For those who witnessed Bludgeon lay waste to the Asbury Park Convention Hall at Metal Meltdown III in early April, no introduction is necessary. Creating mayhem and wreaking havoc throughout the Midwest, the band (singer/rhythm guitarist Mark Duca, bassist Eric "E" Karol, drummer "Chewy", and lead guitarist Carlos Alvarez) have spent the last few years redefining the term underground metal. Bludgeon has the singular distinction of being the first band signed to Manowar's Magic Circle Music and the first project, outside of Manowar, to be produced by its legendary bassist Joey DeMaio.
It's not unheard of for an up-and-coming band to attract the attention of a new record label. It is nothing short of phenomenal, however, when the CEO of the world's heaviest label travels cross-country to witness the band perform in their home. That is exactly how DeMaio introduced Metal Blade's Brian Slagel to Bludgeon. After witnessing an unorthodox performance in their living room, Slagel immediately realized the band's immense potential and agreed to distribute its debut worldwide.
In late February 2001, Bludgeon's members, staying true to their unconventional method, tore apart their home-turning "E"'s bedroom into a control room and their living room into a sound stage-until it was no longer a home, but a state-of-the-art recording studio with all the equipment necessary for DeMaio to "capture this musical tornado."
The members of Bludgeon are four intense individuals brought together by fate, who realize that they could never recreate their unique chemistry with anyone else. DeMaio has declared "E" "a monster on the bass" (the metal equivalent of being knighted by a king). "Chewy", a former skateboarder, gave up extreme sports in favor of extreme metal. A drummer's drummer, if he was to beat people as hard as he beats his kit he would be incarcerated, serving multiple life sentences. Vocalist/guitarist Duca jokes that if he were unable to purge through his venomous lyrics, he'd explode and go postal. His precision guitar work is responsible for the band's savage rhythms. Lead guitarist Alvarez joined in 2000 after deciding that he needed something hotter than the forest fires he had been battling in Northern California.
Bludgeon is not another American group taking an ill-fated stab at Scandinavian black metal, nor are its members nefarious crucifiers, hell-bent on impaling clergymen. The band's members simply refuse to be confined to someone else's parameters; resist being locked into one style of music or one area of song writing; and are as comfortable expounding social commentary as they are delving into the darkness that is life.
These Chicago speed demons devoured extreme rock in all of its forms, and when they come to a town near you, they're going to spew it back in your face.
"We want to prove ourselves," says "Chewy". "I know that the people who come to see us will feed off of our adrenaline."
Thrash metal. Speed metal. Death metal. Black metal. Nu-metal. What's next?
You've been warned.