Out Of Darkness is a Florida-based four-piece band operating primarily in the Classic Power/Progressive Metal realm, though that is nowhere close to everything they bring to bear on this record. The songs are shaded with Modern and Melodic Metal, bringing a classic sound into the new age. Recently, The band took the time to answer a few questions I posed to them in hopes of getting a better feel of who they are as a whole. Their responses pleased me, not just because they answered politely, but because they gave in depth, poignant answers (and cited some of my favorite bands as influences!). Read through and you will see this is a complex band with big ideas and bigger dreams. May the Metal Gods smile upon them!


Band Members:

  • Eric Barrios – Vocals/Guitars
  • Bill Staley – Guitars
  • Dan Callahan – Bass
  • Brent E. Smedley – Drums/Percussion

Metal Zenith – This album has a wide variety of influences sound-wise, ranging from Power to Thrash to Melodic Metal. Who are some of the main artists that influence the main writers of the record?

Out Of Darkness – The influences vary because our tastes are wide.  Brent obviously is part of the Iced Earth style for drumming and arrangements.  He and Bill are very influenced by Priest, Maiden, Queensryche and Pantera.  There are also influences of bands like Nevermore and Symphony X.  Eric’s tastes range from pop music to Death metal.  Some of the more modern sounding songs, like Terraform for example, are from Eric. 

Brent wrote the first part of Entity as a teenager and it has sort of a 70’s Deep Purple, Child In Time vibe to it.  The second half was written by Bill and was intended to sound like an 80’s influenced Metal piece.  In that song alone, if you listen carefully, you can hear us paying homage to bands that influenced us growing up.  You’ll hear drum fills, guitar solos/melodies and vocals influenced by Helloween, Stryper, King Diamond and Queensryche, and of course Iron Maiden.  Some of the vocal harmonies are heavily influenced by Freddie Mercury, whom Eric is a big fan of.

MZ – How does the sound fit with, and depart from, Brent’s time in Iced Earth?

OOD – The similarities are in the elements of classic metal and the melodic nature of both bands, as well as having an epic feel in some of the songs and lyrics.

The differences are that there is not as much galloping in the riffs in Out of Darkness as opposed to Iced Earth. Also, Out of Darkness is a bit more progressive and incorporates more odd times and unusual patterns than Iced Earth.

MZ – Who did most of the songwriting?

OOD – Bill and Eric wrote most of the material, with input from Brent.  Brent contributed Entity.  Cody contributed Open Wound (musically).

MZ – What did the non-writing members contribute (different riff styling, alternate tunings)?

OOD – The only non-writing member was Bronzell.  He contributed bass to two songs before he had to step away due to the responsibilities of becoming a new father.  We now have Dan Callahan on bass who writes a lot of music as well.  Dan wasn’t on this album, but I’m sure will have plenty to contribute to the next one.

MZ – What do you consider to be the “theme” of the record?

OOD – Positivity and perseverance.  That’s really the whole theme of the band and it starts with the name of the band.  Stay positive through the dark times and eventually you will find the light.

MZ – What message do you want fans to take away from this record?

OOD – The main message is the positivity and perseverance I mentioned above.  Everybody is fighting their own battles in life.  Just try to be kind to each other.  The other thing I hope people take away form the record is how much we try to pay respect to our influences.  We are all huge fans of music.  The bands I have mentioned above have been huge parts of our lives.  We have nothing but respect for them.

MZ – The album ranges from Power Ballads to Thrash Metal, including a few different acoustic sections. Is there a desire for the band to be more than just Heavy Metal? Do you want to explore more of the Melodic Metal stylings or “honor” the 80s with more ballad-type songs?

OOD – There was no predetermined intention to make sure we covered a wide range of styles.  Some of our favorite bands like Led Zeppelin or Queen had extremely diverse songs, yet they all sounded like they belonged.  We in no way compare ourselves to those great bands, we just try to make a point that we simply write the songs that we hear in our heads.  In most cases that will be some variation of Metal, but not always.

The second half of Entity was the exception.  That was a really an attempt to pay homage to the great bands from the 70’s and 80’s.  Before Brent contributed the lyrics and it became “Entity”, we had a working title called “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”.  It was basically saying that this music we write today is because of the groundbreaking bands that came before us.  It was a tribute to them.

MZ – In your bio, there is mention of being a “True Metal” band, which can mean different things to different groups of fans. How do you define True Metal?

OOD – Great question!  I think it means that your style does not change because of current stylings and popularity.  As you mentioned, some of our music may sound heavily 80’s influenced.  That is just us staying true to ourselves.  We are also fans of newer, more technical and progressive Metal as well, but you would never find us abandoning our roots to fully go to that style, though we may have some songs in that style.

MZ – Which is the personal experience track on the record? Which one was written from an emotional state rather than an analytic state?

OOD – I believe Open Wound would be written mostly from emotion.  Brent had some things happen with his family that he wanted to write about.  He poured his emotions into that one.

MZ – What song takes on a deeper meaning each time you hear it?

OOD – For me (Bill) Via Dolorosa would be that song.  No matter what your beliefs, that story hits hard.  A man really did go through that.  Whether you believe the spiritual and religious aspect of it is up to you.

MZ – If you were to add a cover tune to the album, what band and song would it be? What do you think fits this album?

OOD – We actually discussed the idea of the next time we go to the studio for the next album, we should have a batch of cover songs as well that we could release one every month or so, just for fun.  I really think Welcome Home from King Diamond is a good one.  We really love that style of Metal and Eric’s voice would absolutely fit to cover that.  That would be a lot of fun.

MZ – What would be the dream tour lineup for this album? Please pick the three bands you would love to tour with.

OOD – Iron Maiden.  Symphony X.  Queensryche.

MZ – Now that you have your debut LP out, what are the goals for the next record (stay the course, shift to more melodic, go heavier)?

OOD – Yes to all of the above.  We have a lot of material written, but there is really no preconceived direction.  Whatever comes out of us will come out of us.  I think the only thing I would push for is to be slightly more extreme in our variance.  I’d like to have at least one song that is heavier than anything we’ve done and one song that is on the lighter side that you would never think you’d hear from us.  Other than that, it will be natural.

Thank you so much for the fantastic questions.  We really appreciate you taking an interest in our band and any support we get.  It means the world to us.