Musically, Anchorage is a fairly transient city. It’s not unusual for bands, venues, and even entire scenes to pop up and dissipate seemingly in a single day. So when a band sticks round for some time, musicians and concertgoers within the forty ninth state have a tendency to sit down up, take discover, and attend reveals nearly religiously. Native legends of this caliber embody teams like metalcore outfit 36 Crazyfists, ska group Nervis Rex – and thrash metallic rockers Decepticide, who’ve been rocking venues throughout Alaska for nearly fifteen years.
“January 1st, 2008,” recounted Ryan Hull, Decepticide’s vocalist, concerning the group’s origins. “It was over a New Yr’s celebration.”
Enzo Montana, Decepticide’s guitarist with the prerequisite lengthy hair of a profession headbanger, idly plucks a number of chords within the group’s small Midtown apply area, which is festooned high to backside with totally different band flags and posters – Slayer, Metallica, Motorhead.
“The primary time I ever noticed Enzo was my freshman 12 months in highschool,” mentioned Brian Harris, Decepticide’s bearded drummer. “He was sitting on his amp within the lunchroom, enjoying ‘Grasp of Puppets.’”
Harris and Montana each attended Dimond Excessive Faculty, together with Mercy Cofield, the guitarist for Anchorage hardcore band She.
Decepticide emerged from the stays of Montana’s band Homicide is Justice, a undertaking that lasted from 2005 to 2007. Initially a 5 piece band with two guitars, Decepticide’s been pared right down to 4 members since 2016, with a semi-revolving bassist place that’s not too long ago been stuffed by North Carolina transplant Josiah Everett, the youngest member of the band, who met Hull by way of a warehouse job and took over because the bass participant in 2022.
“It’s like ‘Spinal Faucet,’ with the drummers,” Hull mentioned. “We’ve been by way of a lottery of bass gamers.”
After enjoying to important popularity of a number of years in Anchorage, Montana wished to take Decepticide to the subsequent degree.
“Once we began Decepticide… I actually thought we had a shot at being an actual metallic band, a touring band,” Montana mentioned. “On the similar time, being right here in Alaska, it’s sort of inconceivable to perform that.”
In 2010, the band moved to Pennsylvania to pursue a profession touring up and down the East Coast. Nevertheless, private issues (together with the pregnancies of each Montana’s and Hull’s girlfriends) stymied their potential to carry out.
“We had been getting pulled again to Alaska from each route,” Montana mentioned.
In October of 2010, Montana flew again house to witness the start of his daughter. The guitarist’s need to interrupt his household historical past of absent fathers contributed to Decepticide’s eventual return to Alaska.
“I known as Ryan, and I mentioned, ‘I’m actually sorry, however I’ve to return again,’” Montana mentioned.
“I joke about it quite a bit, however Alaska is a black gap,” Hull mentioned. “And I don’t imply that essentially as a foul factor, however if you’re leaving Alaska, there are such a lot of gravitational pulls which can be pulling you again house.”
By December of 2010, the band was again, and so they’ve been an Alaska group ever since.
To an extent, Hull, Montana, and Harris look again ruefully on their Pennsylvania experiment – particularly contemplating that by the point Decepticide left, phrase of their musical prowess was simply reaching promoters on the East Coast.
“Lots of people thought at first, a band from Alaska, that we had been a gimmick,” Hull mentioned. “However our names began getting closely handed round in circles.”
“I used to be getting calls from New Jersey, from New York,” Montana mentioned. “Once we performed, we performed fucking arduous.”
One will get the sense that, had issues gone in a different way in Pennsylvania, Decepticide may need been a family identify amongst metalheads, given the group’s enthusiasm, ardour, and technical ability.
Decepticide’s sound, influenced by favorites like Pantera, the Black Dahlia Homicide, and Lamb of God, has remained comparatively constant because the group first began enjoying.
“In case you’ve been listening to our music,” Montana mentioned, “it’s developed, however it hasn’t drastically modified. I feel it’s gotten heavier and sooner, however it hasn’t modified to one thing you possibly can’t acknowledge.”
One of many largest points with the native music scene Decepticide identified was the shortage of of all-ages venues in Anchorage.
“It’s not garnishing a brand new era of bands to play,” Hull mentioned, “as a result of they’ve acquired nowhere to play.”
A lot of all-ages venues have existed, from the Paddleboat Cafe to Anchorage Group Works, however for one cause or one other, they’ve both folded or change into in any other case inaccessible to Anchorage youth. With no dependable venue for the under-21 crowd to entry dwell aggressive music, there’s no assure that metallic, hardcore, and punk will live on in our city.
“If me and Enzo didn’t have a spot to play once we had been developing,” Harris mentioned, “it might have by no means occurred.”
As such, bars have have change into the default, given the absence of an under-21 venue.
“As of proper now, Chilkoot Charlie’s is the one home that actually lets us are available in and throw a present,” Montana mentioned. “I feel our second house is the Carousel Lounge.”
Chilkoot’s, the band acknowledges, has been good to them, as has Sarah Pederson, an area heavy metallic promoter. Decepticide, together with a number of different members of the Anchorage metallic scene, not too long ago performed a profit set on the bar in assist of Pederson, who’s presently preventing most cancers.
“North stage at Koot’s,” Hull mentioned, “that’s my favourite. It’s all the time good sound, good occasions, good individuals.”
By the way, the primary time I noticed Decepticide dwell was at that Chilkoot’s profit present. Their set was electrical, high-energy, and loud as hell. Hull gyrated screaming forwards and backwards throughout the small stage as Montana despatched rippling energy chords throughout the venue. Harris’s drum fills and bass kicks had been like machines from some huge sonic manufacturing unit, whereas Everett’s bassline throbbed beneath all of it like a pounding heartbeat. Bookended by different native hardcore and metallic acts, together with Half Time Tremendous Heroes and Aware Khaos, Decepticide exemplified a number of the better of Anchorage thrash.
Except Everett (whom Hull refers to because the band’s adoptive son) the members of Decepticide are all household males, which impacts their musical schedule and life-style. However it doesn’t detract from the bond that the band members share, which they’ve labored to take care of.
“Proper now, with full-time jobs and full-time households, that is the time the place we truly as a bunch get to work together, exterior of enjoying the reveals,” Hull mentioned, referring to band apply. “That is the place we get to satisfy, and that is the place we get to proceed our brotherhood and our friendships. That is the place we get to see one another.”
“If I didn’t have this,” Harris requested, “what the fuck would I’ve?”
Exterior of their households, Decepticide is the group’s most necessary undertaking.
“We do that,” Hull mentioned, “as a result of we are able to’t not do that.”
The band’s journey to metallic was nearly predestined. Hull’s first introduction to thrash was within the type of 2 CDs from a pal – Pantera’s “Cowboys From Hell,” and Slayer’s “Diabolus in Musica.”
“[Metal’s] the one style of music that provides me goosebumps,” Hull mentioned. “I can not think about my life with out it. It’s actually the one factor I hearken to.”
Harris remembers a tape being taken away on the college bus in third grade – the Offspring’s “Americana.”
“I used to be enjoying it actually loud, singing it actually loud, and it was filled with a bunch of unhealthy, naughty phrases,” Harris mentioned. “It’s been a extremely lengthy highway. I don’t know let you know how I acquired the place I’m. I can let you know that my largest influences have been the Offspring, AC/DC, CKY, the Black Dahlia Homicide.”
Montana pointed to influences like Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Sepultura, and naturally, Metallica – a touchstone for each metallic band since “Kill ‘Em All” dropped and altered the sport endlessly.
Everett remembers video video games like Guitar Hero shaping his expertise with heavy metallic as a child – one thing that lots of youthful musicians coming of age in a digital period can relate to. Pop punk like Blink-182 and the Offspring has additionally influenced the bassist’s sound,
“Rising up, my mother all the time performed Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Poison, shit like that within the automobile,” Everett mentioned. “By twelve, I used to be listening to Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Post-mortem.”
When it comes right down to the perfect of the “Large 4” of thrash metallic – Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth – Hull and Everett are firmly within the Metallica camp, whereas Montana and Harris vouch for Slayer’s supremacy.
“I can’t take something by Slayer and put it up towards ‘Battery,’ or ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls,’” Hull argued.
“[Slayer] stayed true to themselves,” Montana mentioned.
Authenticity is necessary to every band member, and one factor is instantly obvious for anybody who’s attended considered one of their reveals – Decepticide’s love of the sport. Hull, Harris, Montana, and Everett play each present with coronary heart, enthusiasm, and real respect for the bands that got here earlier than them. In each bass riff, guitar lick, drum fill, and vocal screech, you will discover a excessive schooler studying the chords to “Grasp of Puppets” between lessons – and that, no matter venue or style, is how the music scene advances and spreads from era to era.
Yow will discover Decepticide on Fb (https://www.facebook.com/decepticide) and Instagram (@decepticide). The band has tentative plans for a fifteenth anniversary present in January, and can launch extra particulars on social media as occasions are finalized.
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