The art of being a rock band in a modern music industry generally means conforming to an idea that the masses have of what you should be; as rock slowly grows away from being one of the undeniably biggest genres in the world, weaning in favor of hip-hop, pop, and EDM, to become a successful rock act, you’ve gotta’ change at least a little bit about yourself and how you present yourself to the world. It’s nothing new, musical trends have been a thing forever (does anyone remember KISS going full-blown disco?), but in recent years the need for rock bands to conform has become stronger than ever.
Some indie bands have the freedom to tell mainstream rock groups to shove it, however, and they’ve been able to use their indie cred as a way to express their innermost artistic ambitions. One such group, Florida-based Greye, is a band that thrives on nonconformity. They loosely fit under the label of Southern Rock, but call themselves Southern Rock 2.0 — and after hearing their latest single “Bang Bang,” the delineation is intentional!
“Bang Bang” arrives like a powder keg set off in the middle of a cubicle. It blows the doors off the place and the place next door to the place, arriving at a full Usain Bolt-level sprint with incredible presence. With drums and guitars instantly at the ready and at full power, Greye showcases just how little they’re playing around, and “Bang Bang” functions as a perfect calling card for the sound they describe as Southern Rock 2.0.
There’s a distinct twang to the vocals and production, but above all else there’s a guttural metal thrash to the entire single, feeling more Five Finger Death Punch than Shinedown. The heavy underbelly of “Bang Bang,” from its gritty lyrics to its distinctly serious presence, acts without hesitation. It’s a single full of insanely catchy melodies, too, as the guitar resonates with a riff that becomes a piece of the vocals in itself — lead singer Hannah Summer is an artist clearly unafraid of owning the studio and stage, and her vibrant vocals are an instant highlight of the new track.
It’s impressive just how out of place “Bang Bang” would feel on modern mainstream radios, with its crass instrumental and pointed lyrics (“You’re just a dog in the manger,” for instance)doing everything in their power to come across as something not safe for radio. The way Greye carry themselves as social disruptors will bring their fanbase to new heights, though, as their overall sound is something that has been sorely missing from mainstream access.
Presenting themselves as a band of fringe outsiders is a perfect way to gain traction, and their material backs up the talk and earns the laurels without much difficulty. There’s an almost certainty that “Bang Bang” is a perfect addition to Greye’s live performances, and it’s clearly a perfect fit for their always-expanding musical catalog. Greye is here to say this one’s for the people who want something deeper than Top 40 hits, for the folks unafraid to call out conformity.