Other than the generic term of “rock,” it’s pretty hard to categorize exactly what genre of music it is that Long Beach’s Bella Novela plays. Some people might consider it one of the dozens of subgenres of metal. Others could define it as “prog.” The unimaginative might simply use “hard rock” because it’s certainly not soft.
But their latest record, this week’s INCINERATE, doesn’t really need any additional genre labeling or categorization. It’s simply unbridled and unashamed “lady rage.”
“[INCINERATE] is basically about how we’ve felt for the last two years,” says Jackie Laws, the band’s vocalist and keyboardist. “We’ve been calling it ‘lady rage,’ but it’s all-encompassing. It’s a musical call to arms to incinerate the patriarchy.”
“We all have a little lady rage, and it’s definitely our most political and most passionate album,” adds guitarist Jacob Heath. “Our last two albums were both kind of musical rock operas, whereas this one’s a little more personal and doesn’t really fall into that same category.”
Just because they’ve turned introspective and somewhat political over the last few years doesn’t mean Bella Novela are rocking out any less than they did on Telemetry or The Archeress. In fact, it’s quite the opposite for drummer Jannea McClure (who — for the record — is tired of hearing the male surprise that not only is she a female drummer, but also a “good” female drummer) and the feminism she’s embraced for her entire existence.
“Every time we play a show, it’s kind of a cathartic experience for me,” McClure says. “I always get a lot of comments because I play really hard, so I sweat and I get stinky, but I’m smiling. I smile because I’m full of lady rage, and it looks like I’m having a great time, but it’s actually just the whole state of the world. I’ve been a feminist my whole life, but it wasn’t OK to say that until the past year or two — the ‘f word’ scared people away. Now, I can say it, and not too many people will call me a ‘feminazi’ or whatever horrible stereotype they have of feminists. Being in this band, in general, is just a huge cathartic, therapeutic thing that I have to do to be able to express myself.”
“We’re able to take these things we feel inside and release them in a creative and hopefully optimistic kind of worldview,” Laws adds. “I feel pretty lucky just to be able to get that out and have that creative outlet.”
Of course, having celebrated their decade mark as a band together back in 2007, the trio has already survived longer than numerous musical trends, fellow bands, and industry standards. That’s part of why Bella Novela considered new mediums for their first release since 2014, even if they weren’t entirely ready to abandon the format that’s carried bands large and small for the last 25 years.
“We questioned whether we should even print CDs for it anymore since it’s such an obsolete format for it, and this is the first album where we’re doing a full-length on vinyl,” Heath says. “We’re doing the vinyl in May, but we’ll still have CDs available for the release this Saturday. We hesitated to even print the CDs, because they’re so obsolete.”
For those interested in not only getting their hands on a copy of INCINERATE but also seeing the band perform their brand new material, the album release show goes down this Saturday night at Alex’s Bar and also features Fartbarf (which happens to be one of Bella Novela’s favorite bands), Yaawn, and DJ Chronica.
Bella Novela perform with Fart Barf, YAAWN, and DJ Chronica at Alex’s Bar on April 6. For tickets and full show info, click here.