It's been a minute since the site has covered anyone in the New Artist Focus series, so I thought it was a good time to change that with Moral Theory. "We have all been friends for going on 10 years," guitarist Ian Manness tells me about the California hardcore combo. "A couple of us have been playing in bands together over the years, or playing with each other’s bands at the time. Moral Theory came together as friends wanting to do a different sounding band than our previous bands and just make something that is true to us and how we see things."
Released earlier this month, Moral Theory's True Identity EP captures the band's metallic-leaning hardcore assault. Ian doesn't disagree: "I'd say our biggest collective influences are Earth Crisis and Agnostic Front." I asked him about the band's lyrical point of view on the new material. "All of the songs on True Identity are about becoming your own person and being an individual. Doing what you have to not be afraid, to explore and try new ideas and experience new things.
"The song 'A.O.D.' is about the current state of our society in America. People are seemingly being told to pick sides and then forced to agree with everything that comes along with it. Good or bad, they’re trying erase the grey area and make everything black and white. The lyrics are about disagreeing with that idea and to make people remember to be their own person in every facet and to think for themselves."
"'Hive Mind' is simply about the feeling of nobody listening to what you have to say. Questioning what lengths are necessary to go to in order to spread these thoughts or ideas you have. The answer is always changing but the frustration seems to always be present.
With two EPs out now (2018 saw the release of Hard to Grasp), Ian says Moral Theory will be doing the work. "We plan on playing as much as possible to support the EP, some runs and some touring. We also plan on writing and recording our first LP next."
As I usually do, I asked Ian to point our readers in the direction of some hardcore bands he thinks deserve some love: "We’d like to shout out Construct and Penalty Box from Arizona, Chain from Fresno, and Infirmary, Spinebreaker, and Lead Dream from the Bay!"
Speaking of Arizona, Moral Theory will be on a killer live bill there along with Ekulu, Illusion, Arms Reach, and Divine Hammer on Aug. 15 at Ward 6 in Tucson: