Finish your beer; open the next one.
Quick, drink it down before you lose some in the heavy metal fury of Pro Magnum’s “Vimana.” When the building guitars and crashing cymbals dive into a full onslaught, inevitably, you start convulsing or kicking or headbanging or punching your best friend in the face. You’ve got about 45 seconds, and that beer will do more good in your gut than on the floor.
Pro Magnum would want it that way.
“We pretty much just hang out and drink Busch Light and Fireball and have a good time,” guitarist Paul Hansen says. “That’s kind of our plan for the time being.”
In between empty cases of cheap beer and battling hangovers, the guys of Pro Magnum boast an extensive resume of Omaha music. Hansen and Dom Laughlin, also a guitarist for the band, both play in The Fucking Party. Drummer Pat Oakes plays in Ladyfinger, and bassist/vocalist John Vredenburg is in Digital Leather.
“We had the idea of a straightforward, almost Iron Maiden rip-off band,” Hansen says. “Something with absolutely no pretension: straightforward, simple.”
Don't call their tracks simple, though. They aren't the two-minute one-offs of kids who just picked up their instruments in the last couple of months.
Hear the experience in the two tracks Pro Magnum released on their Bandcamp, “Vimana” and “Witch Hunt.” Together, the four know how to compellingly structure a song: a taste for build-up and climax, minus a dependency on a verse-chorus-bridge pop music structure.
These songs are the product of four people with participatory musical histories that breed an understanding of structure and timing. That understanding may be partially realized through their writing process.
“All four of us are writing songs, coming up with riffs,” Hansen says. “It’s cool to have a drummer participate in that way, which is something I am completely unfamiliar with.”
Hansen says Pro Magnum has played four shows in its year of existence, which makes for a relaxed pace for the four of them.
“All of us in our other projects have played so many local shows, it gets kind of tiring,” he says. “It’s nice to kind of take it slow with shows.”
Pro Magnum’s next concert is set for Brother’s Lounge in Omaha on Oct. 19.
In the meantime, “We’re just trying to get sponsored by Mega Saver convenience store and/or Busch Light: two products we very much enjoy.”
Jacob Zlomke is Hear Nebraska’s editorial intern. He crushed a full beer can against his forehead the first time he heard a Pro Magnum track. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.