Nice Scary Fellas
Salinas’ own Retribution brings angry visage to Lava Lounge.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
The Salinas metal band Retribution took the stage at the Lava Lounge one night recently without its second guitarist, the 15-year-old prodigy Chris Thompson. While warming up for the gig, guitarist/singer Aaron Rauber and drummer Tim Burke played a few seconds of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” The ponytailed Rauber, along with Tim Burke and his older brother, bassist Chris Burke, looked like a bunch of amicable guys—which they are—until the band got ready to play for the evening.
Rauber shook his hair out of his ponytail and stepped behind the microphone looking a bit like Rob Zombie in the dark room. “We are Retribution from Salinas, and we are going to play some metal for you,” he said simply before playing a moody original titled “Break Away.”
Rauber—wearing a black T-shirt with a white skull—and his bandmates seemed instantly less approachable (and frankly slightly evil) as they launched into another original titled “Set In Stone.” With lots of meaty riffs and tempo changes, the song sounded a bit like early Metallica. As the song took off in different directions, Rauber moved his mop of hair up and down as his bandmates laid down a lightning quick rhythm. A fast punk rock sounding guitar solo erupted from the riffs.
After a handful of explosive originals, Retribution ended their set with “Self Retribution,” a slower song that recalls the sound of Metallica’s 1991 self-titled release. Following the song, Rauber announced: “We’re Retribution; come see us again.”
Back in 1997, the seeds of Retribution were sown when Rauber and Chris Burke met at Palma High School. The two, who played tight end and linebacker on the school’s football team, promised each other that someday they would get together to play some music. A year later, they finally got to do it, and by 2001, with Tim on drums, the group played their first gig at a Salinas warehouse.
Over a year ago, the band decided they wanted to fill out their sound during live shows with a second guitarist. About that time, Thompson, whose dad worked with the Burkes’ father, showed up at a band practice wearing a T-shirt reading: “All I wanna do is rock.” Despite being a young teenager, Thompson became a full member of the band. “He showed up and knew all the songs,” Chris Burke says of the first practice with Thompson, who also plays in local metal band F.S.U.
With two CDs under their belt—2002’s full-length Agony Within and an EP released in 2004 titled Set in Stone—the band is currently working on two more recording projects. One is a re-recording of 10 old originals and another is a set of new material. “It has a different attitude,” Rauber says of the new material.
“It’s more thought out,” Tim Burke adds.
Retribution plays the Lava Lounge in Club Octane, 321 Alvarado St., Monterey, Friday at 10pm. No cover. www.real-retribution.net and myspace.com/retribution. 646-9244.