Heavy As Texas is the brand-new, aggressive heavy metal band spawned by industry veterans Kyle Thomas (Trouble, Exhorder, Alabama Thunderpussy) and renowned guitarist Marzi Montazeri. The band just released their debut self-titled album via Crunchy Western Records (order your physical copy here) and we were fortunate enough to catch the guys at the Decibel Magazine Metal and Beer Fest in Philadelphia before Exhorder’s killer set. To say they were excited about the new band would be an understatement, read on….
Hi, guys, tell me about the new band, Heavy As Texas. Give me some background info, some bio stuff, how it formed and what you guys are up to... Marzi Montazeri: It was a band that I had, which was a three-piece that I had written a demo that I was supporting for quite a while sporadically going through musicians and whatnot, but it got to a point where I couldn’t play guitar and sing like that. Do both of them justice. I knew (lead singer) Kyle (Thomas) such a long time, I just reached out to him one time and said, “Would you like to be on my solo record?” Back in ‘09. But in 2016, we finally managed to go and play a show. Opening up for Anthrax and Death Angel without rehearsing, without sound checking, or nothing. Just got in the situation, starting in the set, and it literally was magical for me.
So, that night we talked a little bit and it was like we felt it. I went into the studio and finished it. I did guitar. Sent it to L.A. We had Manu Katche play drums and Kyle did all the vocals in New Orleans. We did it in four different places, but then we’re putting this album out. This is how we kind of came about. We were trying to get what I was doing to the next level, which was stepping aside and letting Kyle come in and do his thing.
Here’s the official music video for the high octane tune “To Keep A Promise.”
How did you guys meet? Kyle Thomas: Well, that’s a tricky question.
Montazeri: Yes, that’s a tricky question. I remember meeting Kyle a long time ago when he was in Penalty. We were introduced a couple of few times, I just don’t think he remembers me from back then. But I guess after that, I think, if I’m not mistaken, I reached out to him via email.
Thomas: Facebook land.
How long have you guys been going together as a band, if you had to put a date on it? Thomas: I guess, really, once we started talking seriously about doing the album together, we just considered it a band from that point, and the focus was getting the album completed and then once we had that, well, if we’re gonna take it on the road we got to have a lineup. So, we picked up a couple of our friends, and are both very, very qualified for the job. One of them plays drums, James Goetz. Glen Woodsong, he’s a Louisiana product that lives in Houston now, he’s a fantastic bass player. He comes from a long line of musicians as well. It’s four guys that get along really well and we’re hoping to get the opportunity to get out there and play in front of some people and show them what we can really do.
The band’s self-titled album, Heavy as Texas, dropped on April 5th, 2019, via Crunchy Western Records.
Do you guys have a tour scheduled? Thomas: Nothing like concrete yet, but we’re working toward that.
Montazeri: We’re working on doing maybe a small regional thing around the time of like the release, but then once the release is out, we’re gonna catch the vibe. But since we don’t have anything out it’s kind of hard for us to go out, you know? We’re getting ahead of the game. We’re gonna do it. So we will definitely do it.
How do you guys feel about the album? Thomas: I’m very proud of it. I fell in love with the music as soon as (Montazeri) sent it to me, and every song is a different adventure and the quality of the recordings is phenomenal. The writing and performing is off the charts in a different stratosphere, and drums are magnificent. The bass is great too. It’s a powerful segment record, but it’s clean. You can hear everything, it’s not muddy.
So, what’s in the name Heavy As Texas? Tell me about the name. Montazeri: The name, it actually came when I was doing a demo, and I had like nine songs, and I had lyrics for all of them except one. I didn’t have anything for it, but in the back of my head during this one part, I kept saying, “When you low, when your need is low, just remember where it’s heavy as Texas.” Just that kind of rolled off my tongue. It meant nothing to me. But since English isn’t even my first language, it sounded cool, so I just went with it as a song title, and then eventually the band, which was just called Marzi, and I’m not ignorant, you know, I didn’t want that... I wanted to be in a band, you know, being a part of a band. So, it just kind of morphed into Heavy As Texas.
This is the lyric video for “Blind,” the latest track to be released from Heavy As Texas.
I listened to the lyric video and I heard some Alice in Chains, a little bit of Pantera. Actually, it had a very overall ‘90s metal feel to it. Were you guys going for that sound? Thomas: I wouldn’t say we were going for anything really. Just kind of happened. I’m no classically trained vocalist. I sang chorus in high school so I incorporated a lot of those vocal harmonies together. That’s probably why it’s comparable to Alice in Chains. There are really a lot of harmonic feel to it. Even in the later years of Exhorder, we started doing a lot of harmonies, it’s something that I’ve always done. To me, it’s like every song has a different beat and some of them just need powerful vocals and lead players. That’s how it happened.
Montazeri: What unifies it is that it has the same sound. Each song is completely different and it’s magic vocally and guitar-wise. There are cool things happening in every bit of it. I personally went in there thinking about it like Randy Rhoads, having these thoughts in my head while I was playing and put myself through hell to make sure that I did something that I was going to be very happy with. I’m really hard on myself, so in the end, I put a lot of emotion into it.
Manu killed it on the drums, Chris Collier killed it on the bass... So, as a band, as the musical part of it man, I was really happy with it. I really had no clue on what or how Kyle was going to do with it. Kyle threw it to another stratosphere. It was zero ego and pure heart and emotion and we’re musicians. We served the songs as best as we could. I look forward to playing it live now and then attempting a sophomore record.
Need you be reminded of what Exhorder sounded like, here is a performance video of the band doing "Desecrator."
I know we’re on limited time, but what’s going on with Exhorder? Thomas: It’s very, very, busy, busy. We’re playing this fantastic festival here. We’re wrapping up our next album and I’m very happy on how it’s going.
Montazeri: I’m a big Exhorder fan. Vinnie and Kyle are geniuses, and this album man, you know, it just moves you in so many different ways. I feel like throwing my guitar down and jumping in the pit. I’m just happy to be just a small part of it. I’m freaking out on it and I’m telling you this just as a band member. It’s written by Kyle and Vinnie and they produced it. It’s amazing. I feel so blessed to be part of it.
We kind of touched on this on a previous question, but what are the long-term plans for Heavy As Texas? It’s not a project. It’s a permanent band? Thomas: Yes, it’s a band. Right now, the trick is making sure that the bands don’t trip over each other. And right now, I’m still working with Trouble so that means that we are going to be busy boys.
Montazeri: Me, personally, I would like to see this band do at least five albums in a decade and I think there’s enough time for us to do whatever… as Exhorder or Heavy as Texas. There’s enough time to do both of them. I’m personally not going to join any other band. I may do a solo record, but I’m not joining any other band.