Thrash metal “returned” with a vengeance in recent years and is arguably still the most popular form of metal. When a band like Shattered Sun come along it reminds you why. This Texas based band play thrash with skill, resolve and the certainty that it is time well spent. You can hear this faith in the genre all throughout their Victory Records debut Hope Within Hatred. In fact, the band’s drive was strong enough to get them noticed first by Spineshank and then by Adrenaline PR and Testament. Now Shattered Sun are on the verge of becoming much more well known opening for big crowds on the Dark Roots Of Thrash II tour.
Marcos Leal (vocals) from Shattered Sun tells us how the 6 piece band made noise loud enough to be heard outside of their humble hometown and onto one of the most enviable thrash tours of the year.
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How does it feel verge of release and tour? You can hear the effort in these tracks. “Reign Over Me” builds into the almost beautiful melodic thrash riff. So much to offer here.
Marcos: Yeah, man. Honestly, this has been a whirlwind for us. It’s crazy to think this all started through one of the worst moments we went through. We bought onto a tour and got screwed over for a lot of money. We wound up being stuck on the side of the road in California. Long story short, it took that experience to make a friendship that got us with Johnny Z and Chuck Billy and Maria Ferrero. There is another power at work here, dude. We’re small town guys. We became friends with Spineshanks guitar player Mike Sarkisyan and once he found out that we got screwed over, it sparked a friendship and he helped out on the pre-production. The very first stages of the album. Once we were done with the tracks he said ,”let me send them to my friend Maria Ferrero. She runs a PR company Adrenaline, one of the best companies. Let’s see if we can get you guys a PR deal.”
Mike sent over the tracks and by the end of the day she called us and said ,” fuck the PR deal. Do you guys want a manager?” We said ,” Uh, yeah.” What we didn’t know is they were just forming Breaking Bands with Chuck and Johnny. We didn’t know any of this and they set up a conference call. Chuck and Johnny were on that call and asked us to be one of their first signees.
You didn’t know it was going to be them?
No, I didn’t know anything. We were clueless. They heard the tracks and loved them. Of course we said yes. It really didn’t hit us until we went to
California and were doing press with Chuck. We signed with them before they even had an LLC. Before they announced they were going to do this. Once they announced, they had over 100,000 submissions! We looked at each other like ,”What the hell, man. How did we do this?” Since then it has been awesome. They are all like family to us. We’re ready for this tour coming up.
How did the Victory Records deal come about? I feel like they’re showing they are serious about metal these days.
This has always been our dream since we were fuckin 13-14 years old. Johnny when we started looking said we were gonna look for a label that truly believed in us. Not someone to just throw money at the project or put us on the label as the 49th band. And that label was Victory. They loved us from day one. It was huge once we signed with them and they believe in what we’re trying to do. We actually just came back from Chicago, met the whole team and shot a music video.
Do you think people are stuck on the big 4 thrash bands and should discover newer bands like you guys or SSS or Bio-Cancer, for example? Even bands like Overkil, Testament or Suicidal could still get more love even though they’re huge. Testament were even cool enough to help out the Acrassicauda guys.
I’m sure a lot of people are wondering what we’re doing on this big tour with Exodus and Testament. The only thing I can say is we truly earned it. It was not given to us just because Chuck was our manager. I think it’s cool for them to take a chance on us. Those bands are huge and have been doing it for years. We’re just excited to aspire to that ourselves.
How do you feel representing your home state? I know Seeker from Texas are another good band on Victory.
It feels great. Us, Upon A Burning Body. There’s a lot of good bands from Texas. I feel like the eyes of the metal community are on Texas right now. We wanted to inspire with our signing. If a little old town like Alice, Texas can have a band signed, we can inspire others to start bands. There is talent down here.
“Awaken” reminds me a bit of As I Lay Dying. The you’ve got unified melodies with less emo vocals. “281” shows you can do a ballad, almost. Then you have the “Return To Serenity” cover. You really did a great job. Chuck wouldn’t have wanted you on the tour if your Testament cover sucked!
(laughing) Yeah. Funny thing about that cover is we were Testament fans even before Chuck was in the picture. Johnny Z knew we really wanted to do a cover. We heard “Return To Serenity” and actually hadn’t even gotten the ok yet from Chuck! We got in and did it and hoped Chuck would like it afterwards. We spent a week on that track, dissecting it and staying true to the song but doing a Shattered Sun version of it. We sent it to Chuck and, I swear to God, it was the longest two hours of our life. We didn’t hear back anything. When we sent it to him, he was on tour with Testament! So not only did Chuck hear it but the whole band heard it. Chuck finally hit us back and he loved it. We got the approval. Testament gave us the thumbs up and we rolled with it ever since.
Chuck cares about fans and good causes. The “Native Blood” video was inspiring.
The great thing about Chuck is since day one he has filled a mentor role for us. Before we were covering his song or did this tour he talked to us about vocals, touring. It’s just awesome. Who better to give advice? He’s been such a big part of this band and team.
We went in to the studio August 2013 and went through a lot of trials and tribulations. We went in to write an album to attract interest. We played
battle of the bands, we lost a member. It was hell for the first few months. Disheartening things happened. But how funny that once we finished a track and got it to Mike it was the gasoline to start the fire. Ever since that moment it has been rising higher and higher and getting crazy.
It’s true you can’t give up and have to love the music and band at every step of the way.
It’s crazy looking back but when you’re a local band and don’t have a Maria Ferrero or Victory Records, you have what you have. Those opening slots for a bigger band or a battle of the bands chance to get on a larger event, you just fucking do it. It doesn’t matter the cost or time. Even one time specifically we played a battle to get us to California to do another battle and sign to Sumerian. We went in, smoked every band. It was clear who the top band was. We were told we would be huge but just not with Sumerian. It seemed like the end, but there was a whole other road that was about to open for us we didn’t even know. There will be a lot of things that will kick you down in this world and unfortunately it’s rare for someone to help you up.
Is that where the “Hope” of the album title comes from?
Yeah. It’s a lot of things. You have to get up yourself. That’s what this band is built on. There were a hundred times we came close to the wheels
You have technical parts but also good songs. People should also play small shows because the practice getting good together onstage also helps you not be boring and stiff as a board on stage.
We’ve always practiced with Shattered “live”. These past few practices I’m talking to the crowd like San Francisco. It helps with so many things.
There’s never a moment of awkward silence. If I could give some advice I’d say take that and use that. Chuck told me you have twenty-thirty minutes to make a lasting impression and you better use that wisely. I think a lot of bands need to take that advice and go with it. If you’re stiff on stage no one is going to remember you.
Yeah, a band like you or Sister Sin or , for example, Holy Grail on Prosthetic …you see the musician’s love for what the band is doing and the
We were always told “You’re from Alice, man. No matter what you do your band is never gonna make it.”
Thanks, dude! (laughing)
Yeah! I know! It might not be the best quality to have but I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder. “Oh you’re playing with so and so? So what.” Well, I’m not going to let those people stop me. Our song “Ultimatum” is about that and those people. It always struck a chord in me and helped me say ,”Fuck you. THIS is what’s next.” Because of that this band is where it is today.
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