Growing up in the Bay Area music scene, I was fortunate enough to experience the birth of the thrash metal genre in the early-mid 80s. Band’s like Exodus, Forbidden, Death Angel, Vio-lence, Heathen, Testament and of course, Metallica, all have their roots in the city by the bay. Clubs like the Omni in Oakland, The Stone in San Francisco, Ruthies Inn and The Keystone in Berkley were the places to be, but even they could not contain the enormity of this new musical movement.
The Informant Magazine‘s publisher, Andy Hernandez was one of the first to realize how massive this new sound was becoming, and he put together numerous shows at larger venues to accommodate this new genre of metal. The Informant would also hold the world’s first Thrash Metal Awards in 1990 and 1991, and all of the above named bands would be involved.
At the time, I was editing The Informant, Heathen was a beast on the thrash scene, and grunge was just around the corner waiting to exterminate us all. Kragen Lum was a Heathen fan back then, now he’s the counterpoint fret master to founder Lee Altus.
A lot has changed in 20 years, but Heathen, who managed to outlive the grunge erosion, is still alive and well. Their 2010 masterpiece, the Evolution Of Chaos is a blistering reminder of just how potent Heathen is.
I recently had the opportunity to chat with Kragen for the first time. We spoke about his other projects, Prototype and Psychosis, and even his solo work on the newest Abysmal Dawn record. But the heart of our conversation revolved around the past, present and future of Heathen.