Interview with Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus

Last Friday I interviewed another icon of heavy metal, Steve “Zetro” Souza. Zetro is fronting thrash metal band Exodus and they will be playing at the Black Cat on Wednesday. This is one of my shortest interviews but we covered a lot in that time including when we can expect a new Exodus album, what is going on with some of his other projects and how he got the nickname Zetro in the first place. You can stream the six minute interview by pressing the orange button below or download it as a 7.81 mb mp3 here. The transcription is below and my words are in bold.

Photo of Zetro Souza by Bruce Getty

Photo of Steve “Zetro” Souza by Bruce Getty

Hello, this is Metal Chris and today I’ve got Zetro Souza, the vocalist of the legendary Bay Area thrash band Exodus, on the phone with me. Exodus is currently on tour with King Diamond however the band is taking a night off from the tour with King Diamond to play at the Black Cat in Washington DC on Wednesday, November 18th. So how’s the tour with King Diamond been going so far?

It’s great. It’s crazy every night. It’s a good package. The King and us [have] been around forever you know I guess you could say and we’ve been good friends a long time so the tour really works really well. We’re good friends with his band and their crew so yeah, it’s kicking ass. It’s definitely kicking ass.

So will Exodus be playing a different set list at all for the headline show at the Black Cat? Any oddball songs maybe thrown in that you might not be doing on the rest of the tour?

Yeah because we only get 45 minutes with King so we’ll play 90 minutes that night so there’ll be a lot of stuff thrown in. Even the set we have with King there’s a couple of songs in there that we haven’t played in a long, long, long time that we’ve brought up so.

Now I remember when Exodus played at Empire in November of last year, I was at that show and I remember seeing you sing some of the songs from the Rob Dukes era of the band like “Children Of A Worthless God” for example. Do you have any problem playing those songs from his time in the band?

No. No they’re actually really good songs. I actually play a couple of different ones on this tour. I think we play “Children [Of A Worthless God]” but we also play two different ones that we didn’t do on that one. They’re good songs. There’s no reason to take Exodus’ history away. Just because I’m back in the band doesn’t mean the last ten years didn’t count or didn’t matter. Those songs are really, really good.

So the 2014 Exodus album Blood In Blood Out has been a hit with the fans. I know the album was written with Rob Dukes in the band. Are there any plans to do another Exodus album in the future with you involved in the writing process?

Oh yeah. All of the few stints that I’ve done with Exodus I’ve always written songs. Obviously we’re going to keep going. This isn’t just like, get in the band and finish it all. We’re going to keep going. This is what we do. We love what we do.

So is there any kind of time frame on that? Have you guys started writing at all or any kind of studio time scheduled?

Well you know we haven’t started writing. [Exodus guitarist] Gary [Holt] also plays in Slayer so Slayer just put out Repentless a few months ago so they’re touring as well. I would say… probably no sooner than 2017 at some point ’cause we still have 2016 all booked up with tours to do as well.

In July it was announced that you are not going to be doing vocals for Hatriot any more. Do you think you’ll ever rejoin your sons in Hatriot?

You know what he wants to do it. My oldest [Cody Souza] wants to be the singer and he sounds really good. He does a really, really good job at it. So him and I are writing songs together ’cause he’s not a lyricist yet but he’s learning and he’s gonna be great. I’m watching over them. I’m making sure they get going.

That’s cool. Do you think we’ll ever be getting any more songs from Dublin Death Patrol?

Nah. Chuck [Billy]’s too busy with Testament and his management company and I’m too busy with Exodus and trying to write songs with Hatriot as well so probably not. That was kind of just supposed to be a one album thing and then we kind of got talked into the second one and we really didn’t have any time to tour ’cause at that time [the Testament album] Dark Roots Of Earth was coming out so [we] just couldn’t do it. So it was alright. It worked out great. It was fun.

Now have you played Washington, DC before? Do you remember anything special from any shows in this area?

Oh yeah well we played there many times. It was a real small room. I can’t remember what it is [named]. [It] probably doesn’t even exist any more. But it’s been a while since I’ve played in DC. It was back in the 80’s and the 90’s it was a tiny little room. I think we played there with Leatherwolf and Cycle Sluts From Hell. It was actually a really cool gig.

Do you have any bands from the DC area that you’re a fan of?

Minor Threat come on.


Everybody loves Minor Threat.

Pentagram is from here.

Oh they are? I didn’t know that.

Yeah, Pentagram, Clutch

I thought they were from Connecticut.

You’re one of the old guard from the old Bay Area thrash scene. Are you a fan of any of the modern thrash bands that have come out in the last maybe ten years or so like Municipal Waste, Power Trip, Skeletonwitch, Vektor?

Yeah because see I was in Hatriot so I was on that level for a while so Havok you know, Hatchet, those bands are all killer you know. [The] Black Dahlia Murder, [The] Faceless, I love those bands.

So are there any new bands that you’ve been listening to a lot like right now like maybe a new album [that has] come out in the last year or two.

Nothing new. I’m more old school like I’ve been slamming the new [Iron] Maiden, the new Slayer and actually the new Soilwork lately.

Okay, where exactly does the nickname “Zetro” come from?

Oh I was taking some drugs, some acid when I was about 17, no 14, and I just blurted out the word “zet” and from zet it turned into zetro. So they started calling me that when I was like 14 so it’s been around for quite some time.

Haha, alright. Um…

Don’t do acid kids!

Haha. Now there’s tons of metal bands that have been getting an official beer made for them by various craft breweries lately. Is there any chance that Exodus might have an official beer coming out at some point?

I don’t know [about an] official [beer]. They’ve been making non-official ones I’ve seen over in Belgium and in Holland but actually Jack [Gibson], our bass player, was telling me that there is actually a brewery up in Northern California that’s going to make an Exodus beer. So we’ll see what happens.

Oh cool, cool.

That’d be great. Those are all the flattering things in life.

Hahaha. Well that’s all my questions. Thanks a lot for your time here it’s been really cool getting a chance to talk to you. Can’t wait to see you perform with Exodus at the Black Cat on Wednesday, November 18th. Anything else you’d like to say to the metal fans in the DC area right now?

The DC and Virginia fans always supported us man we love that pit so come out and see Exodus next Wednesday. We’ll kick your ass for sure.

Alright man. Well thanks a lot.

Thanks Chris. See you then.

Exodus ticket give away

Exodus at the Black Cat

Old school Bay Area thrashers Exodus are taking a night off from their tour with King Diamond to play the Black Cat on Wednesday, November 18th! It’s not every day that an old school metal band plays the Black Cat so we want to help get as many of you out to this show as possible, that’s why we’re giving away a pair of tickets to this show! To enter just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thrash band is. At 5pm EST this Monday, November 16th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for just $15 here.

Exodus was one of the first bands of the infamous San Francisco thrash metal scene of the 1980’s. Long time Exodus vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza is back in the fold and the band is currently touring in support of their first album with him in 10 years, Blood In Blood Out. Don’t expect to just hear new material though as the band will also be playing classics from their entire back catalog at the Black Cat. The opening band is a local noise band named Jail Solidarity. I know this is out third ticket give away in a row but we do have some other great posts coming up soon, including an interview with one of the members of Exodus, so stay tuned! Until then, check out these videos and let me know what your favorite thrash band is!

Exodus – Toxic Waltz

Exodus – Blood In Blood Out

Exodus – Salt The Wound

Gwar ticket give away

Gwar at the 9:30 Club

Halloween might have come and gone but you can extend the costumed fun next week when Gwar plays at the 9:30 Club on Sunday, November 9th (that's this Monday!). I’ve been commanded by my scumdog slavemasters to bring more lambs to the slaughter which means one of you (un)lucky DCHM readers will win a pair of tickets to attend this very massacre concert. To enter just leave a comment on this post letting me know what the best costume you saw this Halloween was. At 5pm EST this Friday, November 6th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to win the tickets. Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from Ticket Fly for $25 here.

If you’ve never seen Gwar live before then get ready for a truly religious experience! Our alien masters are known for putting on the goriest live show in the universe and you’ll be covered in blood, bile and worse by the time it’s over, a truly epic baptism by mosh pit. But before Gwar even dominates the 9:30 Club stage there will be sets by other bands as well. Born Of Osiris, a Chicago based djent band, will be direct support and starting off the festivities is Battlecross, a melodic death/thrash band that is incredible live. Still not sure if you should go? Then check out these awesome music videos by the bands playing the show as you think up your entry!

Gwar – Let Us Slay

Born Of Osiris – Machine

Battlecross – Never Coming Back

Bongzilla ticket give away

Bongzilla at the Metro Gallery

Pack some Visine with your ear plugs this weekend because Bongzilla is headlining the Metro Gallery on Saturday, October 24th (that’s this coming weekend). To help you stoner metal fans motivate for this show we’re going to give away a free pair of tickets the show! To enter: leave a comment on this post telling me what you favorite stoner metal song of all time is (I’m half expecting all entries to be Dopesmoker by Sleep) and this Thursday, October 22nd at 5pm EST a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. Please do not enter if you are under 18 because this show is for ages 18+ only and winning tickets from me will not get you past the door guy asking to see your ID. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $20 from Ticket Fly here.

Bongzilla is a Madison, Wisconsin based stoner metal band that has been pretty quiet for the past 10 years. They’ve been added to next year’s Maryland Deathfest bill but you don’t have to wait until May to see Bongzilla play live! If you’re into stoner metal then you don’t want to miss the return of Bongzilla to our area this weekend! In addition, there’s some great stoner/doom local bands on the bill as well including Baltimore’s own Corpse Light, Slagstorm from Hagerstown (featuring members of Fortress) and Northern Virginia based Foehammer, who you may remember played the DCHM holiday party last year. Now check out these sweet songs by the bands on the bill and let me know what your favorite stoner metal song is.

Bongzilla – Grim Reefer

Corpse Light


Foehammer – Stormcrow

Interview with Max Cavalera of Soulfly

Earlier this week I had the chance to talk to another one of the legends of metal, Max Cavalera. He was very laid back and down to Earth and he is the first person I’ve interviewed that has brought up some of our local bands without me asking first! Max talks about Soulfly’s new album and tour as well as his time in Sepultura, the future of Killer Be Killed and he even gave some cool background stories as well. The entire interview lasts a bit under 15 minutes and you can stream it below by pressing the orange play button, download it as a 20mb mp3 here or read the transcription below where my words are the ones in bold. I hope you enjoy this interview as much I did!

Photo of Max Cavalera by Hannah Verbeuren

Photo of Max Cavalera by Hannah Verbeuren

Hello everyone. This is Metal Chris and today I’ve got the honor of interviewing Max Cavalera who is the main man behind Soulfly [and] who is also a current or former member of many other bands including Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed, Sepultura and Nailbomb. Soulfly is currently on tour right now and they will be playing at the Ottobar in Baltimore on Wednesday, October 21st. So to start things off here Max, let’s talk about the newest Soulfly album, Archangel, which came out this past August. Can you tell me about the concepts behind it? It seems to have sort of a Biblical feel to it.

It’s a different record for sure you know it’s our tenth album and we are trying to do something a bit different from everything we have done and I decided to call the album Archangel and having a couple of biblical references in some of the songs like “Sodomites,” “Bethlehem’s Blood” and some old Babylonian themes like “Ishtar Rising” and “Shamash.” It was cool. It was a fun record to make. We had a really good procuder, Matt Hyde, he has done Slayer‘s God Hates Us All, and Monster Magnet and Deftones. So he’s a very good guy, very good producer. And we had a good team you know. The artwork was done by Eliran Kantor. He’s a guy from Jerusalem that lives in Germany and does some amazing album covers and the inner sleeve was done by Marcelo Vasco who is a friend of mine from Brazil. [He] does a lot of death metal album covers. He actually did also the new Slayer album cover. So I like the album too. I think the album is extreme. It’s got a lot of influence from the stuff I listen to and I think it is very energetic. It shows a very energetic side of Soulfly that things are not slowing down at all. We’re just getting started you know, even on our tenth album. So it’s pretty exciting.

Cover of Archangel by Soulfly

Cover of Archangel by Soulfly

To my understanding Mike Leon from the band Havok is playing bass on your current tour. So how did he end up joining Soulfly?

Yeah we found out that Mike was not with Havok any more and we thought it would be a great fit for Soulfly because he’s such a good bass player and he’s a good friend too you know. So we knew him, Soulfly did a tour with Havok, we all became friends and he kept in contact with us. When he played near my house with Arsis he came to see me and so we flew him in and did some practice and he’s amazing. And he brought a whole lot of new blood to Soulfly man. A lot of people are saying this line up is the most lethal they’ve seen in a long time man. It’s pretty kick ass. I got somebody I can headbang with now ’cause [Soulfly guitiarist] Marc [Rizzo] doesn’t have any hair. So you know I still got all my dreadlocks and you know Mike has a lot of hair so we can headbang together, haha.

Now I know the guys in Decapitated were having visa problems getting into the country for this tour. Have you heard any update on if they’re going to be on the tour at all or are they still just awaiting to hear anything?

They’re going to be on [the] tour but I just don’t know when. They’re supposed to be getting that cleared out any day now. In fact I heard rumors they were supposed to be here tomorrow or the next day. They’re going to be here. So we just keep our fingers crossed because I love Decapitated and I love to have them. It’s such a good bill with them on it you know it’s a strong four bill tour and it’s a shame that it had to happen to them. I hate those visa things and government things like that so you know it’s like it sucks when that happens. But we are hoping that they will be here soon so we can at least finish the tour with them.

As I mentioned before, you’re in a bunch of bands and after this Soulfly tour ends, which band are you going to be focusing on?

Well right now I’m focused on Soulfly for a long time ’cause the album just came out and I’m really excited for Archangel. I think it’s an album that we can do a lot with you know we can really tour a lot for it and we are going to try to tour a lot. We have two tours right now. This one with Soilwork and Shattered Sun and then we have another one in November with Crowbar and Incite and Shattered Sun and then we have some shows already in Australia early next year and Europe and some invitations to do some other stuff that we are looking at right now and hopefully we can go [to] South America, Australia, China and Japan, Middle East I hope you know and another US run because we didn’t do a lot of the big markets like Detroit, Philadelphia. We didn’t do that on this tour yet so there’s still places to play in the US so for another tour so we are hoping that we can get another one of those tours next year.

That’s really cool you’re going to be playing on this for a while too but I guess that means no new Cavalera Conspiracy or Killer Be Killed any time soon?

No, not for a while. Cavalera [Conspiracy] is on a big break. I will not probably touch Cavalera [Conspiracy] for a long, long time and Killer Be Killed maybe. We [will] see where we [are] at next year. We maybe do some riffing and get some song ideas started for the next record and see where we are at. Where every band member is at the time. Troy [Sanders] had a little bit of family problems early with his wife having cancer and had to cancel a bunch of Mastodon dates so we’re hoping that things get better on his camp and then he can come back and do some more stuff with Killer Be Killed. I’m in contact with Greg [Puciato] all the time. He’s super excited for another record. We’re going to do it, it’s just, we don’t know when or where, but it is going to happen at some point. I think we are going to work a little bit on it next year and then eventually get it out there some time in the future.

Have you ever thought of doing a solo Max Cavalera album or do you sort of see Soulfly as your solo project?

Soulfly is kind of my thing like, ’cause I have all the guests on every album. You know we had Todd [Jones] from Nails and Matt [Young] from King Parrot on Archangel and I had David Vincent from Morbid Angel and Tom Araya from Slayer and Chino [Moreno] from Deftones and Corey [Taylor] from Slipknot and the list of people that I work with is real long but I would like to tour more with other bands. Especially I’ve got a lot of bands that I like. I like a lot of new bands you know like Homewrecker and Genocide Pact and…

Oh yeah, Genocide Pact is from here.

Yeah. Xibalba, Young And In The Way, you know I like a lot of this new stuff man. You know it’s great. The new Genocide Pact album [titled Forged Through Domination] is insane. I’ve been listening to that a lot and I love it and hopefully [Soulfly will] get one of those bands to tour with us next year. Would be great.

So are there any other DC area bands you might be into? We’ve got a bunch from here. Like you said Genocide Pact but also you know Pig Destroyer, Dying Fetus, Pentagram, Deceased.

All of those are great, haha. Me and my son Igor we really like them a lot. You know Igor is a guitar player [in] Lody Kong and they’re really good friends with the Noisem guys and the Full Of Hell guys so they’ve been to our houses a bunch of times and I never actually met Dom [Romeo] from A389 Records but my son Igor has met him. Hopefully he can come to the Ottobar show. I’m really dying to meet him and finally get to know him in person. I’m a big Pulling Teeth fan. I love Pulling Teeth man you know. I mean they were just an amazing, amazing hardcore band, grindcore band you know so I’m very excited to be out to the Baltimore show. I think it’s going to be a great show.

You’re kind of talking about some of like the hardcore bands, you know I remember back in the day when you were back in Sepultura, Jello Biafra helped you guys write the “Biotech Is Godzilla” song and I was always kind of curious, how did that happen?

I’m not sure if I remember exactly how but I think we kind of hand picked him out of our idols that we had growing up in Brazil. Dead Kennedys was a huge, huge band that me and [Max’s brother and former Sepultura band mate] Igor [Cavalera] listened to a lot. I especially loved the lyrics. I love Jello’s black humor on stuff like “Holiday In Cambodia” and “California Über Alles,” “Kill The Poor,” “Drug Me.” So we had the idea to let him to write the lyrics for the song and he did it and sent it on a cassette tape and I ended up using the growl that he did on the cassette tape. I put that on the record. And he was pretty surprised when he heard that. He wasn’t expecting it. He told me like, if I would have told him he would have made a better growl and I told him, “No, no but that’s what’s cool that you’re not thinking that was going to go on the record. That’s why I like it ’cause you weren’t really prepared for it.” You know so, I gave him that excuse and he was cool with that and you know I’ve always been into the whole punk scene. A lot of European punk stuff, Discharge, GBH, Exploited and on the American side of course Black Flag and Minor Threat and Bad Brains of course, one of my favorites. Amazing, amazing. I think they’re pioneers of so much of the stuff. Even some of the ideas that I’ve brought into Soulfly some of the stuff like doing kind of like the metal reggae versions of songs like “Bring It” and “I And I” are heavily, heavily based on the actual original idea of Bad Brains which was mixing hardcore and reggae and I love that mix. I think it’s a great mix. I still think more can be done with it and I think it’s something to dwell with in the future, to do more stuff with that.

You worked with another guy from the DC area in a project. That was when you worked with David Grohl in the Probot project. How did he contact you about that or were you already friends with him? How did you get involved in that project with him?

Yeah Dave used to come see all the Sepultura shows all the time. He was a big fan. When he was living in Seattle he came a lot to the Sepul shows and we struck a friendship and we got contacted from him out of the blue about this Probot project and he sent me five songs actually and he told me to pick one and I love “Red War.” It reminds me of [the Sepultura song] “Territory” the beginning and I even told him that. “Like that’s cool man. Sounds kind of like ‘Territory.'” I love the beginning of the song and so I went in the studio and put the vocals on it but I love the idea [of] an album with his favorite metal singers and I love the record I think that the King Diamond song is excellent, the Cronos song, the Lemmy [Kilmister] song. It is a very, very cool record. A very cool idea and I think he pulled it off man. He’s such a good drummer and the music on it is really good. The Probot music is actually really, really powerful and we actually played “Red War” live with Soulfly a couple times on a European tour and it was really fun. I did a book last year [titled My Bloody Roots: From Sepultura to Soulfly and Beyond] and we actually asked Dave to do the introduction of the book and he was very, very honored and he did it for me and gave me the coolest introduction ever about his speakers that cost twenty thousand dollars getting blown up by the Roots album [by Sepultura]. I thought that was such a great story and it was really cool you know so I was really glad that he got to do the introduction of the book and he’s such a huge fan and loves Roots so much so it was great having him do that for the book and I was very excited.

I’ve always thought you’ve had a really cool story too. You guys came out of Brazil almost out of nowhere out of this underground metal scene that was pretty much unheard of until you guys took the world by storm. It must have been really hard finding an underground metal scene at all in those days. You know this was way before the internet. How exactly did you get into metal in those days back then?

It was very different. Like you said it was before internet. We used to do tape trading and sending tapes out and painting our own t-shirts and sending them out and we were in contact with a lot of underground bands. I remember being in contact with Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary and Kreator and Destruction, Dark Angel, Possessed and all those bands wrote back to me and in fact my first time I saw the name Sepultura was on the first Death album Scream Bloody Gore that he thanked Max and Sepultura. That was really cool for me to see that for the first time. So yeah it was a different time, different era but I look [at] it both ways. It was exciting at the time but I think it’s cool now too because I think you can find a lot of cool stuff on the internet. You can look for bands from different parts of the world. You find Psycroptic from Tasmania and Nervecell from Dubai and Melechesh from Israel. I use Spotify a lot and find a lot of cool bands on it myself so I think it’s cool.

So you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area now right? So do you ever think of going back to Brazil to like live back in Brazil do you ever visit there or anything?

Nah I go there to play and my mom lives there. I get to see her and I do a lot of shows there. I did a big, big Cavalera [Conspiracy] tour. We played everywhere. We had a tour bus even for the first time ever and we went from city to city and went to some really obscure cities of Brazil and it was a great tour and I have been going to Brazil more often than ever the last three, four years. I’ve been there quite a lot, quite massively. It’s great you know. So I don’t really plan to move there. I love Phoenix. I love Arizona. For writing it’s really good where I am. I write my music in peace and it’s really good you know so I love going to Brazil to play but that’s about it.

Now I think I already know the answer to this but I feel like I have to ask. Do you think there’s any kind of way that there will ever be any kind of Sepultura reunion with you. Even just a one-off live show or anything?

Probably not you know. I mean I don’t see it happening and I don’t really care much about it. I think the time has gone when it was exciting to do it was like ten years ago it would have been cool but not now. And we all moved on from everything. You know I got a lot of projects. I got Cavalera [Conspiracy], Killer Be Killed, Soulfly is doing great so I don’t really need it you know it’s like, kind of let it become a, kind of a cult thing as it was. You know when I was with them we did great stuff. The records were amazing and live shows were killer and a lot of that is captured on video and people can see it. We can not live it up to, um, not to ruin it because a lot of those reunions they’re not really good you know so it’s like why ruin something that was good? So I think it’s kind of better to leave it like that you know.

You know I feel lucky I actually got to see you guys on the Roots tour with Ozzy and Danzig out here in like ’96 or something. Well thanks so much for your time today Max. If you’ve got anything else you’d like to tell the fans out here in the Washington DC, Baltimore, Virginia area now’s your chance.

I’m really excited for the show. It’s going to be a great show. You know keep supporting metal and we’ll see everybody at the show. It’s going to be an amazing night. You know I can’t wait. Can’t wait at the Ottobar. It’s going to be a great, great night for metal and we’re going to try to play as hard as we can play. Try to give them the best show possible they can get.

Alright well thanks so much again for your time man. I’ll be seeing you on October 21st at the Ottobar with Soulfly. Thanks again Max.

Alright, thank you man.

Soulfly At The Ottobar on 21 October 2015

Review of Psychic Warfare by Clutch

Band: Clutch
Album: Psychic Warfare
Release Date: 2 October 2015
Record Label: Weathermaker Music
Buy CD ($9.79) or digital ($9.49) from: Amazon

Psychic Warfare by Clutch

Clutch has come a long way since their days on a major label. They show no signs of slowing down now that they release their albums through their own label, Weathermaker Music. DCHM writer Buzzo Jr breaks down the blue collar heroes’ latest call to arms in the following review of Psychic Warfare. Be sure to check out the music video at the end of this post.

For over 20 years Clutch has built up a dedicated cult following in the DMV area and beyond with their hard hitting brand of rock n roll. Now Maryland’s favorite band is back with their eleventh album Psychic Warfare, the much anticipated follow up to the immensely successful Earth Rocker from 2013. Like their previous album, Psychic Warfare is jam packed with high energy, blues driven stoner rock that’s begging to be played loud and is sure to get your head banging.

After a short intro track entitled “The Affidavit,” where frontman Neil Fallon’s deep voice asks the listener to take a seat and “Just start from the beginning,” the album gets off to a powerful start with “X-Ray Visions” which is filled to the brim with groovy riffs and hard hitting drum beats. The next track, “Firebirds,” is a song with an unbelievably catchy chorus aided in no small part by Neil Fallon’s fantastic vocals. Fallon is arguably one of the most charismatic and talented frontmen in music right now, with his deep, bellowing vocals and imaginative lyrics. His singing gives every song on the record its own sense of character; its own unique feel. Clutch start showing off their blues influences on the track “A Quick Death in Texas.” The blues laden riffs give off an undeniable ZZ Top vibe, but at the same time guitarist Tim Sult manages to inject his own style into the mix, perfectly blending melodic soloing with just enough grittiness in the riffs to ensure that at the end of the day it still sounds like a Clutch song. Tracks like “Sucker for the Witch” and “Your Love is Incarceration” has bassist Dan Maines utilizing his skills by laying down some infectiously funky bass lines that work in flawless unison with Sult’s guitar work. Fallon’s aforementioned lyricism is front and center during these two tracks, with great lines such as “It goes against my Catholic upbringing, I admit it, I’m a sucker for the witch!” or “As to the charges of gettin’ it down, Hey! Before the court, how do you plead? As to the charges that are laid before me: I confess, I am guilty in the first degree!” that are prime material for the crowds to chant along with the first time these tracks are played live.

The album comes to a slow interlude with “Doom Saloon;” an atmospheric instrumental reminiscent of the western inspired tunes on Earth’s album Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method. The instrumental flows seamlessly into the beautiful “Our Lady of Electric Light.” The track is almost melancholy sounding with its slow tempos and clean melodies, and showcases Fallon’s vocal range by having him hold back his usual booming hollers in exchange for a reserved, southern croon. The tempo soon gets back into overdrive however with “Noble Savage.” Definitely the fastest song on “Psychic Warfare,” the track has the band playing at top speed with Fallon belting out lyrics like the life of his almighty beard depended on it, Sult letting solo after solo come loose, and Jean Paul Gaster beating his drum kit like it owes him money. JP’s drumming is the final piece of the puzzle that makes Clutch who they are. His drumming manages to work in influences from the area’s past music scenes such as the speedy kick pedal work found in the DC hardcore scene, and the simple yet effective beats found in gogo music. The next two tracks “Behold the Colossus” and “Decapitation Blues” continue on with the same great quality found on previous songs, with plenty of groovy riffs and foot stomping beats continuing to drive the album forward. Finally the stage is set for the closing track “Son of Virginia.” Clocking in at seven minutes in length, it’s their second longest track ever, surpassed only by the twelve minute “Dragonfly” from their Elephant Riders album which was released back in 1998. “Son of Virginia” is definitely what one would call an epic; starting out with a clean, southern tinged guitar line working in unison with Fallon’s ever so powerful voice that soon builds up into a tumultuous cascade of riffs and deep bluesy bellows, leaving us with the parting words of the album repeated as if it were a form of mantra: “Truly we are living in an age of wonder.”

While I think this album falls a bit short of Earth Rocker in terms of overall memorability, Clutch’s newest output is still one of the best records I’ve heard all year, from a local band or otherwise. Whether you’re already a fellow Clutch fan or this is your first time hearing about them, I highly recommend this to you either way. I can say with absolute certainty that I’m going to have Psychic Warfare playing on repeat for a good amount of time. And then probably Clutch’s entire discography. Pick up Psychic Warfare and turn up those speakers, because you’re in for a damn good time.

Goatsnake ticket give away

Goatsnake at the Black Cat

Metal fans are not going to want to miss Goatsnake when they make a rare East Coast appearance at the Black Cat on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015. We’re so excited for this show that we’re going to be giving away a free pair of tickets to this show to one of you loyal DC Heavy Metal readers! To enter: just leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite stoner, doom or sludge metal band is. At 5pm EST this Friday, October 9th, a winner will be chosen at random (using from all valid entries to receive two tickets to the show! Be sure to use a valid email you check regularly so I can contact you if you win. Don’t worry, I won’t add you to any spam lists or sell your info or anything sleazy like that. If I haven’t heard back from the winner in 24 hours another winner will be chosen at random. If you can’t wait to see if you win, or the contest is already over when you read this, then you can get tickets from right now for $15 from Ticket Fly here.

Goatsnake is from Los Angeles and features members of bands like The Obsessed and Sunn O))). Goatsnake have made a name for themselves with their blend of southern rock and doom metal and this summer they released their first album in 15 years, Black Age Blues, and it rips! They have a high energy live show but they rarely make it to the East Coast to play live so you don’t want to miss this rare chance to see them right here in Washington, DC, one of just three of their East Coast dates. Also on the bill is YDi (pronounced Why Die), a reformed old school hardcore band that started in Philadelphia in the 80s. The opener is Big ‡ Brave from Montreal, Canada, and they play a strange experimental style of metal. Now check out these videos of the bands playing the show and let me know what your favorite doom, sludge or stoner metal band is in the comments!

Goatsnake – Elevated Man

YDi – Black Dust

Big ‡ Brave – On The By – And – By And Thereon


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