Yet the true "control" exercised by the group is that which they place over their musical priorities. After performing in local bands around the Stafford area that fell below their standards, members Wes, Tim, Kyle, Matt and Bruce formed the highly successful rap-rock group Lockdown--which gained notoriety for their live shows at Jaxx nightclub and the first annual Big One festival.
An artist's harshest critic is himself. After countless performances and good local album sales, the Lockdown crew grew weary of their old songs, moniker and decidedly unhip Lockdown jerseys. Instead of merely breaking up, as their former bands had, the group decided to obtain a "heavier, edgier sound," explains guitarist Kyle Farley.
"Our sound was maturing, and we just thought the name change was appropriate," Farley elaborates.
With the aid of manager Jim Pryor (bassist Tim Pryor's father), the band obtained studio time at Wally Cleavers recording studio in Fredericksburg, where they relinquished control of their chaos and tested their musical limits (and the hard rock standards of their listeners) with a new 12-song LP, titled "Perfect Infection."
"The new CD has 12 tracks, none of which can be confused with the next," Tim Pryor explains. "There are so many different rock styles on the CD, I think it shows diversity if nothing else."
Indeed, throughout the record, Ethix manages to successfully blend alternative rock, reggae and metal, throwing quick lyrics around like Frisbees, and beating fans' eardrums with intense guitar solos.
Highlights of the disc include the rougher songs "Revenge" and "What You Are" which, according to drummer Matt Hughes, are fan favorites.
"We really enjoy playing songs like [those listed above] just because they are hard, 'in-your-face' kind of songs," he says.
Other album tracks such as "Big Shot" and "Passenger" showcase the versatility of the band, as the guitar abuse is paused for moments of Caribbean-tinged upstroke swipes of the strings.
With multiple members leaving for different colleges in the fall, it would be easy to throw in the towel. But Ethix has other ideas.
"Three of us are going to three different colleges. That's going to do nothing but help, because we're going to get connections in the college scene at three different schools," guitarist and lyricist Wes Grant shares.
In a time when garage bands rise and fall under their own independent banners, it is refreshing to see a band that possesses not only staying power, but a commitment to wringing satisfaction from their music using both hands.
This Saturday at 7 p.m., Ethix will take the stage at the old Stafford Middle School to perform tracks from their newest release, "Perfect Infection." Opening bands include Nashira and Drivelink. The Ethix gents will be exhibiting their "controlled chaos" for a promising hour-long set. So come out and join your local rap-rock heroes for a show that promises to bring home the bacon and rocking tunes on the side.
BRENDAN FITZGERALD is a senior at Colonial Forge High School.
Check out the artist's website:
1. What You Are
2. Let Go
4. Big Shot
5. Hero (for a day)
6. Perfect Infection
10. Take Down
11. Slippin' Away