A lot of new metal bands these days refer to themselves as “metalcore” or “deathcore.”
Erik Hernandez, guitarist for Section 5150, is very clear; his band is not one of these “core” bands, which typically play a melding of extreme metal and hardcore punk, and is full of breakdowns.“Our music doesn’t really have any breakdowns. It’s very straight-forward metal,” Hernandez says.
“[Lately] anytime a metal band gets booked for shows the whole show will be mostly ‘core’ bands, and one metal band. A lot of the ‘core’ stuff is very cookie-cutter. We wanted to really make sure we weren’t associated in that circle ‘cause we love old-school metal.”
By old-school metal, Hernandez refers, of course, to the “big four” (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax), as well as bands like Pantera, Death Angel and Testament. Section 5150 pulls from the tradition of these early thrash bands with fast riffs, double bass rolls, shredding guitars and guttural vocals, but they also mix a fair amount of clean, melodic singing into the music. In fact, on their new EP Steel Backbone they focused heavily on bringing out more clean vocal parts than ever before.
The songs are as angry as one might expect from a thrash-influenced metal band. They sing about the frustration of working dead-end jobs and putting up with other people’s crap, instead of some of the more over-the-top topics common in metal.
“We’re not going to be singing about dragons or anything like that,” Hernandez says. “Dio did. We’re big Dio fans, but we try to keep the lyrics as down-to-earth as possible.”
INFO: Section 5150 will perform at 9 p.m., Friday, June 20. The Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, $7. 423-7117