By Brittany Satterfield
Everyone grew up with friends that they considered musically gifted. We all know them. Those people who seemed to awe everyone at parties with their amazing guitar skills. I was always envious of those people. The people that seemed to have an effortlessly cool and natural gift we all secretly wish we had. Austin Kritzer, for me, was one of those people. We grew up together and he was always known for just that – his exceptional musical ability on the guitar. When I saw that his band, Knuckleduster, had made it into the final round for the PennRock Scholarship here in Pittsburgh, I jumped at the chance to reconnect.
Based out of Morgantown, WV, Knuckleduster is a high energy metal band that consists of Austin as lead vocalist and guitarist, Josh Ringer also on the guitar, Charlie Orem on Bass, and Chase Rogers on the drums. By pulling influences from bands such as Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, Trivium, Dream Theater, Damageplan, Audioslave, Soundgarden, Avenged Sevenfold, Breaking Benjamin, and Volbeat, Knuckleduster has forged their own unique sound and performance that separates them from other bands.
I sat down to talk with Austin and to discuss the excitement of making it to the final round. “We heard about the PennRock Scholarship through last year’s winners Stone Wicked Souls actually, who got a hold of us,” Kritzer explained. “We played with them in Ohio a few weeks back and they were talking about how cool it was to get into a studio and lay down a few songs. They thought we would benefit from getting to know the dudes that put the event together. So we threw our hats in the ring. We are always trying to get our music in front of new people and this seemed like a pretty sweet opportunity to get into the Pittsburgh market.”
And they seem to be making a great first impression. In September, Knuckeduster beat out four other bands during the first round of judging at Cattivo. When asked if they were shocked that they won, he laughed. “Oh hell yeah! Honestly, we were very surprised. The other bands performed really well, and their renditions of Chris Cornell songs (a requirement for the contest) were pretty sweet. All in all, it was really cool to meet all the other musicians. They were all super supportive of each other and I would love to get some of them down here to Morgantown for a show or two.” Winning the first round sends Knuckleduster into the finals which takes place this Saturday, October 7th, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh. At this event, they will be one of six bands to compete for the top spot, where winners receive everything from getting their album pressed in vinyl by CDBaby, to a music video shoot with a five song EP recorded at Tonic Studios.
So what can we expect to hear from this up and coming metal band? “I honestly would say that our sound is a mixture of things,” said Kritzer. “We have a few songs on our album that are straight thrash, but also a few songs that are a lot more radio friendly. We all have a lot of different influences that I think is reflected in the versatility of our debut album. We try and write a few songs for every kind of rock fan/metal-head, because that is exactly what we are: four rock addict/metal-heads.”
Don’t miss this exciting show at Hard Rock Cafe this Saturday, October 7th at 8:00pm. For ticket information visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3081243
Note: Sound Scene Express does not take part in any of the judging.