Being quoted as “one of the most underrated bands in death metal history” (Dom Lawson, Metal Hammer UK, March 2011), Dehumanized has undoubtedly established a dominant, admirable position within the vast death metal spectrum. One cannot chronicle the relevance and allure of this extreme music genre without mentioning these NYC-born heavyweights of slam. Their indigenously unique method of combining breakneck speed and devastating groove has influenced countless numbers of successful death metal acts throughout the years.
George Torres (drums), Rich Nagasawa (guitar), and Mike Palacios (guitar) formed Dehumanized in the Fall of 1995. Working at a feverish pace, this trio entered the studio to record an EP titled, “Terminal Punishment”, after only 2 months of the band’s inception. After providing the vocal tracks for this recording, Torres and Nagasawa decided to recruit a lead vocalist and welcomed Mike Zuzio. Shortly after “Terminal Punishment” was released, an immense following started to grow and this fresh act was proving their worthiness, supporting national headliners including Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, Brutal Truth, and Six Feet Under.
During the process of rapidly building a rabid fan base, Dave Zatuchney replaced Palacios on guitar, Jerry Barco took over vocal duties for Zuzio, and Mike Chan filled the vacant bass player position.
In late 1997, after Tom Toscano relieved Zatuchney on guitar, Dehumanized ventured to Raw Recording Studios to produce one of the most historic and legendary death metal albums of all time. “Prophecies Foretold” was let loose on the public via Pathos Productions in 1998 and perched Dehumanized alongside the elite titans of the industry. It also cemented George Torres’s spot amongst iconic extreme drummers and projected Rich Nagasawa into the upper echelon of premiere shredders. But what made this full-length so remarkable was the intangible chemistry between Torres and Nagasawa that subtly made its presence known within each song. Catchy hooks and riffs were scattered throughout this masterpiece, not common in such a style of music, and were mainly represented through tracks like “Fade Into Obscurity”, “Infinite Despair” and the title track, “Prophecies Foretold”.
The fallout from this ferocious LP’s release resulted in the band setting attendance records at clubs where they’d perform as well as constant exposure through radio and worldwide distribution. One evening while co-hosting a radio program for 89.5 WSOU, Dehumanized justified their acquired status by receiving death threats as a backlash for their on-air opinions toward black metal.
The word was apparently out. With a revamped roster that listed newcomer Sean Morelli on bass, these NYC upstarts found themselves being featured on major festivals across the USA; most notably the Milwaukee Metalfest, Texas Grindfest, Ohio Deathfest, and New Jersey Metalfest. The band proudly shared the stage with highly touted acts Suffocation, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Cryptopsy, Vader, Broken Hope, Monstrosity, and Nile, to name a few.
Dehumanized was able to ride the monstrous wave birthed from “Prophecies Foretold”, replacing Barco on vocals with Josh Pratt in the process, until the new millennium arrived. A temporary split was in order. During this hiatus, Torres became drummer for Skinless and later on, Mortician. However, during Dehumanized’s absence, the buzz surrounding the band had not waned.
In 2004, Torres and Nagasawa reunited; giving their hardcore fans back the chance to bear witness to their unparalleled brand of brutal death metal. Armed with vocalist John Collett, guitarist Paul Tavora, and bassist Mike Hussey, Dehumanized had returned with a vengeance. The band’s first live performance in four years was at the ’04 Maryland Deathfest. A 2-song EP comprised of newly written anthems, “Man vs Man” & “His Burden”, gave fans a taste of what was to come. They seemed to pick up right where they had prematurely left off. Gigs with more esteemed acts (Devourment, Skinless, All Shall Perish, Internal Bleeding, Malignancy) soon followed.
This solid lineup reinvigorated fans of old and seduced unfamiliar listeners from venue to venue. But by the time 2007 rolled around, the band decided to shut down operations once again. Not surprisingly, their loyal followers did not write them off completely.
Helping to spark yet another return to power, a long time cohort band brought NYC’s hyper blasters back into the forefront in 2011. Maryland’s-own Dying Fetus released an EP of cover songs titled, “History Repeats...”, and slotted their rendition of “Fade Into Obscurity” by Dehumanized as the opening salvo. This action, and the response it received, helped to persuade Torres and Nagasawa to sound the horns of war one more time.
When asked to play a reunion show in Long Island, NY alongside another fellow reunited band, Internal Bleeding, the return became official.
Paul Tavora was back on the squad. Joining him were local scene veterans Michael Centrone on vocals, and Anthony Cossu on bass. This current version of Dehumanized has grasped the reigns stronger than ever and has already set in motion a followup to the timeless classic, “Prophecies Foretold”. Their first album in nearly fifteen years, “Controlled Elite”, was recorded at Full Force Studio in May 2012, will be released on Comatose Music worldwide on November 27th 2012, and will seat Dehumanized back on their rightful throne as masters of the art of slam/death metal.
Since word spread of the return, appearances at the Goregrowlers Ball, Central Illinois Metalfest, and New Jersey Deathfest materialized. Dehumanized also made their first appearance in Europe in September 2012, crushing it at the NRW Deathfest in Germany. The fact cannot be denied that this NYC powerhouse is taking no prisoners in their quest to ultimately liberate and motivate the dehumanized.