For I Am War, the battle begins with Outlive You All. On their debut album for Razor & Tie due out August 28, 2012, the duo of Alex Varkatzas [Atreyu] and Brandan Schieppati [Bleeding Through] fires off a furious blast of metallic hardcore punk. It's punctuated by piercing screams, razor sharp riffs, and beats that explode on impact. Given their respective pedigrees, these two are certainly no strangers to heavy music, but this is a sensory assault unlike anything they've done in the past. Outlive You All resounds as their first collective battle-cry.
I Am War was born from a pure place for Varkatzas. While in the midst of a 2011 tour with Atreyu, he sat on the bus contemplating writing music that fully embraced his hardcore roots. Simply put, it had to be brief, blunt, and brutal.
"I wanted to do something pissed-off that had no constraints or expectations," reveals Varkatzas. "I didn't want to sing. I wanted to emote by screaming. That's natural for me. I also knew I had to work with the most aggressive dude I could find. Brandan was the first person who came to mind. We grew up together, and I've seen him play a million times in various bands. I sent him an email and let the idea stew. As soon as I got off tour, we tried everything out, and it worked."
Schieppati concurs, "Everything instantly clicked. I was stoked when Alex got in touch. We wanted to keep it fast with very little 'shredding'. It hearkens back to the good ole days of angry music."
With Schieppati handling guitars, bass, and backing vocals and Varkatzas on the brunt of the screaming, I Am War entered an Orange County studio with Mick Kenney [Anaal Nathrakh] behind the board. In between both of their day jobs as personal trainers (both owning their fitness facilities as well), these two men channeled an unbridled energy onto tape. They emerged from the sessions with 15 songs that engage a raw sonic beatdown.
"It was really organic and natural," the guitarist says of the creative process. "We didn't overthink anything, and it was fun. Whatever came out of us went right to tape." Debuted online, the visceral hardcore anthem "The Poisoning" gave the world its first taste of I Am War. Roaring with thrash intensity and incisive gang vocals, it embodies a classic ethos with a modern vitriol.
At the end of the day, catharsis is the most important thing for I Am War. "Brandan and I aren't doing this to become rich assholes and travel the world," affirms Varkatzas. "We wanted to make an awesome record and release it. There's no pressure to produce a hit or conquer the charts. The only pressure is not to look like complete jackasses. That's liberating. I just hope it's an intense and enjoyable experience for listeners. It's about setting fire to everything and seeing what happens."
That's why I Am War will undoubtedly Outlive You All.