When the phrase “We’re getting the band back together!” is uttered, it often ends with a whimper, representing a misguided attempt to fleetingly capture a past that is no longer recognizable. After a three-decade absence, former State College heavy metal stalwart Nitro is looking to buck that trend with a three-pronged approach: reuniting, re-releasing their first LP “Lethal,” and releasing a new full-length album “Flechette,” set to drop later on this year.
According to the members, it’s an exciting time to be in Nitro. The band is thrilled to be playing together again.
“The short version of a really long story is that we took a bit of a break between 1985 and 2012,” drummer Tim Wilson said. “About a year ago we got together at our guitarist’s studio and said ‘Hey, it’s going to be 30 years since the release of the LP. Do you want to put something out as a sort of celebration?’ We thought that we’d do a track or two and put out an expanded edition of the record with an additional track to give it a little bit of added value, and it kind of blossomed from there.”
“The fun aspect is still there,” vocalist Dana Confer added. “I can’t quite scream like I used to, but we’re really happy with our new song ‘Uranium.’ It makes you feel like a rock star even though you’re too old to be one.”
Heavily influenced by the wave of British heavy metal from the late 1970s and early ’80s, Nitro has a punishingly pleasant sound that emphasizes melodies over madness. The gluttonous guitar groove harkens back to the heyday of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Despite the lapse in time, the musicians stay true to their metal roots, building off and refining the foundation they forged when they were in their 20s.
“We cut our teeth on Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zepplin. ... We wanted to musically blend the dark stuff that was going on in British heavy metal with the more positive or lighter themes that were coming out of America,” Wilson said.
“Of course our stuff back then was from a 19 and 20-year-old perspective and that’s what we were writing about, but now we’re in our 50s we’ve expanded our palates a bit and the stuff that we’re currently writing thematically is a little more mature, but from a musical standpoint it’s the same kind of stuff. At the core it’s still that 70s metal and hard rock because that’s the stuff that we grew up on.”
Fortunately for Nitro, reuniting after a 30-year hiatus wasn’t that big of an issue. There were no Billy Corgan-sized egos or Pink Floyd weirdness and instability that threatened to mar the reunion.
“Just about every moment was déjà vu, and there’s an instant where it’s all familiar and recognizable,” Wilson said. “I would say that it took an hour of having the four of us banging around in a room on the material that we forged years ago. After two or three runs through the stuff, we said, ‘It sounds just like what we were doing back then,’ and it was really easy. It’s a cliché, but it was really like hopping back onto a bike.”
“It wasn’t really hard and there was a lot of picking it up from where we left it,” guitarist John Hazel added. “The feeling of playing together came right back and we were like, ‘Hey, this is kind of what it was like when we were playing 30 years ago.’ ”
For more information on Nitro’s next move and the new CD, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nitro/291420000913566.