Dog Shredder formed when guitarist/vocalist Josh Holland and drummer Noah Burns got the peculiar urge to master Yes's tumultuous prog brain-burner "Heart of the Sunrise." Any endeavor forged from such a daunting task heralds extraordinary things, and the resultant version proved that these Bellingham mofos had the ability to wallop rock fans with the brute force of a lead PhD diploma dropped from an ivory tower.
Adding bassist Jeff Johnson, Dog Shredder have developed into one of the region's most technically adept metal bands, deploying magmatic dynamics, massive textural girth, and sophisticated songwriting chops. Their songs are tsunamis of complex heaviness, as the Boss Rhino and Brass Tactics EPs demonstrate.
Holland credits his drive to make this sort of uncompromising music to his "Dave Mustaine mentality." He adds, "I always wanted to one-up whoever thought I couldn't 'do it.' I realized later and still know now that that negativity is poisonous and that my true motivation to play music as an adult is to have fun and entertain an audience. It's just like a play, or Settlers of Catan, or Def Leppard, or a totally spaced-out thrash-prog band. And we're constantly motivated to give people something they can't find anywhere else."
With their love of Yes and their parody of Chick Corea's The Leprechaun cover art for Brass Tactics (on Good to Die Records), Dog Shredder exhibit serious prog/fusion tendencies, but as much as they love them, they're not purist crusaders for these thorny genres. "Dog Shredder is much heavier than a prog band," Holland says. "We grew up on metal and hardcore in the Seattle area. We worshiped all the Hydra Head bands. Back in the day, we wanted to be like the Dillinger Escape Plan and Soundgarden before we ever wanted to be like Rainbow or King Crimson. We'd jam a lot of Pantera and Converge when we started playing together, but sometimes Noah used to come over to my house in college and we'd drink 40s and bump Yes's Close to the Edge with glee, like it was some kind of secret only we knew about. Over time, it all just got blended in."
Unquestionably, Dog Shredder's torqued, torrential rock presents a challenge to listeners. "People always say it makes them tired," Holland says. "We're always trying to push things over the top, thinking about how a song or a show can absolutely crush whatever expectation anybody has of us."