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Anger as Art: No reason to look back

The story sounds simple - Steve Gaines (Abattoir, Bloodlust, Tactics, Bitch, Dreams Of Damnation, Pagan War Machine) got tired of projects failing, and in frustration released an 8 song demo entitled Anger As Art – which then shook the foundations of thrash metal underground. Becoming a “real” band and signing to a label (Old School Metal Records) were the next logical steps.
After reissuing the demo as a debut in 2006, Callous And Furor followed in 2007, Disfigure in 2009. The band was touring with old schoolers Testament, Hirax, Destruction, Overkill, Agent Steel, as well as new breed bands like Warbringer, Fueled By Fire, and Bonded By Blood.

The current line-up reads like a Metal veteran index: besides Steve Gaines (voc, git), there´s Rob Alaniz on drums (Evildead, Abattoir, Winterthrall, Despise You), Daniel Oliverio (Abattoir) on guitar and vocals, and last year Eric Bryan (known as member of Necroscope, Abstract Prayer and as the "metal fan/bass player with the cool posters and figurines" in the Sam Dunn documentary film "Metal: A Headbanger´s Journey") replaced Angelo Espino (Hirax, Reverend) on bass.

A year ago, the fourth album "Hubris Inc." was released, which includes several guest appearances: "Rage And Retribution" features Betsy Bitch on vocals, Jim Durkin (DARK ANGEL) on lead guitar and Timothy Gaines (STRYPER) on bass; Steve Nelson (EVIL DEAD) contributes backing vocals on "The Evil You Create"; and "Speed Kills" features Mark Caro (ABATTOIR) on lead guitar. The latter track was actually written for ABATTOIR back in 1984 and is performed by all ABATTOIR members. It´s the last opportunity to ever hear a new ABATTOIR song.

Mastermind Steve Gaines said about Anger As Art: "I don´t think of this as a solo project - it is definitely a band. I want the guys to contribute. Having said that, I have a clear vision for what this band should be. I have always had the vision - when it is followed, success comes with. Whenever it varies, it starts to stagnate. I want people who see this vision for the entity it is - not as something that can be changed or morphed into something else. It is based on anger, song, and emotion. not musicianship. I have been in too many of those bands where you play to impress others - and the statement means nothing. With Anger, the statement means everything. Anything else is secondary.”

So Steve, you must be still excited about the latest album "Hubris, Inc."?
Excited, yes.  It was received really well, sold very well, and further established us as a force on our own. 

Who wrote most of the material on this one?
I wrote the bulk of this one also, although it was definitely a group effort.  Dan and Rob wrote stellar songs too.  And we all have a hand in the arrangement. 

Was this a return to the sound of the bands that you were in such as "Abbatoir"?
No.  Definitely not.  We have a very definite, violent style.  Whereas, you mention Abattoir - that was a band that had a constantly changing style.  In fact, my music style was restricted, and rejected in every one of my ‘old school’ bands.  I was constantly told “If you want to write music, start your own band.”  So I did.  10 years, and 4 albums later – I hope people start to realize that Abattoir, Bloodlust, or whoever are part of the past – and I was just an employee of them.  I owned no part of them in any way, nor do I really want to. I have no reason to look back.  That was 30 years ago, and we are doing our best music now.

Any live dates planned? outdoor metal festivals?
Again, we have been touring in support of this record since late 2012.  Europe, the US, Latin America… and it looks like the cycle for ‘Hubris, Inc.’ will finish in February 2015 in Japan.  Then time for another record. 

What are you listening to these days? Any new bands that you champion?
I absolutely loved Carcass’s comeback album ‘Surgical Steel.’  What an incredible display of rhythm guitar work, and amazing songwriting.  I am usually not a big fan of DM vocals, but Jeff’s approach, phrasing, and vision for lyrics were well crafted.  Dew Scented is another band I cannot stop listening to.

What do you do with your free time?
Free time?  What is that?  Actually, something I have always been aware of is how quickly life passes us by.  So I try to take the days slowly, spend time with my wife, work on the house, get in the truck, and just drive, hang out with my dog… actually, we just started to really explore Los Angeles – the history, culture, etc.  Lived here all my life, yet never really took the time to be aware of where we are, or why people settled here. 

What lies in the band´s future and are there any Anger As Art side projects that you wish to tell us about?
We are still in the Hubris, Inc. tour cycle for about 1 more year.  Later this year, we will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary as a band.  We are planning a special concert in L.A. where we will be playing our debut album in its entirety.  We are also considering doing a DVD/Documentary on our 10 year history.  That really depends on what we get out of it – will it be perceived as us patting ourselves on the back?  Or, will it reveal why this band is so important to us, and to the fans who embrace us?  It is a fine line, a delicate balance.  We leave for another leg of the Hubris tour at the end of this month, to play the East Coast of the US, and end with a festival appearance in Puerto Rico. Then, of course, we will start to work on album #5 sometime in the midst of all of this.  It is written – just needs to be arranged, and prepared.


Author: John Wisniewski, transl. K.Weber, photos: band
Date: 2014-03-16

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