Few bands in the Mid-Ohio Valley have been around as long as Liecus, but don't let their longstanding status fool you into thinking the heavy rock band has grown stale.
Quite the contrary. Despite a shake-up in their line-up over the past few years, with only guitarist Eric Seevers remaining from the original group founded in 1998, newness abounds.
The aggressive, hard rock, heavy metal sound filled with frenzied drums, screaming vocals and intricately dynamic guitar riffs is mostly gone.
And while the passion and aggression is still there, Liecus has evolved into something much more nuanced and melodic, and that change has definitely been for the band's betterment, Seevers said.
"We've kept the music very heavy and sonic, but we have melodic vocals now that can connect to a lot more people," he said. "Our audience has tripled since we've made these changes to the sound."
The transformation, Seevers said, came about mostly through the addition of Rob Yost as the band's lyricist and vocalist.
Upcoming Liecus concerts
- What: 103.1 The Bear - The Bearfest Resurrection
- When: 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Aug. 28
- Where: Eagles Club, 627 Lubeck Ave., Parkersburg
- Who: Liecus, Saving Abel, Cavo, Noise Auction, Bobaflex and more
- What: Sinners n Saints Fall Ball
- When: 4 p.m. Aug. 27 to 8 a.m. Aug. 29
- Where: Ohio 60, halfway between McConnelsville and Beverly
- Who: Liecus, Resurrect 27, the Jason Allwood Band and more
- Vocals - Robbie Gold (Yost)
- Guitar - Eric Seevers
- Lead Guitar - Joe Bailey
- Bass - Aaron Riggins
- Drums - Mark Hayhurst
"We don't do the screaming anymore," Seevers said. "It's a lot of singing and we've found that people can definitely understand what we're doing now."
Another principle change came through the way Seevers was writing the group's music. Prior to the line-up changes, Seevers would often spend a month on a single song, cramming as many riffs into it as he could.
"I'd try to make it this big epic thing with intricate parts," he said. "Now I take songwriting so differently. I use the KISS method: Keep it simple, stupid."
Seevers said the result is a songwriting process that takes a fraction of the time and sounds cleaner, with less of a muddled mess confusing the listener.
The band's various pieces are talented enough to let the song speak for itself. The result is definitely a less is more approach, but it's also akin to the sum being greater than the parts, to use a few hackneyed cliches.
At the beginning of the month, the band saw all these changes culminate in a battle of the bands win put on by C.A. House Music in Parkersburg. That led to some free recording time at Sweet Song Studio in Parkersburg and later in the year the band plans to head to Nashville for some more recording time.
While many bands and musicians opt for the DIY approach in recording material now that it's relatively easy and affordable to record music in a basement somewhere, Liecus prefers the traditional approach.
"If we were doing acoustic songs or playing folk music, I probably would prefer to do it the DIY way to get that rootsy, raw sound," Seevers said. "Doing rock music, and having so many parts, I just think it's a better choice to have more of a polished sound."
In the meantime, Liecus continues to play local venues, with shows in the next few weeks planned for Aug. 28 at the Bearfest Resurrection at the Eagles Club in Parkersburg, and at the Sinners and Saints bike rally in McConnelsville later that day. The group is also slated to headline the upcoming Marietta Brewing Company's music fest.
It's events like the Bearfest, though, that has Seevers most excited about the local music scene.
"The Bear's bringin in some national acts over to the Eagles Club and that's lifting up the scene a little bit," he said. "The talent has always been here, but we just need a little help from the radio stations, from the clubs and from (other media outlets), just to keep this thing rolling and keep people informed."