By Melissa Fossum
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By Amanda Savage
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An anomaly is defined as a "deviation from the normal or common order." That's a fitting definition of local rockers Anomaly. The band's sound walks everywhere but the beaten path — it's a blend of heavy and harmonized vocals, unrelenting chords and structures, and electronic samples and digital beats that keep listeners intrigued and off-balance from track to track.
The members — Midwestern natives and cousins Thomas Pulda and Joseph Kramer, James Richards, Gino Martinez, and DJ/programmer Dustyn Marsing — pull from influences like Tool, Deftones, Porcupine Tree, and Chevelle, and even dabble in heavier versions of Valley pop songs. Take, for instance, Anomaly's standout collaboration with Miss Krystle on her song "Run."
Anomaly's depth and talent run deep.
At 10 years old, Pulda began playing guitar and drums, putting together a kit with a snare, cardboard box, and buckets for toms and bass drum. Later, he switched to guitar full time. Kramer began playing music at 3. After teaching himself guitar, he developed a talent for the fretless bass that he plays today.
They both moved away from the Midwest, and Kramer came to Arizona, diving into the local scene. He and drummer Richards were in a speed-metal band together, but it wasn't long before Kramer called Pulda to move to Phoenix to become a part of what would become Anomaly.
"[Pulda] drove straight down and was in the parking lot of the practice space," Kramer says. "He called and said, 'I'm here!' And we started playing from then on."
One night in the summer of 2008 while Pulda, Kramer, and Richards — an Arizona native who'd played in a school jazz band and numerous other projects as a teenager — were practicing at their studio, they heard what sounded like the perfect lead guitarist for Anomaly rehearsing across the hall. Thomas walked into the practice space and asked the guitarist, Gino Martinez, to join, and Anomaly was finally in business. Martinez had taught himself guitar at age 10 and worked as a live sound engineer in El Paso before relocating to Phoenix in the '90s in search of a musical challenge.
Shortly after forming, the band released a five-song EP, The Liberation Within, before its 2011 full-length release, Amethyst Sun. Their second album, Firestorm, is due out later this year, and the single "Trickster" is already on the local radar.
Asked what sets Anomaly apart from other local rock bands, Kramer has a theory.
"[Pulda] draws people in with how much power he puts out. I try to keep up with him — we all try. I think our style keeps musicians interested, but it's still engaging for the average music fan."
Keeping other musicians and fans interested in a band is key in a constantly changing scene like Phoenix. They seem to be doing a good job of it — I first heard of Anomaly when another local guitarist introduced them to me as "the best local band in town."
"There's a lot of heavy Southern rock that wasn't here a couple years ago. The death metal thing seems like it disappeared a bit, but that will always have its following."
Anomaly's sound may be evolving, but it isn't necessarily with the trends. For now, they're content with deviating from everyone else's plans.