Tradition clashes with modernity — but sometimes, some enthralling music emerges from the rubble. Earth Groans’ Rahab EP is out now, with five songs of brutalizing but thoughtful heavy music. The release treads a line musically and thematically between issues broader than the present and those very much tied to the present, which allows it to rest on a profound base.
On the one hand, Rahab‘s metalcore is out on Solid State, which has released some classic metalcore albums over the years. Solid State has given bands like Underoath, Norma Jean, and Zao a home. “Metalcore” of course has a rich history outside of Solid State as well.
Earth Groans vocalist Jeremy Schaeffer explains that getting to be associated with Solid State is “amazing.”
“It’s a dream come true for sure!” he adds. “The last year working with them has been great! We’re very excited to see how things progress. It’s great to have a hard working team behind us! We actually sent a press kit to the label on a whim not expecting anything back. We got an email back from the label a few days later stating they had already been watching us for some time — and shortly after we started talking about establishing a future together.”
That’s not all there is to Earth Groans, though. Like other bands that have made their mark, the band twists conventions for their own purposes. They’re making music that’s far more than radio rock songs with breakdowns, revving their music up and adding edges that might not otherwise be there. The band’s drive comes from within.
“I’ve always had a heart for the hardcore/metal scene,” Schaeffer says. “People in it make music for the right reason. Most people know going into the hardcore scene they will never make money. So, people are doing it strictly for the passion’s and heart’s sake. I write music from the heart in hopes that it finds someone and suits them well.”
“I care about people and the welfare of others,” he adds. “As long as there are people hurting I’ll keep writing. We all want the world to be a better place. This is my way of trying to improve the world.”
Earth Groans’ Rahab EP weaves through intense stories of the struggling world, helping keep it fresh.
Schaeffer intertwines a dramatized take on the world with biting questions that cut to the center. “Do they see a human?” he asks on the band’s track “Avarice.” On that same track, he sings of the “great divide” which is “hungry as the abyss.” He sees life issues in a refreshing light via blending broad metaphorical concerns of the human condition with a very real world, present day perspective, he explains.
“I believe poetry, art, and music have the ability to take the hard truths and harsh realities of life and arrange them in a more digestible and healing manner,” he says. “I believe music to be one of the most healing tools. When I was at my rock bottom, music was my only medicine. I write most things in metaphor or poetic form but each is derived from concrete reality.”
“I’ve always felt a pull toward music ever since I was young,” he adds. “When I’m engaged in music — playing, listening or writing — things just make sense. I know that sounds strange. I feel like I can communicate exactly what’s on my heart. It definitely gives me a voice and in a sense sets me free. I can connect with people I’ve never met before and immediately have a connection with them. Music is a passageway for me.”
Rahab‘s “passageway” takes the listener through the holes bored in our paradigms by the world’s “rahabs.”
Although Rahab is a Biblical figure, first making an appearance in connection to the Israelite conquest of Jericho, her story doesn’t define the inspiration for the release’s title.
“In folklore, and mentioned in the Bible was a giant sea serpent [rahab] that brought fear, tyranny, and chaos to peoples lives,” Schaeffer explains. “Some translations suggest they are referring to Egypt and it’s bondage over Israel. Either way, they controlled Israel in fear, tyranny, and chaos.”
Moving forward through that fear, tyranny, and chaos — and facing it head-on in the process — is the “point” of the energy on Rahab.
“We all have giants (RAHABS) in our lives that we allow to control us. We allow them to run our lives into chaos. God is bigger!” Schaeffer believes. “By our faith, we cage the giants that we fear.”