It's a humid night in Garden Grove, and Phoenix-based groove-metal band Incite are finishing a monthlong recording stint for their fourth full-length album at producer Steve Evetts' Omen Room Studios. Nestled in a business-park setting away from the cramped street traffic, Omen Room is stuffed with Marshall amps, a smattering of classic punk-rock vinyl, the smell of wooden instruments and lingering cannabis smoke trails from the quartet of metalheads taking a recording break outside.
While vocalist Richie Cavalera, bassist Christopher "EL," drummer Lennon Lopez and guitarist "Dru Tang" Rome decompress from the heavy and aggressive compositions for a few minutes, Evetts sits at the soundboard, meticulously finalizing details on the next chapter in the young band's musical discography, which includes the albums The Slaughter, All Out War and Up In Hell.
Although Incite have gotten noteworthy accolades and acquired many ties within the metal community, their presence is still relatively unknown. Evetts–who has produced accredited albums from metal frontrunners including Warbringer, Dillinger Escape Plan and Southern California's Suicide Silence–could hear the band's potential in their first three albums. "I really liked Richie's vocals, what the band is about and their style of music," says Evetts, who retains a hint of a New Jersey accent despite many years spent on the West Coast. "It's more about teaching them to unlearn a lot about what they knew and reteach them a new process. Music production today sounds like background noise to me; it's very sterile and homogenized and it doesn't make you feel anything. Music needs to inspire and evoke emotion, especially metal."
In Jersey, Evetts got his start in the music-production industry by working with low-budget punk-rock bands and making records in a matter of weeks. With decades of craftsmanship and numerous clients stacked on his résumé, including some pop/punk groups, he chooses projects he fully stands behind and knows which elements to highlight for each band to bring their albums to the next tier: indestructible.
"It's definitely about strong vocals and drums; everything needed to be a lot more cohesive," says Evetts. "Richie was singing every day with the band in preproduction and working in parts to fit the music. Everything is supposed to feed off everything else, and we did it the right way, which is organically and not 'cutting and pasting.' I think it's going to translate."
Incite's Minus Head Records label mates All Hail the Yeti and SiriusXM Radio host Jose Mangin are special guests on the album, adding flavor to ramp up the ferocity even more.
After an adequate break from the instruments and guttural vocals, Incite's members head upstairs to grab a seat in an Omen Room lounge area, directly in front of a small wall painted with a colorful Aztec-style demon. The men live across the southwest–from Texas and Arizona to Huntington Beach–but their bond has grown immensely over the past few years as the band's lineup solidified, bringing a consistent style to the previous record and the expected, still-unnamed 2016 release.
"Being the second time around for us is cool, and we really got to feed off each other's musical ideas," says Cavalera. "We've really been able to progress on this album and have been able to add the guitar and bass solos and monster drum fills that we've never had before."
EL adds, "[Steve] would come between us when we were standing around, waiting for each other to queue and start rocking out with Lennon. It fired us up."
All four members cite the recording process with Evetts as essential to their building a better collectiveness, adding more dimension and creatively coming up with ideas that everyone has been waiting for, all without sacrificing Incite's core sound.
Once the 12-hour days of producing, looking at the same people and that demonic artwork wrap up, the band will shift their pent-up energy to prepping for a U.S. tour, We Sold Our Souls to Metal, with metal brethren Soulfly, Crowbar and Shattered Sun. In the New Year, Incite will travel to the U.K., followed by full-blown pit stops in the rest of Europe. By the time March approaches, the product of Evetts and Incite's blood, sweat and tears will be unveiled to the rest of the metal council and community.
"Playing live is the reward for putting in the time at the studio," says EL, "and we're going to get instant gratification because we're going to jam home, and then go balls out."
For more info about the band and their upcoming tour dates, visit the band's Facebook page.