Every musical genre has its icons, the musicians who helped define the sound and create the blueprint for every band that came after. Former D.R.I. drummer Felix Griffin has long been cited as an influence by everyone from Anthrax/S.O.D.’s Charlie Benante to Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, and he’s still maintaining his position as the premier crossover drummer, only now he’s doing it as a member of Austin, Texas’s punk-metal stalwarts Blunt Force Trauma.
Though Blunt Force Trauma began a decade ago, founded by vocalist Bobby Fuentes and guitarist Slaytoven, the band became the force to be reckoned with that it is today when Griffin joined in 2007 and bassist Alex “Rager” Loughborough was enlisted a year later. This is the lineup that recorded the Hatred for the State CD, the quartet’s latest furious—in every sense of the word—musical assault for Shattered World Records. As a lyricist, Fuentes doesn’t mince words in viciously addressing his beefs with the current political climate in America on songs like “Modes of Control,” “Revolution” and the title track. “Hatred for the State is definitely a raging tirade about what's wrong with the country,” he says. “I get so fed up listening to the news every morning that I sometimes think we should just start over like 1776: list our grievances, declare independence and start executing motherfuckers for treason.”
Musically, Blunt Force Trauma are equally unflinching. Powered by Griffin’s unrelenting and precise attack, the band has evolved dramatically from its more punk-leaning roots to a full-on crossover machine. Though Hatred is the band’s third CD, it’s the first to feature Griffin and the progression is obvious. “Hatred for the State is the melding of the new and old Blunt Force Trauma,” says guitarist Slaytoven. “Felix’s presence fits perfectly. This CD is more focused and mature, both musically and lyrically, and has a lot more of the metallic edge.”
The three bonus tracks on Hatred for the State—covers of Bad Brains, D.R.I. and Minor Threat songs—provide a glimpse of the various influences on Blunt Force Trauma’s sound. Add Slayer and S.O.D. to that list and you have a more complete picture of the damage these guys are dealing. It’s not surprising then that a crossover drumming legend like Griffin—who recorded the genre-defining album Dealing With It with D.R.I. when he was still a teenager—finds himself pounding away in Blunt Force Trauma. He’s responsible for helping to create crossover and with Blunt Force Trauma he’s proudly and passionately carrying on the tradition.