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Hirax is an American band from Buena Park, California. Starting in 1984 under the leadership of vocalist Katon W. De Pena, the band played in Los Angeles and San Francisco with the other new thrash metal bands of the area such as Metallica, Exodus and Slayer. The band was a clear example of the thrash/speed metal/crossover genre.

After releasing some demos, Hirax signed with Metal Blade and debuted with their first full-length, "Raging Violence" in 1985. The band was composed of Katon W. De Pena (vocals), Scott Owen (guitar), Gary Monardo (bass) and John Tabares (drums).

In 1986, John Tabares left the band and Erick Brecht (brother of D.R.I.'s vocalist Kurt Brecht) joined. After the change, they released their second album, called "Hate, Fear And Power" under pressure of the label (only having 16 minutes of length for 8 songs).

After this release, the band quit the label and independently released a demo called Blasted In Bangkok in 1987.

But with tensions and disillusions in the band, Katon decided to leave and form a new band with Gene Hoglan (former Dark Angel drummer), and Ron McGovney (former Metallica bassist). They called themselves Phantasm and released a six tracks demo in 1988 (re-issued in 2002 as a CD with the demo and live tracks). After a brief tour with Nuclear Assault, they broke up.

In 1989, after Katon left Hirax, they took Paul Baloff (former Exodus frontman) to sing in Hirax, but soon after, they disbanded too.

Katon stayed in the music scene, being involved in the underground and working at record stores. In 1997, he featured one of his old songs on a compilation demo with Spazz, the band of one of his friends. In 1998 Katon received fan mail and acclaim by fans of thrash metal which ultimately caused him to reunite the band in 2000. Hirax had gained fans because of their exciting, high-energy thrash metal, their dedication to their music, and their "trueness" to the scene.

Katon reunited the band with the original lineup of Scott Owen, Gary Monardo, and John Tabares, releasing the "El Diablo Negro" EP in 2000.

However, the lineup completely changed with the exception of Katon and Hirax released the album "Barrage of Noise" in 2001 with instrumentalists James Joseph Hubler, Justin Lent, and Nick Sellinger. This too was brief.

In 2003, Katon recruited an entirely new lineup again, and released the album "New Age of Terror" in 2004 with guitarists Dave Watson and Glenn Rogers, bassist Angelo Espino, and drummer Jorge Iacobellis. Recently, however, due to irreconcilable differences, this lineup has followed in the trend of the others.

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  • Info
  • 1984 – present (38 years)
  • Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
  • Eric Brecht (1986 – 1989)
    Gary Monardo (1984 – 2000)
    Katon W. DePena (1984 – present)
    Per Möller Jensen (2001 – 2001)
    Scott Owen (1984 – 2000)

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