Saturday 11 February 2012


I haven't done a band feature for sometime now, as I've had so many reviews to do and still to do, but I thought I better get one out. The band I'm featuring, if you haven't guessed already, is Wrathcobra. Wrathcobra are a D-beat punk five-piece from the deepest, darkest bowels of Pittsburgh, USA. I cam across Wrathcobra quite a while ago, but is was only recently that I managed to make contact with vocalist Caleb, about a feature.

Caleb was cool enough to give me some background into Wrathcobra, as well as his take on the current crust-punk scene and to tell me about bands from his local scene, that are definitely worth checking out. Here's what Caleb had to say:-

"Wrathcobra started out in 2006 in Pittsburgh, PA as an initial meeting between original members Steve (guitar), Bill (guitar), and Jon (drums).  Greg (bass) eventually found his way into the fold, followed soon by original singer Jonah. After jamming for a little more than a year and playing some shows around Pittsburgh, Steve had to relocate back to California for some time and the band went on hiatus. Upon Steve's return, everyone except Jonah decided to get back together and I was asked to give the vocals a shot.  Fast forward a couple years, Jon had left the band and we had found our permanent drummer, Jordan. We recorded our first record (2008 demo) in the basement of the house most of us shared and were able to release it ourselves the following spring. We continued to write and play in and around Pittsburgh, but later that summer Steve had decided to move back to California permanently as he had finished his education. The rest of us recruited our good friend Jason Angst to fill in on guitar, and we proceeded to finish writing and recording our 2nd album that following winter. During that time, we were contacted by Timo of Alerta Antifascista out of Hanover, Germany about setting up a tour for us for the summer of 2010.  Everything was coming together better than we could have hoped, and the excitement amongst the band was very high. Unfortunately, not long after the tour had been established, Jason was forced to leave the band to focus on his burgeoning tattoo career, but Steve was able to drop what he was doing and fill in for the tour. Jordan was also unable to tour, so our good friend Kyle filled in and did an amazing job. The tour was excellent, better than we could have hoped for, but once we got back we once again had to find a new guitarist. Our friend Kenny was more than happy to accept the gig, he picked everything up quickly and enthusiastically, and the in the summer of 2011 we did a quick 5-day jaunt around the U.S. where we were fortunate enough to play Midwest Hellfest with Hellshock, Wartorn, etc., and then we went back to Europe for another month long tour, with Kyle once again filling on drums. Since then we've been busy writing for our third record and remaining focused on that rather than playing out a lot, and the songs are coming along great".

How is 2012 going for you guys? What have you got coming up?
2012 is going quite well for us. We're really happy with the progress we've made with the new songs and are anxious to get everything completed and recorded, with the intention of a winter 2012/spring 2013 release. We're also in the early planning stages of a east coast tour later in the summer.

What are your influences in Wrathcobra? What gives you inspiration when writing music?

Our influences are varied and widespread. While we try to not let ourselves get too locked in to one specific sound or style, the classic sound of bands like Motorhead and Amebix are always bleeding through. We're fortunate to have talented and selfless guitarists who both are heavily influenced by a lot of classic rock and metal, everyone from Iron Maiden and Kiss to ZZ Top and Thin Lizzy. While our primary influence is and will always be punk, the five of us all have too much love for other styles of music that it can't help but show through our songs. From crust and d-beat to NWOBHM and thrash, it's all in there. As far as inspiration, I think all of us find it in individual ways. Sometimes a riff or lyric with just be in our heads for a while without specific knowledge of how it got there, sometimes it's seeing an awesome show or new band for the first time, sometimes it's just walking around the city. Inspiration can be found just about anywhere, but it's gotta find you first.

You played Obscene Extreme last year? That must've been amazing, especially with bands like Entombed and Rotten Sound playing the same festival?
Obscene Extreme was AMAZING. I can't really put into words how much fun that whole experience was.  Unfortunately due to our tour schedule we weren't able to get there in time to see a lot of the bands we wanted to, but we had an absolute blast. It was really an honor to get to share a bill with bands like Entombed and Skitsystem and Lockup, but it even more special to be embraced by the "extreme" metal community. The fact that a band like ours was so well received in a primarily death/grind scene was really cool, but it was also great to share the stage with other awesome d-beat bands like Unkind and D.I.S., who also were killer. And everyone we met and got to hang out with were fucking awesome as well. It was an amazing experience, and we hope to get to do it again in the future.

What do you think of the current crust-punk scene?

I think the current crust scene is doing pretty damn well in general. From the recent reunions of legends like Amebix and Antisect to all the other new bands popping up across the world, I think crust is in a better place now than it has been for some time. A lot of the newer bands like Nukkehammer are really, really good and it's also great to see a lot of the folks who have been around for years still chugging along making great new music. I got to see No Statik here in Pittsburgh not too long ago, who has members of Destroy, High on Crime and Scrotum Grinder if I'm not mistaken, and you know what? They RAGED. It's so cool to see those people still kicking serious ass, as so many other bands are still doing after so many years have passed. Also, the fact that so many crusty bands are now a prominent part of the bigger metal festivals is really cool. For instance, at Maryland Deathfest here in the states last year featured Doom, Tragedy, Dropdead, and others like them at a festival whose headliners were Voivod, Coroner, and bands of the like. The same thing is happening in Europe too. It's great to see, and even better to be lucky enough to take part in.  

What are your thoughts on the metal scene in general?
I feel the same way about the metal scene across the world. It's great, and showing no signs of slowing down. It's been terrific to see in genre in general get the respect and attention it deserves, without just being disregarded as a bunch of dumb headbangers who don't know how to play anything but fast. I feel the festival circuit has a lot to do with that. From the huge ones like Sonisphere and Wacken to smaller fests like Obscene Extreme and Maryland Deathfest, there's no limit to which bands one can see over the course of one summer alone! The fact that many of these bands have been going for 30-40 years now and are still killing it is a strong testament to the never-ending endurance of metal in the world, and they're still influencing hundreds of thousands across the world to pick up guitars and keep it going. Outside of a couple bigoted assholes out there, the metal scene is alive and well and isn't going anywhere.

What bands or music do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of stuff honestly. Punk and metal mostly, but I'm able to branch out. It really depends on my mood. Admittedly, when it comes to punk I'm still kind of stuck on my favorites of old such as Nausea, Dystopia, His Hero Is Gone, etc. Lots of the late 80's-mid 90's stuff, although the new Amebix record is a masterpiece (I don't care what anyone says). Being from Pittsburgh, I've been able to personally be a part of the scene which hosted such legends in those years like Aus-Rotten and Submachine who were very influential on me as a kid. With metal in particular, I've been able to discover a ton of new bands (or bands I just hadn't paid enough attention to, Neurosis in particular) due to the travelling I've done the past two years. Ghost is a current favorite, I'm totally hooked on their LP.  Getting to see Lockup at OEF along with Impaled got me back into a lot of death metal, so I've rediscovered some bands as of late like Exhumed and Dismember. Outside of the heavy stuff, I'm a huge fan of Motown and lots of 60's/70's soul and funk, such as Curtis Mayfield, the Meters, the J.B.'s, Temptations. There a lot of really good soul singers around these days as well I've been listening to, like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Adele. Say what you will about Adele, but she can fucking SING. She's not just some polished, manufactured pop star. I've also been an extremely passionate fan of the Grateful Dead for close to 20 years. And before you ask, no, I'm not ashamed of that.

Do you keep up to date with other Pittsburgh bands? If so, can you recommend any that we should listen to?

There are a lot of really, really good Pittsburgh bands these days. There always has been.  We're a small city, so keeping up with local bands isn't that difficult really. Oh Shit They're Going To Kill Us is a killer punk/thrash crossover band from here, who recently put out their 2nd LP on Deer Skull Records. Highly recommended, and good friends of ours. There's also Icon Gallery (who also recently released their 1st LP), Barren Scepter, Ratface, Molasses Barge, Zeitgeist, Del Rios, the list goes on. All of them are worth checking out, and almost every style of punk and metal is represented amongst them. We have a great scene here in Pittsburgh. 

In terms of records, Wrathcobra's first record is sold out and their second record is quite hard to get hold of, but Caleb told me that they have plans to repress both records this year. Also, they currently have a website called, which they hope to build up, so future records and merch will be available directly from the band.

It's been really refreshing to talk to Caleb, who has a really positive outlook on the way metal is going right now. Please drop by their new Facebook page at and give them a shout out, as they are genuinely one of the nicest bands you'll talk to.

No comments:

Post a Comment