All images by Samantha Toale
If this COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that a lot can actually happen in just a short amount of time. For Columbus rockers Atimera, the biggest change came in the announcement of new lead singer Michael Waters back in June.
The band had just came off of a wave where they had won the Battle for Inkcarceration, booked a few local festivals and released their first single of the year, titled By Design. But shortly after the pandemic started, their previous singer departed and the band was tasked with finding a replacement.
“I believe we tried out 9 different people. We actually had more people interested than we thought we would,” admitted guitarist Mike Colletti “that doesn’t even count the amount of people who sent us vocal demos that didn’t quite match what we were looking for.”
Fate smiled on the band as they found Waters, audio engineer at Amenta Recording and former singer of Above A Whisper.
“Mike caught us totally off guard,” says Colletti “We already had the music, so we gave him a day and he had already written a super catchy chorus! He took the initiative to learn our material and wrote new lyrics for the song, and that sealed the deal.”
“His ability to throw together an impressive sample track is what really set him apart,” agreed guitarist Justin Davis “He didn’t waste any time on it!”
“He also has a… poppy flare to him that we’ve been looking for. It slightly changes the direction of our music, but we think it is a very positive change,” finished Colletti.
The band wasted no time getting their feet wet with their new singer, performing at the Muddy Metal Fest II a few weeks after announcing him. Where there might have been a little tredipation, Colletti says Waters aced the initial exam.
“Thankfully, Mike is already a natural performer, so he threw down on stage as if he’s been with us since the beginning.”
Waters says it felt great to get that first trial out of the way.
“It was a relief to see my hard work pay off, but I mostly felt right at home!” he explains “We got along so quickly, it was almost like I was already a veteran in the band.”
Seeing as how most of the shows they had booked were either postponed or cancelled, the band felt it was a good time to give the rest of the world an introduction to Waters. They did so with their newest single, titled I’m A Peacock, You Gotta Let Me Fly! The name might seem a little curious, but keen observers might remember it from the 2010 comedy “The Other Guys”, starring Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg.
“The last two singles were fan named, and so far we haven’t regretted it,” laughed Colletti.
“We did a live stream and played the track a few times for a special group of our fans to listen and suggest a name. Peacock won by a landslide.”
I’m a Peacock… picks up musically right where By Design left off, with a pummeling rhythm section from drummer Josh Stroud and bassist Greg Teasely leading the way, interspersed with keys. You can immediately hear the difference in vocalists, with Waters hitting significantly lower on the register with his growls. The best metal comparison I could give you is when Periphery moved on from Casey Sabol and Chris Baretto to Spencer Soleto.
The significance in range change wasn’t lost on the new members.
“Adding him into the band definitely changes things a little, but it adds to the already dynamic set up,” said Davis “with his clean vocals, we’ll able to write more melodic parts and still keep our heavy side.”
I’m A Peacock… never takes its foot off of the throttle, giving listeners a 4 minute thrill ride with plenty of room for headbanging. There’s also a killer breakdown late in the song, where Waters asks the listener “Do we have your attention?” before the rest of the musicians lay into their strings and sticks. If I were to hear that part of the song anywhere other than sitting in my office, I’m pretty sure I would start bouncing off the walls.
The song racked up over 1000 streams on Spotify on the day of the release, much to the excitement of the group. The only downside is that the band knows they aren’t going to be able to play many more shows in 2020, but Colletti says that has only strengthened their resolve going forward.
“We are hoping to have completely new material recorded by 2021 – it will be a new chapter for Atimera!”