WHO ON EARTH
Somebody needed to pick up the torch for hard rock and heavy metal with real grit and gusto and without a gimmick. Enter Who On Earth. The New Jersey quintet—Andrew Couche [vocals], Pete Rizzi [bass], Joe D’Aqui [drums], Steve Eagle [guitar], and Rob Dams [guitar]—deliver a one-two punch of hard-hitting hooks and airtight instrumentation bolted down by pummeling grooves and piercing riffs. With virtuoso guitarist and producer Mike Orlando [Adrenaline Mob, Noturnall] in their corner, the musicians pay homage to rock’s past as they usher in its future on their independent full-length debut, Blame.
It all gestated from a question…
“We wanted to fill in the blank of ‘Who On Earth is going to bring back good rock and metal?’,” explains Pete. “We grew up on the new wave of British heavy metal and classic rock. We went through grunge and other great genres of metal. We wanted to resurrect the melodies, hooks, and guitar solos. We went back to our roots, yet upgraded everything with modern production.”
The group made their bones through countless gigs across the Tristate area in every dive bar and concert hall with a stage. Along the way, Andrew and Pete tore up venues as part of MadHaus, performing marathon covers. During 2021, the longtime friends chose to forego covers, hunker down, and compose an original album. Pete invited Joe D’Aqui—the ever-versatile drummer of his thrash band PIERCED—to join the fold. In order to bring the record to life, the band hit the studio with none other than Mike Orlando. Over the course of the next year, the guys endured numerous COVID delays as they recorded with Orlando behind the board as producer, engineer and as “stunt” guitarist. Nodding to everyone from Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica to Rush, Alice In Chains, and Tool, they placed storytelling in the spotlight.
“Most of our songs are complete stories from start-to-finish,” notes Andrew. “We’re talking about our lives.”
“There’s personal vulnerability in the lyrics,” adds Pete. “It’s reflective and honest.”
After teasing the album with “Monster In The Jar,” Who On Earth unleashed “On The Brink.” A head-nodding riff and trudging groove stomp along with a cathartic chorus about, “the struggles of the everyday worker,” according to Andrew.
“It is sung from the perspective of anybody who is in the middle to lower class,” Pete concurs. “It’s the 99% of the population who are constantly bombarded with fake news, manipulated media, misleading advertising, and inflation. Trying to make ends meet is becoming more difficult and depressing. We do whatever we can despite all these factors against us including our own government while reminding ourselves that friends and family matter the most.”
On its heels, Who On Earth take flight with “Black Swan.” Guttural guitars toss and turn beneath Andrew’s grizzled delivery as a gang vocal carries the raucous and raw refrain.
“It’s about a ‘Black Swan Event,’ which is an event nobody could have seen coming,” Pete goes on. “You think you have the best vision for yourself, but we often end up in a totally different place. We make plans, and the universe laughs.”
The record culminates with a fiery clarion call on “We Don’t Belong” where soulful vocals collide with towering distortion.
“It was originally written in our twenties,” Pete reveals. “At the time, we didn’t have all of this other shit in our lives; we just had attitude. It’s the raw emotion of a band who wants to conquer the world like a gang or a family.”
In the end, Who On Earth fill a void for rock ‘n’ roll.
“We just tried to write good songs,” Pete leaves off. “We’ve gone back to what we grew up on. It’s still valuable and relevant. It can’t die.”
“We want to inspire younger people to play this style,” concludes Andrew. “It would be nice to pass on the tradition.”