By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
By Gina Tron
By Jon Solomon
By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
Once 12 a.m. was toe-tagged, Greenhouse signed on for the new project, and Barba and Wiant started lobbying Mays to move to Fort Collins to keep time for the Greenhouse Effect, as their new group was then known. Although they'd auditioned several other drummers, they kept coming back to Mays. Eventually, the two wore him down, and by January 2006, the band had a new drummer and a new moniker, which was inspired by an especially saccharine scene from a 1989 flick staring Eric Roberts and James Earl Jones titled the Best of the Best.
"We own a bunch of martial-arts movies," Greenhouse explains. "We love watching them. That's what we used to do, like old Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. We own something like 22 of them, and we own all four of the Best of the Best. So one day I pitched the idea of calling our band 'Dae Han.' I was like, 'You know what, man, we're all here living together in the same house, which kind of represents brotherhood. And Dae Han, in the movie, completely represents brotherhood. We'll be like the Brotherhood of Dae Han.'"
A month later, the Brotherhood of Dae Han debuted in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Three weeks after that, it played in front of a capacity crowd at the Starlight in Fort Collins. And last May, the quintet began work on a full-length album at its home studio. But in July, when it came time to finalize the recordings, the musicians suffered a major setback. An unexpected power surge occurred at the Blasting Room, where they were set to mix and master, causing them to lose nearly all of the sessions.
The loss was particularly ill-timed and profound: The band had just been granted a slot on the Ernie Ball Stage at the Denver stop of the Vans Warped Tour and was counting on having the disc done in time to offer it to prospective fans. With little recourse, the Brotherhood rushed to record another song, "We Don't Go to Anything," which it pressed alongside "Bury Me," the only cut it was able to salvage from the summer session. The act recorded two more songs in August before finally holing up in the studio from December through February to finish work on For the Glory of Olde Virginia, its outstanding debut.
"It sounds killer for a free recording," Barba asserts. "We owe a lot of that to Jason Livermore at the Blasting Room."
Perhaps. But the act, led by Greenhouse, who handled the bulk of the engineering, must have presented Livermore with some pretty immaculate recordings -- because as proficient as Livermore might be, you can't make chicken soup from chicken poop. And he was working with some stellar songs from the start: With a prog-heavy, melodic sound that owes as much to metal-core as it does to hardcore, the Brotherhood of Dae Han plays progressive music that manages to be both interesting and surprisingly accessible.
"I really don't like to call us math rock," says Barba, "but a lot of stuff involves counting. We just write technical parts, parts that we like as musicians. But it's always tasteful."
The act not only plays with surgical precision, but exercises moderation to a pleasing degree. The twin guitar attack throughout Virginia, on songs like "Bury Me," "We Don't Go to Anything" and "Don't Worry, They're Only Dead," is shred-o-riffic without being ostentatious. And the ratio of mellifluous three-part harmonies to tonsil-scalding, vein-popping screams is perfectly calibrated to augment Wiant's burnished tenor and vibrant melodies.
With such high-caliber musicianship and material, the Brotherhood of Dae Han is among the most exciting new acts to emerge this year, one that seems poised for greatness.
"When Brett and I were in seventh grade we recorded a demo on a boombox," Barba confesses, "and we're like, 'Dude, this is it. We're on our way.' We shook hands and he packed up his drum set. We were so happy about that back then. We have so many more reasons to be happy about that now. We're not only writing better music, we're getting to play it for people who want to hear it. It's amazing.
"Like tonight," he continues. "It was a small show, but to have that many kids actually like you that much is really cool. I feel so blessed. I mean, I want more, but I couldn't ask for anything more."