Strength Tour UNTO OTHERS at Angels Rock Bar (21+) Blood Star, Ravagers
It is truly heavy music’s sweetest spot to take the majesty and familiarity of its past and inject it with a fresh bout of creativity, a welcome jolt of musical bravery and an X factor that makes you believe this band could make a difference. With nods to timeless gothic rock, traditional heavy metal, arena-ready hard rock and all while never, ever pulling their punches, this is exactly what Portland, Oregon’s Unto Others (formerly Idle Hands) have been doing since their inception in 2017.
The band is the brainchild of singer songwriter Gabriel Franco (formerly of Spellcaster and Seventh Gate) and to truly understand Unto Others, one must step inside his shoes and walk his journey to this point. Having grown weary with the restrictive scene politics that come with playing in bands circumnavigating rock’s underground, Franco made the decision to take a stand, both with the world and himself, to be limitless in both his ambition and his creative endeavors. After completing the task of seeking out and recruiting like-minded conspirators, all roads left to this band. All roads lead to Unto Others.
“I was stuck in a rut, for years I had played bass for a mildly successful band that was doing great on the outside but falling apart on the inside. That fell apart like we all knew it would. 7 years of hard work brought down by a mixture of bad communication, ego and self-doubt. When it ended, I knew I couldn’t do that again, I needed to be in charge of the writing process. That’s when Idle Hands began.”
Following on from their globally critically acclaimed debut album Mana and its equally lauded prior EP, Don’t Waste Your Time, as well as successful tours wowing the audiences of King Diamond, Behemoth and more, there is no better showcase for this iron clad mission statement than on their upcoming sophomore album, Strength.
Filled with festival sized riffing and boasting irresistible, inescapable vocal hooks by the truckload, it is a masterclass in showcasing the pinnacle of hard rock’s past and not so much hinting at but screaming at a bright and bold new future. Be it the infectious gallop of “Why,” the effortless cool strut that emanates from “Downtown,” Gabe and Unto Others stared a global pandemic in the face and refused to be beaten into submission. Rather than allowing real world events to swallow them, they built a world of their own. An album that is true escapism.
“I need to be writing for the sheer joy of making music, making something that has never been there before,” explains Franco. “Once I got back into that headspace, it was easy, and I got very excited to finish the record regardless of the world’s social and economic climate. No matter what happens out there, I’ve still got something that no one can take away, and that is motivating.”
In 2021, Unto Others find themselves labelmates with Slipknot, Trivium and more of the world’s most influential, world changing acts. On the evidence that Strength provides, it would take a brave person to bet against Unto Others being a name that will be on everybody’s lips from this moment on.