Confessor is a doom metal band from Raleigh, North Carolina, US. The band made its mark on the metal scene in the late 80's by combining some of the genre's essential elements in a way that no band had done before, and few, if any, have successfully blended since. Confessor never failed to excite their fans with ability to follow huge gut-wrenching guitar harmonies and wailing vocals with intricately woven beats. The band was a beacon in the mist of a sea of redundant, cookie cutter metal bands.
AND THEY ARE BACK!
Confessor was formed by Graham Fry, Brian Shoaf, and Jim Shoaf in 1986 in Raleigh, NC. Cary Rowells and Scott Jeffreys were soon added from thier pool of metal minded friends at Millbrook High School. Scott and Graham had been in a band called "No Comment" and when they broke up Graham went to start Confessor and Scott formed a band called "Abyss". Scott soon re-joined Graham in Confessor. The bands goal was to try and create a unique sound and vision that began to take shape with the recruitment of drummer Steve Shelton who brought a highly technical and complex style to the band. Graham and Steve were the main collaborators in the early years, while Scott wrote most of the lyrics and vocal melodies. Before long Confessor had made a name for itself by writing unapologetically heavy riffs, with a unique flare for timing changes. Confessor's unique sound combined with themes of desolation and unending despair led many to classify the band as a doom outfit but the truth was that no term could truly do the band justice. The songs were carried along by a series of wails and tormented cries supported by technical, dexterous playing that tossed the listener one way, then another. Somehow it worked.
Technical Doom Metal was born.
As was the norm for the late 80s/early 90s underground metal scene, Confessor spread their name via three cassette demos, "The Secret" (1987), "Uncontrolled" (1989) and "Collapse" (1990). The extensive tape-trading scene gained the band quick recognition and their distinctive sound was featured on a number of compilations most notably Metal Blades "Metal Massacre X" and Peacevilles "Vile Vibes". Earache stepped up and signed the band in 1990, a true anomaly for the death 'n' grind obsessed label. By this time Graham Fry had left the band and was replaced by the bands highly talented guitar tech Ivan Colon. The band soon put out their 1991 debut "Condemned" and even released an Mtv Europe video for the title song.
In 1992 the band had created quite a stir by playing all over the southeast and landing two tours in Europe, including the now legendary “Gods of Grind” tour with Carcass, Cathedral, and Entombed. Confessor released a self-titled EP before the tour to help with promotion. The EP paid tribute to their roots with two Trouble classics "The Last Judgement" & "Endtime". With two releases, the band felt as though their chance was at hand to show the world what they knew, that Confessor was unlike anything else out at the time. A few months after returning from the Gods of Grind-tour the band went back to Europe with fellow technical-maestros NOCTURNUS. Unfortunately, shortly after their return to the US, label merging and politics forced Confessor off of the U.S. leg of that famous tour in favor of the latest “new band”. Confessor’s ongoing struggles with their label led to Ivan leaving the band. He was then replaced for one show by Chris Nolan before Scott decided to move on as well and joined a "super group" of local musicians called "Corn". With Ivan and now Scott leaving Confessor disbanded in January 1994 after only a single album was released.
Luckily, over the years Confessor’s controversial, yet pioneering sound became accepted and adored by many in the metal community and was often cited as a principle source of inspiration for bands and individual musicians alike trying to do something unique.
Sadly, on February 2nd, 2002, Ivan Edward Colon passed away at the age of 32 due to cardiac complications. In tribute to Ivan, the band re-formed in order to play a benefit show for his family. They released a self-produced cd called "The Demos" which contained many of the old demo versions of the "Condemned" album which many fans considered better than the Earache production version.
Things went so well, that the band decided to reform after almost a decade apart. They recruited lead guitar player, Shawn McCoy, and recorded the demo CD "Blueprint Soul" which quickly sold out through the bands website alone. This landed them a record deal with Season of Mist in 2005. October 17th, 2005 saw the release of the bands sophomore effort; "Unraveled" that contains 8 new songs plus a re-recorded version of the "The Secret". An EP entitled "Sour Times" was also released that contained "Sour Times" & "Hibernation", a radio edit of the title track, a re-mastered version of "Condemned" from their 1990 demo as well as a multi-media section that showcased photos, a screen saver and a live video of the song, "Last Judgment", recorded in the early 1990s. After some success the band released their first DVD "Live in Norway" in 2006. Later that year the band tried to get back the old fire and start writing new material but members disagreed about the direction of the new music, ultimately leading to the exit of Shawn McCoy to peruse other projects. Chris Nolan was brought in to replace Shawn for a few shows but the flame had died down and once again the band took a hiatus.
Confessor regrouped once again for a special appearance at the Maryland Deathfest in 2012, with their new line-up of Scott Jeffreys (vocals), Cary Rowells (bass), Steve Shelton (drums), Brian Shoaf (guitar) and Chris Nolan (guitar) and picked up where they had left off before. Also in 2012, Divebomb Records released "Uncontrolled" a remastered version of the original demo tapes. This marked the first time all three Confessor demo tapes had officially been released together. These were the original demos that helped the band get signed to Earache Records back in 1990 and led to the eventual release of their now ground-breaking, Condemned, debut album. The collection also included some raw archival live footage for a limited bonus DVD.
In 2014, founding member and guitarist Brian Shoaf decided to part ways for a new direction. Later that year the band introduced the "new guy" at a benefit show for longtime friend and guitarist Jason Myrick who had died suddenly. Marcus Williams now took the spot left by Brian Shoaf. They were also invited to play Day of Doom festival in Barcelona, Spain. And are now hard at work on new material for a brand new Confessor masterpiece!
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