HeadCrusher keeps Austin headbanging with tumbáo-influenced metal
There is something very dark, fast and powerful roaming in the gloomiest corner of the basement of Austin's music scene. Its name is HeadCrusher, and some folks consider this force of nature a band.
Originally formed in Pereira, Colombia, in 2001, HeadCrusher moved to the U.S. in 2007, arriving in New York and living there for about a year. Then the band decided they wanted to live in a smaller and less hectic place, but somewhere that had an exciting live music scene. The choice was obvious: They came to Austin.
Since then, the band has been garnering accolades and fans. With the release of Let The Blood Run, their first full length album to be released on American soil, HeadCrusher has made a commanding statement: They're here to stay and make headbangers very happy.
Austin might not be the first city that comes to mind when you talk about metal, but the band, who chose to reply as a collective, thinks this is already changing.
"Well, we believe that metal has always been there," HeadCrusher said. "However, these days with the support of places and groups like Dirty Dog Bar, Texas Metal Collective, Come and Take it Productions and some other venues and promoters, they have put the local bands in the map. Some of these venues are located in very strategic places, so more people have easy access to local metal bands and don't have to go to venues in the middle of nowhere to get some metal.
"But, if you take a look, you'll find out that most of the local bands that play in the city have been around for several years, and they have kept metal in town alive. On the other side, we are having more national shows in Austin, big festivals are generating more spaces for the genre."
While the genre carves out a space in the local music scene, HeadCrusher is busy contributing to that and doing the same for their own name. Let The Blood Run, which was recorded in Austin at Lucid Audio and was mixed and mastered by Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Behemoth, Dark Tranquility, to name a few), is a testament to what the band can do and perfect example of the quality of metal coming out of Austin. The album was put together with the help of Jon Butler, who plays guitar for Southern Front, and the artwork was designed by Jon Zig.
"It is a great album," said the band. "It is short, aggressive and in your face. If you don't have it yet you can buy it online for 'whatever you want to give' or at a show."
HeadCrusher pulls no punches and brings unbelievable energy to the stage. While some bands like to hide behind the magic that can be brought to life in a recording studio, HeadCrusher feels more at home on stage, sharing songs in an atmosphere that gives listeners a true sense of what the band stands for.
"Playing live is what we like to do," said the band. "We love bringing those songs to stage and sharing our passion with other metal heads. Live gigs are where you can experience what HeadCrusher is all about: metal, beers, coarse language and more metal. We do our best to offer a great show and connect with people."
With roots in South America and fully bilingual, the band is highly aware of the impact that being Latinos has on the music.
"Being from South America gives you a different approach about music and life in general. Over there people are very passionate about music and pretty much everything. We think this is a consequence of our society facing a constant struggle. But people have learned to make the best out of any situation and groove with it. That groove, we call it Tumbáo."
To bring that Tumbáo to life, HeadCrusher takes an old-fashioned, collaborative approach.
"We are kind of an old school band when it comes to writing music. We practice a few times a week. Normally, somebody brings a riff, a rhythm pattern or a complete idea and everyone else starts adding to it. It is a very democratic process. We write a song, go over it several times, make changes here and there and when we feel it's ready, we throw it live a few times to see how it works. After that, we usually make a few more changes before recording it."
By engaging with each other, testing songs out and seeing each piece as a living, changing organism, HeadCrusher manages to create unique material that stands head and shoulders above the soft, flavorless, formulaic music that sometime invades the metal scene. For the band, doing things their own way and keeping metal fans satisfied is enough.
"This type of music is not about money or being rich and famous. It is a lifestyle so it will always find a way to carve out a piece of the scene," said HeadCrusher. "We get asked all the time if we make a living playing metal. We definitely don't make a living out of metal, but making this music makes life way more bearable and people connect to that."
HeadCrusher is hard at work promoting the new album Let The Blood Run, with shows in Texas and possibly South America. HeadCrusher plans to record an EP for release in early 2013.