Everything isn't always sunshine and roses, but that's the point of heavy metal.
"Not everybody can be happy all day long," Gary Edrington, lead vocalist and guitarist for local metal/hard-rock band Cause of Affliction said of the appeal of metal. "The genre of music is a good way to get that out, to have a positive release."
The 28-year-old Pocono Lake musician is joined in the Cause of Affliction quartet by guitarist Billy Tobin, 36, of Wilkes-Barre, bassist Matt Van Fleet, 28, of Old Forge, and drummer Mandy Touch, 24, of Jessup.
The band formed in September of last year and began playing shows in February. Cause of Affliction's booming sound of driving guitar riffs and pounding percussion is the result of the members' different styles coming together. While hard rock and metal hold their place among the list of influences – Edrington points to Metallica and Megadeth, while Touch cites Pantera and White Chapel – a different influence comes from Tobin.
"I'm nothing but a misplaced blues player," he joked. "I loved blues and alt rock, and that was it."
"He actually didn't like metal at first and told Matt he didn't know if he could do it, but then he just couldn't stop listening to it," Touch said.
Tobin's bluesy background was easy to incorporate into the band's sound.
"Everything comes from blues anyway," Edrington said, "so it's really not that big of a stretch that he'd have no problem playing metal."
The diversity in musical tastes sets Affliction apart.
"What makes us unique is the variety of influences we have," Tobin said. "You mix us all together, and you've got Cause of Affliction: punk to blues to hard rock to metal."
Another aspect of Affliction's music is more understated.
"People have labeled us a Christian band, but we aren't," Touch said. "We are all very strong in our Christian faith, and it comes into the music in a subtle way, but it's not like we're shoving it down people's throats. We just so happen to be four Christians that play in a band together."
"If you know our background, you would probably get the Christian aspect," Edrington said, "but if you didn't you could just take it and relate it to something else in life."
For all the heaviness that comes with the metal label, Affliction strives to bring light to its sound.
"This kind of music is a dark music, but it doesn't have to be just that way to be a heavy band," Tobin said. "Some people out there just need to hear a good message, and that's what we're trying to give them."
"As far as the direction and sound of our music goes, we want people to be able to find that positive release," Edrington said. "As for the lyrics, we want people to feel better about themselves and think on what they're doing in their life, and try to take away something positive."
One of the oldest civilian concert bands in the United States will perform close to home at the Mauch Chunk Opera House on Sunday.
The Allentown Band has kept the tradition of concert music alive since 1828. The original conductor, Albertus Meyers, was a close friend of famed conductor and band leader John Philip Sousa, who eventually recruited members of the Allentown Band for his own organization.
The Allentown Band has performed all over, from a show attended by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to marching in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade in 1901.
What: Cause of Affliction with Eye on Attraction and EverRage
When: 10 tonight
Where: Diane's Deli, 206 S. Main St., Pittston
Cover charge: $5
More info: 602-5200
What: The Allentown Band
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mauch Chunk Opera House, 14 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: $15 adults, $10 seniors, $8 children 12 and under
More info: 325-0249