The war ensemble
Armed For Apocalypse draws the battle lines
Armed For Apocalypse might boast one of the most impressive lineups of any of our featured artists.
“A4A,” as they are affectionately referred to, is an all-star team of sorts with members from bands that are part of Chico legend. Vocalist Scott Wallace and guitarists Matt Pedri and Cayle Hunter were once part of the formidable lineup of one of Chico’s heaviest bands, Oddman. Of course, Hunter also went on to play in Sacramento’s Will Haven and The Abominable Iron Sloth.
OK, three members down, two to go. Drummer Nick Harris bashed the skins for the incredibly popular Red With Envy, and the most unlikely member of such a heavy group of SOBs is bassist Trevor Sellers, who played in Chico bands like Isabel, Cowboy and, more recently, Number One Gun and Waking Ashland.
So it shouldn’t be shocking that the band already has labels sniffing them out, most notably Metal Blade Records, the label started almost a quarter-century ago by Brian Slagel that put out records for influential metal bands like Armored Saint and Mercyful Fate.
“We’d do it just to screw around,” Hunter said of playing music with his friends. “But we’re fortunate that people are paying attention.”
And to think it was only about three months ago that the band got together and began knocking out songs for a demo. Even the most influential metal gods couldn’t have schemed this scenario up: Number One Gun called it quits and Harris’ Red With Envy went on hiatus. It was around the same time that Hunter decided he wasn’t ready to follow Iron Sloth to its new London destination. The band started jamming in their practice spaces in Chico and Sacramento, and soon Pedri and Wallace had joined the ranks.
From the initial sessions came songs like “Triton” and “The Horror,” both of which demonstrate A4A’s knack for nasty riffs, groove and, dare I say it, hooks.
It appears as if the band has found a winning formula—taking the best elements of bands like Helmet and Pantera, with plenty of guttural growls offset with melodic passages.
“I just wanted to see if we could inject some singing vocals without it sounding cheesy,” Hunter said.
Not unlike their other bands, the members are hard at work booking shows and writing new songs, which they hope will see the light of day soon.
One of the benefits of being in a band with different personalities is that the music doesn’t get stale.
While Hunter is a self-proclaimed “riffaholic,” he says there are too many bands that are influenced only by music in their genre, something he and his bandmates avoid.
“Hopefully listening to other music will make it more interesting,” Hunter said. “If I just listened to metal, it would be an imitation.”
A4A has only played a couple of shows, including an unannounced set at Normal St. Bar and an opening slot on a recent visit from Portland’s Floater. But with the prospect of label support and being a band of consummate professionals, Armed For Apocalypse could become a household name sooner than later.
“We basically want to write a record that becomes some people’s favorite record,” Hunter said. “It’ll be good … it’ll be good for the kids.”