Thursday, July 30, 2015

HEAVENS FINAL WAR - Lubbock Crossover Hardcore Igniting the Flames

First off, the typical, please tell the readers how and when the band came about.
A few of us were jamming in a couple of other bands from Lubbock and we wanted to start something new so we just all came together and started writing.

The band name sounds as if you are a religious band. Can you go into more detail regarding the name?
The name comes from an Integrity song off the To Die For record. We're all fans of Integrity and we were having trouble trying to think of a name. It was tossed out as a suggestion and we all just decided to go with it. Lyrically we write a lot about religion amongst other things but we are in no way a religious band.

Although you are a hardcore band, there are some definite thrash metal/crossover influences. Parts of your songs bring me back to 1989. Tell us more about your song writing and influences.
When we start writing a new song we usually just go into it not knowing what we're gonna do with it. Israel starts with a riff, Eli starts putting drums to it and we go from there. We take influence from a lot of different bands from the 80's, 90's and today. Probably our biggest influences though are everything Sepultura Chaos AD and before and All Out War.

Coming from Lubbock, what is the music scene like there? What other bands reside in your area?
Lubbock has a really small hardcore scene currently. It's been all over the place. The people that are still here and contributing work hard and give a shit about what happens within our scene and it's awesome. It's overlooked a lot but that just makes us work harder for what we have and it's something we don't take for granted. We're all proud to be from here. There's not a whole lot of bands going at the moment. Judiciary is from here and Israel plays guitar in that as well. We have another band we jam in called Dirtnap with a couple other friends which is just slayer and sabbath worship. We have some other bands that we've started working on but nothing ready to start playing yet. This is all most of us have so we just try to occupy our time with it as much as we can.

Your debut release, Demo 2015, has a powerful sound. Currently, to my knowledge, it is a digital only release. Do you plan on doing a physical release?
We're going to have tapes here fairly soon. The tape is coming out through Wrong Ones Records from Oklahoma. We'll have them for sale on line and at shows. They'll also be available through the wrong ones webstore. Digitally you can listen to it at

What future goals do you have for the band?

We plan on writing more songs and getting them out as quick as we can. Probably write a 7 inch and see where it goes from there. Touring wise we're going to try to do as much as we can when we can. We all have full time jobs or a family so we're pretty limited to when we can go on the road. If we could we'd be out all year but that's just not in the cards for us currently.

Thanks for the interview. Please have the last word.
Thanks for asking us to do this interview. I've never done one before so it was pretty cool haha. We'll be playing a lot around Texas and surrounding states throughout the rest of the year. If we're in your area come check it out and chill with us. You can check us out on Facebook under Heavens Final War and Twitter under @HFWtx.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SUPREMACY - The Brutal Soundtrack of a Long Journey

Formed in 2007, your band has quite a history. Has it been a challenge keeping the group together all these years?
Steven: The first year we started, we hit the ground running. We all had some extensive background in other local bands and when we got in that room and wrote those first five songs for the J.I.O. EP everything just clicked. After a year, more or less, supporting the EP, life just hit us hard, It was like a freight train from hell. We suffered everything from job layoffs to losing those close to us. The five years that we took the hiatus were some of the roughest years for all of us collectively. But we always knew there would come a day to bring Supremacy back and unleash all these demons that had built up for so many years. Ultimately I would say that although we were separated as a band during that time, our heart was always there for Supremacy. And after adding Ron to the mix we are the strongest we've been since 2008.

Going back to 2008, the Justice is Obsolete EP sounds slightly different from what newer fans would expect. That release had a definite hardcore sound but included more extreme metal elements, including blast beats. Tell more about the changes and evolutions that have brought you to this point.

Ken:  There are so many layers to our music and we fit with all sorts of genres, so it’s hard to just say we’re a hardcore band. We have many diverse flavors of musical influence. In the beginning we wanted to meld our love for hardcore and grindcore, but as time progressed we saw our selves leaning more towards our hardcore roots and our love for sludge metal. We feel like the metal aspect to the new album really helped to elevate the emotions of the lyrics, and you're able to truly immerse yourself into each and every song on the album.

Besides having a great sound, another reason I really like your band is that you seem to be willing to play with any bands regardless of genre. I know the reasoning is breaking down scene barriers, but tell in your own words what you are trying to achieve.
David: We are trying to get people to ultimately realize that there are a lot of other like minded individuals who are not seeing so much in the Hardcore community, but share a common goal of bringing people together to raise awareness, to bring up discussions about certain actions within our city, state, country, or world for that matter. Addressing issues of poverty, hunger, misfortune, less fortune...misguidance of our youth, but the right family on your side to direct you to a righteous path. If we (as a music community) could see past the labels of genres, and start to realize who is in it for right reason and whose in it for the wrong...I believe we can achieve much more when it comes to acting upon the topics/problems I just mentioned. Someone once told me something awhile back that broadened my perception of what Hardcore is....This person once told me he received countless amounts of backlash as to why he liked to play with bands that weren't "Hardcore".....he simply told them that their music didn't have to be Hardcore, their state of mind was all he needed to know about giving him clarity to who he was befriending. (Thanks for those words RTL, Brother)

Your debut full-length, 12 Years, seems to be gaining some momentum around Texas . The recording sounds great with a heavy, loud volume. Origin Sounds did a stellar job on it. Do you have any interesting stories from the sessions?
Ron: I remember us sitting down and saying "we got two songs that are written but we've never practiced before" We were worried about how they would come out, and we had no idea those two songs would become two of the most popular songs on the album. Those songs are “Straight From the Heart” and “Southpaw.”
Ken: Yeah the studio was just chill, no craziness or BS, just work.... Lots of conversation and creative input from Craig. We have all known Craig Douglas for years from previous bands we recorded with at Origin Sounds, so there was no real pressure when it came time to jump in the studio. And I have to point out that he is one of the best recording engineers in Texas.
Steven: I was so ecstatic when it came time for us to record. Craig had such great input for our music and we were able to build on what we had created already. We all had a great time just talking about music in general as well in between sessions.
David: We've always been a group of guys that take our time writing and analyzing each aspect of any particular song instead of just mashing together what we think sounds good at the time. We all know too well that when you've played or practiced something for so long, you tend to start changing the pattern or tempo of its original state, or small little pieces that help the development of a song. Luckily we had the support from Craig Douglas reassuring us to go with the flow and to run through parts a few times to get a solid outcome. To add, I was especially amazed on how fast we were able to track record everything we did for the album. I'd want to say 4 to 5 days collectively

I have read that the record is about pain and suffering, but can you go into more detail? Are there lots of biographical topics? Also what is the meaning of the title 12 Years?
Steven: 12 Years has several meanings for all of us, and I would say that the most distinct meaning is life after death. But we also see it as us finally coming out from the shadows with all our weaknesses and just letting the songs tell our story. And to put it bluntly, it is literally a recounting of events starting from the year 2003 until now. We chronicle life for us in a 12 year span and also touch on some other subjects like the unnatural violence of humanity, substance abuse within impoverished families, and the legacies we leave behind for our youth.

Keeping with your full length, can you give some insight of the album cover? The photo creates a grim image, but can you elaborate more on it?
Steven: In the beginning we had a totally different vision in mind for the cover but then David convinced me to go in a different direction. We ultimately chose to use someone who was close in our life and shared our journey, so we chose our older brother Eugene Garza. The cover represents all the pain, struggle, and sacrifice that has been made over the years. And is also a sort of amalgamation of death incarnate, like we are saying we are stronger even after death. The lyrics for every song on the album are splayed out around him and bottles of alcohol, something our families have struggled with in the past. We love how it all came out in the end, and if anyone is interested in seeing how the process for the cover unfolded we have the video on our Facebook page. 

Thanks for your time. I’ll leave the last words to you.
It’s been our pleasure. And we would like everyone to know that the train doesn't stop at this release. We are already hard at work on a second record for a possible early 2016 release. From what we have written so far you can expect the music to be much heavier and to have a natural evolution from 12 Years. We are also excited for the second half of this year which have so many great shows in store not just for us but for some of our fellow hardcore brethren here in Houston. 
To check out some of the other hardcore bands Houston has to offer head on over to for a free download of Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 

Special thanks to Daniel Austin of Die Young for keeping the scene organized and alive, and for bringing some awesome bands to Houston for weekday beast sessions.

You can catch us at our next show July 29th at Walters on Naylor St. where we will be jamming with Primitive Man, Krvshr, Death Motif, Bummer, and Stress33.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Austin Music Buying Journey

Every few months I take a trip up to Austin to visit friends and to hit record stores. This past weekend’s trip was a successful one. End of an Ear Records was loaded with many items I wanted to get. $200 could have easily been spent.
As seen in the photo, I got some great books covering two of the most influential hardcore scenes, Why Be Something That You’re Not: Detroit Hardcore 1979-1985 and Making a Scene: New York Hardcore 1985-1988. I haven’t had to time to read them, but just skimming through the pages was a great treat. Filled with lots of great photos and commentary, I already know they will be winners.
Not pictured is Godflesh Streetcleaner. I owned this classic industrial heaviness on a recorded cassette years ago but have procrastinated many, many years in buying this on CD. Luckily I found a used copy for $5. Also a big plus is that it’s a double disc version with live, demo and alternate mixes. The wait was well worth it.
The other CD purchased was the latest by Ceremony, The L-Shaped Man. That is a fantastic release! I had been a fan, but since seeing them with the Cro-Mags a few years ago I was really  won over. The band does get some crap from long time listeners hating their style changes. However, I like all their material, hardcore to post punk.
All that is great, but the highlight purchase was The Class of Nukem High soundtrack. For years I searched for those songs. I couldn’t even find a bootleg of them. So finally, last year, The Ship to Shore Phonograph Company and Troma gave it a proper vinyl release with download card. It features new artwork that looks great; but I would have preferred the original movie poster art. The download version also has some commentary tracks from Lloyd Kaufman. I expected to hear some interesting details but to my disappointment it was just babbling.

In 1986, I remember being an 11 year old renting Nukem High from the long dead Video Club. The punk rock look of the film, high school partying and graphic violence went hand in hand. Although the music is more straight 80s rock than punk, it still thrives in rebellious leather. The most recognizable bands on the record are The Smithereens and Stratus (featuring Iron Maiden’s Clive Burr, RIP).
Even listening to it now totally brings me back to the feeling of growing up in the 80s. With no exaggeration, the listening experience mentally threw me back to those school halls. It was a magical time discovering punk, hardcore and metal.