Only Living Witness

Underrated and Influential Part 3: Only Living Witness


There are certain areas in America that have spawned new sounds of music. Seattle had grunge, the San Francisco had thrash metal, New York had a punk revolution, and Boston, Massachusetts had hardcore. One of the most underrated bands yet very influential bands that came from the area was Only Living Witness. The band was formed in 1989 by Jonah Jenkins (vocals) Eric Stevenson (drums), Kevin Stevenson (guitar) and Kevin Costa (bass). In 1991, Kevin Stevenson and Costa were replaced by Craig Silverman and Chris Crowley. Only Living Witness was signed to Century Media Records. Their debut  Prone Mortal Form was released in 1993. The songs VTA and December are classic standouts. They embraced the hardcore roots with a melodic edge to them In 1996 their follow-up CD Innocents was released, but the band had already split up. Songs like Strata, Knew Her Gone, Total Particle Reversal and Downpour continue the melodic hardcore vibe but goes beyond with an added presence of more melody. Only Living Witness briefly reformed in 2008 for four reunion shows: 3 in Massachusetts and 1 in the Netherlands. After being in Only Living Witness Jonah Jenkins went on to perform the vocal duties in Miltown, Milligram and Raw Radar War. Craig Silverman now plays in Slapshot and is the touring guitarist in Blood For Blood. Eric Stevenson, main composer and drummer, died on August 9, 2011, at the age of 43.

Only Living Witness has left a mark on modern hardcore. Their influence of their vocal styles, riffs and drum patterns is very noticeable in many bands. Bands like Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Every Time I Die, and others all have a lot to owe to the guys in Only Living Witness. One of the best things that have come from this band was their injection of a sense of melody into such heavy music.



By: Brian Lacy