Folsom’s Heat of Damage release debut record
For many hard rock and metal fans it has become easy to feel jaded about the future of the genre we so love, but there are signs everywhere that genuinely good heavy music is making a true resurgence and Northern California’s Heat of Damage is a prime example of this. The Folsom-based quartet are all in, or barely out, of high school, but their musicianship and songwriting ability defy their youthfulness. While I’m admittedly not a fan of their band name, their music is easy to embrace. It begs to be cranked.
The band is fronted by vocalist and guitarist David Haug, whose powerful vocals set the stage for the Heat of Damage’s diverse style: a sound that encompasses straight-forward rock and metal with alternative elements. There is no easy sub-genre to pinhole these guys, and that’s part of their appeal. Haug is backed by the dynamic rhythm section of bassist Jared Easter and drummer Julian Bohland, as well as fellow guitarist Nick Lassalette.
Heat of Damage self-produced and recorded its debut EP, Orenda in 2013. Their second EP, Lifestyle, would follow in 2014 to local critical success. This October, the band unleashed its full length album, Open Fire, which was produced by Matt Thomas. The first video from the record is for the riff-heavy onslaught, “Judgment Day”, which was filmed at Sacramento’s Ace of Spades.
Offers Haug of “Judgment Day”:
“’Judgment Day’ was written to be a powerful ‘F*ck You’ song, plain and simple. The lyrics are written from the perspective of someone who has been wronged, whose response is to be the better person. My contributions to the writing process come from my own experiences of essentially the exact same thing; being wronged and priding myself on being a better person than those who would treat me poorly. The musicality aspect of the song is very heavy, like 80’s era heavy metal sounding (interestingly enough, we called the riff ‘80’s metal’ before the song became Judgment Day). The harmonized guitar solo was thrown in because I am very influenced by the guitar stylings of Iron Maiden, and love the way harmonized guitar sounds.”
Lassalette gives his input on “Judgment Day”:
“The song started out as just a simple guitar riff that I came up with. As soon as I played it at a rehearsal one day, Julian started pounding away on his drums and the sound of the song started to take form. From the beginning I knew this song was going to be something special, and I was not wrong. We decided to make it the first official single from the album because it strongly represents exactly what Heat of Damage is, and what this album will sound like as a whole. Personally, I think it’s the best song we have ever written.”
As rifftastic, melodic, and traditional as “Judgment Day” is, it is only one example of the band’s blend of styles and probably the least indicative of their overall sound. There is no easy sub-genre to pinhole Heat of Damage, and that’s part of their appeal. Songs like “Watch You Burn” and “Heaven”, which features guest vocals by Katie Robinette of A Mile Till Dawn, are very much modern feeling tracks, while “Accessory” has some punk moments to it.
“Fade Away” is a moody and emotive rolling acoustic-based number, while “Little Miss Hill” kicks out a funky Southern attitude. “The Greeding Party” is another standout out track that’s heavy and aggressive, with some 80’s thrashiness, gang vocals and a tight groove.
In just a few short years, Heat of Damage has shown amazing growth and polish while still retaining their enthusiasm and sense of fun. Their sound is compelling and the future is bright for this NorCal quartet. If you’re in the Sacramento or Bay Area you should catch a show, and in the meantime check out their music at: