Having judged all the preliminary rounds of the 11th Annual 105.9 The X Winter Rock Challenge, I was fortunate to see all the bands and despite the overall level of talent, never wavered from my opinion that Horus Maze had the edge (note: I did not judge the finals).
Not to say the other bands weren't good. In fact, this was one of the closer competitions I've judged. Pretty much all the bands were good, but one had to be the stand out. For me, that was Horus Maze.
They brought high energy from their opening song and never let up. I've said this many times: In band competitions, the hard truth is, the band has about 90 seconds to win.
The first 90 seconds will set the tone for everything they are. Occasionally a band will overcome the 90 second rule, but more often than not, the judges will know in that first minute and a half-- just enough time to get in a verse, chorus and bridge-- if the band is a contender.
Horus Maze is a band that breathes new life into the genre of guitar-driven hard rock. They are not a bunch of aging rockers trying to relive their youth. Horus Maze is a group of young men who are bringing some of the greatest 2-guitar bands to mind-- without sounding like any one band in particular.
"We just feed off each other." said Jerry when asked about their background together.
Despite that feeling of longevity, they have only played together less than a year. But there was in fact a longer term connection between the two.
"Funny story with Noah and I" Jerry said with a laugh. "We met years ago, when he was much younger. We dated sisters at one time. They broke up, and I didn't talk to him for years. We met again probably 4 years later through Instagram. We decided to jam before practice one day. He stayed for Maze rehearsals and we just vibed."
Jerry agrees with the classic rock influences, but he also cites the value of different approaches and newer, more current influences in his partnership with Noah. "We're both VERY blues based guitarists. All the classics." said Jerry regarding their two-guitar arrangement. "What's really cool is that we both have vastly different solo styles. He takes a John Mayer approach, and I usually have a pretty hard pick attack."
It should be noted that all the band members enthusiastically supported their fellow bands from start to finish, which this writer found refreshing.
Supporting the scene as a whole is something Jerry stressed when asked about the band's immediate plans in the wake of their big win. "Well, getting a top quality EP together is hands-down priority one. I have a few personal goals, like playing a long weekend in Nashville, or Stage AE, but we really want to set an example for other bands. We want this city to have a vibrant scene. I want to play as much as possible too, of course! I'm expecting a busy summer."