The thrash revival that began some twelve to eighteen months ago has nearly grown stale. What we’ve seen is a stable of bands who understand the spirit of thrash, but ignore the most effective tenets of its execution. Speed speed speed is the diet of the day, with nary a thought given to pace and cadence and musical design.
You know who Steve 'Zetro' Souza is. He's the highly combustible, wildly entertaining and never stationary lead singer of Exodus. Wait, what? He's back in Exodus again? Sure is. They've got a new record out now and he wants you to know all about it and how we came to be here. But don't worry, he's not abandoning Hatriot, either. Read on as we discuss these topics, horror and the ineptitude of the Oakland Raiders.
When one thinks of Australian metal or rock, invariably AC/DC and Jet are the stereotype. Airbourne and some others are in there too, but everybody at this point knows exactly what’s being talked about. So when Envenomed was reportedly a melodic thrash act from the continent down under, there was a certain amount of cynicism that was probably to be expected. Why break the stereotype now, it’s been working so well?
Lost Society is one of those bands who comes along every handful of years and makes you sit up in your chair and say ‘let’s see what happens here.’ The band’s talent and clear understanding of thrash as we know it was so evident on their debut “Fast Loud Death” that they were practically on the verge of being anointed the Next Big Thing. So with mounting anticipation, the world awaits the forthcoming storm of the Finns’ second effort, “Terror Hungry.”
…and so the thrash revival rolls on. Next up in the batter’s box is Hirax, the Southern California band originally formed in 1982 in the shadow of other SoCal acts like Metallica and Slayer. Through the ins and outs and machinations of a musical career, there have only been two constants in the extended history of Hirax – thrash and founding lead singer Katon W. De Pena. So what makes Hirax stand out? Well, they’ve got a thick and crunchy guitar sound, a badass attitude and a singer who looks a little like Tim Meadows. Let’s get to work.
The common album cycle these days tends to run two or three years. A band composes a selection of music, rehearses it, perfects it, records it, masters it, markets it, releases it, tours on it. Probably twice. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I chuckle as announcements roll out for albums, and every band that was formed sometime in the 80's described itself as 'legendary'. It's simply impossible for all of them to be such, but more than that, it amuses me how much revisionism has occurred of what the time was really like. Bands that have reformed and claim status as kings of metal were utterly forgotten during their initial runs, which makes it a little hard for me to believe anything they claim for a legacy.
You ever seen the Robert Redford movie “Sneakers?” There’s a scene where the character Whistler (played by one of the all-time great character actors David Strathairn,) figures out that the computer hardware his crew stole is the most powerful decryption tool ever created; that possessing it gave him complete access to every secure network in the United States. Whistler’s reaction, accompanied by a symphonic crescendo, is “Whoa.” That’s how I feel about Warbringer’s new album “Empires Collapse.”
So here we are again. Steve Souza, singer, songwriter, band leader, legend, metalhead, sports fan, father and horror aficionado extraordinaire, is back with another record. Not content to rest on the laurels of Hatriot's recent debut "Heroes of Origin," the man known as Zetro is determined to take the nearly unprecedented step of releasing two records inside a calendar year. The always outspoken and never shy Souza sat down with me again to talk about the new record, the present stage of metal, the latest Slayer developments, the rumors surrounding Dublin Death Patrol, the quandary of Hatriot, the Oakland Raiders and as ever, horror. It was, as you might imagine, a long conversation. In an interviewing first for me, Zetro started the conversation off without prompting. Read on and enjoy!
If you’ll be kind enough to indulge for a moment, I’m probably about to sound like the metal Garrison Keillor. You remember back in 1988 when Metallica released “…And Justice For All” and that album, in a much simpler time, gave rise to the concept of experimentation in thrash and sparked the genre’s first debate about the nature of production?