There has been resurgence in the Los Angeles extreme metal scene like no other. Metal Seeds that were planted over two decades ago have taken root and have sprung a crop of new bands that have invaded the underground Extreme music scene reminiscent to the early 80’s metal scene that spawned such greats as Metallica ,Slayer, Dark Angel, Agent Steel ,ext. These fledgling new comers have carved themselves a piece of the Metal Pie for themselves and are dominating with such a vengeance and fury that only their young cohorts can keep up. Initially I first despised and dismissed this up and coming Thrash/Speed/Black/Death revival as a flux. I was convinced that these young acts had only the ability to replicate and lacked the true musical talent to create their own fierce musical sound. I soon realized that I was very much mistaken. I will introduce you to two very prominent and talented bands that I not only am I a fan of, but they capture and captivate my attention every time I witness them on stage. First is a band that labels their music as Black Metal Thrash. They are from Los Angeles and go by the name Witchaven. This band has an explosive stage presence and decimates audiences wherever they play. I spoke with their front man/guitarist Henry Montoya after one hell of a wicked ass set.
Bulldozer: Henry from Witchaven, How are you? I am very pleased to be speaking with you today. I find your band very interesting and if you allow me to share with you the origins of how I first heard of your band .I strongly believe you will be entertained as well.
Henry Montoya: Fine Sir, thank you, pleasure to be speaking with you as well. By all means please share.
Bulldozer: Well as you may well know, there is this resurgence of thrash/speed metal that has exploded in Los Angeles. There are numerous young aggressive bands that are literally replicating the 80’s thrash period( which I first hand witnessed as a young teen ) I totally despise it, prior to witnessing your band I completely wrote this scene off as a joke and a pathetic revival that lacked any true credibility and purpose. That is until I witnessed your band play the infamous “Thrash de Mayo” 2010 festival here in Los Angeles. Let me just say that I was completely floored and speechless at your performance. It is very rare that you can teach an old dog new trick and let us say you taught this old dog a new trick! Now my question for you is, your band gets labeled or tagged with this new thrash/speed scene, but I disagree and do not consider you part of that at all. You unlike some of your fellow musicians truly stand apart with your aggressiveness and strong live performances .How do you feel about being compared or tagged into this scene?
Henry Montoya: Seriously it is all a cesspool! It is like a soup. Basically when my cousin Lerby and I started playing music back in 2001/2002 we started off playing all the good stuff, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer .Eventually we matured as musicians and started to develop our own sound. Around 2003/2004 we started seeing all these bands like Merciless Death, and Fueled by Fire, come out and it sucked for us because when we were playing that type of music we were only being accepted by the “Older” crowd ,our music was misinterpreted, or not understood by our own age bracket. We always considered ourselves more on the punk/crust rock influence with the D.I.Y. (do it yourself) mentality. We are strongly also influenced by Venom and Bathory, also add Discharge and The Exploited and that is what you get, attitude, and music wise! We do not label ourselves as part of any scene. We know about the whole thrash scene. We feel that it is great and that it is going on, I love thrash metal, but I do not want to be associated with this or any other scene and be labeled a “Retro” thrash band or“Resurgence “metal band.
Bulldozer: That is so funny that you say that Henry, when I first witnessed your band play, that is what came to mind! The aggressiveness, the political and real world lyrical content of your music. I can most definitely see the Punk influence in your music and stage performance.
Henry Montoya: If I have to label ourselves I would label us as a Crusty, Black Metal, Punk band with a cesspool of political out looks and aggressive music as the background.
Bulldozer: I am very impressed Henry! For your young age, you seem very knowledgeable of the harsh realities of the world and the political banter and hypocrisy that go with it. Your lyrics reflect that real world observation that reminds me of the early 80’s British punk era with bands like Discharge, Conflict, Crass, ext would you say that these artists were also instrumental or a strong influence?
Henry Montoya: Yes! One thing that really disappointed me about the resurgence of Thrash Metal here in Los Angeles, the bands are great, but the message that most of these bands portray is,” let’s get drunk!” Let’s party and not give a fuck about what is really going on. When I get drunk and party I just realize how shitty everything really is! It is just like fuck! I am trying to escape, but the more I try to escape with substances the more I am brought back to the reality of what life holds in store for me.
Bulldozer: Welcome to the real world Henry! I am glad that you see first hand what the real world truly is, cold, dark, and brutal. The fact that you as a musician have taken on the task of informing and describing this cruel world to your audience through your music is indeed impressive. It is indeed a big task being that the majority of your audience is just barely becoming aware of this “Real “world. To be able to use your natural gifts and to stand and make a statement is truly courageous .Most of the population that inhabits this planet reminds me of sheep! Following blindly, without question, or reason. It somewhat reminds me of this resurgence of thrash metal in Los Angeles, taking what has been done from the original artists and making it their own! No creativity, blind, just like a herd of sheep.
Henry Montoya: Exactly! That is what inspires me, thing that make me angry! Things that I have witnessed with my own eyes. I have friends that have 12 year old sisters that are having sex and giving birth already! I remember when I was 12, all I gave a fuck about was “The Rug Rats and Nickelodeon” you know what I mean? But now you have little girls having sex with their little boyfriends and thinking that they are real mature adults because of what they see on television. The most obnoxious, misleading, subliminal messages are being spewed at these children. It is totally disturbing and disgusting! It is just horrible to see what is really going on today with the youth. All you have to do is turn on the television, but it is the way that they desensitize you to the horrors of the real world. They present to you the bedlam that is going outside your door as entertainment, and give you this self sense of security making you think that it is not going to happen to you! Not in your home! Not in your town! That is why most people do not care about what is going on in the world. You know it is happening but you do not care because it is not happening to you, not yet? We all have to realize that we are all one big unit! We all coexist on this small planet as human beings.
Bulldozer: The audiences that listen to your music and attend your live shows are predominantly very young, do you think that they fully comprehend and understand your message? Do you think that they even give a fuck in general?
Henry Montoya: Well at the moment I feel that the kids that listen to our music do not see it, they do not grasp what we are really talking about, they just like the music and the lyrical content. That is my personal observation, but what I hope for is that they truly listen to our music, and our message, and that they embrace the message of what we are trying to make them aware of. Eventually it will dive deep into their souls and it will cause awareness of some sorts. It has too!
Bulldozer: Well put Henry, so I see here that you have released an album out on “Blood Harvest Records” and you will also be playing “The Maryland Death Festival 2011” in Baltimore. Quite impressive for a young band .You have most definitely broken your cherries on the road and have made a name for yourselves?
Henry Montoya: Yes we have! He have toured extensively through out the United States and we are very pleased to be sharing the stage with those amazing bands that are on that “Maryland Death Festival” line up! We are also very pleased to have released our album out on “Blood Harvest” It is entitled “Terrorstorm” and we are very pleased to be on that label!
Bulldozer: Any last words Henry?
Henry Montoya: We are a band that has an opinion that we strongly believe in! We love and play a form of aggressive, extreme, music .and we only want to be true ourselves and our audience!