In the Studio with Romans

Romans may seem like your typical hardcore band but, there’s something strikingly different about them once you meet the members. Tattooed on the forearms of bassist Sean Martin are portraits of Daryl Hall and John Oates; the band has a genuine desire to open for one of the duo’s shows. Made up of four Vermonters, Romans was formed last November from various pieces of several other local hardcore and indie bands. Singer Tom Kelly, who plays synth, is also in The Hero’s Cycle, guitarist Justin Gonyea was in the now defunct Fire the Cannons with Sean Martin, who’s also in The Year’s Best, manning the bass and finally Kevin Savage, aka K-Savge, who is also a member of the newly formed and up-and-coming Dome, seat?ed behind the drums. K-Savge describes their sound as “faster and thrashy” while trying to stray away from math-core, a hybrid of math rock and hardcore. He went on to say, “people categorize us in the same group of bands [as] Converge, Bosch, Isis, who are huge influences.” Martin jokingly added, “Hall & Oates, the Doobie Brothers with Michael Macdonald, Chicago” to the list. In a city or state not necessarily known for its hardcore scene, they have been embraced while garnering high praise from area critics. On the subject, Sean Martin said, “it’s really good to get recognized locally before you even go big because you need a strong showing at home.” And indeed the scene is beginning to flourish, with venues like 242 Main in Burlington and the newly opened “Wasted City” in Colchester. Savge went on to say “it’s cool that it’s there, it can only grow. The overall scene is kind of at a low right now, but I think it’s coming back up.” Wasted City was opened by Tom Kelly and is a recording studio which features space for live performances. Romans have recently been signed to the “Black Market Activity” label, a subsidiary of “Metal Blade” who is distributed by Sony. The band will be rereleasing their debut album “All Those Wrists,” sometime in either April or May. Savage said they will still employ a bare bones recording style by using an ADAT machine, similar to analogue and only use computers in the final mastering process. He went on to say, “I never thought we were going to release it on a major label, but it will do the album justice.” Within the Wasted City family, there are several other bands that record and practice there, not exclusive to the hardcore genre. Sean Martin relishes this fact because it allows the band “to branch out in the community to people who don’t know you yet.” Savage added, “new kids are coming and that’s all that matters.” The band is gearing up for a Northeast tour with Architect out of Syracuse and Century hailing from Lancaster. Martin said they’re planning a nationwide tour for this summer while still trying to play shows at their local haunts. For dates and a sampling of tracks from “All Those Wrists,” check out their page at While Burlington is known for its eclectic music scene, few realize the presence of hardcore and more aggressive styles of music. But Romans has been trying to spread the sound while still holding onto their local and musical roots.