HAZZERD – Evil Has No Boundaries
January 22, 2020, a month ago
Calgary thrash lords Hazzerd are primed and ready to unleash their sophomore batch of shreddin’ and face melting rippers in Delirium.
Following up their statement debut album Misleading Evil, and hot on the heels of signing with M-Theory Audio and performing alongside the likes of Hatchet, Striker, Archspire and Grim Reaper, founding member and vocalist/drummer Dylan Westendorp caught up with BraveWords for a deep-dive in Delirium, a crash course in thrash greats and much more!
BraveWords: What are your thoughts and feelings ahead of a new record? Misleading Evil was a game-changer for you guys. Is there a mix of nervousness and excitement ahead of album number two?
Dylan: “Absolutely. I feel like this record is a lot stronger than Misleading Evil was in terms of musicianship, lyrics, production, everything. But I'm nervous at the same time because I didn't expect our first record to do what it did and expect people to like it as much as they did. I honestly just expected to release it here in Calgary and a few friends would say good job. But I'm really glad that it turned out the way it did. I really feel that Delirium is going to step the game up in terms of musicianship. So excitement level is 10 out of 10 for sure. Nervousness probably 11 out of 10.
BraveWords: Coming up in Western Canada and Alberta, were you immersed in the metal culture there at all? When we think of metal in Canada we largely think of Montreal, Vancouver or Toronto, but Alberta is producing some savage metal bands these days.
Dylan: “You know, I wasn't too familiar with any of the bands coming up here in Calgary. The only band I was really familiar with when me and Brendan (Malycky, guitarist) started the band back in 2012 was a band called Striker out of Edmonton. I saw them open for Metallica back in 2012. That was really the only band I was super familiar with. As the years went on I was introduced to bands like Revenge up from Edmonton, and The Order Of Chaos. Another standout band for here in Calgary for thrash metal would probably be our friends in W.M.D. I couldn't name more than a few bands when me and Brendan first started, but as the years go by I'm amazed at the amount of talent that's coming out of Western Canada. Terrifier from Vancouver, those guys were making waves back in 2017 with Weapons Of Thrash Destruction. Ever since then everybody has kind of stepped their game up, including us. When I heard that record, I was like, no, we got to write some good shit here boys. These guys are going to do something good.
BraveWords: It’s no secret that you guys are hugely influenced by Bay Area thrash, the Big Four and the legends of thrash metal from the ‘80s. How much has that old school influence impacted your sound, particularly with Delirium?
Dylan: “The big four, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, they influenced a lot on the first E.P. that we did. We obviously took influences from Overkill, Testament, Exodus, Flotsam And Jetsam. For this newest record I think we've focused more on the Megadeth kind of aspect. We've channeled that into the new record along with newer bands, Terrifier and stuff like that. As for Bay Area thrash, that still stands strong in the way we write music and stuff. The Big Four is definitely the biggest amount of influence that we had for writing music. We want to try and keep that 1980s kind of Bay Area sound with every record that we do, but we don't want to stay stuck in the past. We want to move forward, but we want to adapt to the newer wave of thrash as well as bring back the ‘80s thrash as we feel that's when thrash was at its best.
BraveWords: I like that you said Megadeth for this record, because I really feel like Delirium is a big step up in terms of the riffs, the solos and the technicality.
Dylan: “Absolutely. That's exactly what we tried to do. We really wanted to play with the structures of the songs a lot different from Misleading Evil. Misleading Evil is more straightforward, you know, head banging, here we go, let's do this. Delirium kind of makes you think, if that makes sense, in terms of lyrics and musicianship.”
BraveWords: Take us through the album art for the last two albums, because I think that's something that's really set you guys apart in that it has a distinctive old school look.
Dylan: “The guy who did the artwork is a guy named Bouzikov. He's done art for Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust, Havok, a number of really big thrash bands. When we did the artwork for Misleading Evil, I told the boys we got to get something that when you see it on the shelves, it pops. And that's I think exactly what we did with the first record. It's definitely a throwback to the early days of thrash metal. For Delirium we tried to incorporate all the songs into the artwork itself. So the guy on his phone in the middle of all the chaos to the left of our mascot, that's a reference to our song called ‘The Decline’, where everybody's so reliant on their smartphones and stuff like that. Don't get me wrong, technology is great. But there's an overabundance or reliance on it. I feel like unfortunately some people are being dumbed down due to the fact that they have all of this at their fingertips. And then the guys in the straitjacket, that's a reference to a song called ‘Sanctuary For The Mad’. It's just about insane people in a sanitarium and stuff like that. Nothing too deep about that one. Other than that, probably the darkest depiction on the record would be the guy who is being hung to the right side of the record. And that was a reference to our song, ‘Victim Of A Desperate Mind’. That sheds light on depression and suicide and stuff like that, which I feel is a very real issue in today's society. We want people to hear those lyrics and listen to the song and be like I'm not the only one going through this shit. Maybe they can relate and see the light again.”
BraveWords: You mentioned you were kind of surprised with how Misleading Evil really took off for you guys. The band just had a great run of shows with Hatchet, and have played with Striker and all these great bands. Are you really feeling the progress at this point, especially ahead of this album?
Dylan: “I feel like in the last year or two since we released Misleading Evil, everything has jumped up. It's gone from amateur to professional. Touring with Hatchet was probably the best experience we've had as a band. Going across Canada and getting to play all those shows with those guys, they're fucking rad dudes. I really think that this next record breaks out. I hope we can go a little bigger than just Canada. We're really hoping to get down to the states and over to Europe within the next year or two so we can play to all the people who have been requesting us over there. But unfortunately, Visas and travel and all that shit is a lot of money. But I feel like within the next year or two after this record we're going to definitely be over there and we're going to be fucking rippin' people's heads off.”
BraveWords: For you personally is there a particular album that if someone says you're a metal fan, what's your defining metal album? Is there one that stands out for you in terms of favourite?
Dylan: “In my opinion, the greatest album of any genre ever made would be Rust In Peace by Megadeth. The day I heard it, and honestly I don't mean to sound cheesy, but it changed my life. To this day I haven't heard one album that even scratches the surface of that record. Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, Nick Menza, David Ellefson, it just blew my mind when I heard. Sixteen year old me putting on ‘Holy Wars...The Punishment Due’ for the first time... I was just dumbfounded. It was like a brand new type of music for me. And this is coming from a Metallica die hard. Two years prior to me hearing that record I was like fuck Mustaine, fuck Megadeth, stuff like that. But when I heard that record it really kind of flipped and I was like fuck Metallica, here's Megadeth let's do this! Rust In Peace will be number one for me.”
BraveWords: How would you like to see the next year go for you guys? Obviously, you made such significant leaps in terms of notoriety and developing your sound and fan base in between Misleading Evil and this period. In a perfect world, how would you like to see the next year go for the band?
Dylan: “I really hope that with this next record we can broaden our horizons, get a bigger fanbase, get down to the states and over to Europe. I really just want to see all the fans faces. I just want to play for them, talk to them. Playing live is one of the best feelings in the world. So definitely touring would probably be number one up there. But in terms of record growth I really would like to see it explode and I really feel that it has the potential to do so.”