Their new album, “El rostro de la muerte” (The Face of Death), presents a power-packed guitar sound, supported by song-centered, speedy drumming in to-the-point compositions. High-energy screamer vocalist Katon details the functioning of a working, travelling band sweating out their metal through a bunch of different countries and rolling on through your town.
Hirax is heavy metal thrash of the fast kind, and a no-nonsense approach is their trademark. They have quite a list of recorded music, going back to their role in the period of classic 80s thrash. For lots more info:
Hello, Katton and Hirax. You recently toured Texas, then Chile and Argentina. How was Texas and South America?! And Puerto Rico, too??! Hirax is very busy right now!!
KATON: Hello Mauricio - Metal Bulletin. YES, we are VERY busy, just finishing up the final stages of our 2009 tour and we have just returned home from Puerto Rico. All of the tours/concerts were very successful! We had a great time! Texas was very good and South America (Chile and Argentina) were totally crazy! Our fan base is growing bigger each time we return to the countries/territories that we have toured through before. We are quite happy.
HIRAX has lots of albums. How can people get copies? itunes? copies of the cds? What is Black Devil Records?
KATON: www.blackdevilrecords.com, iTunes, & we are distributed worldwide by Seasons of Mist, Century Media and Nuclear Blast. Black Devil Records is our own record label, run and owned by us. We still manufacture CD and Vinyl versions of all of our releases. Keep an eye out for the new album, "El Rostro de la Muerte." There are some very special surprises upcoming: a 12" picture disc and 12" LP version, both are coming soon!
Metallers in Mexico hold Hirax in high regard. Are your Spanish-language song titles a tribute? Do you speak Spanish, by the way?
Yes, we have just released our new CD, our first full length in 5 years. It has being received tremendously well so far! Yes, the Spanish title it a tribute to all of our Spanish speaking fans worldwide. To be honest with you, my Spanish is not so good, but through our travels through Central and South America, Puerto Rico and Spain my español is improved each time we return. Mexico it is a very special place for us, we love it! Some of our most die hard fans are from there. Every time we play the song, "El Diablo Negro" in concert no matter where we are. We pay respect to our brothers and sisters throughout Mexico!!
What are the lyric topics for this time around? The capitalist system sure seems to produce lots of wars and a lot of poverty, and you were already talking about that in the 80s, but now it’s a huge crisis of capitalism worldwide!
The topics we cover are everything from religion, poverty, greed, mass destruction, fear tactics, world history, evolution of man, etc. As to frustration with capitalism, wars and poverty; it is a fight that I think we will all have to deal with until the day we die. As far back as you can go in civilization there has always been wars and capitalism. The rich and the poor will always have conflicts. Unfortunately, that is the sad truth. All of our albums, including "El Rostro de la Muerte" come with the lyrics sheets included so you can read and understand what HIRAX is all about and what we are committed to spreading the word of our message: peace through music.
And talk about “Bombs of Death” now in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan!
Obviously we are a band committed to peace and humanity. All wars are bad! Plain and simple. Nothing good ever comes out of it. I think that the main problem is people understanding other traditions and not condemning other religions. I believe that everybody should be able to worship whatever god they want to. We are all created equal and we all bleed the same blood...red.
Do you, Katton, have time for hobbies and family?
HIRAX consumes all of my time. The only family I have is my wife, who also helps me run the daily business of HIRAX; and she is totally into metal, so we are a great team; and HIRAX is our child. Everyday, 7 days a week, it is music. The band continually keeps us busy. But I love it, and I am happier than I ever have been, but busier than ever before!
What from “El rostro…” are you playing live currently?!
We will probably rotate songs, but the four that I can tell you right now that are part of the live set are the title track "El Rostro de la Muerte", "Eradicate Mankind", "Flesh and Blood" and the opening track from the album, "Baptized by Fire". But I can't give away all of the surprises.
Napalm Death has covered Hirax. What did you think?! There’s probably quite a few bands that have covered HIRAX! Have you met Merciless Death and others inspired by HIRAX and classic thrash?
Pretty much most of the newer thrash metal bands I have met. Merciless Death is just one of them. They are really nice guys. Most of the newer young thrash metal bands have opened up for us at one time or another. We are honored that so many bands are inspired by our music. As to Napalm Death's version of our song, "Hate, Fear and Power," I really liked the way they did it. They did it justice and they played it brutal, the way it should be.
How you ever played your classic albums “Raging Violence” and “Hate, Fear and Power” in their entirety live?!
No, and we never will. That is just not what we are about. We try to play all of the classics and some of the more unknown tracks from our entire catalog. We just believe that everybody has different favorites, so we wouldn't want to just play one full album all the way through. We like to keep it exciting and fresh. Sometimes we like to throw songs into the set that people weren't expecting. Our motto is to keep the fans guessing; it makes for a better concert.
On those two albums there are moments of blast beats. How aware of that were you all back then? You seem to not have wanted to use it a bit more? Why?
Yes, we are aware of that. It is an honor to be considered one of the forefathers of that movement. Now and again you will continue to hear us do that style of drum patterns. If you look through other albums of ours, such as "Barrage of Noise" you can hear similarities. Or especially on "The New Age of Terror" there is a song titled, "Into the Ruins" that is reminiscent of our early stuff. The main thing for HIRAX is that we don't do blast beats just for the hell of it. If it fits the song, then we will use it. We deliberately try to always make our music fit the drum beats, but don't be surprised if you hear more blast beats in the future. Even if we don't use them, I can guarantee that we will always play FAST and HEAVY because THAT IS WHAT WE DO!!
What are HIRAX’s touring commitments for 2010?
KATON: I along with Glenn Rogers - lead guitars, Lance Harrison - lead guitars, Steve Harrison - bass, Jorge Iacobellis - drums will be doing a lot in 2010. We are going to be on the road in support of the new album. We hope to be touring most of the year: Europe, Japan, South, Central and North America, etc. Stopping only to record some videos for the new album.
When are you coming back to Houston, Texas?
Summer 2010. We will carry all HIRAX titles, t-shirts, and patches on tour at our official HIRAX merchandise stand. But you can also go to our website to buy copies http://www.hirax.org