If the last several months have been any indication, the heavy metal scene in North Texas is alive and thriving in a way that hasn’t been seen since the turn of the millennium. There are more bands signed to record labels than ever, and local musicians such Stefan Gonzales and Bryce Butler are getting called to fill in and join their favorite metal bands. Add Stephen Mashburn to that list.
“The first time I go out of the country, I am going to be a part of a world tour,” says Mashburn, frontman of the band I Am Destruction. He is filling in on vocals for UK deathcore band Ingested on its upcoming tour.
“Ingested is one of my favorite bands of that subgenre of death metal, so it is almost like living a childhood dream because I appreciate their music so much,” he says. “I am just really excited because I am going to put my all into being their frontman.”
Mashburn, 30, says the band was initially interested in a more well-known vocalist, but things didn’t work out, and he was offered the gig instead.
“They had another guy that they were waiting on," Mashburn says. "He is a little bit more known singer than I am, but he couldn’t do it, so they told me to get my passport and, boom, the rest is history.”
Leading a heavy metal band has always been on the Lancaster native’s mind.
“I’ve been doing vocals and live music for 16 years now,” he says, referencing the numerous bands, such as Blood Stain Carpet, Burning Vengeance and Dead Rising, he has performed with over the years.
“Listening to death metal and all that kind of stuff has always been my bag,” Mashburn says, “so it only makes sense that I would pursue it. Music was the only thing I ever wanted to do with my life when I was younger. My parents made me go to college for something other than music and told me I needed a backup plan, etc., but I always just wanted to be a musician.”
He started I Am Destruction as a solo project in 2013 before adding prominent musicians from local acts Dead Rising and Psychiatric Regurgitation to form a live band. Its latest EP, Violence Devours, was released Friday, and a music video for the title track premiered via Metal Injection to widespread acclaim.
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Mashburn credits the relationships he built with Ingested’s record label, Unique Leader Records, as well as his relationship with the former owner of Tomcats West, Rustin Luther, who died in 2016 of brain cancer.
“He let me book my first show [at Tomcats], which was also my first introduction to [Unique Leader A&R and publicist] Daniel DeFonce and just helped pumped us up and believed in us.”
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When Ingested’s vocalist had to bow out of his band’s international dates, Mashburn says, DeFonce called him to see if the vocalist knew anyone available to fill in last minute. “And, of course, I was like, me!” he says, laughing.
Mashburn will join Ingested for 29 dates, beginning April 19 in Queretaro, Mexico, before touring the U.S. and entering Canada. He’ll head back to this side of the border to wrap things up May 24 in Philadelphia.
While there is no Texas date, Mashburn encourages everyone to head to Ingested’s gig in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is a common touring spot for bands that do not enter North Texas.
“Anybody from the DFW area that is my friend, or likes me or likes Ingested should come out, and let’s sell the Tulsa show out on April 27," he says. "Things are going to get crazy.”