Sunday Old School: EyeHateGod
With the recent passing of their drummer Joey LaCaze, it seemed an appropriate time to look back on Eyehategod, one of the most esteemed metal bands to ever come from New Orleans, a city which has produced some of the finest music to ever come from the United States of America. Eyehategod were formed in 1988, on April 20th to be precise, by LaCaze and guitarist Jimmy Bower, before being joined shortly afterwards by vocalist, Mike Williams, bassist Steve Dale and second guitarist, Brian Patton. They soon recorded two demos entitled, "Garden Dwarf Woman Driver" and "Lack of Almost Everything" and sent them off to various labels, eventually finding success in their pursuit when they were signed to a French label named Intellectual Convulsion. Through the label, they released their first full length album, "In the Name of Suffering," which was noticeably more hardcore in sound than their later work. Not long after releasing their debut, Intellectual Convulsion Records folded and the band were forced to find a new label, which came in the shape of Century Media, who re-released the album.
The following year, Eyehategod got to work on their sophomore record, "Take as Needed for Pain," which displayed their blues and southern rock influences a lot more prominently than their previous efforts. It also featured the recording debut of their new bass player, Mark Schultz, though this would be his only album with the group. The album was released to a positive response, with Mike Williams claiming that it remains almost all of the band members' favourite material, and allowed them to tour with other established acts such as White Zombie and Corrosion of Conformity amongst others. Despite the positive response, the band was put on hold for a short while whilst the members of the band contributed to other projects, perhaps the most notable being Jimmy Bower who performed drums on the Crowbar album, "Broken Glass" and "NOLA," the debut album by supergroup, Down which also featured the frontmen of Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity and Pantera. Some of the other members' activities included Brian Patton performing guitar duties on the debut Soilent Green album, "Pussysoul" and Mike Williams contributing to Metal Maniacs magazine.
Eventually, the band was able to regroup and after a string of demos, which were released as split releases and seven inches, they began working on their third full length album, were they were joined by Bower’s Down bandmate, Pepper Keenan who served as the album’s producer. Recording of the album was infamously out of hand on a number of occasions, with perhaps the most documented incident coming when Mike Williams slashed his hand open breaking a glass bottle for what was supposed to be the intro to the album, (which did make it to the final cut as part of the opening track, "My Name Is God (I Hate You.)" To make the scenario a little more insane, one of the band members reportedly wrote the words "Hell" and "Death to Pigs" in Williams' blood. Despite the chaos, the finished album, "Dopesick," only served to further raise the profile of the band, which was furthered when they rejoined White Zombie on tour, as well as supporting Pantera, who were unquestionably one of the biggest metal bands in the world at that point.
Once again, there would be a lengthy pause between one album and the next, as a series of disputes led to the members of Eyehategod focusing their energy on different projects and bands. However, they did reconvene once more, again with a new bass player, to release a compilation album entitled, "Southern Discomfort," before releasing their fourth full length album, "Confederacy of Ruined Lives," later in the year, which included the song, "Jack Ass in the will of God," which was essentially a re-working of the title track of “Southern Discomfort.” Sonically, the record was more akin to "Take as Needed for Pain" than it was the previous album, "Dopesick" and the interest gauged by a new album allowed them to tour the world for the first time, performing in Europe and Asia as well as their native North America.
To date, "Confederacy of Ruined Lives" remains the latest album of all new material from the band, as they focused on other outlets, including the second Down album, "Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow." A number of other bands were also formed during this time, including Arson Anthem, a Mike Williams project which also included Phil Anselmo. Eyehategod did show signs of life throughout the 2000s though, most notably when they released their first and only live album, "10 Years of Abuse (and Still Broke)" in 2001 and another compilation album in 2005 entitled, "Preaching the End-Time Message." In 2005, Mike Williams was arrested on a drugs charge and spent almost three months in jail before he was released in December of that year after campaigning from his bandmates, Phil Anselmo and other supporters in the music industry. Eyehategod’s first performance after Williams’ arrest came the next year when they performed at the world famous Mardi Gras festival, the first since New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Since then the band has continued to perform in America and Europe sporadically and promised that a new album would eventually surface, something which seemed close when they debuted a new song named, "New Orleans Is The New Vietnam" at a concert in Denmark in 2011, though no more new material has since emerged. With the tragic passing of Joey LaCaze, the future of Eyehategod seems just as uncertain as ever, but whatever happens, they would have cemented their place in metal history for with the wake of bedlam they left in becoming one of the standout acts in the realm of sludge metal.
Eyehategod - "Left To Starve"
Eyehategod - "Take As Needed For Pain"
Eyehategod - "Anxiety Hangover"
Eyehategod - "Jack Ass in the Will of God"
Eyehategod - "New Orleans is the New Vietnam"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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