It’s an exhausted cliché, but the best art is often born from pain. Few currently know that more than Incite frontman Richie Cavalera, whose band has run the gauntlet in recent times yet come out the other end to tell the tale.
After bandmates Zak Sofaly and Luis Marrufo left the fold just a year after 2012’s crushing All Out War, the affable, enthusiastic frontman admits he felt betrayed and began to assess the future of the band he put together.
“You get really down when someone leaves the band,” he says from the Soulfly tourbus, while on the road with stepdad Max and spreading the word of Incite to all in preparation for the upcoming album. “You feel like you’re failing and you question yourself, wondering if you should have done something different. That’s the terrible part.”
However, with new bassist Christopher El Canella and drummer Derek Lennon Lopez, and reunited with longterm writing partner Kevin McAllister, Richie has got back the confidence, been given the kick up the ass he needed and channelled all the frustration into their latest effort Up In Hell, a venomous, defiant statement of intent and clearly the band’s best and most exciting album to date.
Written and recorded in a mere 17 days with producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Deftones), the result is a raw, uncompromising slab of belligerent thrash and monstrous, Lamb Of God-esque grooves. Delivered with ferocious zeal, the songs cover everything from US government operations and the unholy mess the world has become, to more personal stories of losing loved ones and coming from a single-parent household, subjects Richie hopes will speak to as many people as possible.
“This record is everything I wanted it to be lyrically and musically,” he notes. “The first two records were about writing the most pissed off, heavy shit that I could think of! So on this record we wanted to show growth, so there was more emphasis on writing and not just being all about heavy. The whole album is very personable and I hope people can relate to it.”
Richie is also happy to admit that Matt Hyde’s critical approach and the fractured recording sessions were just what was needed to take Incite out of their comfort zone and into a creative space where they could push their art to its furthest limits.
“There were times when Matt and I thought we were going to strangle each other!” he recalls. “But when we heard the finished product I gave him the biggest hug because he was right. It’s good to bring out that frustration and emotion because that’s what music is all about.”
_Up In Hell is out now via Minus Head. _