It’s not who you know, but how you know them. Phil Chamberlain, drummer for North Carolina metalcore quintet To Speak of Wolves, knows that as well as anyone, and he has an impressive in with the scene: His brother fronts the revered Christian metal band Underoath — not that he and his fellow Wolves have chosen to exploit that fact.
Other than brief tours together and brother’s guest vocals on Wolves’ full-length debut, “Myself < Letting Go,” there’s little mention of the connection, and the omission is purposeful.
“We want to make our own name,” Chamberlain said. “We want this band to stand on its own. Obviously, we’d like to do tons of things with Underoath, but we want to do it because we feel like we belong there and not because of the relationship there.”
True to its name — not to mention a certain Duran Duran lyric — the group is hungry like the wolf, and in being so, has fought for audiences with inspiring ferocity. The five-piece has toured relentlessly since forming from the shells of other abandoned bands in mid-2007, taking breaks to record and little else in the years since.
It’s led to some burnout, including a lead vocalist switch just weeks before the launch of this national tour that includes an appearance Friday night at The Conservatory. All splits have been amicable and for the better; it just takes a certain type of guy to spend 75 percent of his life at the never-ending sausage fest that is touring.
“It’s tough and takes a certain personality type to do it, to be around a small group of four or five dudes 24 hours a day, every day,” Chamberlain said. “There were some members who thought they could do this all the time, but then got out there and realized they really couldn’t. It’s been an ever-evolving machine, but I think we have all the right pieces. It’s five dudes all on the same page now.”
It’s darker, more mature — all the other cliché things bands say.
The changes and exhaustive trips haven’t been for naught; To Speak of Wolves has earned the right to have its name alongside Underoath’s through its own merits. The band garnered its own following in the admirably difficult manner it choose for itself, and looks to hook even more with the new album it has in the works, which came easier than expected.
“Playing the same set every night for a year or so, when it gets to the point where you get to write again, it comes out really quickly. You find yourself writing a lot faster than you might think. It’s darker, more mature — all the other cliché things bands say,” Chamberlain said with a laugh. “But we are really happy with where it’s going.”