The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

Concert Review – Hirax – Austin, TX – 08/29/09

with 3 comments

It was 1986 and Metal Blade Records was practically the greatest metal label on the scene.  They consistently released hiraxgreat compilations like the Metal Massacre and Best of Metal Blade series.  Best of Metal Blade Volume 1 (1986) included Call Of The Gods by Hirax.  I always loved that song but for no logical reason whatsoever did I never check them out any further.  I also liked Bombs of Death from Metal Massacre 6.  There’s really no explanation as to why I didn’t follow through on these guys, and after last night I feel like I missed out on some additional great metal in the last 23 years.

So about a month or so ago I read in the local show listings that Hirax was coming to Red 7.  Even though I was not even remotely familiar with any of their material beyond the 2 aforementioned songs, I definitely wanted to see this show.  Through the years I’ve always seen Hirax playing the Euro festivals and have read interviews with Katon W. DePena and have always respected his attitude about music.  The guys has proudly been flying the flag of metal since day 1.

So I get to the club a little early to get MM6 and Best of Metal Blade 1 signed as well as my copy of “Headbangers: Worldwide Megabook of Heavy Metal” (Mark Hale, 1993).  I know the club owner pretty well and he let me go in to the green room to meet Katon and the band.  I was looking forward to this for a few reasons.  One to meet Katon, who really is a true metal legend.  The other reason was to meet Glenn Rogers, former guitar player of Deliverance.  I dug those guys back in the day.  When I went into the room, Katon was in there with his lovely wife, his bassist and guitarist Lance and Steve Harrison and some other guy that I didn’t know.  Glenn was out and about with a friend so I would catch up with him later.

Katon invited me over and we talked for a bit just about music and such and Katon asked about my book.  As he’s flipping through it reading about his band and tons of other obscure bands that are listed in the book.  He signed it and my 2 CD covers and said, “Is DRI in here?  The guy beside me if Felix from DRI.”  Felix thought they wouldn’t be in there but I knew they were.  Much to everyone’s pleasure, there was even a picture of band during the era that Felix was in it (85-90).  I hung out for a bit and asked Katon if he ever had any interactions with Billy Milano, which he had.  So I asked if he wanted to walk over to the club that Billy works in to say hello.  We popped over there for a bit and they shook hands and caught up for a few minutes then I took them over to another club so Katon could catch up with an old friend who unfortunately wasn’t there at the time.  Back to Red 7.  It was great seeing the respect this guy was getting from people in the club, some of who came from Houston and I think a few from Mexico to see this show.

I really expected a much larger crowd, especially with this being on a Saturday.  Typically the San Antonio crew would come up for a show like this but I only saw a few folks from that crowd there.  The Sword was playing up the street for the 2nd night in a row and I can’t imagine they stole much of the crowd from this show.  The club booked 4 grindcore bands to open up which I thought was a bad pairing.  I didn’t go in to check out the other bands as I’m not really a fan of the grind stuff in general.  While the grind bands were playing I got to talk to Glenn Rogers who let me know that Deliverance was going to do one more album with the original lineup sans the drummer.

But then it was time for Hirax.  It was already around 1 or 1:10 AM but the crowd had increased.  I’m guessing there were about 90 people in there.  Cover charge was $15.  Well worth it for me.  Hirax kicked in and just kicked ass.  Katon is a great frontman, reminds me a lot of Jason McMaster.  Knows to to work a crowd and keep them interested during guitar tunings and such.

I have to say that I was truly blown away and really felt a bit guilty about not having checked them out deeper.  But there’s no time like the present, right?  Their set was cut short due to time restraints and I must say I was a little let down that Call of the Gods wasn’t on the set at all.  But it didn’t matter, they were great and I hope they make their way back to Austin again.

Setlist as I remember it:

  1. El Dia De Los Muertos
  2. 100,000 Strong
  3. Blind Faith
  4. New Age of Terror
  5. Chaos and Brutality
  6. Hate, Fear and Power
  7. Broken Neck
  8. Bombs of Death
  9. El Diablo Negro
  10. Walk With Death
  11. Mouth Sewn Shut?

I am not so sure about the ones after El Diablo Negro.

Katon W. De Pena (Hirax), fat dude (me), Felix Griffin (DRI)

3 Responses

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  1. This is why the Metal world is so unbelievable… so many great bands to catch up on. Yeah, it is impossible to follow every great Metal band out there, past and present. You certainly caught up on Hirax the right way though, the best way possible too. That evening you described here is a perfect example of a Metal rendezvous. Really cool.

    metalodyssey

    September 2, 2009 at 8:34 am

  2. PTSD References List (Wisky)…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    PTSD on line

    June 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

  3. […] Key Club in Hollywood.  Should be a fun show.  I’ve never seen Armored Saint and saw Hirax for the first time 2 years ago.  I’m really excited to see […]


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