Anger As Art Posts Track-By-Track Commentary For New Album "Hubris, Inc."
Anger As Art recently completed the mixing process for the band's upcoming fourth album "Hubris, Inc." Anger As Art's Steve Gaines and Rob Alaniz have now checked in with the following track-by-track commentary of the album:
Hubris Inc. (Gaines, Alaniz): This was once the intro to the song ’They All Fall Down’ (from Disfigure, 2009). *However, a great decision to leave it off, for 2 reasons. 1.) One day I was griping about the place I work at… and blurted out “I work at Hubris, Incorporated.” Rob Alaniz answered back immediately “That’s the album title.” And, how appropriate that he found that spoken word piece to go with it. 2.) By waiting to release this, I had greater inspiration for the guitar solos. If we had released it 3 years earlier, it would not have had the same impact.
Time Devours Life (Gaines, Espino): There was no inspiration for this song at all, until one day our former bassist Angelo Espino says to me “you should write a song called ‘Time Devours Life.’” Just hearing the words, the song absolutely wrote itself. Fast, frantic… the idea that any waste of time is a waste of life, so get on with it. While Angelo didn’t actually write music or lyrics, I am sharing writing credits with him – simply because if he never would have said it, the song wouldn’t exist.
Gods Of Hate (Gaines, Oliverio, Alaniz): Somewhere between Dew Scented, Dark Angel and Painkiller by Judas Priest – which places the song right in our wheelhouse. I had about 90% of the song written – and was working on this elaborate intro. Rob in his infinite wisdom has a way of shining light on the obvious, took the middle breakdown of the song and arranged the intro. The solo section (written by Dan)was actually a part from ‘Pieces of Red’ that we dropped… but it was too cool to cast off. So we changed key and it fit right in there. Lyrically, about the hypocrisy of religious zealots who kill in the name of god.
Anger Is The Reason (Gaines): This song is actually a bit different for us. Fast and aggressive, yet stupidly melodic when it gets to the 2nd half. A tribute to Tony Iommi. Another in the series of songs about Anger (Anger As Art, Anger Is Rising, Anger Is A Gift). Split lead vocals with bassist Henry De La Cruz. Just a fun song.
Divided We Fall (Gaines, Alaniz): We’re at rehearsal early one day, and Rob says “I have this beat that I don’t know what to do with. Try to play along, and see if anything happens.” So, we started the cassette recorder (yes!) and jammed on it. The song you hear is almost exactly what we played the first time we tried it. A little more death-ish for us than you would expect, but extremely cool. Lyrically about strength in numbers – and the fight against those who would divide and conquer.
The Evil You Create (Gaines): Much has been written about the failed Abattoir comeback album ‘Evil Incarnate’. I wrote this song for Abattoir (although the demo version had piano instead of acoustic guitar), and presented it to Mel Sanchez. He answered back ‘Mark (Caro) doesn’t want to do ballads’. This is a ballad? Okay Mel. (for the record, Mark NEVER heard the demo – Mel spoke for him) Years later, Bloodlust is starting to play and record. I was asked if I had any songs that would fit Bloodlust – so, I showed them this demo. The band loved it – except for Earl Mendenhall… who was so dead-set against me writing that without hearing it actually said ‘the singer isn’t going to write music for Bloodlust – only lyrics.’ So it sat until 2011. Rob Alaniz heard the demo, and said the obvious ‘it has EPIC written all over it – let’s do it.’ Dan felt the same way. Angelo, on the other hand, didn’t want to do it*. But when he informed us he was leaving the band, we started pre-production on it almost immediately.
Self indulgent? I hope not – but this song certainly was an uphill battle. And now you have it on your sound system. Enjoy! (also, guest DM screams and growls by Steve Shrapnelson (Winterthrall, Semtex Vest, Evil Dead)
Head Of The Snake (Gaines): A classic in the spirit of Anger As Art, but pushing into ethereal eeriness with that evil sounding choir. A whole bunch of inspiration – the choir idea came from the movie ‘beneath the planet of the apes’ when that mutant choir was singing praises to the nuclear weapon? Lyrics: it is a story about a true life Dr. Evil character disguised as a philanthropist who makes people believe he is doing good, while actually putting the machine in place that will destroy the world. But, it’s not a fantasy… this is a true to life character who is in the news DAILY. A recent media expose was done by someone who is maligned and ridiculed by this man’s organization. In the story, the ‘talking head’ actually said ‘the only way to stop this from happening is to cut off the head of the snake.’ Bang – the lyrics wrote themselves. I love the ending of this song – the whammy bar into the last punches… this song just keeps coming – relentless. (another song that almost didn’t make the record)*
Never Forgive, Never Forget (Gaines): On the demo, this song went by the title ‘old school thrash vibe’. Originally written for the Disfigure album, and nearly passed over a second time (more on that later)*. Just has that Bay Area Exodus bounce to it… and a bit of a happier Slayer ‘War Ensemble’ thing – with a Testament sounding intro. Lyrics? Some people I know are the types who never create anything. They leach off of those around them, or destroy the efforts of those they leach off of because of envy. In 2010 I had numerous experiences with people like that. I have been raised to be a forgiving person – however that can be confused with being weak. So, this song is a testament (no pun intended) to those folks. Yes, you screwed me. No, there is nothing I can do about it – except to create a defense system that is impenetrable – and never forgive you or forget what you did. C’mon, who doesn’t need an anthem like that?
Pearls Before Swine (Gaines): A simple up-tempo thrash song in F#. Something Dan picked up on is the single note guitar thing in the verses… that our separate vibratos would play off of each other. That was the idea when written. Interesting that there is no guitar solo – other than a point where a bridge is done in octaves. Fun song.
Pieces Of Red (Oliverio, Alaniz, Espino, Gaines): The music on this song was written by Dan. We deconstructed this song and reconstructed it and it became a monster. Harmony single note parts in the verses – big breakdown led by Rob’s feet, monstrous solos… a great AAA Thrasher. Lyrics? About the wreckage of mankind for not fighting to survive. All that is left is parts of what used to be.
As The Exalted Seethe (Oliverio, Espino, Alaniz, Gaines): Dan showed me this riff – we worked on it a bit, liked it. But thought it didn’t really fit our style. The following day, Angelo shows us a riff - and it followed the same groove, cadence, etc. So we put them together. Each guy added parts, and this song wrote itself fairly easily. The fast break in the middle reminds me of Tony Martin–era Sabbath. Kind of became this record’s answer to the song ‘Disfigure’. Lyrics – pretty much sticking it to those in power or control.
Rage And Retribution (Gaines): One of the bonus tracks – many people think this band was formed out of Abattoir. It actually was formed from a short lived project I did with Jim Durkin (Dark Angel) called Pagan War Machine. PWM was exactly what I had always wanted to do musically, but could not find people who would see the vision. This was a song written specifically for a female’s point of view… based on the idea of a black widow drawing you into her web, and then… The bonus? Well, Jim Durkin played lead guitar on the track – lending credibility to its (and our) roots. Also, for the first time, my brother Tim (Stryper) and I have actually done something musical together – he played bass on this song. And, back to the female perspective – I shared lead vocals with Betsy Bitch.
Speed Kills (Oliverio, Gaines): Let’s talk old school. Dan Oliverio joined Abattoir in 1984. We were still mixing Vicious Attack at the time. Dan comes into rehearsal with that opening riff – so the 2 of us wrote the song. We played it for Mark Caro, and he gets excited. Mark says to the others “I want you to hear this song that Dan and Steve wrote.” So, we start playing it, and our manager walks in right when we are in the first verse – and stops us. “What are you doing? Your job isn’t to write music for this band. Your job is to do exactly what I tell you.” This from the same guy(s) who forged my name on contracts, and ended up stealing my music anyway.
Fast forward to 2009, and Dan starts playing the riff again, and says ‘remember this song?’ Of course. We vowed then and there to record it – and to get Mark Caro to do the solo. What you have here in 2012 is a song written for Abattoir, played by all Abattoir members. Another bonus track! Lastly, if the lyrics in the first verse sound familiar – I ended up using the subject and cadence in the Bloodlust song ‘Terminal Velocity’. But used the first verse exactly as written – just for the old school bonus.
This Is Why I Hate (Gaines): It’s no secret that I get angry pretty easily. Why? Well, let me ask – what do you perceive me as – some benevolent giver? A bottomless pit of giving so that you can take food off of my table? Am I really the dick everyone thinks I am? Probably. As such, the defense mechanism is set to kill. So, inevitably, people try to take from, step on, ridicule… what ever. But I guess they expect me to wilt under pressure. So, when I come out swinging, their first reaction is shock. Do you have any idea how many times have been asked ‘damn dude… why do you have so much hate? Take a chill pill’. It would be my hope that once and for all… people could read these lyrics and realize that they created the monster. I have written many cathartic hate songs over the years – but this one? If ever I had a theme song… this is it. Musically? Classic Anger As Art. There was no doubt that this one was going to be recorded and performed.
*I should point out that through the pre-production process, we were met with resistance by our former bassist Angelo Espino. Many times he would listen to a song, and not just pass on it – but reject it outright (‘dude, that song sucks.’). That is okay – it is part of the democratic process. While doing Disfigure, songs that Angelo hated later came to be some of his favorites. Between the pre-production process and the Angry Bitch European tour, we didn’t have the time to analyze the songs with him like we did with just the 3 of us – Rob, Dan and me. Angelo was somewhat distant during this time.
When we finished our performance commitments, shortly thereafter Angelo notified us that he would be leaving the band. On one hand, we were losing a very important member. On the other, we realized that we already had the songs, mood, and vibe that we wanted for the album. If we spent time auditioning members, and then waiting for them to give their 2 cents, and psycho-analyze each song, we would not be ready to record until late in 2012. So the choice was made to record the album with me playing bass.
Chemistry is everything. We knew we had the album we wanted. We wanted to get it recorded, and then find our man. The rest is history.
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