It's been more than two decades since Warlock, the godfathers of Texas metal, dominated stages at places like Rascals, The Ritz and Tombstone Factory. But this year marked their return with a reunion show at Diamond Jim's Saloon in August.
Now, with a new CD in the works, the band is ready to pay Dallas a visit tonight on New Year's Eve night. All these years later, they hope to prove to people that they're not simply a band paying homage to a forgotten time of their lives, but a metal band offering new music with an old school Motörhead and Judas Priest kind of feel.
"The band was dead and gone for millions of years," vocalist Jerry Warden says, overstating the band's absence but articulating just how significant of a break it's abeen. "I think metal fans have a hard time thinking about the band in the present tense."
Clay McCarty (Toxic) and Randy Cook (Rotting Corpse) will be joining Warden and co-founder Rick Perry on stage at The Boiler Room as part of Warlock's new lineup. It will be a night to remember as fans celebrate the final countdown to 2015 with some old school favorites like "S.O.T.R.," "Iron Jaw" and "Gutter Ratz," plus a few new ones off their upcoming album Ancient Instincts.
"We're nine kinds of excited, man," Warden explains. "We're getting back to the way we used to be. We've got all kinds of creepy shit to put on stage. We were always known for that."
In the early '80s, Warlock could only be found headlining Warden's Heavy Meadows, a mini-Woodstock of heavy metal acts like Eruption, BossTweed and, of course, Pantera jamming on an old flatbed trailer in the middle of a pasture in Arlington.
It was the early days of Texas metal when the genre wasn't allowed at a majority of the local clubs because of the violence that often erupted when the metal entered your veins.
Warlock's reign was short, a footnote in the local metal scene as heavier bands such as Rigor Mortis, Gammacide and Rotting Corpse stepped into the spotlight, inspiring other local bands to shed their glam rock image.
There are several reasons for the band's early demise, but Warden mostly attributes it to being young with too much attitude. Perry and bassist Eric Roy formed Gammacide, while Warden fell into a black hole known as the Texas penitentiary for a decade; his dream of reforming Warlock, however, was never far from his mind.
Yet it was Perry, not Warden, who initiated the conversation to reform Warlock. "I told him, 'Let's do this,'" Perry says. "Even though I wasn't able to commit to touring with Warlock, I still like to play metal and write metal songs."
"I lived this metal thing my whole life, man," Warden says. "I don't know anything else."
The guys picked up Cook (drums) and McCarty (bass), spent two years rehearsing in Cook's garage and wrote a couple of new songs before playing their reunion show in August at Diamond Jim's Saloon in Arlington. "We had to play Arlington first since it's our home town, man," Warden says of that show.
A host of metal bands and more than 200 fans welcomed the godfathers' return to the scene. Primordius, London's Dungeon and Mr. Freak and the Freak Show band opened the show, playing everything from death metal to beyond definition metal.
"I've waited 27 years to play a song with you," Perry told Warden shortly past the 2 a.m. bar curfew. "I'm going to play another song."
The band debuted "Rubber Bullets" and "Devil Dance," two songs that showcase Perry's skill with the guitar and his mastery of songwriting, at their reunion show. "I try to write kind of simple," Perry says, "and it's kind of hard to come up with something simple that doesn't sound cliché. But that's what I go for."
"Rick is one of the greatest riff-meisters of all time," Warden adds. "That dude just writes catchy songs."
Perry wrote most of Warlock's first record Krush Thy Enemy, and with the help of a phenomenal powerhouse in Bruce Corbitt, Scott Shelby and Joey Gonzales, the guys produced an album that left fans wanting more.
"Each song on their debut stands out with memorable unique riffs and lyrics," wrote one fan. "Just 10 songs of pure power that bring to mind older thrash bands like Exodus, Sacred Reich and Vio-lence while still sounding like a band of today's time."
The New Year's Eve show at the Boiler Room promises to be memorable night. Local bands Aska, Gas Chamber, Eclipse an American Rock Band, and Pete and Phil Lee and The Death of Rock and Roll will be bringing in the new year with Warlock.
Perry promises that fans will see "raw pedal to the medal heavy metal music from back before it was sub-categorized into a million different sub-genres."
Doors open at 7 p.m. at the Boiler Room, and the show starts at 8 p.m. Warlock will hit the stage around 11 p.m. Tickets are a measly $10.
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