Surprisingly, metalcore concept albums aren’t generally something you hear all that often. Sure, there are a handful of releases that come to mind but it’s certainly not as common as it should.
Looking to change that and add to last year’s semi-autobiographical LP Reverie is Michigan-based band Boy Becomes Hero.
Set to release their new 10-track effort Escape Artist September 25th, founding member Andrew Brittingham is ready to continue the absorbing account of Amatera.
“Escape Artist is a story that follows Amatera (the antagonist from Reverie), a man who is lost in an ever-changing mental state,” explains Brittingham. “His story begins at a breaking point for change, misled by a corrupt leader, resulting in a devastating loss. Cast out to sea, Amatera finds himself captive by a Siren’s song. With the help of Ninjen (Garret Rapp) and Ajna (Jonny Craig), our hero is able to heal and plan an overtaking of the Siren’s ship in order to find restitution.”
Giving listeners their first look into the new captivating release, Boy Becomes Hero is teaming up with The Noise to share opening tracks “Efficacy” and “Flexibility.”
Commenting on the subject matter behind the hard-hitting tracks, Brittingham states, “‘Efficacy’ and ‘Flexibility’ take a deep dive into one of my lowest moments. Not wanting to exist, feeling like a burden. Starting to learn that some relationships are worth giving up when they become toxic enough to ruin your quality of life.”
To check out the first of many honest and raw singles from Boy Becomes Hero’s forthcoming LP as well as our deep dive into Escape Artist with Brittingham, be sure to see below. Afterward, for more from the band, head here.
For those who are new to the project, how did Boy Becomes Hero get started? And how did you link up with artists like Garret Rapp and Kurt Travis?
Andrew Brittingham: Boy Becomes Hero actually started out about 10 years ago now as just myself and an acoustic guitar… but we don’t talk much about that [laughs]! Back in 2018, after getting a full year of sobriety under my belt, it was really time to buckle down and prove to myself that I could still write music and write a song again. Well that one song turned into 10 pretty quickly. The story is, I began to write and the message I wanted to share wasn’t something I felt was acceptable to keep to myself. After reaching out to Garret Rapp, Kurt Travis, Aaron Gillespie and Sam Kohl and letting them know what the project was for, they were quick to hop on board. It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve had the opportunity to create friendships with some of the people I’ve looked up to for years.
Escape Artist, [on the other hand], has a whole new team of people though with Garret returning again. That makes this album even more exciting than the last!
Boy Becomes Hero also works closely with To Write Love On Her Arms to raise awareness for depression, self-harm, addiction, and suicide. What led you to work with Jamie Tworkowski and his company?
TWLOHA has always been close to my heart. One of their shirts, oddly enough, was one of the first pieces of apparel I bought at a show as a kid. Their mission statement is exactly what we need in this world. It’s too often and common that we struggle with life and don’t have anyone we feel comfortable to talk with. Sometimes just sharing your own story is enough to help someone else feel comfortable to open up and share as well. I think Jamie and I both see that and that’s what I’m here to do – share my story in the hopes that more people know that they aren’t alone no matter what it is they may be struggling with most.
As for your music, your upcoming album Escape Artist serves as a prelude to 2019′s Reverie and is a concept album with a pretty interesting cast of characters. Can you dive into the new record and the story behind it?
Escape Artist is a story that follows Amatera (the antagonist from Reverie), a man who is lost in an ever-changing mental state. His story begins at a breaking point for change, misled by a corrupt leader, resulting in a devastating loss. Cast out to sea, Amatera finds himself captive by a Siren’s song. With the help of Ninjen (Garret Rapp) and Ajna (Jonny Craig), our hero is able to heal and plan an overtaking of the Siren’s ship in order to find restitution. The end of this album ties right into “Abstraction” from Reverie.
A deluxe edition will be available next year with a few songs re-imagined from Reverie, where our characters from both albums’ stories collide. Escape Artist is kind of a horror album; you’ll really be able to hear that. It makes its way musically with our characters moving from dark to light. Jonathan Gearing jumping on board this time really steps things up a notch with the programming and Andreas Magnusson really killed it with the mix. There’s a whole lot of Garret on here too. I can’t wait for everyone to really dig into this.
How challenging was it to tie Escape Artist all together with the story as a whole?
Honestly, getting Escape Artist to tie into Reverie was just the natural progression. As the albums are semi-autobiographical the material flows very smoothly and easily. Ensuring continuity is probably one of the most difficult tasks, but makes it a lot of fun.
Rounding out 2020, what does the rest of the year have in store for Boy Becomes Hero?
2020 still has a lot to come. “Flexibility” is just the tip of the iceberg here. There’s a lot of content on the way. The full album is slated to release September 25th. An Instrumental version of the album is on its way as well.