heavy metal

Atomship Bio

Band members
Joey Culver – Vocals
Nathan Slade – Guitar
Chad Kent – Drums


Atomship's explosive debut album, The Crash of '47, showcases the matchless talents of three musicians from southern Mississippi whose combined creative sparks deliver a combustible whole.

For the group – singer Joey Culver, guitarist Nathan Slade and drummer Chad Kent – that whole represents a tightly knit balance between simplicity and complexity, between light and dark.

"It may be a dark album, but we're really normal people," Slade says. "We delve down deep, and the deeper you go, the more things you dredge up; you get it out of your system and the scales balance out. With this album, hopefully we'll help people delve into those dark parts of their souls, acknowledge they're there, and it'll balance them out."

The unpredictable 11-track album showcases not only Slade's instrumental prowess, which can turn on a dime from bucolic acoustic strumming to amp-shredding pyrotechnics, but also Culver's powerful, alternately sweet and menacing baritone and Kent's multifaceted, awe-inspiring stick work.

"We all have different tastes," says Culver. "With a lot of bands everyone likes the same kind of music and that's why they got the band together. In our case, I'm into the spooky, dark stuff, while Nathan's into spirituality and Chad's this technical, mathematical madman. Together we produce this raw, heavy, sometimes nasty music, but you can always understand what we're trying to say."

Produced by Dave Fortman (Evanescence, Superjoint Ritual), The Crash of '47 finds a young band flexing its collective muscle, whether it's on the compelling rifforama of "Pencil Fight," the forebodingly sinister "Time for People," the yearning, acoustic-based "DragonFly" or the epic guitar-and-drum battlefield that is "Agent Orange."

Atomship's members work closely together in developing their songs. Kent recalls his first reaction when Slade presented him with the twisty guitar line that figures so prominently in "Pencil Fight." "The first time I heard it I was thinking man this is different and I knew where he was going with it. We just started playing and piecing the parts together and the song came to life". The final composition is a great example of the balance that we like to say is Atomship.

Similarly, "Mothra" began life as a particularly complex drum groove. "The whole basis of that was the drum part, which I'd had for awhile," says Kent, "but I could never find a guitarist to play around with it until I hooked up with Nathan and he decided to take a crack at it."

"I've been blessed to play with some incredible drummers, and working with someone as intense as Chad is the apex," Slade comments. "He provides such an amazing soundscape to work over. If you were to strip the rest of the music away you'd hear that the drums are so busy you could barely tap your foot to it. It's my responsibility to write melodies that are strong enough to draw your attention away from just what the drums are doing."

"I do a lot of weird signatures," Kent admits. "It was part of my effort to not play like anyone else was playing, especially around here. It only took a couple of weekends of playing in the Biloxi area before everyone started talking about me, and they started calling me ‘Superman' – which with the name Kent was something I'd always heard anyhow," he concludes with a laugh.

The group has come a long way from its humble beginnings playing to surprised listeners who'd stumble across their rehearsals in a storage shed powered by an extension cord running from a nearby waffle house. "That lasted until winter," Slade recalls, "and we decided we needed to do something different, and to actually make some money, so we started doing local shows and people started coming to those."

Originally called Watership Down, after Richard Adams' classic tale, the band retains as its logo a cartoon alien rabbit, designed by Slade. The logo also reflects the group's interest in UFOs, extra-terrestrials, and the like, as confirmed by the album's title, which references the alleged date of the UFO crash in Roswell, N.M. "We're fascinated with some of these things," Slade says. "We're not conspiracy theory nuts but it is interesting how the media covers up some stuff that's obviously there. We have a pretty strong thirst for knowledge."

The group also knew it wanted to work with Fortman. "He brought in all the commas and the periods – because we had a lot of question marks at the time," Culver declares. "He really understood what we were doing, and that we did not want to sound like the majority of the current music on the radio, but that we wanted to sound like us."

The end result contains elements of everything from Tool and Nirvana to the Doors and the Cure…but very much retains the unique sound that is Atomship. "This album proves that you don't have to follow a recipe – be yourself," says Culver.

With The Crash of '47, Atomship has definitely staked out its own persona. Prepare to be overwhelmed.

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