Maybe War Within represents an unrelenting hunger within four experienced musicians, all hell-bent on aggressive, fist-tight Metal. Truth be told, the recent incarnation of the band saw the light of day in the dying months of 2003, and there are still several steps to climb for the band to attain some form of global recognition. War Within, however, appear to be taking ‘strides’ ahead not just ‘steps’ and based on this, it seems fairly reasonable to state that we’ll hear more from this band in the near future.
Of the four band-members, guitarist Greg Messick is probably the one to contribute most in terms of experience. Old-schoolers might remember him playing guitar with Intruder, one of the finest Thrash bands to emerge from Tennessee. In contrast with Intruder however, War Within seem to engage in a healthy flirt with Hardcore, while still not departing from Thrash. It could be that this element of Hardcore comes from a wider musical gusto of this guitarist, or maybe his band-mates are partly responsible………..
|"A lot of Hardcore music is kind of one dimensional so I like to think we try to take the best of all our influences and mix them together."|
Greg : I will have to say that a lot of the Hardcore element comes from Justin, our drummer, being the youngest member of the band at 20 years of age.
You know, our vocalist, Mike, is 31 years old and I myself am 42. So it’s like we’ve got 3 generations of Metal [in our band] and that kind of works for us.
Chris : Could you brief me on the background of each band-member?
G.: O.K.! Mike Smith is the singer – he’s been in various bands around here in Nashville, where I’m from. He’s very strong vocally and there are a lot of dimensions to his vocal ability
Jeff Barnes, our bass player, is the guy that I played with in the first War Within. Like the rest of the band, Jeff has always been playing with some band at some point or another.
Justin, the drummer, also has played with various bands although he’s the youngest guy in the band. Basically we’re all Nashville musicians.
C. : And how did you get together?
G. : War Within was actually a band that I was in around 1994 / 1996. Me and Jeff were in that version of War Within. We played around here for a while and only about a year into it, our other guitar player, Scott Murray, left the band and we ended up a four-piece. We continued playing for a while, but later disbanded.
Then several years later, I guess it was around late 2003, I started looking for some guys to put the band together again. And that’s how the current line-up came to be.
C. : Greg, I’m quite confident War Within’s music would appeal to Metal fans. Do you consider earning the respect of the Hardcore faithful to be just as straightforward?
G. : Well, I’d like to think so! You know, I’ve always liked just about anything that’s aggressive and that has facets of being fast to some point – I like music that has a lot of movement, if you know what I mean.
A lot of Hardcore music is kind of one dimensional so I like to think we try to take the best of all our influences and mix them together. And that’s what makes War Within what it is.
C. : Let’s talk about the live aspect of War Within…..how have the first bunch of live performances been with this line-up? Have you had any problems connecting with the audiences?
G. : Not at all. Over here what is kinda hot right now IS the Hardcore stuff and there’s always a [sizeable] Hardcore crowd. At first I didn’t know how we were gonna come across but we really won over a lot of friends. Everybody started telling us things like: ‘You guys are so different’, ‘You’ve got something that is totally different from all the other bands’.
We have a lot of bands over here that sound exactly the same [emphasises the word ‘exactly’] for the most part. And it just all gets redundant and ………
C. : …… ‘boring’ maybe?
G. : Yeah, boring and stagnant.
C. : Recently you’ve recorded a handful of songs for your first Demo and in all honesty I think the production is straight away quite good.
G. : Thanks!
C. : Could you give me some information about the recording of this Demo, such as where it was recorded……..
G. : The studio where we recorded our Demo belongs to Tom Harding, the producer of all the Intruder albums, with exception of the last one, “Psycho Savant”  which was done by Bill Metoyer.
C. : Then I suppose you were already familiar with the environment……
G. : Well it’s a different studio, although as I mentioned, it belongs to the same guy. Actually the guy that we recorded with is Tom’s engineer.
C. : You’ve also done a video-clip for the song ‘Bomb’s Away’, which was also professionally done in my opinion.
Was the decision to feature school-children in this video a conscious effort to connect with the younger audience?
G. : You know, that’s maybe so. But the way the video was laid out was like: there’s this young kid coming out there in the classroom. A kid representing the typical outcast, who never really got involved in anything at school, always staying quiet at the back.
So when he raises his hand up and you see the look on the teacher’s face and the kids moving away from him, everyone’s thinking: ‘Oh my God, what’s this kid gonna say?’ Well this kid was supposed to be a small version of our singer, Mike.
I can’t speak for Europe, but in America [U.S.A.] there’s a lot of people that will watch stuff on T.V. and connect it with Hollywood and think that’s the way that the world is supposed to be, or the way that it is. And it’s not. Basically that’s what the song is about.
Over here you get a lot of people who follow trends. For example in Hollywood you’ll have women who are all trying to do the same thing. Sometimes I just think their eyes get really clouded on what is reality and what isn’t.
C. : Both War Within’s video-clip as well as the Demo were made available online in their entirety. Was this strategy something you had planned before even recording the Demo?
G. : Absolutely. Mainly to spread the word and to let people know who we are before we really take the next step. The next step now is to start shopping the Demo and the Video to various record labels. Also, in beginning September we’re going in to record our first full-length album. I think we’ve already got 13 songs for that.
C. : How would you describe the style of these new songs? Are they anything like the recent Demo?
G. : Well I think it’s War Within but it’s not so pidgeon-holed into being a one-sided style, if you know what I mean. However, they’re still heavy, they’re still aggressive, they’re still melodic and they still just flow I would say basically like the 3 demo songs you’ve heard.
C. : Could you enlighten me on the lyrical aspect of War Within’s songs?
G. : Mike is pretty much the one who writes the lyrics but we all try to get together and come up with the concepts for the songs and the subjects to write about.
‘Bomb`s Away’, for example, was his idea, to write about just how kind of false our society is sometimes and how we can get led around by our noses and by what we see on T.V..
‘Castrate……’ is about a really bad problem we have here in the United States – the problem of pedophilia, of sexually taking advantage of children.
C. : By the way, are you aware of the existence of another Metal band called War Within? I’ve come across a band with the same name on the Internet [a band which, it appears, is from Texas].
G. : Maybe so, but we had the band named probably as early as 1993 and we’ve already trademarked the name after having done the necessary research. And nobody seemed to have adopted it. From what I understand, here in the United States, it’s gonna be who’s got the most widely recognized [enterprise] associated with that name.
C. : Greg, what is your vision for War Within?
G. : To get a recording contract of course, because that’s the only way we’re gonna be able to spread the word to the masses as much as we want to. And to get out there on the road, pay our dues, tour with whoever we need to tour with and to play to the audience that would like to hear War Within.
I really am looking forward to coming to Europe and have told my band-mates about it, just about how the people in Europe are about Metal - they are ‘true’ Metal fans. And I’m not saying that just because I’m talking to you [this interviewer is based in Europe]. I’ve experienced coming to Europe twice.
C. : Yeah, I think War Within’s style has potentially a strong market in certain parts of Europe.
G. : That’s just what we’re hoping for and we’re gonna elicit to some labels in Europe. You know, we just want to get on the road and do what we can as soon as possible . But we’ve got to take everything in steps……one step at a time to get where we think we need to be.
© Chris Galea - firstname.lastname@example.org
War Within is :
Mike Smith – vocals
Greg Messick – guitars
Jeff Barnes - bass
Justin Ward - drums
Download freely WAR WITHIN’s Demo and Video-clip from the following address: