At some point, the idea of being a “role model” became passé, a cliché, something to be scorned. “I’m no role model,” you’d hear them laugh – the athlete, the movie star, the rapper, the rocker. But in the underground, where true self-determination and up-from-the-boot-strap work ethics still reign supreme, real role models exist. Responsibility, dedication and determination thrive, living and breathing inside Full Blown Chaos.
Case in point: Belgium’s Groezrock Festival. The hard-working East Coast band comes off the stage after a blistering set of metallic hardcore informed by equal parts Pantera and Agnostic Front in front of 9,000 people. Singer Ray Mazzola immediately runs to the merch tent, still sweaty from the show, and continues to bust ass, slinging merch and talking with each and every ..
“I sit down and this kid comes up to me, I’m talking with him, and he says, ‘I really respect that you’re out here doing this. Nobody wants to do that anymore. Everybody wants to be a rock star,’” recollects Mazzola. “And I told him: You can be the drunk rock star who wants to fuck every broad in the place, or you can be the person who takes the responsibility, who wants to share their music with people, and be the role model.
“This kid leans over to me and he goes: ‘Heavy Lies the Crown.’ It hit me with such intensity. And he goes, ‘You know there’s a lot of people out there trying to be what you are but they don’t understand how much sacrifice, patience, and endurance it takes to do what you do.’ From that, I was like, that has to be the title.”
So let it be written, so let it be done. Heavy Lies the Crown, the Ferret Music debut from Full Blown Chaos, takes the life lessons Mazzola has learned from his heroes like Freddy Madball, Roger Miret, and Max Cavalera and puts them forward into the world via the most bone-crushing metal this side of the year 2000, a sound that every bit delivers on the promise the band has shown on the road with Slipknot, Fear Factory, and Hatebreed.
It is an album full of increasing depth and new dimensions that is unrelenting in its intensity, showcasing the reinvigorated attack of the brotherly duo of Mike Facci (guitar) and Jeff Facci (drums) alongside the rhythmic pulse of Mike “Lurk” Ruehle (bass), all offset by Mazzola’s NYC-hardcore weaned and Anselmo-inspired vocal ferocity.
Crafted at Underground Sound with Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei, who pushed the band to test their limits and delve deep into their influences, Heavy Lies the Crown incorporates the best parts of thrash titans Slayer, Testament, and Metallica alongside the “basics” like Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All and Madball, with a healthy dose of the Southern groove of Crowbar, Down and Corrosion of Conformity. There’s even a little taste of death metal like Suffocation thrown in for good measure, forging one monstrous CD.
“After everybody records an album, they say it’s the best they’ve ever done, but I can honestly say this is our best record,” Mazzola enthuses. “Everything has the same level of aggression that we normally do, but we were able to add more. Everybody will be able to listen to this record.”
“The record crushes! They take heavy and make it heavier,” adds Graziadei.
A long and hard road spent touring behind underground masterpieces Wake the Demons (2004) and Within the Grasp of Titans (2006), both of which were issued by Hatebreed singer Jamey Jasta’s Stillborn imprint, has given Full Blown Chaos plenty of life experience to drive them lyrically, to say nothing of the personal losses and family tragedy (Mazzola’s mother is battling cancer) within the band that force them to persevere.
“The lyrical content, it’s one hundred percent real life,” Mazzola promises. “All the lyrics read like a story. You are being told a story about an event. That’s the feel that we wanted to get with this record. Everything we’ve been through this past year, all the hardships — that’s the type of band that we are. We’re real people.”
Real people who almost lost their lives while touring on Ozzfest in 2006. It was a couple of days in, and as the band could not afford a bus, they were traveling in an RV. In the Mojave desert, right where Hollywood decided to film “The Hills Have Eyes,” the RV blew-out and headed off a fifteen foot ravine. The trailer hitch snapped. The entire vehicle was gutted. Airborne for minutes, it was a moment of full blown, well, chaos. Thankfully everyone survived; miraculously, there was nary even a broken bone. But it left the band terribly shaken.
“It was early afternoon and we didn’t get any cops until almost nightfall. It was 114 degrees. I have the worst luck in the world. Everybody knows it! I got bit by a black widow before that, it almost killed me. If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. I’m just waiting for the next thing — a meteor strike to the face, a rattlesnake attack.
“I reflected and I was like: ‘tried to kill me, but, it didn’t happen.’ It’s just another scratch off my list. Everybody was screaming inside during the whole thing, it was bad. We had to send one of our techs home because he was so shaken up from it.
“We were laid up there at Motel 6 for five days. I just went on a walk by myself and just kind of reflected on everything. They have Joshua trees out there. There are only two places in the world to find them – California, and Jerusalem. The wind was strong and coarse. The pale night glowing down, casting shadows across the sand. The stars are so close you can touch them, almost. It was eye opening.”
And it’s all been poured into Heavy Lies the Crown for the world to share, to experience, to pour their own troubles and trauma into and take part in the community that has given back so much to Full Blown Chaos.
“I give everybody the same amount of time and respect that they are willing to give me,” Mazzola says humbly. “I’ll talk to kids at shows about their families [or] their friends who have been touched by something bad — a disease, an ailment, an accident. Trust me, I’ve been there. Keep your focus, and you will get through it.”
Like Jake and Elwood Blues, Full Blown Chaos is on a mission. And Heavy Lies the Crown is their testimony.
“I feel like we lived [through the accident] for a reason,” Mazzola concludes thoughtfully. “I’m not a Bible thumper, but I do believe in God and higher power. I’m a reverend, which weirds people out. Not a lot of people know that.” He laughs. “Basically, people might say I’m giving a sermon when we’re playing.”
CONTACT FULL BLOWN CHAOS:
LABEL: IRONCLAD RECORDS
MANAGEMENT: Ray Mazzola
BOOKING(U.S.A.): Swenson Touring Agency