Blood of Cain

Metalheads pull from the past while looking to the future

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

A lot has changed in heavy metal since Zeppelin and Sabbath, and later on Priest and Maiden, began making noise. What was once considered a dangerous entity, contributing to the decay of our youth, seems tame and borderline campy by today’s standards. Even bands like Slayer and Metallica, who carried the metal torch into the ‘80s and beyond, don’t seem all that extreme these days … (OK, Slayer is still scary.)

It was a once-frightening band called KISS that led a young Frank “Swa” Bedene to pick up a guitar. He went on to form longtime Chico metal band Fallon almost two decades ago, while he was in high school. Today the members of Fallon, older and wiser, have toned down their rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and still play the occasional gig, thanks to the current resurgence of metal.

Swa has another band, and it’s an entirely different animal from Fallon. Formed in 2005 as a “see-what-happens” project, Blood of Cain came about when Swa joined forces with members of a couple of other notable metal bands. Two of them hadn’t even been born when Fallon started to wreak havoc on Chico.

Swa, who wouldn’t divulge his age (only that he’s 33 in MySpace years), is all business and serves as the band’s relentless promoter. Blood of Cain also includes 20-year-old guitarist Kirk Williams and 19-year-old bassist Corey Vaspra, both of whom held things down in the now-defunct metal three-piece Brain In A Cage, as well as guitarist Jake Costello, who’s 18 and played in Bloodwork.

The youngest member came from Swa’s loins. Ken Bedene, who’s now 17, learned the drums a couple of years ago and started playing with Fallon when he was 16. He went to his first show at the age of 6 during the first KISS reunion tour, and Swa jokes that Paul Stanley’s 1978 solo album and King Diamond’s Fatal Portrait soothed his son when he was being fussy.

The generation gap might actually be a good thing—a mix of honed work ethic and youthful energy. It carries into Blood of Cain’s live performances—always speaker-rattling affairs that don’t end until every black T-shirt is soaked.

The songs are complex, littered with tempo changes, double-kick and finger-tapping, harkening back to metal’s formative years.

With an impressive EP under its belt, the band is working on some new songs for an upcoming full-length, which likely will see the light of day some time next year.

This isn’t just a bunch of virtuosos showing off though—Blood of Cain adds plenty of loose punk-rock attitude to its air-tight riffs. As Williams points out: “The goal is to write songs we want to listen to, not just ones we want to play.”

GIVE A LISTEN TO: “Bloody Bones"—break-neck speed; demonic growls; acrobatic double kick; and lyrics that include the words “frustration” and “mutilation.”