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Hemorrhage: OC Hardcore That Makes Us Want to Destroy Shit

Hemorrhage: OC Hardcore That Makes Us Want to Destroy Shit
Courtesy of Hemorrhage

For an affirmation that Orange County still breeds old-fashioned, passionate hardcore, check out Hemorrhage's debut EP, Chapter One, released in October 2012. Search the title and band name on YouTube, press play, and then brace yourself.

The seven songs clock in at less than 14 minutes total, but it's all prototypical early-'80s thrash: hard, fast, aggressive and unrelenting, making you want to trash your workspace or rip a bong load and jump on a skateboard. Think T.S.O.L. before their Guns N' Roses affiliation, or a faster, sludgier Agent Orange.

But this isn't a throwback band by any account. Hemorrhage's foursome apply a modern spin to this "classic" genre by penning songs rooted in references to Game of Thrones ("Winter Is Coming" and "I Pay the Iron Price"), and start the record with an ode to the Harry Potter killing curse, "Avada Kedavra."

"'Winter Is Coming' identifies with always being prepared for the worst-case scenario, and 'I Pay the Iron Price' talks about taking your life into your own hands," explains Vinnie Capasso, 24, the band's guitarist/graphic artist/label logisticator. He also runs the band's label, Abduct Tape Records, from his bedroom in Huntington Beach.

All four band members are OC born and bred. Capasso, drummer Andres Cendoya and bassist Rain Avilez were classmates at Costa Mesa High School. Capasso met vocalist Phillip Penegar while working at Starbucks. They formed the band about a year and a half ago. "We all work near-minimum-wage grunt jobs," Capasso says. "Andres is a server, I flip burgers, Rain lifts heavy shit, and Phillip serves coffee. After a 40-plus-hour workweek, we find rehearsal to be our sanctuary."

 

This explains the vibe of pent-up rage emanating from many of their songs. In "I Pay the Iron Price," when Penegar shouts, "I am no man's servant /I am no man's slave" as the band brutalize an eight-bar, two-chord riff at upward of 180 beats per minute, it is pretty fucking convincing.

Capasso says to expect a big step forward in terms of songcraft on the next album. "We're going to bring more dynamics to the table and expand a little more on what we can do and how we feel," he says. "Lyrically, this record is going to be less fiction and more real-life experiences, current events, growing up poor . . . that sort of thing."

In the meantime, Hemorrhage are concentrating on "playing the shit out of [the live set]" on the local underground-punk scene. "There hasn't been a significant amount of community in this scene for some time," Capasso says. "Recently, there has been a resurgence with the appearance of Unit B Studio [in Santa Ana]. It was only around for about a year, but it built a community that is growing again.

"The big current goal of the band is to be able to bring together people who genuinely still give a shit about music, and progress with DIY ethics," he continues. "The age of convenience makes it difficult for hardworking bands to contribute to the scene with purity. Regardless, we would love to be doing this as long as possible."

Hemorrhage perform with They As In Them and Slave at Bridgetown DIY, 1421 N. Valinda Ave., La Puente, (626) 888-2734; bridgetowndiy.org. Fri., 7 p.m. Call for ticket price. For more information on the band, visit facebook.com/hemorrhageband.

Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.


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