The Sunday Football-Related Music Post: Seriously Heavy Metal
Today I’m going to profile a group of NFL players who also made music while they were playing. It isn’t my sort, but one has to give them credit for their enthusiasm and note that there is talent there. They are, curiously, not from one or more of the somewhat divo-ish position groups (“divo” is the correct usage, as a “diva” is a woman…) In fact, they come from the trenches (or the trenchermen) and have been billed as bringing true meaning to “heavy” metal.
The men in question are Leonard Davis, bass, Cory Procter, drums, and Marc Colombo on vocals and guitar. They all played on the Dallas offensive line during the time they were getting the band together, although by the time their recording came out (2011) both Proctor and Colombo had been signed by the Dolphins. They are all retired—Davis was the last one still playing, for the 49ers in 2012.
The band is called “Free Reign”. So what does a band sound like whose three principals boast a combined weight of 980 pounds, without instruments, protective equipment, or supplemental musicians? I’m not qualified to judge, so I’ll tell you what the review in The Examiner had to say. Impressively, the reviewer gave the CD four out of five stars. Perhaps he was afraid to do otherwise, though, as some phrases in the review might indicate:
These guys take no prisoners in their music, and have been trained in their “regular jobs” to take you in their grasp and make you beg for mercy… Make no mistake. This dude can sing. Colombo just has that aggressive powerful voice made to melt your face but leave your ears wanting more…Pick up the new CD and go quietly. And nobody gets hurt. Remember, they are heavier than metal.
I jest. The reviewer clearly liked the CD:
From the beginning of the first track All In Vain, its obvious just as the album cover depicts, this train ride is not on a pleasure trip. Davis’ opening bass line coupled with Chapman’s guitar riff, sets up Colombo and the opening verse: “Meltdown of humanity. Watching our world die.” which will take you hostage and immediately have you wanting more.
One Step Away slows down the tempo into almost a heavy ballad, if there is such a term. For you experienced metal heads, you may hear just a hint of Metallica in the beginning. It’s clean, and will lure you in quickly. Colombo’s vocals on this track are smooth, and will have you singing along by the second listen. This is one of the best tracks, and destined to be a hit.
And etc. Here’s the official music video for One Step Away, which I found surprisingly listenable:
Lead singer Colombo talked about the song:
It’s about being close to success, but having someone in your life that keeps you from achieving it. I think the video depicts the overall feel of the lyrics with some great dramatic scenes. We are in the process of booking some really cool shows and ‘One Step Away’ will definitely be in the setlist. Most of our music is heavy with a lot of screaming, this song is a chance to show our versatility and my vocal range.
They won a “Golden God Award” for the album. I had never heard of these awards, but the explanation is in the press release:
Congratulations are in order for Dallas Cowboy linemen Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and Pearl artist Cory Procter. When not working in the trenches of the football field and weight room, those three make up three-fourths of area metal outfit Free Reign. And, last week, the group earned itself some legitimate stripes by winning The Golden God Award for the Most Metal Athletes. Beating out the likes of retired MLB catcher Mike Piazza, WWE professional wrestler Chris Jericho, MMA fighter Josh Barnett, pro skater Jason Ellis and pro BMX rider Jolene Van Vugt, Free Reign was voted into victory by their fans.
As far as I can tell this CD was the last album they made. They have a Facebook page which doesn’t seem to be very active. Which is curious, really. You would think that after they were through playing they would be able to completely devote themselves to their craft, and they all planned to tour when their playing days were over.
Perhaps they were disappointed that “One Step Away” didn’t in fact become a hit single. Perhaps they found music wasn’t as much fun when it wasn’t a diversion for their spare time. Perhaps they are all still tired. What is more likely is, once they weren’t all on the same team anymore, it was way more complicated to practice. Who knows? But the fact they managed to do it at all is pretty impressive, even if, like me, you aren’t a fan of the genre they chose.