Alright, Ernie Ball fans. Let’s get heavy this Monday with Unearth. You might recognize the name from the gargantuan tracks like “Zombie Autopilot,” “Incinerate,” or “My Will Be Done.” The Boston-based metalcore ensemble defines their sound based on their unique blend between different inspirations in a modern package.
Harnessing the punishing groove of Pantera, the melodic majesty of the New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal, the fist-pumping anthemic power of traditional metal and the gritty realness of early ‘90s Metalcore and Noisecore, Unearth offers a unique take on what was already a thrilling recipe.
Unearth Official Bio
With over two decades under their belt, Unearth has refined their influences and years of experience into their very own sound that stands out in their genre. Over the course of perfecting metalcore, Unearth has released seven albums along the way. Their latest, Extinction(s), features brutal breakdowns and catchy melodies like the ones on “No Reprisal” below.
Q&A with Ken Susi of Unearth
We had the chance to speak with long-time guitarist, Ken Susi, about his most recent tour, his time with Unearth, and his penchant for photography. Check out the Q&A below!
EB: You just got back from tour with Unearth. How was it? What dates were the most memorable?
KS: We were just out for three and a half weeks in Europe supporting As I Lay Dying. The tour was unreal and I couldn’t really tell you what show was amazing because all of them were. Most of the shows on this run were 2,000-4,000 kids a night.
EB: The lineup is jam-packed with Ernie Ball artists — Chelsea Grin and Fit for a King are alongside you for the upcoming dates. What is it like working closely with these guys?
KS: This tour was special because the three openers all traveled together in a 25 sleeper tour bus. All three bands instantly got along and hung out a lot. This doesn’t happen often, but all of us were using Ernie Ball strings and that was a good ice breaker during the first couple of days. I mainly use Super Slinky Cobalts with an extra .056, so it was cool to talk to some of the other guys about why they gravitated towards the Regular Slinkys. It’s always cool to pick up someone else’s guitar and check out the feel of a different type of string or guitar. Also, Stephen Rutishauser from Chelsea Grin exclusively uses Ernie Ball Music Man guitars so it was awesome to finally spend some time with one to check out. Quality Instrument!
EB: Has there been any on-the-road antics that you guys have gotten up to?
KS: Other than smoking semi-legal narcotics and drinking booze, the tour was surprisingly a super chill hang. Nothing crazy.
EB: What are some things that you need to have with you for those long trips on the road?
KS: I always need a camera. I’m a part-time photographer, so it’s therapeutic to get lost in foreign countries and take photos of anything or anyone I meet. Oh yeah, Internet/wifi to communicate with home is clutch along with late-night McDonalds.
EB: Unearth has been around since ’98, and you’ve been shredding with them since the beginning. What has it been like to see the band evolve over the course of 20 plus years?
KS: It’s been unreal! Needless to say, being in a band is hard work and harder when you’re coming up. It’s really nice to still have a solid career and 20 years later still get the excitement of the fans that support us. The most important thing is that all five members of our band like each other and also like creating music together. That’s the reason why we still tour and create music. If we didn’t have that love, we wouldn’t be doing it still.
EB: You’ve got Super Slinkys as your current guitar strings on your setup for ripping up those performances. What draws you to these particular strings?
KS: I love my Super Slinky strings! Every time I picked up a guitar with [Ernie Ball strings], I always noticed how good they felt. Feel is everything and for me, Ernie Ball delivered that buttery feel I couldn’t get out of another string. Another thing that was important to me was quality. During a tour, I only swap my strings out every two to three shows and I have never encountered a defective string or even broke one on my own. I’m not saying this because I’m being interviewed by you, but I honestly feel that I finally have found my home with Ernie Ball. I couldn’t be happier! Thanks to Ryan “Fluff” Bruce for giving me the intro.
EB: What kind of influences are you bringing to the table with your guitar playing in Unearth?
KS: Buz and I have always done the writing for Unearth, so my style has always been a mashup between my favorite players and bands. I have always admired iconic bands like Iron Maiden, Pantera, Megadeth, Metallica, Crowbar, and players like Vito Bratta, Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Reb Beach, Eddie Van Halen — all the big guys! I play what I feel and try to be an innovator and not a follower. I honestly feel that Unearth is a creative band that takes musical chances and doesn’t always turn over the same type of song or album. It’s important to stay fresh!
EB: What do you have lined up in the future with Unearth? What should your fans be psyched for?
KS: More touring and I’m currently in the process of writing an EP. I would like to put out a shorter record. I have a short attention span so putting out five or six songs could be fun. I am also working on my other side project, Swivel. It’s a two female, two male grunge band from the north shore. Check out our single “Clueless” on YouTube.