Thrash Metal - United States

Hirax Band

HIRAX began in Los Angeles in 1984, but spent most of their time playing in San Francisco along with Slayer, Metallica, and Exodus, who were all part of the exciting new Metal scene emerging from the Bay area. The original lineup was Katon W. De Pena (vocals), Bob Savage (guitar), Gary Monardo (bass), and Brian Keith (drums). They released a four-song demo in 1984, which was strongly influenced by the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Later in 1984, guitarist Scott Owen and drummer John Tabares replaced Savage and Keith. Influenced by Motörhead, Anvil, and Venom, vocalist De Pena took the band into a heavier and faster direction, which resulted in HIRAX’s own Thrash Metal style.

Having gained a large following in the underground, HIRAX signed a record deal and contributed the track “Bombs of Death “to the legendary compilation “Metal Massacre VI,” which also featured Slayer, Voivod, Celtic Frost, Fates Warning, Metal Church, and Trouble. In 1985, HIRAX contributed the track “Destruction and Terror” for the compilation “Angelican Scrape Attic” 7″ flexi discas the only U.S. band featured on that limited edition compilation.

In the same year HIRAX released their first full-length “Raging Violence” (1985). The band’s own brand of heaviness combining Metal and the speed of Hardcore became known as “Crossover” with bands like Corrosion of Conformity, D. R.I and Cryptic Slaughter being part of this new scene. Yet Katon W. De Pena’s upper-range clean vocals stood out from the pack and HIRAX gained a rabid crowd.

Drummer John Tabares was replaced with former D.R.I. drummer Eric Brecht and HIRAX released a mini album in the year 1986 titled “Hate, Fear, and Power”. The band had been through a lot by this time, constantly touring and some changes in the line-up, but they even continued after falling out with their label.

HIRAX continued on without any label support and released a 3-song demo titled “Blasted In Bangkok” (1987), which took only six hours to record and mix. Two songs of the demo were picked up by a Californian label and released as a 7″ record the same year.

Disillusioned by the music industry, De Pena decided to leave HIRAX at the end of 1988 and was briefly replaced by Exodus frontman Paul Baloff. This line-up did not last long and one year later the band was no more. For the next 8 years Katon continued to support the underground, working at record labels and stores. He was never far from the music that he grew up with and played.

The reunion of HIRAX was put into motion in 1997 when Katon was asked by his friends of the band Spazz to jopin them on a split 7″. He decided to use the third song “Dying World (Shock)” from the “Blasted In Bangkok” demo and the record found its way to a whole new generation of underground music fans and generated a buzz about the band once again. The flood of feedback and fan mail triggered the reformation of HIRAX a year later. The original line-up including Katon W. De Pena, Johnny Tabares and Gary Monardo reunited in 2000 and got their EP “El Diablo Negro” out as a first release on De Pena’s own label Black Devil Records. HIRAX had come full circle at this point, redefining their sound with a combination of speed and aggression similar to their early style.

This classical line-up of HIRAX did not last for long again, but De Pena was determined to keep the band going as interest in them was soaring after the release of “El Diablo Negro”. Their next output “Barrage Of Noise” (2001) subsequently received critical acclaim by magazines and fanzines all over the world. HIRAX was back on the map and introduced to a whole new audience of Thrashers.

Since their reformation HIRAX toured constantly throughout North America and Europe, successfully performing at prestigious festivals like Germany’s “Bang Your Head” in 2003 to an enthusiastic crowd. HIRAX spent the latter half of 2003 writing material for their next studio recording “The New Age of Terror”., which was recorded, mixed and mastered during February 2004 with producer Michael Rozon (Melvins, Adrenaline O.D.) in an unbelievable 9 days.

“The New Age Of Terror” was released worldwide in 2005 and since then HIRAX continued their live celebrated assault around the globe. During 2006 the band regrouped to the line-up that remains stable until today. Among several split and compilation contributions the Thrash legend continued in the true spirit of Metal releasing several critically acclaimed EPs and albums starting from the “Assassins of War” EP (2007) via the “Chaos and Brutality” EP (2007) to their latest full-length “El Rostro de la Muerte” (2009).

Now HIRAX unleash three of their EPs for the first time on CD: under the banner of “Noise, Chaos, War!” the original vinyl releases and much sought after collector’s items “Barrage of Noise”, “Chaos and Brutality” and “Assassins of War” are assembled with the video clip “Bombs of Death Live in Concert Japan 2009” as an amazing bonus for their dedicated fans on top of the package.


  • Katon W. De Pena : vocals
  • Glenn Rogers : lead guitars
  • Lance Harrison : lead guitars
  • Steve Harrison : bass
  • Jorge Iacobellis : drums

This band is no longer active on Season of Mist.

Posted on July 1, 2010

Californian thrashers HIRAX’ new release is out now! Watch the video trailer for this compilation of three thrashing EP’s, re-mastered & re-mixed and available on CD for the first time!

Posted on June 23, 2010

Californian thrashers HIRAX’ new compilation will be released worldwide next week. You can now download a full song from “Noise Chaos War”, entitled “Walk With Death”.

Posted on June 11, 2010

On June 28th (29th in North America), Season of Mist will release Californian thrashers HIRAX’ new delivery, entitled “Noise Chaos War”. Made of three thrashing EP’s remastered, remixed and available on CD for the first time, this release includes a video of “Bombs of Death” filmed live in Japan last year.

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