This Saturday goes darker with ‘Richter’ song and video. Metal legend Philip Labonte helps out.

A typical song by This Saturday is about partying and having a good time, but sometimes they take a darker turn. On the hard rock group’s newest song, “Richter,” they explore an internal personal struggle so powerful it seems like it could trigger an earthquake.

“Feels like the earth’s crumbling,” sings Jarred Taylor, who is also known as one of the principals of Black Rifle Coffee Company. He’s not talking about a fault line in California. After the chorus, featured guest vocalist Phil Labonte of All That Remains goes even more primal, helping the band release its inner demons.

“It’s really about fighting yourself,” says bassist and vocalist Casey Shuler. The accompanying video, which drops today, shows the band members dragging a mysterious wooden box, wrapped in chains, from the beach where it seems to have washed ashore. Is it a coffin? If so, who or what’s inside it? Like all forms of art, it’s certainly open for interpretation, but the underlying message seems to be one of hope. “The gist is that you can overcome it,” guitarist Nick Cote offers, “whether it’s anxiety, depression, addiction, or whatever it is.”

“Richter” is a bit of a departure for the band that loves playing the late-night dive bars near their home in the Florida Panhandle. That’s where they first met Taylor, when he was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base and happened to be judging a “battle of the bands” competition. They were known as Drayton Sawyer back then, named in honor of a character in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This was a few years before he and a small group of other military veterans started Black Rifle Coffee Company.

The band has roots in punk and emo, along with metal. Drummer Shane Mapoles says their songwriting is usually more “situational” in nature and somewhat lighthearted, avoiding serious topics like relationships or politics.

Drinking is a big theme for them. In the year and a half under the name This Saturday, they’ve released around 40 recordings, and they’ve packaged them on EP and album collections with titles like 6 Pack, 12 Pack, and Neat. Another one in the works, to be called 4 Shots, has more of a metal flavor.

The chance to work with Labonte, you could say, was a “scream come true” for these longtime metalheads. “He’s definitely one of our heroes,” says Cote. “He’s one of the best screamers in the metal game, period.” And it also led them to his producer, Josh Wilbur, who has also worked with such heavy hitters as Korn, Lamb of God, Trivium, Megadeth, and Papa Roach.

They also hope to work again in some capacity with the higher-profile Labonte. “I would think that it’s possible in the near future for us to do some tour legs with All That Remains. He’s a super-great guy and he’s super-supportive of us.”

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