your mind may not
be "Christian," but take a listen to the lyrics and there's a real
message being sent to you. THIS FIRES EMBRACE dedicate 125% of
everything they do to Jesus Christ. They even state at concerts, "This
is how we have church." All the members have a religious background,
although it hasn't been the happiest of stories for them. Ranging from
recovering alcoholic in the local Columbus bars to a farm boy with a
big family in the country. TFE consists of Aaron Benner (former singer
of Liquid6Teen), Marc Leist (former guitarist of Anubis), Zack Koah
(former guitarist of Sons of Korah), Steve Malone (former bassist of
The Dawn Chorus) and Josh Hall (former drummer of Me(n)ile). These 5
Christian hard rockers come together to form one of Ohio's most talked
about bands.

Taking the myspace rankings of 2nd largest Christian band in Ohio, and
14th largest indie label band in Ohio, they've played with such acts
as Trapt, Shinedown, Pillar, Decypher Down, Spoken, Bobaflex, Staple
and others. I sat down to ask about how the band just happened to
form: "It was really just pure faith. We found each other pretty
quick." Says Aaron. "It was about a week after I had left my old band
[Liquid6teen] that Marc and I got together. And after just one
session, we found Josh through our friends in Staple. From there Josh
already knew Zack and Steve." Josh, with a slight smile on his face,
said "I was pretty hesitant to call Steve...I just wasn't sure if I
could be in a band with a guy who wore girl pants. Thankfully he grew
out of that!!"

Going through the band, we talk about some major influences. Marc
states "I listen to everything, really. Rap, country, old rock, nu
metal. I really like Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash." Steve: "My first
real ROCK album was Metallica, Master of Puppets. Amazing album?after
that, I got every Metallica album to the black album. And from there I
got into some of the nu-metal and even some experimental emo type
stuff." Josh simply says "Meshugga" with a grin. "Our best songs are
written when we are all together," says Aaron. "The first song we all
came together and wrote was 'Home again', and the power that song has
definitely shows it. It's one of the more powerful songs on
'Redemption.'" Marc comments "sometimes I'll have a riff I like that
I'll bring in to show the guys, but a lot of the times, it's just all
of us messing around at practice and something will just form really
fast. Sometimes I'll come up with a good riff and Josh just instantly
has a beat for it." Aaron adds "we aren't afraid to back off of
something to better the song. We don't write to make a sweet guitar
riff, or a vocal melody that sticks out. We all know that when we are
writing, we need to do what is best for the song. And sometimes that
means backing off a bit."

After selling over 1,000 copies of their debut album, "Redemption",
the band is currently working in Schwab Studio's on their 2nd album,
set to release in the spring or early summer. Material for a 3rd album
is already underway. I had to ask: "So, what is your most memorable
show that you've done?" After some slight discussion, including broken
strings, thrown chairs, Alrosa Villa and fights, they all agree on one
show. "It was a recent show, in Canal Winchester." and everyone looks
at Aaron to continue it. "Well, my girlfriend's birthday was 2 days
away. I pulled her up on stage and had the crowd sing happy birthday
to her. Then I sat her down on the stool in front of everyone. We
played the song 'Faithfully' by Journey. It's one of her favorite
songs. Towards the end of the song, I walked over to her, got down on
one knee, opened the box with the ring inside, and proposed to her.
Thankfully she said 'Yes'!"

Watch for THIS FIRES EMBRACE to tear up a stage near you soon!!
- Out of the Blue Publications


Discography

Redemption(2006)
Warrior Poets(2008)

Numerous tracks from both albums have charted on radio stations across the globe.

Photos

Bio

Most bands begin with an idea, but THIS FIRES EMBRACE began with a gunshot. On December 8, 2004, Aaron Benner, lead singer of well known central Ohio band Liquid6Teen, was stage right at a Columbus concert venue called the AlRosaVilla when a crazed gunman rushed the stage and began firing. When it was all over, five people were dead including famous Pantera guitar player Dimebag Darrel Abbott.

The Lord used this tragic event as a catalyst to a life altering change in Aaron. After months of soul-searching, Aaron felt the Lord's calling on his life. Aaron was compelled to use his musical talents as a ministry. He left Liquid6Teen at the pinnacle of their popularity and began praying for the Lord to send him Christian musicians that shared his calling. Just a few months later those prayers were answered in the form of, Josh Hall, Zack Koah, and Steve Malone.

Since the forming of THIS FIRES EMBRACE in late 2005, the Lord has truly blessed their ministry. In their first 2 years of performing, they've headlined and filled nearly every venue in the central Ohio area. They've traveled the region sharing the stage with National Acts such as Pillar, Decypher Down, Shinedown, Trapt, Bobaflex, Spoken, Staple, Buckcherry, Saliva, Last Tuesday, Fireflight, Eleventyseven, Krystal Meyers, and John Rueben. THIS FIRES EMBRACE have entered several Battle of the Bands contests and walked away with first prize at each event. They entered the Band with a Mission organizations Battle for Shout-fest contest and went all the way to the final round in Nashville, Tennessee where they placed 9th in the country. Only four short months after starting to play shows, they released two singles, "On Broken Wings" and "Home Again" to national Christian radio. They released their first album, Redemption in May of 2006. In the year and a half since THIS FIRES EMBRACE added songs to their MySpace account, they've had an astonishing 600,000 plays. Atlantic, Koch, and TVT Records representatives raved over their show at a label showcase in Columbus in late summer of 2006. In 2007 and 2008, they were asked to perform at some of the biggest festivals in the country, including Ichthus, Cornerstone, Agape, Sonshine, and Pro-Life Festivals.

THIS FIRES EMBRACE continues to win critical acclaim for their live performance in many publications, internet magazines, and local newspapers. Lord-willing, this list and their demand will continue to grow.
The Lord used this tragic event as a catalyst to a life altering change in Aaron. After months of soul-searching, Aaron felt the Lord's calling on his life. Aaron was compelled to use his musical talents as a ministry. He left Liquid6Teen at the pinnacle of their popularity and began praying for the Lord to send him Christian musicians that shared his calling. Just a few months later those prayers were answered in the form of Marc Leist, Josh Hall, Zach Koah, and Brandon Ogilby. This five member team then became THIS FIRES EMBRACE.

Since the forming of THIS FIRES EMBRACE in late 2005, the Lord has truly blessed their ministry. In their first 2 years of performing, they've headlined and filled nearly every venue in the central Ohio area. They've traveled the region sharing the stage with National Acts such as Pillar, Decypher Down, Shinedown, Trapt, Bobaflex, Spoken, Staple, Buckcherry, Saliva, Last Tuesday, Fireflight, Eleventyseven, Krystal Meyers, and John Rueben. THIS FIRES EMBRACE have entered several Battle of the Bands contests and walked away with first prize at each event. They entered the Band with a Mission organizations Battle for Shout-fest contest and went all the way to the final round in Nashville, Tennessee where they placed 9th in the country. Only four short months after starting to play shows, they released two singles, "On Broken Wings" and "Home Again" to national Christian radio. They released their first album, Redemption in May of 2006. In the year and a half since THIS FIRES EMBRACE added songs to their MySpace account, they've had an astonishing 335,000 plays. Atlantic, Koch, and TVT Records representatives raved over their show at a label showcase in Columbus in late summer of 2006. In 2007, they were asked to perform at Ichthus and Cornerstone Festivals. These Festivals are 2 of the biggest Christian rock festivals in the entire country.

A recent map of the world on their MySpace denotes how widespread their fan base has become in such a short time. With fan requests covering all of North America, Europe, and many more hits spread out over the rest of the globe, it is apparent that they are poised to become a major musical and spiritual force in the industry. THIS FIRES EMBRACE continues to win critical acclaim for their live performance in many publications, internet magazines, and local newspapers. Lord-willing, this list and their demand will continue to grow.