Ardra: 5 Surprising Albums We Love

Bay Area-based deathcore quintet Ardra recently dropped their debut full-length, Unto Leviathan, which features the ferocious single “To Walk With Fire.” “We and many others have worked so hard to bring this together,” the group said in a joint statement explaining their decision to stick with their originally planned release date despite “contagion canceling shows and making things harder to predict.” “We hope new art, music, and other discoveries can help you get through these unknown times.” We recently caught up with the group — vocalist Kenneth Draper, guitarists Mitchell Gehring and Scott Zinola, bassist Tim Ochoa and drummer Brian Zinola — to find out what albums they love that might surprise fans of the band, and they had some fun, outside-the-box picks.

Mitchell Gehring’s pick: Third Eye Blind – S/T

“It’s a great mix of emo sensibility and ’90s mom rock. If I hear “Losing a Whole Year,” I’m listening to the entire album.”

Scott Zinola’s pick: 6LACK – FREE 6LACK

“A very emotional and cerebral journey that he takes you on especially with his story-telling rap/r&b style. Probably not the most musically groundbreaking work in this type of genre, but his aesthetic within that kind of ’emo-rap’ seems to be relevant to me, the music is very passionate while simultaneously being soothing. Just purely genuine without being overtly ostentatious.”

Tim Ochoa’s pick: the Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery and Imagination 

“It was the very first alternative rock band that I had ever listened to and will forever be the most iconic album for me and something that I actually cherish as a child because it was my father who introduced it to me. It was something that was amazing to me that a band was taking concepts from stories and making them come to life and turning them into music.”

Brian Zinola’s pick: Philip Glass – The Hours

“Most people would probably define my taste in music as either metal or rap. But I catch myself gravitating towards films scores or contemporary classical music, because it has the emotional capacity to take me away from reality. It’s just a different cerebral experience for me.”

Kenneth Draper’s pick: Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP

“I love it because it’s nostalgic, rude, serious, funny and genuinely a good album. I suppose it might surprise people that I love that album because folks tend to assume that all I listen to is metal. But then again who would be surprised that a suburban ’90s white kid likes Eminem?”