Monday, March 5, 2018
Jesus Wears Armani from the state of Washington, USA
BIO:“I wrote Pray For War when I was in a very dark place. It was early 2014 and I had just gotten out of the military. I was having a really hard time readjusting to civilian life. I wanted to go back to war. It was safe: I knew it. I had done it for 8 years. That feeling is something that almost any veteran, especially one who’s seen combat, can relate to. Switching between war and civilian life is really hard.”
Rich Hurst, lyricist and lead singer of melodic heavy metal band Jesus Wears Armani, writes combat-tested metal.
His songs address the physical and psychological scars of war: injury, alcoholism, addiction, PTSD, and the feelings of dislocation and alienation that are unfortunately all-too-common for our returning veterans. As Hurst sees it, the mission of the band is to use music to give voice to emotions and experiences his fellow soldiers might find too painful to express. Hurst is also committed to giving back in a material way to his fellow soldiers.
Backing Hurst are musicians Casey Catts on guitar, Jared Conniele on drums, and Ricy Bjorklund on bass.
Listeners have described Jesus Wears Armani’s sound as “Lamb of God meets Dethklok” (of the animated Adult Swim television show Metalocalypse). The band counts as its musical influences The Black Dahlia Murder, The Faceless, and DevilDriver.
Jesus Wears Armani’s high energy stage show, featuring an original music setlist, a military theme and strobe lights, is heating up the Seattle heavy metal scene. They received honorable mention at the South Sound Underground Festival to directly benefit the Wounded Warrior Project at Louie G’s in March 2015. The band co-headlined the Hawaii Metalfest in August 2015 with Suicide Silence, and also received runner-up at Seattle’s Studio Seven’s 2015 KNOTFEST, opening for Slipknot/Judas Priest and Korn.
They are headlining Wingfest at Louie G’s in December 2015, and will be touring the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and Everett) starting in early 2016. Jesus Wears Armani’s music has also been getting airplay on internet radio stations like Earbits and Radio Riss.
“Music is a way for us to reach out to other veterans. The things that they have gone through, we have also been through. It’s kind of like therapy. It expresses itself in our lyrics. No matter how hard life is, you are going to come out on top,” says Hurst. “Our song, To the Front, is about duty in the military - what soldiers go through to get ready to go into combat: ‘Back to the front, join the dead, write your letters home and tell your family everything will be alright.’”
Hurst first formed Jesus Wears Armani when he was on active duty in Iraq in 2008, continued playing when he returned to Hawaii in 2010 and played even through another tour of duty in 2011-12 in Afghanistan.
The band saw considerable success at their previous base of operations on Oahu, HI, where they were stationed. Regular performers at the two most popular metal venues on the island, The Station and Hawaiian Brian, they were invited to open for August Burns Red, Killswitch Engage and Cannibal Corpse in 2012-13. They were also fortunate enough to tour around the islands with Christian deathcore band Impending Doom. The band relocated from Hawaii to Seattle in 2013. Then, in March of 2014, they performed at the SXSW Heart of Texas Rockfest showcase to critical acclaim.
Hurst is a wounded warrior himself - he had a rocket explode behind his head. He knows physical scars are not the only legacy many veterans suffer from, and the song “Whatever Vices May Come” is a reflection of the many emotions he has dealt with both in the field of war and after coming home to civilian life. Having overcome problems with alcohol and addiction which almost cost him his military career, Hurst’s goal is to help others express and fight the same self-destructive forces.
Hurst and the band are working on their second CD, Pray For War, projected to release in 2017. Their first EP, Curse of Man (2012), can be heard on ReverbNation.