The Ohio based band Woe Of Tyrants have been on an extended hiatus. Their last album was released over 6 years ago, but what they done in the past has left a lasting impression on anyone who has heard their music. The band released their first album ‘Behold The Lion’ in 2007 and quickly garnered the attention of Metal Blade Records. Their next release ‘Kingdom of Might’ would be their Metal Blade debut in 2009. That album has long been a prime example of what most bands set forth to do and fail. The album is one of the best metal album put out in the last decade. The song “Break the Fangs of the Wicked” is the definitive metal song that jams everything your ears crave in less than 5 minutes. If you are unfamiliar with the band please use that song as your welcome package, because once you hear it you’ll be a fan. Once that album released it was getting worldwide attention and the band was hand selected to join Overkill’s 25th Anniversary Tour along side Vader, God Dethroned, Warbringer, Evile and of course the might Overkill. The band has found a way to meld thrash, and death metal in flawless fashion. Their 3rd release ‘Threnody’ (2010) is their last release as of now. The band however isn’t finished. The band has recently started up the engine of Woe and is in the process of creating new music. The creatively talented group couldn’t keep their hands idle any longer. They recently announced they are back together, practicing and plan to release new music in the not so far away future. We got the opportunity to speak with vocalist Chris Catanzaro and find out what’s going on with the untamed beast that is WOE OF TYRANTS!
Metal Nexus: So first of all we would like to say thank you… Woe Of Tyrants has long been a favorite band of ours and we are so excited that you guys have decided to reunite and release new music.
Chris Catanzaro: Thank you for the kind words! We remain astonished that people are still interested in the band after so many years.
Metal Nexus: It’s been 6 years since the release of ‘Threnody’ (Metal Blade)… Has it been difficult to start this process of the band reuniting? Was there anything in particular that set this whole thing into motion?
Chris Catanzaro: A long 6 years. A lot has happened in our personal lives since then. That being said, the process of starting has not been difficult. Recording and sharing music has never been easier than it is today given how much technology has advanced. This has allowed us to quickly (and without cost) exchange demo tracks for the purposes of writing individual parts and providing feedback to one another as to the direction we are looking to go with the new material. The difficult part will arise when we get to the point in which we require full band, in-person practices. This will be necessary not only in fine-tuning new material, but also in knocking the rust off of the older songs in order to have them live-ready. Three of us have families of our own now, and I just started my final year of law school. As such, finding time to travel (I live 3+ hours away from the rest of the guys), will certainly be a challenge. With regard to your final question, our drummer, Johnny, decided to fire up talks of reunion on social media in order to gauge public response. This sped the timeline up a bit, but I’m happy that he took the initiative, as we never intended on the last show we played being the last time anyone heard of the band. We just got busy with the world, and time slipped away.
Metal Nexus: You’ve mentioned everyone in the band is a father now and has families. Do you think that has or will affect your writing on the album? Has any personal experiences inspired songs or lyrics?
Chris Catanzaro: To clarify, not everyone in the band is a father now, but Matt, Johnny and I each have a little one. I can’t speak for the others, but lyrically I don’t think much will change. I have different perspectives on a variety of issues now that I have a family, but my artistic expression will still revolve around the same concepts as it has in the past, with an inevitable new perspective that must occur after 6 years away from the game. I can confirm, however, that my lyrics will continue to push for introspection, positivity, and triumph over personal struggle. I will not write anything that I would not feel comfortable sharing with my son, and it is my hope that our music and lyrics are never such that a parent would hesitate in letting his or her child consume them.
Metal Nexus: We were lucky enough to see you guys live on tour with Destroy Destroy Destroy, Adversary and Brother Von Doom and it was an experience we will never forget. Have you played any shows since the reformation or plan to soon? If you have how did the show go?
Chris Catanzaro: That was such a fun tour. It was one of the first we ever did, and it set the bar pretty high. There were shows in which we played to less than 10 people, and due to the groups we were out with, it never really mattered. We have not played a show since October of 2010, and while we do intend on making live performances a part of our “reunion”, we will not be touring or even playing regularly. I think the goal will be to choose some key areas, some key supporting acts, and make each of the shows a bigger event than what we have done in the past. We are aiming to play some material from the older records which we haven’t played live other than in a practice setting, and provide a relatively comprehensive journey for the audience from Behold the Lion through Threnody, while sprinkling in a couple of new songs.
Metal Nexus: We know you are likely just in the writing phase now, but what kind of timeline are we looking at to hear some new Woe of Tyrants material?
Chris Catanzaro: It’s really too hard to say. I would have preferred to have new material already in place prior to announcing the reunion, but Johnny felt it was the right time and I don’t necessarily disagree. God knows if he hadn’t lit a fire under our behinds we may have never gotten around to it. We have at least 3 songs in the writing phase, and are sharing ideas back and forth at a very leisurely pace. Once we have some scratch tracks ready, we will likely look into crowdfunding options in order to be able to provide high quality recordings for anyone who is interested in checking them out. This will not be a “please give us money for nothing” type of campaign, but will instead provide incentives to those who wish to contribute such as early copies of the record, drum/guitar lessons, shirts, admission to shows, etc. We are not reuniting with financial gain in mind, as we never really had much financial gain before, and certainly don’t expect that to change after a 6 year hiatus.
Metal Nexus: Do you have a recording studio or producer in mind for the upcoming release?
Chris Catanzaro: If I have my way, yes, we will be reaching out to Jamie King of Basement Studios (who engineered Threnody). His availability and our funding will likely be the determining factors, but we felt a great comfort in his studio while recording Threnody and would be ecstatic at the opportunity to work with him again.
Metal Nexus: As you stated in the past you were more geared toward live performances in the past and you want to focus on material first this time. How do you feel this will better help the band?
Chris Catanzaro: Perhaps this question will be better answered by an album to album comparison. With Kingdom of Might, we wrote the album over a long period of time due to the luxury we were afforded of not having label pressure during the writing process, nor having a full tour schedule around which we had to navigate. As such, Kingdom of Might is a far more refined finished product than was Threnody. We are very proud of Threnody, but the situation we were in at the time required us to write and record the album very quickly. While we still feel that the songs are solid and on par with Kingdom, we didn’t have the opportunity to tweak the music as much as we would have preferred. This time, we will have no big deadlines, plenty of time to fine-tune, and no focus upon “getting to the next level”. This project is one purely of passion and enjoyment, as we are no longer burdened with trying to engage with a label or land a big tour.
Metal Nexus: You have had an amount of time outside of music to reflect on your experience as a musician. What do you feel was the most valuable thing you’ve learned looking back on it now?
Chris Catanzaro: Adversity. Not real adversity, the type which is experienced by those who are truly impoverished or oppressed, but what could be considered adversity to a bunch of young kids who didn’t really have a lot to complain about in life at the time. I remember one instance in which a tour fell apart on the west coast, and we had about $150 to our name. Over the last few shows prior to the tour imploding, we were forced to hit the streets to sell discounted merch, and also to play harder than we ever had before in order to make sure that we made enough to at least have gas for the drive back to Ohio. In addition, we had a bad starter in the van, and as such didn’t turn the van off for the entire trip home (even while refueling, which in hindsight was quite ill-advised). We lived off of dollar menus and support from some of the best fans and friends in the world, but we ended up making it back without having to burden our families or put ourselves (too far) into debt. We slept on floors, we slept on couches, we slept in Walmart parking lots; we really were the stereotypical small national act. We learned humility in being signed to a fairly big label and still having to pay our dues playing small shows to almost no one with the same intensity in which we played shows to hundreds or thousands of people. We learned how to budget our time and our money, how to cooperate with others in a stressful situation (while living in ridiculously close quarters), and how to work together to accomplish whatever task had been placed in our path. I remain thankful for the experience, as it has given me a great sense of perspective as I’ve moved on into the professional world.
Metal Nexus: And in closing, anything you want to say about what we should expect from Woe Of Tyrants in the future?
Chris Catanzaro: Our hope is to continue to write as we have always written, and to please those who have supported us from the start. If we get a couple of new fans as a result of the new material, even better. At the end of the day, our goal is to provide a record which will sound and feel like a Woe record from the moment it begins until the moment it concludes….
We would like to thank Chris for taking the time to speak with us and give us the low down on everything happening in the Woe Of Tyrants camp. Expect big things from this band, because they always impress. If you have the opportunity to see them live make sure you do, If you miss your chance you will hate yourself for it later. Keep up with the band on Facebook here, and check out the video for ‘Break The Fangs of the Wicked’ below.