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Interview

Hirax Vocalist Katon Discusses New Album "Immortal Legacy"

Long running California brigade Hirax doesn't show any signs of stopping or even slowing down, as the band's newest offering of old school thrashtastic metal "Immortal Legacy" is due out March 4th in North America and February 24th in Europe via Steamhammer/SPV.

With the album due out shortly and Hirax on the verge of a European invasion, I chatted up vocalist Katon W. De Pena about what the band has been up to lately and what fans can look forward to on this new release.

Check out the full interview below for his thoughts on touring South America, the process of recording "Immortal Legacy," and the album's epic cover artwork.

xFiruath: It’s been about five years since your previous full-length album. What has Hirax been up to in the mean time?

Katon: Yes it has been five years since our previous album "El Rostro De La Muerte." Since then we have been very busy touring all over the world most recently playing concerts in South America, finally in 2013 we took time out to write and record our new album which we are now preparing to release to the masses!

xFiruath: Can you fill me in on the recording process for the new album?

Katon: When we set out to begin the recording process for “Immortal Legacy” we had a short list of three producers we were interested in working with. Andy Sneap, Jeff Waters from Annihilator, and the legendary Bill Metoyer. Metoyer had come out to see two of our shows in Los Angeles, one that we did with Armored Saint at the Key Club and another that we did at the House Of Blues in Hollywood, California with Evildead. After we played he came backstage and told us he was interested in producing our next album. We were honored and accepted his offer. Back in the 1980s when we were on Metal Blade Records, Bill produced those recordings so we knew he would do a great job on the new album. Also his track record speaks for itself as he has worked with Slayer, W.A.S.P., Sacred Reich, Corrosion of Conformity, D.R.I., Lizzy Borden, etc. We began working with him at Skull Seven recording studio in North Hollywood. It was an incredible experience and we are very proud of the new album.

xFiruath: Back in September Hirax pushed back the album release and cancelled tour dates – what happened there?

Katon: The reason we backed up the release date and tour dates was because we weren't finished recording the album yet and we didn't want to rush it. Also we had three special guest guitarist play on the record: Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies) Juan Garcia (Agent Steel), and Jim Durkin (Dark Angel) so it took time to get everyone scheduled to come in and do their parts but it was totally worth it now the record is ready and the release dates are set.

xFiruath: What differences in style and tone can fans expect from this new album?

Katon: The difference between “Immortal Legacy” and the previous Hirax albums is mainly the production. The guitar tones, drums, bass, and vocals sound amazing. Bigger production with epic/metal songs, the songwriting has matured, and the music is more technical and complex. There are also a wider variety of styles on this record. Wait till you hear it!

xFiruath: Is there a specific theme or concept running through the album?

Katon: No each song has its own individual theme however they completely work cohesively together. The lyrics are included in the record and I think once the listener reads through them they will find the album quite interesting.

xFiruath: What upcoming tour dates or festival appearances does Hirax have?

Katon: We begin the first leg of our European tour in April, following that we will also be making an appearance at the Bang Your Head Festival 2014 edition in Germany alongside Twisted Sister, Obituary and Michael Schenker group, Europe and many other great bands. Keep an eye out for us because we’re coming to a town near you soon.

xFiruath: Who handled the artwork and how did you come up with the concept?

Katon: We hired the legendary artist Philip Lawvere of Kreator and Celtic Frost fame. Him and myself came up with the concept for “Immortal Legacy.” We wanted to give it that old school 70s and 80s metal feel reminiscent of bands like Uriah Heap, Budgie, Molly Hatchet, and Nazareth. “Immortal legacy” is an oil painting, the first one he has done in over 25 years, and it is amazing. I know that our fans will be blown away once they see this wicked looking heavy metal album cover artwork!

xFiruath: What’s happening in your local music scene and have you seen any great shows lately?

Katon: Where we are from Los Angeles, California, there's always been a great music scene and there's always new bands coming up as well as the old school legendary bands like us and there are still a good amount of clubs to play such as the Troubadour, the Whiskey a go-go and the Roxy. Needless to say our local music scene is going stronger than ever.

xFiruath: What music are you listening to these days and what upcoming albums are you really looking forward to?

Katon: A lot of different stuff. Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, U.F.O., Luciana Pavarotti, Loudness from Japan, Trust from France, ???? Aria from Russia, and Baron Rojo from Spain. The next new album I'm looking forward to hearing is Malón from Argentina.

xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to add?

Katon: I would like to thank all the Hirax fans for the diehard support. Get ready for our new album “Immortal Legacy” coming soon on Steamhammer/SPV Records. Hails to you all, see you on the road. For more information regarding merchandise, tour dates, etc. check our Facebook page.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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