Sitting in producer Zach Jones’ two-room studio in North Hollywood, summer 2021, Kingsmen vocalist Tanner Guimond was in the midst of recording a new song when the space beside him suddenly erupted with a burst of immense excitement. Simultaneously workshopping what would become their titular track ‘Bones Don’t Lie,’ his fellow bandmates had cranked their speakers up to the max just as a riveting breakdown was born, permeating the soundproofed walls and catapulting Guimond’s creative neurons into a quick crescendo of impromptu inspiration. Exchanging a swift nod of approval with fellow producer Josh Strock before charging over to belt out the word ‘smash!’, the frontman recognized a turning point in the making.
“After that moment with the band, I actually sat there and thought, I’m going to write this song with one overarching idea,” Guimond vividly recalled the sudden surge of inspiration. “I knew that lyrically, it all needed to build up to that one word. Of course, the song isn’t just about saying smash… Realistically, it’s about figuring out that someone is lying to you, trying to overcome that, and seeing through the mask. But you’re smashing through that fake wall of lying and deceit, and that was the concept behind it.”
A tale of fruitful spontaneity, creative breakthroughs like this may have been unplanned, but the exploratory mindset that fueled such occurrences was a key mainstay throughout the Providence quintet’s sophomore record. Indeed, the story behind the meaningful track and namesake of Bones Don’t Lie not only encapsulated the band’s outlook toward their new album, but what they believe to be the next phase of their artistic career.
Like carbon atoms crystalized into precious stone, radiant transformation was clearly an important aspect for vocalist Guimond, bassist Adam Bakelman, drummer Michael Perrotta, and guitarists Tim Lucier and Nick Gilbert as they set out to craft their latest ten-track offering. Yet, just as diamonds aren’t formed without a little heat, the metal outfit welcomed a good challenge in the name of personal growth.
Embracing their most experimental outlook to date, the tight-knit group wasted no time stepping outside their comfort zone and even across the country in search of inspiration. Recorded primarily in Los Angeles, California, with a short stop in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Kingsmen took a substantial risk, discarding around twenty-five already mapped-out tracks and arriving at the studio with an almost completely clean slate. Combined with a willingness to soak in their new environment, the band developed the chorus of ‘Bitter Half’ while on a thoughtful drive through Santa Monica, transformed a moving visit to Gettysburg into the poignant theme of comradery in “Trial By Fire,” and along with the guidance of new collaborators Zach Jones’ (Chelsea Grin, Fever 333, Silent Planet), Josh Strock (Bad Wolves, Pop Evil), and Ricky Armellino (Ice Nine Kills, This or the Apocalypse), effectively hit their stride.
A distinct difference in approach from previous album Revenge. Forgiveness. Recovery, in which the majority of the music was written prior to entering the studio, Bones Don’t Lie stemmed from the back- and-forth teamwork of real-time feedback. For Kingsmen, bouncing ideas around in a room full of friends was an ideal scenario as opposed to “ripping our hair out trying to figure out how to add to an already completed picture.” And, according to Gilbert, it was this “push-and-pull dynamic that kept us creative.”
But, with such fundamental shifts, what kind of sound does the current album represent? With new influences, locations, producers, and creative process, things were naturally bound to change. Nevertheless, Kingsmen are quite stern in asserting that there was “no throwing thoughtless ideas at a wall and seeing what sticks.” The point of a successful evolution is becoming the best version of oneself. And to do so, remaining true to one’s core elements is a vital factor. As a result, the band didn’t aim for a trend or pick a sound out of a hat. Instead, they made a point to return to their roots.
Having grown up listening to artists such as Rammstein, Rob Zombie, and Breaking Benjamin amongst other greats, the quintet set forth to put a Kingsmen spin on the classic rock and metal notes we all know and love.