So Sayeth: metal band leading the charge from Muncie 

So Sayeth's massive drummer Dave Dalton, at the helm of his Ford Econoline custom van, pulls me around to my car in the parking lot behind Muncie bar The Heorot.

"I like older vans," he tells me. "They're easy to get parts for, and there's not a lot of bullshit, so they're easy to work on."

The same could be said of So Sayeth, a crushingly heavy band that has been whipping necks around in Indy for a few years now. The band will set up at the Melody Inn in April for a release party for their new BS-free CD, ... The Silver Tongue.

So Sayeth's new CD, recorded over the past three years in Jason Kindred's house with Dalton on the mixers, is a breath-taking document of a band that's ready for the national stage. Opening tracks "Ghoster" and "Charity Carwash" are full of chunky arena-sized Pantera riffs buoyed by a brutal rhythm section and Kindred's raspy Big Jim Dandy voice.

Then dig deeper into ... The Silver Tongue, and you'll find stoner Viking metal ("Purple Mountain Tragedy"), classic rock-loving cowbell epics ("Dirty Knees," "Out Run The Cops") and a speed metal instrumental complete with a full-on prog-rock mid-section ("Jaguaro"). The variety isn't accidental.

"It was more collaborative this time," So Sayeth frontman Kindred says. "We all kinda combined ourselves together on this, so it wasn't just a couple of people writing songs, we were all writing songs. I think all of our musical influences came together more equally on this CD, as opposed to the ones before."

Members of the Muncie- and Winchester-based quartet have taken their time settling on a name. They were called Mantis, until they discovered a band in Los Angeles called Manntis. And sure enough, after reemerging as Red Horse, they found another Red Horse plying the boards in Europe or Florida. Or both. After an exhaustive search, late last year they rechristened themselves So Sayeth.

"It's a good name - has a certain weight to it," Kindred says. "Plus, we're pretty sure nobody else has the name."

With a voice that can go from almost cookie monster to full metal-god scream, Kindred has no problems being the captain of this ship. The guitar work of Sean King is fluid and dazzling at times, but it's the towering duo of Dalton's drums and Brian Clark's bass that stand out.

Live, as well as on the record, Dalton's drum sound dominates everything, forcing Clark to be quick and nimble on his bass. Like John Entwistle and John Paul Jones before him, Clark has to step it up a notch just to keep from being plowed under.

The 6-foot-9 Dalton, who also drums for Muncie death metallers Legion, looks like a killer from a Rob Zombie movie and plays Neil Peart's drum kit like a baby Bonham. He once played a gig two days after a bad slip on the ice that busted his tookus.

"I just smoked a lot of weed and played through the pain, man," Dalton says of the gig.

The mighty Sasquatch isn't humble about his role in the band.

"I never believed in getting behind the drums and following somebody else. I believe the drummer should be leading the charge," Dalton tells me with a wry smile. "I'm not saying I'm going to run these guys into the ground, playing so fast that they can't keep up, but I definitely think the drummer should drive the music and everybody else in the band should be following him."

Kindred isn't complaining.

"Having these guys in the band makes it sooo much easier for me to be a frontman," Kindred beams. "I think it's great that we are all so attuned to what's going on onstage that I don't have to worry about anybody messing up. It takes a lot of pressure off and I can just have fun playing my parts."

As Dalton drops me off, I ask him about his plans for the future.

"I have already reached my goal in life," Dalton says with a smile. "I'm playing music with a group of guys that makes me happy. That's all I ever set out to do. I mean, I started out playing thrash metal, so it wasn't like I was after fame or chicks or anything. So, whatever happens from here on out, I'm just along for the ride."

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