Fighting the Force
Not so long ago in a galaxy somewhere nearby, an alien empress walked down a boulevard lined with her adoring subjects on her coronation day. Before she could reach the dias, a deafening, hollow sound from above silenced the reverie, and a black cloud spread across the sky. It was the void, an intergalactic nomadic race of formless beings hell-bent on consuming everything and everyone in their path.
The empress fled her planet with a small group of survivors. To this day she travels from star to star, one step ahead of the void. She is building a coalition, planet by planet, through diplomacy and kindness. One day, she will stop running, turn around and fight the dark forces that took her people from her.
Here on earth, the empress’ message is heralded by five friendly metalheads from Colorado Springs. Their band is called Ovira, and their music is in service to the intergalactic resistance against the void. Or so the story — as imagined by drummer Brandon Grimes — goes.
The Love of Metal Music
Perhaps due to its higher calling, Ovira is gaining momentum fast. In December, the band rose to the top of the 16 bands competing in Bandwagon’s own Battle of the Bands. The crowd chose Ovira as the undisputed victor after the band rocked the house with a frenetic set in the final round. Since then, the band members have kept up a steady pace of touring and recording, all while holding down day jobs back in their hometown.
You can catch the band at the Black Sheep in Colorado Springs on the 11th, at the Black Buzzard in Denver on the 18th and at the Moxi Theater in Greeley on the 25th. No matter who you are, the band wants you in the pit.
“No matter what age, color, creed, religion, we want you there,” vocalist Brandon Windley-Simpson told Bandwagon. “As long as you love metal music.”
Give Yourself Power
Among the band’s many talents, Ovira is excellent at riling up a crowd. Brandon, who has a background in theater, moves around the stage constantly and locks eyes with crowd members as he delivers alternating screams and melodic vocals. Guitarists Chase Hunt and Caleb Delladio have a habit of standing on monitors during breakdowns. Backstage, the band members are best-described as a group of loveable nerds. On-stage they transform into a show-boating metal juggernaut.
“We always want our shows to be an experience,” Windley-Simpson said.
Their antics, in some part, stem from the music. Though each member contributes to the writing process, Ovira’s songs have a remarkably consistent sound. Ominous syncopated riffs and screaming during verses and breakdowns give way to hooky choruses with arpeggiated guitars and clean vocals. The lyrics touch on depression, anxiety and despair, but, most of the time, they end on a call-to-action.
“Give yourself power, hold tight to your worth, no one can steal it from you,” Windley-Simpson screams on “New Birth.”
The lyrics betray the bands’ vision for the fanbase they want to foster.
“Essentially we try to be a beacon of light,” Grimes said. “We want to create a community of acceptance that people can come to in their darkest moments and really just meet in a vulnerable space.”
The desire for a scene that both acknowledges negative emotions and provides relief from them is a message that many metal bands espouse. But, unlike some, Ovira really walks the walk. You can see it in how they treat each other — no ideas are off limits and everyone gets respect and kindness.
“I feel like my friends, and the band specifically, are the people that I reach out to whenever I feel the darkest,” Grimes said. “I just really want to share that with other people through our shows and music.”
Feel the Love for Yourself
Ovira’s strong values even seep into their compositions. Though the band’s genre is probably closest to metalcore, its members sport a wide variety of genre preferences. Grimes is a prog and yacht-rock junky while Windley-Simpson is a soul and R&B fan. The rest of the members are, unsurprisingly, different flavors of metalhead. But, together the band coalesces into a sound that is unmistakable Ovira. This is only possible because the band members are excellent at listening to each other.
“We don’t try to emulate any sounds,” Hunt said. “We just get together and play music that we enjoy and makes us connect as a band and as friends.”