Arts and Entertainment

UnHailoed shows its metal

UnHailoed, winner of the 2008 Battle of the High School Bands contest, is comprised of, from left, guitarist Jess Hudson, drummer Dylan Bennett, guitarist James Sumner and vocalist Jeremy Ludington. - Courtesy
UnHailoed, winner of the 2008 Battle of the High School Bands contest, is comprised of, from left, guitarist Jess Hudson, drummer Dylan Bennett, guitarist James Sumner and vocalist Jeremy Ludington.
— image credit: Courtesy

It’s Friday night, but the crowd at The Viaduct in Tacoma looks more like a family reunion than a weekly metal show.

Inside the stripped-down venue, several children cavort around the tattered sofas lining the spray painted walls, many clad in white UnHailoed T-shirts. A mixed-age group plays Hacky Sack by the front door, and the older generation mans the merchandise tables.

Aside from the occasional black concert T-shirt-clad youth, the only indication that it’s a metal show is the band raging at the crowd on the small corner stage. Their set flies by quickly, all guttural growls, blast beats and chunky guitar riffs.

The next band, Tacoma-based Morbidism, chugs through a set of crowd-pleasing death metal songs, warming the spectators for the next band – Auburn’s own UnHailoed.

Formed three years ago by then Cascade Middle School students, Dylan Bennett, James Sumner and Jess Hudson, UnHailoed – along with new lead singer Jeremy Ludington – has been hard at work forthe past three months. In that time the band has released a self-titled, seven-track EP demo disc, and conquered out-of-state crowds with a quick tour of Las Vegas.

Now, with Hudson, Sumner and Bennett on the verge of graduation from Auburn High School, band members are poised to jump-start their career and take the band from local Seattle-Tacoma venues and onto the West Coast circuit.

“The three of us have been together for about three years,” said Bennett, the band’s drummer. “And we picked up Jeremy about three months ago from Black Sovereignty, another Seattle band. Things weren’t going right with them, so he ended up calling us one day.”

According to Sumner, the band got its start jamming alternative rock covers.

“At first, we jammed with Dylan’s dad,” said Sumner, co-guitarist with Hudson. “We would jam on stuff like Nirvana and Offspring. But we never really got that into the covers. We went right into the originals.”

“At first we were just instrumental,” he added. “We did plenty of shows where it was just the three of us – two guitar players and a drummer. And then we went through a bunch of singers and bass players.”

“Yeah, like 10 bass players,” Bennett laughed. “Actually, it was probably about five bass players and four singers.”

About a year ago, Sumner said the band, himself, Bennett, Hudson, went into Alien Pet 13 Studio and cut seven tracks – Death before Dishonor, Razors, Only I, Blood Shepherd, Devour, Exodus and Beauty and the Beast – that would become the band’s debut EP “UnHailoed.”

“It was awesome, a real great experience,” Sumner said. “Me, Jess and Dylan played each song three times and then picked the best. It was very nerve-wracking because you’re afraid that you’re going to mess up and have to do the whole song again.”

After Ludington and a new bass player joined the band this summer, the group reworked the EP to reflect the lineup changes.

“We went back and took out the bass and vocals and put Jeremy and our new bass player on it,” Bennett said. “Unfortunately, our bass player had to leave us.”

“We’re auditioning new ones though,” Hudson said.

The EP helped open the door for the next step in the band’s maturation, a quick jaunt to Las Vegas, courtesy of Xil Records.

“It was a great experience,” Hudson said.

“It showed us what dedication is and how hard of work it takes to make it,” Sumner said. “It’s not easy, and it’s not fun all the time. It’s fun, but it’s not just party all the time.”

“It’s way more work,” Bennett said. “You have to network so much.”

“It’s all about getting yourself out there,” Hudson added.

“We play of plenty of shows without pay just to get our name out there,” Sumner said. “Like this one.”

At the Viaduct, UnHailoed storms the stage like a crack military outfit, much to the pleasure of the crowd.

Unlike the muddy sound of many of the bands on the bill, UnHailoed’s complex and melodic, but brutal metal stylings, sing out with a clarity and precision that are a testament to the technique of the players. Lead singer Hudington drives the stage show with his growling, barking vocals, swinging into more melodic parts that showcase both his voice and the dynamic tone of Sumner and Hudson on guitar. With Bennett’s dense and tasteful drumming holding down the bottom, it’s easy to miss that the band isn’t playing with a bass player tonight.

“We try to be a little experimental,” Bennett said.

“And me and Jess try to throw a little blues in there also with our solos,” Sumner said. “We like classic rock, too.”

For now, the members of UnHailoed are committed to finishing up high school and possibly turning out a new full-length CD.

“I’m pretty pleased,” Sumner said. “We already have a new CD worth of new material. So we’re going to record soon.”

But after graduation this summer, it’s all about the music and taking the next step.

“Right now all we’re doing, Jess and I, are taking lessons and practicing,” Sumner said. “Once we get out of school, we’re going to just tour and keep getting better and make sure we get the band to the point where anyone who listens to us can say we’re flawless.”

Ultimately, Sumner said, the goal is simple – try to make a living doing what they love. That and take over the world with UnHailoed’s brand of melodic heavy metal.

“I’ve been listening to music my whole life. If I can make a living doing this, then I’ll be lucky,” he said. “I really can’t see myself doing anything else than this.”

Upcoming shows

UnHailoed to appear:

• 8 p.m., Jan. 10: at the King Cobra in Seattle with Final Wish, Helles, A Lesson in Chaos and American Wrecking Company, $7.

• 7 p.m., Jan. 17: at Club Impact in Tacoma with Aspen, Ken Parker, Sirens In the Sky and This Is Ritual. $7 in advance, $8 at the door.

• 8 p.m., Feb. 15:

at Station 56 in Tacoma with Vigilance, Edge of Oblivion, Stories Under Sin and Sicamore. All ages, bar with ID. $7 at the door.

More information about upcoming shows and the band is available at www.myspace.com/unhailoed.

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