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05 May 2009


By Johnny Orlando, Jr.

Believer hails from a region of Pennsylvania Joey Daub (Drums) feels says is probably best known for its proximity to the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, site of a headline-grabbing meltdown disaster in 1979. Daub recalls the eerie feeling that March day that they let school out commanding the students simply to “go home.” He arrived home to find the car packed and ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Although the crisis was eventually averted and no casualties resulted, Daub’s surreal experience of cruising on his skateboard on the empty streets of an ironic pre-apocalyptic landscape still resonates today.

Instead of choosing to work for Mr. Burns, however, Daub and Kurt Bachman (Guitar/Vocals) formed Believer in the late 1980s and garnered an international following before calling it quits in 1994. Prior to the recent St. Patrick’s Day release of Gabriel, it has been over fifteen years since Believer’s last studio album, Dimensions, was issued. Joey Daub has shouldered increasing responsibility in the interim; however, his desire to make neck-breaking thrash has never faltered.

Believer’s resurrection after this extended hiatus was actually the result of serendipitous circumstances. It just so happened that Bachman moved back near Daub and was at a point in his life that he had the time and desire to get back together with Joey to jam. Even though more than a decade had drifted past since he had last hung out with Kurt, Daub felt as though it had only been “fifteen or sixteen days.” At the onset, Bachman and Daub had no real plans or expectations; however, it soon became apparent that they had a storehouse of new material just begging to be unleashed in what would eventually comprise Gabriel.

Back at the time Dimensions was released in 1993, CDs were king, cassette tapes were still widely traded and most personal computers buzzed along with 486 processors. Internet connections were strictly dial-up, frustratingly slow and any notion of downloadable songs was more a pipedream than an inevitable music industry game changer.

As products of this era, Daub and Jeff King (Keyboards/Programming) have fond memories and hold a personal preference for the packaging which accompanied the physical recordings standard in those bygone days. King especially looked forward to staring at the album cover and reading along with the lyrics, something that is not so easy to do nowadays away from a computer monitor.

Daub believes that album artwork and packaging is “even more important” in an ever-increasing digital age and that feels that Believer was committed to producing first-rate packaging to accompany and compliment the music of Gabriel. They called upon Eye Level Studios to create the album's artwork and were extremely pleased with the results. Inviting incredulity, Gabriel’s cover art is actually a photograph depicting a live model – donning horns and body paint – that was produced without the use of Photoshop or any other tricks. Believer feels strongly their fans deserve an enhanced music buying experience and have tried to deliver with the imagery for Gabriel.

As for genre labels, King just feels that these labels are “not very helpful” and Daub feels that having been originally marketed as “Christian thrash” provided some challenging situations in which they felt they had to prove themselves as proficient thrash outfit. Believer, however, prefers not to be categorized at all although they understand that some people may interpret particular lyrics in a particular way. Daub simply urges their fans to “think for themselves” when digesting a Believer track.

What Jeff King does not like to digest, however, is sauerkraut - eschewing his Pennsylvania Dutch roots, he refuses to eat it. Ever. And what else is there to know about these guys? Well, Joey Daub is forever thankful to Alexander Cummings and his ingenious S-trap flushing toilet that keeps the nasty flushed odors where they belong. King, upon reasonable inquiry, can give you the definitive reason why cabooses are no longer attached to the end of modern-day trains (apparently, cabooses housed maintenance personnel essential for smooth operation of the train. These maintenance functions are now performed remotely via computer, ultimately abrogating the need for the caboose.) Daub dreams of visiting Colonel Williamsburg, Virginia in period Amish attire. King would love to rid the United States of pesky centipedes. Joey Daub would cherish the opportunity to be a skunk for a week, strictly for purposes of revenge. Ever the gourmet, King loves to eat food straight from the freezer without heating it up.

And when the final hour is upon us, if the meek shall inherit the Earth, Believer wants Mars! Believer’s Metal Blade debut, Gabriel, is available now.
Johnny Orlando, Jr. is the world’s leading metal journalist.

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