Last year, just before departing on a tour through the East Coast, Danny Reid, longtime vocalist for Within Chaos, abruptly left the group. The band was able to find a fill-in to complete the tour, but once home, they set out to find a permanent replacement for Reid. Enter: Jason “JT” Taylor.
Taylor had just left the band he had fronted for six years, the guttural Kill for Mother, and was initially planning on just taking a break from music altogether. Frustration with creative differences, a lack of progress, and competing outside forces had all led to a feeling of burnout for him. Then, he got a call from Within Chaos guitarist Wolfgang Milez. Kill for Mother and an even earlier band of Taylor’s, Sweet Tooth, shared the stage with Within Chaos often, and Milez felt Taylor would be the perfect replacement for Reid. After some cajoling, Taylor agreed to go to a rehearsal.
“There was no way after that day that I was gonna be able to turn them down,” Taylor said. “We really gelled together. They’re really positive dudes. We have a lot of similar interests and a lot of different things in common. I really love their style.”
Fast-forward just five short months, and the new-look Within Chaos is set to release an EP. The six-track Resurrection will be released on Saturday night when the band headlines a big show at Lola’s Fort Worth.
Taylor said the maturity of the guys made the decision to join all the easier. There’s something to be said about still pursuing music as you approach middle age. Most players, wild oats sufficiently sown, have settled down a bit, which lends itself to a renewed focus on the music.
“We’re not doing it for anything other than the fact that we love to hang out and be around each other and create together,” Taylor said.
Taylor sees the appropriately titled Resurrection as a sort of rebirth — not just for the band as they launch a new singer but for him as an individual as well.
“This is an opportunity for me to redefine myself,” Taylor said. “It’s my second chance. It felt like an opportunity to prove everybody wrong, that there was still something that I was passionate about with music. I didn’t really feel that way before I started working with these guys.”
That theme of rebirth extends into Taylor’s lyrical contributions as well. He’s exorcizing a lot of frustration in the songs. With his rabid bear growl, he channels grief over the loss of his mother, most everyone’s current economic struggles, the effects of the pandemic, and rage at unyielding cultural and political divisiveness.
“A lot of what I was writing about was about that frustration,” he said. “Will things ever be the same? Can the music scene survive? How much longer are we going to champion these politicians that are all full of shit and never do what they say they’re going to?”
Despite the aggressive way in which the subject matter is delivered, Taylor said it’s an error to take it as just some angry dude yelling at people.
“The songs are really, as dark as they may seem, about being compassionate, being forgiving, and being accepting,” he said. “They’re about not being afraid to speak about those values without being made to feel weak because of them.”
Lyrics are often an afterthought in metal, typically references to gore and horror masked behind indeterminable growls. Not so with Taylor. He takes great care to craft each word and phrasing so that his lines are clear and easily received by the listener. Words are important to him, and he hopes they’re important to the listener and that he or she identifies with where he’s coming from.
He put it this way: “Nothing feels better than to have someone tell you that something you said speaks to them.”