Cornerstone New Band Interview: The Sacred Eternal

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One21music, in our quest to find the best up and coming Christian musicians, is featuring the bands from the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase. The Cornerstone New Band Showcase has launched many huge careers for Christian musicians including P.O.D., Sixpence None The Richer and Over The Rhine. The Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase features sixteen bands who will be performing on the Cornerstone Main Stage from Thursday, June 30th through Sunday, July 3rd. In the two weeks leading up to Cornerstone 2011, One21music will be featuring interviews with 11 of the showcase bands and a 10 song free music sampler, which will be available, exclusively on One21music.com on Wednesday, June 22.

We continue the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase interview series with The Sacred Eternal. The Stribling brothers, joined by Brian Bolton play metal that is unrelenting musically and lyrically.

The Sacred Eternal

The Sacred Eternal are about passion, honesty and the creation of a sound that both moves the body and stirs the soul. Started in 2007 by brothers Dan, Darrell & Devon Stribling, The Sacred Eternal have been honing their craft for years with recordings such as Demo-Liton in 2008. In 2010, Brian Bolton was brought on as bassist, and has brought a huge amount of energy and drive to the band. In the midst of a deep and rooted passion for heavy music, as well as relying on a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ for guidance, The Sacred Eternal focuses on combining the greatest elements of the hardest metal with the intense emotion of beautiful melody to create a sound that is uniquely their own.  The Sacred Eternal released a single “The Reckoning” and an EP Three Days in 2010. But in 2011, The Sacred Eternal‘s unique sound was finally encapsulated in their debut CD release, Dead To Sin. Ferocious vocals and bone-crushing riffs along with a precision double-bass attack are guaranteed to move a pit or a lone listener. The soulful melodies, expertly intertwined within the songs, reach into the very heart of the listener while the lyrics both provoke and inspire. Each lyric, derived from the band’s own experience, explores the struggles and victories we all experience in forgiveness of ourselves and others, redemption of the soul and the convictions we so firmly uphold.

The Sacred Eternal

Interview with Christian Musicians The Sacred Eternal

O21: Tell us what we need to know about The Sacred Eternal that is not in your bio:

TSE: we are extremely dedicated to the music that we’re making. Ever since we got together back in 2008, we’ve pushed ourselves to write songs that will stick with the people who hear them.

O21: How would you describe your sound? What artists influenced you?

TSE: Hmm… our sound is probably best described as Melodic Metal. We’ve tried to incorporate many different sounds and “flavors” on the album because we didn’t want to just be another “Deathcore” or “Metalcore” band. When you listen to the album you’ll hear some death metal, some thrash, hard rock, metalcore, and even a softer ballad. It felt pretty natural to shoot for diversity in our sound, partially because of the aforementioned reason, but also because all four of us have such varying musical tastes! Yeah, we all like metal, but we all have different roots, standbys, and styles that have spoken to us over the course of our lives. But in our opinion, that’s good! It keeps it interesting. That makes it hard to figure out which bands are the biggest influences. We love Demon Hunter and Living Sacrifice, as well as bands like Skillet, Flaw, Rush, Van-Halen, you name it.

O21: Tell us about your recordings?  What is your favorite The Scared Eternal song?

TSE: Recording’s been a serious ride for us man. From the time we cut our first demo in 2008 until now in 2011 with our first full length LP Dead To Sin we have come a long way.  The new recordings are polished and crisp, excellently mastered and powerful.  It was a ton of work, and an extremely long process, but now we’ve finally got the full length disc released and we are incredibly proud of the result. My (Darrell’s) favorite song is probably “Dead to Sin”, Dan’s Favorite song is “Remember Me”, Devon’s favorite song is “Dark Tonight”, and Brian’s favorite is “The Reckoning.”

O21: What is the best thing about making music?

TSE: The best thing about making music is a little different for all of us. I love it because I get to be expressive and share my love of Jesus Christ all in one swipe.

O21: How does your faith influence you musically and lyrically?

TSE: I don’t know if you could open up our lyric book and be able to miss what this band is about. All of us are believers in Jesus Christ, and we’ve done our very best to make that clear in every song. We aren’t going to slam you in the face with some sort of “turn or die” attitude, but at the same time we’re not ashamed of Jesus, and He is an inseparable part of who we are, and that comes out on every track of the album.

O21: What is your view of Christian music?

TSE: I think Christian Music is a pretty broad label. I’ve seen a lot of bands under that title come up and put out some great tunes, but then I’ve either gone to see them live or read some interviews about them and they turn out to be a lot different than I thought at first. And for me, that was a huge letdown! As a younger kid, I wanted those Christian bands that I could look up to, those guys who played the music I loved, but gave me some Jesus in their message too! 10 or 12ish years ago, “Christian” bands in the Heavy music scene typically had a lot of their lyrics steeped in ambiguity (excluding certain bands like Living Sacrifice, NIV, and others).  And so it was really easy to ride the fence and be the “Christians in a band”. To me, that’s a horrible outlook to have on your band. Christians are called to be Christians no matter what they’re doing, and saying that “I’m a Christian, but this band is just to be expressive and whine about how the world is unfair” is pretty cheap. Now, that’s changed a lot in today’s industry. Bands have become incredibly bold in what they’re saying and how they are living, and I think it’s awesome. Bands like For Today and War of Ages are, in my opinion, giving the kids today what I wanted when I was their age. Bands that Love Jesus, and aren’t afraid of it.

O21: How do you think the general public and the mainstream music industry view faith based music?

TSE: I think that the mainstream culture views Christian music pretty much the same way they always have: “It’s an imitation of “real” music because they’re a bunch of copycats”. “They don’t really live out what they say anyways” and so on. But then again, that’s another reason I’m so excited about how some of these newer bands have been breaking out. They are writing some great Jesus music, but at the same time I think some people are beginning to realize that it’s not so much a copycat act anymore. That excites me.

O21: How do you think that will impact your career?

TSE: Who knows? Can anyone really predict this industry? The best thing we can do is keep our eyes on what’s happening around us, and rely on God for Guidance.

O21: What responsibility do you think an artist/performer has to its listeners?

TSE: That’s a tougher question than you might think. Is it all about my personal expression, or is it my responsibility to tailor my sound and songs to what my listeners want to hear?  It’s a tough balance I think. When you look at a band like Skillet, who started out as a grunge band in the 90’s and now you look at them where they are, you can see how they’ve tailored themselves to their audience and mainstream success, and good for them! I know a lot of kids who’ve benefited from what they do. Then you can look at some hardcore or punk bands on the other side of the spectrum, who’ve traveled the ups and downs of popularity with their style regardless.  My opinion is that each band needs to decide it’s purpose. How effective do we want to be? Is this an active pursuit of a career? If it is, than you better be concerned with what people want to hear. If it isn’t, than write the tunes that you want to hear and let it benefit those who dig it with you.

O21: In today’s music scene, with the demise of record companies and mySpace, how does an artist develop a large enough following to sustain a career?

TSE: The Internet’s a blessing and a curse. We can get our tunes across the world and only have to pay a miniscule amount of money in comparison to worldwide physical distribution. Then again, we live in an age of soundbytes and musical overload because of it. Record companies are in deep trouble because the Internet makes it so easy, and yet the bands are in trouble because now people can just grab the three tracks they want off iTunes, ignore the rest of it, and the band sees 70 cents by the time everyone else gets their cut.  If you’re gonna hook your audience and retain them, you have to play, and play a lot. People remember it when a band blows their mind at a show, and it’s always been that way. You’ve got to give them something that isn’t prepackaged headbanging. You’ve got to give them exactly what the music means to you, each night you’re on stage.

O21:What are your road traditions?

TSE: Our Road traditions? Eat. Legend of Zelda. D&D. METAL.

O21:What is the best live show you have ever seen?

TSE: The best live show I’ve ever seen? Living Sacrifice on the Stronger Then Hell tour, at Bogart’s in Cincinnati OH .

O21: What is one thing people don’t understand about your music?

TSE: I’m not sure actually. I’ve never been asked that before.

Thank you Darrel. Your passion and your deep thinking make for an interesting interview and compelling music. I look forward to catching your show at Cornerstone 2011.

The Sacred Eternal play unapologetic melodic metal with deep meaning. You can easily check out The Sacred Eternal clicking through to Amazon and buying the band’s latest release, Dead To Sin.

The Sacred Eternal hit the main stage at the Cornerstone 2011 New Band Showcase on Friday, July 1st at noon.