We are the vultures

Warbeast brings its krushing thrash attack to Bogart’s

 By Gary Spencer
Photo Credit: Beth Shelby
When one thinks about the origins of classic thrash metal from the 1980s, one typically thinks of household names like Anthrax and – before they started to suck –Metallica, and where they came from: in this instance the East Coast and West Coast, respectively. However, it wasn’t long until thrash spread like a virus in metal scenes across the States, including the seemingly unlikely destination of Texas. It was here that the metal underground produced some soon-to-be-well-known thrash acts such as Rigor Mortis and Gammacide. Fast-forward to the year 2006 when up from the ashes of those two bands rose a new ensemble ready to pick up where they left off.  This new band, featuring founding members Bruce Corbitt (vocals), Scott Shelby (guitar) and Joe Gonzalez (drums) would eventually be called Warbeast. It’s a very fitting name for this group, as their sound is akin to huge monster on a marathon rampage, charging ahead at a breakneck pace and crushing everything in its path. Earlier this month, Housecore Records released the War of the Gargantuas split EP featuring two Slayer-esque stompers that are sure to open up the pit, and two solo songs by ex-Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo. Apparently, Anselmo knows a winner when he hears one, as Warbeast was hand-picked as direct support for his current project, Down, on a month-long tour that will make a stop at Bogart’s in Cincinnati on Jan. 30. I caught up with former Rigor Mortis/current Warbeast vocalist Bruce Corbitt to discuss the band’s past, present and future, and here’s what he had to say…

Tell me about the origins of Warbeast.

In 2006, we put together a benefit show for a friend that had a serious motorcycle accident. We formed a local all-star band made up of members of our scene’s original thrash bands like Rigor Mortis, Gammacide, Rotting Corpse, etc. That show went so well the Gammacide guys (Scott Shelby and Joe Gonzalez) asked me if I would be interested in making a real band out of this.  Obviously, I said I did and here we are.  -Bruce Corbitt

There is definitely a classic thrash metal influence in your music. What do you think about the recent trend of younger, newer bands aping the “retro thrash” style? 

I’m all for any bands that want to play thrash music. It’s obviously my favorite style of metal and it’s in my blood. So if younger bands that weren’t around when it was originated want to play that style, I think it’s a great thing.  -BC

I read that Warbeast and Down are dedicating your upcoming tour to the memory of the recently deceased Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia. Why did everyone feel the need to pay tribute to Scaccia in such a manner?

I actually dedicated the Warbeast part of the tour to Mike, knowing my band members would, of course, want that too. Then the media sort of misunderstood and included Down as part of dedicating the tour to Mike. But then shortly after I did an interview together with Philip, and he said he wanted Down to dedicate the tour to Mike as well. That meant a lot to me that they wanted to do it too. -BC

Your War of the Gargantuas split EP with Phil Anselmo was just released. How did this collaboration come about? What’s the response been like to this new record from critics and fans?

The idea for this split came up over two years ago. Philip was writing material for his upcoming first solo album. I offered that he could use our drummer to play on his album. Then the idea popped in his head around that time for us to release a split together. He figured it would be a good way for everyone to get a taste of our full-length albums that would come out after the split, plus he knew that it would get more exposure for Warbeast. The response and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. -BC

You will be touring this month with Down. Tell me how you hooked this up.

It was mainly Philip that made it happen. We’ve been on his label over four years and he wants to do what he can for us. So, we waited patiently hoping one day we could do a tour with Down. It finally happened and it’s actually turned into three separate tours. -BC

How is your live show different than Warbeast on record? 

The intensity is up mega levels when you see us live. You just can’t capture the overall vibe of a live show on a recording. We try to get the crowds into it and prepared for Down. -BC

Anything else you’d like to say?

Warbeast is easy to find at the shows. We are fans ourselves, so we like to go out into the crowd and watch the show with them. So if you see us … be sure to come up and say hello.  -BC

Warbeast are scheduled to open for Down on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Bogart’s, 2621 Vine St. in Cincinnati. Tickets are $25 and the concert is all ages. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, visit warbeast.org.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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