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Since 2004 the sonic force known as CENTURY has undergone what can only be described as the most natural of organic mutations. From the gritty, primal simplicity of the self-released demo to the melodic lacerations of the debut full-length, Faith and Failure; from the feedback-saturated, nihilistic concept album, Black Ocean, to the uncanny vitriol and punk mentality of 2011?s Red Giant, CENTURY has remained stylistically secluded on its own planet in its own solar system in an alternate dimension of space and time.
But this is not to say that the ancient civilization of CENTURY doesn't have the extraterrestrial teachings of alien visitors to thank for their musical archetypes. Inspired by groups like Snapcase, Cave In, Refused and Rage Against The Machine, CENTURY's aural fabric weaves elements of each into a new organism that shatters its own petri dish and sets the laboratory ablaze.
CENTURY's inception was formulated by founding member Carson Slovak (formerly of Trustkill Records rock outfit, Armsbendback), who pieced together and self-released an eponymous demo in the winter of 2004. As the effort's roots inched their way into the earth, the subsequent years saw CENTURY evolving not only as a fun artistic pursuit but also as a pure sonic extension of the people behind it at any given time.
"We're far from a typical band," comments Slovak. "We've had a collection of members come and go as they please, contributing when they were able. We play when the opportunity presents itself and write music when the inspiration is there. The only agenda is that there is no agenda. In a lot of ways, CENTURY is an autonomous creature. It does what it wants and develops on its own. We simply do what it asks."
After several successful US tours and overwhelming critical acclaim of their debut full-length, CENTURY found its label home with Prosthetic Records in 2008 and released the sophomore effort, Black Ocean. The dark concept album garnered praise for its originality and found its way onto many notable "best of" lists, including Revolver Magazine's Top 20 of 2008. A music video for the title track was produced by the band and received an exclusive premiere on MTV's Headbanger's Ball before being added to regular rotation on the show. The band also made an appearance at the New England Metal and Hardcore festival and co-headlined the Launch Music Conference in their hometown of Lancaster, PA.
"We're lucky to be working with Prosthetic," adds Slovak. "They understand what CENTURY is about and they support it on an artistic level. The presence of independent heavy music is increasingly dictated by how many albums you can sell before the next trend takes over. Prosthetic appreciates our creative output for what it is, which is rare in a record label anymore."
The current iteration of CENTURY has proven to be the most dramatic of mutations over the better part of a decade. Slovak is now joined by Ricky Armellino and Grant McFarland (also vocalist and drummer of Good Fight Music's metal act This Or The Apocalypse, respectively). Returning to the fold, McFarland was actually the first person to fill the drumming position in CENTURY. Armellino has expanded his bass / guitar position to include dual lead singing, sharing the vocal duties 50/50 with Slovak.
The latest album, Red Giant, is an exercise in spontaneity. Every song was written on the spot, with Armellino and Slovak handing a guitar back and forth while Pro Tools recorded until songs started to emerge. Lyrically, the album is a massive supernova of spiteful annihilation. Politically-charged sentiment underscores what can only be described as the purest, most concentrated anger put to tape in years.
And in keeping with the cognitive associations behind the album's moniker, the musical direction has expanded exponentially beyond any ground that CENTURY has previously ventured upon. The album introduces clean singing in the form of guest appearances by Candlebox frontman Kevin Martin, folk-rock anarchist Adam Taylor and former Armsbendback vocalist Mike Coasey, culminating in a collection of music that is as diverse within itself as it is to everything else in heavy music.
CENTURY is an anomaly of sound; short bursts of unbelievable intensity, unadulterated and sincerely unhinged. As this incomprehensibly massive sphere of fire expands and consumes planets, the future is indeed very bright.
Album: Red Giant (2011)
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