Poured Out photo by Errick Easterday
Maryland-based metallic hardcore group, Poured Out, are set to release their devastating debut, To the Point of Death, through Facedown Records on Oct. 21. Yes, Facedown Records’ latest hardcore signees are another Christian group, but do not discredit Poured Out’s impact, weight, or power based simply on what’s in their hearts. On second thought, do look at what’s in their hearts, because by the sound of their excellent debut, the band really give a shit. Vocalist Randy Lyvers’ lyrics do not pull any punches. He touches on personal and societal demons alike, and it gives the band’s brand of ‘90s-influenced metallic hardcore an added boost. There’s also a real diversity of tempo amid the near-constant metallic fury that makes To the Point of Death stand out. Poured Out can blast and breakdown with the best of them, but the nuance—and wonderful riffing—are truly top-notch.
The album has been in the pipeline for over a year, and Lyvers is anxious to get it out to the public. Of the band’s life so far and the creation of their debut, he shares, “One of our favorite bands is Turmoil. They did something in [the ‘90s] that nobody else was doing. We loved [our debut EP], Blind Heart, but we feel like we didn’t really give ourselves enough space to do exactly what we want to do: taking influence from older ‘90s bands and putting our own twist on it, taking something that is unique and has the right feel for the right song, just making something nobody’s ever heard of.”
Lyvers is constantly upfront, both on record and in person, and he doesn’t shy from the issues with being a Christian band. “I feel like there’s a big stigma with being in a Christian hardcore band,” he says. “I feel like there’s a lot of dishonesty with it, where people aren’t really transparent with what’s going on in the world and what’s going on within them. I feel like we’re just people. We are Christians, and that’s cool, but we’re also just musicians. We want to talk about what’s happening in the world and what we’re personally struggling with. By all means, we have a message, and we back that message, but we don’t ever force it on anybody.”
So there’s no room in Poured Out’s live show for preaching between songs? Lyvers laughs, “No, people come to shows to hear music, not a sermon. I want people to feel comfortable and that they’re accepted, rather than hearing that ‘you’re a sinner, you need to repent.’ People need to know that you generally just care for their hearts and care for them as people. I think a lot of Christian bands have rubbed people the wrong way, and I don’t want to be one of those bands.”
To the Point of Death really dwells on the harsh realities of life. It tackles raw, relatable topics, ideas that poured out of Lyvers rather easily. The opening one-two gut punch of “Dimentia” offers no opportunity to ease into the catharsis. “‘Dementia’ is based on two family members of mine,” Lyvers explains. “My grandmother who passed, she had Alzheimer’s [disease], and she could only remember things for five minutes at a time. Having to see that was hard. My uncle has schizophrenia, and he was homeless for a while. If you’ve ever seen ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ [his situation] was very similar to that story, where he felt like the government was after him and all this crazy stuff. I think it’s cool to touch on the subject of mental illness and realize that there’s a lot more going on in people’s mind that we can’t really fathom. I hope that song really opens the minds of people who may not understand mental illness at all, and that it’s a real struggle.”
“The second track, [‘Enslavement to the Substance’], is about my brother who struggled and is currently struggling with substance abuse,” he continues. “That’s been going for over half of my life, just trying to figure out how I’m supposed to cope with something like that. Growing up, it was hard. There was a lot of yelling and stuff that I just couldn’t really understand, because I didn’t know what was happening at the time. Just realizing after all the years of hating my brother, it took me so long to realize that it wasn’t going be the thing to make him change. He wasn’t going to change because of me hating him, so I made the decision to change myself and start showing love through it. There’s a reason people choose substances, because they feel a sense of worthlessness and that they’re not meant for anything more than just to be trash on this earth. It’s sad, when they go to those things, people just want to throw them out of our lives and say, ‘You are worthless.’ That’s a real travesty. We need to realize that addicts are humans with hearts, souls, and minds, and they deserve love like anybody else.”
This level of lyrical honesty is certainly laudable, but was it worth dragging Lyvers’ sanity through the mental mud? Is he in a better place now? “It’s an ongoing thing, but I’d rather keep salting the wound to help other people than put it on a shelf and not talk about it,” he says. “Hopefully, through these words, somebody can find what they need.”
The album art for To the Point of Death is a piece done by Slipknot’s drummer Jay Weinberg. How did Lyvers make that connection? “That was crazy,” he laughs. “I literally just direct messaged him on Instagram. I saw that he had done album artwork for his other side project, Hesitation Wounds. I said I liked his work and asked if he’d be interested in doing album art for us. He messaged me back, and we started talking about it. Before I knew it, it was already happening. It’s kinda hard to understand what the album art is, which is kinda cool. It’s an abstract piece with a lot of different elements put into it. The center is actually his mask. It’s called a ‘death mask.’ I don’t particularly know what it was used for, but it’s this creepy, old clay mask that he found. That represents the death part of the album. You can see hands tied in rope, which is showing persecution. Working with him was great; he killed it. We got to meet him in Nashville and hang out in his apartment for a little bit. It was an unreal moment for me, because I love Slipknot way too much, so that was really cool.”
Poured Out will be pouring out their souls at gloriously loud levels during their record release shows, which are scheduled for Oct. 14–28. This kind of music—which is both musically and thematically brutal—can be a bit much, but To the Point of Death is miles beyond most debuts. Poured Out dole out riffs and breakdowns expertly, crafting a record that will make the listener want to simultaneously start a circle pit in their office and hug a loved one. In these rather dreary times, Poured Out’s message of empathy and love is extremely valuable, and thankfully, their music is a fantastically worthy vessel for it.