Metal band, Rehtek, releases album after two-year hiatus


Rehtek Band Facebook

Rehtek will have a concert in Des Moines on Nov. 18.

George Kosinski, Staff Writer

Growling vocals, heavy guitar riffs, throbbing baselines and high-speed kick drums blend into a vivid, roaring soundscape on local metal band Rehtek’s new album “Abomination.” The group hails from Tama, half an hour’s drive north from Grinnell, and includes vocalist Colton Davenport, lead guitarist Joe Youngbear, rhythm guitarist Mythias Keahna, bassist Julian Williams and drummer Dylan Main.

The members of Rehtek grew up as friends, and Youngbear and Davenport are distantly related while Keanha and Youngbear are brothers by ceremony. After listening extensively to classic metal music, they began learning instruments and playing together as teenagers.

“Around 2011 we all started hanging out and seeing each other more often,” Youngbear said. “We were all like fourteen or fifteen at the time, and we just got together and tried to form a band.”

The group first played shows in local bars such as Las Dos Fuentes in Tama. Youngbear said they drew relatively large crowds but did not have the highest quality equipment, and they were often forced to use a makeshift setup onstage in order to accommodate all the band’s instruments.

“We started off playing original songs, which had a bit more of a thrashy sound but also a lot of softer stuff. The lyrical content was okay, but we have definitely come a long way from those first shows,” Youngbear said.

In 2012, after initially making a name for themselves, Rehtek began playing in Des Moines and opening for popular metal bands from around Iowa and the Midwest. “Being on the Woolys stage really made things easier,” Youngbear said. “After that, we played a lot of shows between 2013 and 2017. Our best shows were the ones we threw in Tama. We headlined and brought down other bands and people that we knew. We used to have some pretty crazy shows there.”

Then, in 2019, the band took a hiatus. 

“Some stuff happened which forced us to take a break and think, ‘What’s next? Are we going to keep going?’ Some of us were having kids. It was a time when everyone was just having life happen. We all became more like adults around then. We weren’t sure if we were going to get back together.” Youngbear moved to Des Moines, but the idea of the band never left him. “I was always writing,” he said.

“I had a little home studio that I was still building,” Youngbear continued. “Davenport actually showed me the song ‘Abomination’ from the new album, and that’s when things really started kicking back up. […] Then the pandemic happened, and that’s when I really learned how to record. I recorded the album like three or four times, and by then, I felt like I knew what I was doing.”

For inspiration, Rehtek draws from a wide array of metal groups — Youngbear cited Metallica, Pantera and Slipknot among other bands. “We took inspiration from the Nü metal era, with its bouncy and groovy aspects,” Youngbear said.

He added that Rehtek enjoys making music that resonates with listeners. “It has to have a lot of feel and make you want to move. That’s my thing. I try to think of what I would want to hear if I was watching a band. You know, does that riff make me want to mosh or headbang?”

“If it’s anything we’re trying to get across in the songs, it’s just that we’ve experienced many things,” Youngbear said. “The lyrical content portrays not exactly the best of times, and it can get personal. We understand that we’re just here experiencing life like everybody else. It’s not always easy.”

I try to think of what I would want to hear if I was watching a band. You know, does this riff make me want to mosh or headbang?

— Joe Youngbear, Lead Guitarist

Youngbear said that the band was lucky to find each other in Tama, an extremely small town without the extensive metal community they have since been able to find in Des Moines, where Rehtek is now based. “The scene at Des Moines is pretty solid,” he said. “Everyone knows each other. People kind of come out and support each other. You really need that kind of community to help you out.

Davenport, Keahnu and Youngbear all belong to the Meskwaki Nation, which has its settlement in Tama. Youngbear said he would like to feature imagery from the Meskwaki Annual Powwow, held every August, in a music video for the song “O.I.T.N.,” which incorporates a beat that resembles powwow music. 

“We grew up being told that we shouldn’t tell a lot of people about how we do things because that’s private and that’s community. The imagery of the powwow is public, but personally, I feel limited in what else we feel like we can incorporate.”

He added that he finds the four-four tempo characteristic of the powwow music he was exposed to growing up reflected in his songwriting, and he wondered about how the tradition of powwow singing has translated to his and Davenport’s metal vocal abilities.

After releasing their new album, Rehtek has one more show this year at Lefty’s Bar in Des Moines on Friday, Nov. 18. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and music will start at 5 p.m. Several metal bands from Iowa and nearby in the Midwest will open before Rehtek headlines. The band plans on playing some older songs which they have not performed in a while as well as some tracks from the new album.