“Cause of Affliction” rises above sophomore jinx

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Cause of Affliction will debut its second album on June 5 at Bar on Oak in Pittston.

You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed Gary Edrington smashing an empty beer keg with a baseball bat in perfect syncopation to a deliciously devilish groove-metal assault. Since their inception in 2011, NEPA’s own Cause of Affliction, has provided one of the most visceral live experiences you can possibly have in a club environment.

Cause of Affliction celebrates the release of their second album, “Time To Rise,” with a release show at Bar On Oak in Pittston June 5. The show will seemingly begin a clobbering second chapter of this band’s ever-evolving career – COA is ripe for punishing a crowd, with more than enough ammunition to spare. If by chance you’ve been gloriously victimized by the band’s debut, “Freedom Is A Lie,” the new record will take you to new heights of sonic debauchery.

COA, who along with vocalist Edrington is rounded out by guitarist Billy Tobin, bassist Matt Van Fleet, and drummer Amanda Touch, couldn’t be more stoked to get the new music out there.

“I would say the past year and half has been pretty great for us,” Van Fleet said. “We’ve had the privilege to open up for quite a few major bands, played a lot of new venues in various states along the East Coast, which also helped us expand our fan base, meet a lot of great people and musicians, and gain new friends along the way.”

The band, refreshingly realistic in their self-assessment, can point out what they might have done differently.

“I feel as though one mistake we made was playing most of our new material in our set before even recording a new album,” Van Fleet said. “We would have people buying our first album, ‘Freedom Is A Lie,’ after our set after only playing two or three songs off that album. Also, for a while there we really over-played locally. We were playing every single weekend, sometimes even twice a weekend all within about a 10-mile radius and then we wondered why people weren’t coming out to shows as often as we’d like.”

There is a benefit to playing live as much as Cause of Affliction has. The band’s become one of the tightest units of any musical genre that can be seen locally – a fact that hasn’t been lost on longtime fans.

“We have definitely grown as a band, as musicians and as showmen (and woman),” Touch said. “We are finally at that stage where we found our sound and are comfortable with who we are as a band, so that makes it a lot easier for us to lock in with each other and kind of feel what the next move should be. We are a whole new animal live – we’re headbanging, jumping, running, skipping, and smashing that keg harder than ever! We count our shows as an intense 30-plus minute cardio workout routine for the day.”

As if “Freedom Is A Lie” didn’t make enough waves, “Time To Rise” will turn heads again – not only for the quality of the songs, but the pristine production on the part of Olyphant’s JL Studios.

“We started recording ‘Time To Rise’ this past January at JL Studios with Joe Loftus and Jay Preston,” Van Fleet notes. “We booked around three weeks-worth of studio time from January until March. The recording process is always the easiest part, but what takes the most time is the mixing/mastering of an album.”

With everyone a key contributor to the songwriting process, the new album was a total collaborative effort. Just as a hungry audience will have their own opinions, the band can narrow down their own choice cuts.

“Personally, I would have to say ‘Betrayed,’” Van Fleet said of his idea for standout tracks. “That song seems to have so many different elements, from heavy breakdowns, clean verses, and funk. There is just something for everyone on that song.”

“My favorites are ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Scar My Eyes,’” Touch said. “’Betrayed’ is great because it has heavy parts, radio-friendly parts, weird parts, groovy parts, pretty much like Matt said – parts for everyone. ‘Scar My Eyes’ I really enjoy playing and listening to because it has a Machine Head feel and sound to it, and I just think it’s structured well overall.”

It’s this live situation upon which COA thrives. Armed with an arsenal of incredible new music, and a work ethic that keeps their heads out of the clouds (“It’s never wise to take every show offered to you,” they say), the band is primed for nothing less than giving their fans the best of what they can deliver.

“Going on road trips with my bandmates and seeing new places and meeting new people, all while getting to do what we all love at the same time is what makes this fun for me,” Touch said. “Also, there is no greater rush than playing a live show and seeing people in the crowd enjoying and getting into music you’ve worked so hard to create from scratch.

We’re all like family, so that adds to the fun – except for the times where we want to punch each other in the face, like every normal family!”