Teen death metal band gives fans a Visceral Reaction

Juniors turn their love of genre into a creative outlet


Visceral Reaction practices together August 18. They will perform at 6 p.m. on Sep. 7 at the Cabooze.

Modesty Manion

Old school death metal is a revival movement of death metal, a music genre that emerged in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. A subgenre of heavy metal, death metal demonstrates exaggerated intensity, volume, aggression and distortion in the instrumentation, while incorporating vigorous vocals, elaborate song structures and emphasized tempo changes. 

Visceral Reaction, an emerging old school death metal band from the Minneapolis area, started playing in March and have already played four live shows, alongside groups such as Internal Bleeding, Maniacal Force and Crowbar. Park junior Jack Jaszewski is the lead guitarist and vocalist for the band. Kolton Soppeland and Ernie Brothen of Mound Westonka High School play rhythm guitar and bass, respectively. Liam Urbanowicz of Hopkins High School rounds out the band on the drums. 

According to Urbanowicz, the band started pretty casually.

“I met Jack at a Cannibal Corpse concert. He played guitar, (and) I played drums. So we figured, why not start a band? He knew Ernie through skating, and Ernie knew Kolton,” Urbanowicz said.

Before deciding on “Visceral Reaction,” the band had a few other name ideas, such as “Power Washer Lobotomy” and “Neoplasms.” To Brothen, the origin story of the band name is a funny one.

“Both my parents are English teachers, so I have a big vocabulary. We were trying to figure out a band name, and we were thinking of different ideas,” Brothen said. “They were alright, but I was like, ‘guys, we’ve got to have a band name that’s going to give people a visceral reaction.’ And they (said), ‘hey, what about that?’ They didn’t even know what it meant.” 

Along with playing covers like “Pull the Plug” by band Death, the members of Visceral Reaction have various death metal and black metal influences, including Cannibal Corpse, Megadeath, Venom and Throne.

Some of the band’s original songs include “Death Incarnate,” “Necro Fungus” and “The Seventh Mass Extinction.” Jaszewski said the band is planning on releasing a collection in a few months.

“We’re working on finishing some songs, (we’ll) probably put out the album towards the end of the year,” Jaszewski said.

Due to being younger musicians, Urbanowicz said that the ultimate goal with the band is to have fun, make music they like and do it for as long as they can while they’re still in school.

“This is the time that we can do this. It’s a little bit less realistic when you’re grown up, you have a job and a family,” Urbanowicz said. “It would be cool when I grow up (to be able) to say, ‘oh yeah, I have an album to my name.’”

Like many other rock bands, Visceral Reaction” is relatively equal when it comes to overall decision making and contributions, said Urbanowicz.

“We all take part in songwriting. We all play our instruments and we all contribute everything we can,” Urbanowicz said. “We write together at rehearsals, (but) sometimes we’ll write lyrics on our own. I took a trip to Colorado and I wrote lyrics for a song out there just to contribute while I was away.”

Although the band’s first few songs focused more on gore and horror, Urbanowicz said they’re writing has moved to a more political angle. Their song “Forced Perspective” touches on issues with the power balance in American court systems.

“We started with really meat and potatoes gore and stuff. Now, we’ve started writing more social or political lyrics,” Urbanowicz said. “‘Forced Perspective’ was intended to be a criticism of the U.S. justice and prison systems. So forced perspective, that’s saying (that) courts really only take into account the powerful party, and less fortunate people might be left in the dust. They don’t have any even or fair power in the justice system.”

Urbanowicz also talked about the message behind Visceral Reaction’s newest song, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

“(Thou shalt not kill) is a one of the 10 commandments. We took that and made it about violence in America. There’s a lot of gun control and mental health references in that one,” Urbanowicz said.

Along with other challenges such as scheduling conflicts, Soppeland says that the financial aspects of being in a band have been a struggle.

“I can’t afford a big amp or anything. I just barely got a guitar for my birthday, it was the only thing that my parents got me, because it’s like $1,000 to get a big amp for a show,” Soppeland said.

Despite these hardships, Urbanowicz says that Visceral Reaction has gotten a lot of positive feed from both the metal and Minneapolis concert communities. 

“Minneapolis actually has a really prominent all-ages community. There’s a lot of younger kids around in the scene — you go to concerts at the Fillmore and you’ll see dads with kids on their shoulders,” Urbanowicz said. “People don’t understand a lot of the positivity that’s present in the metal scene. We make friends from other bands and then they invite us to come play shows with them, and it’s always a pretty good time.”

Visceral Reaction’s next show is at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 at The Cabooze, and the show is ages 15 and up. For more information about buying tickets, future shows and supporting the band, follow their instagram @visceral.reaction.