Steve “Zetro” Souza‘s voice is instantly recognizable. It’s a sandpapery screech that’s like a cross between Accept‘s Udo Dirkschneider and an enraged mynah bird, and it pierces through even the densest mix; when he fronts a band, you know it’s him. A native of California’s Bay Area, he’s been a part of two of the most important bands in thrash metal. At the dawn of the 1980s, he was singing for Legacy, who after his departure became Testament. He then joined Exodus in time for their second album, 1987′s Pleasures of the Flesh, and stayed with them for three more studio albums—1989′s Fabulous Disaster, 1990′s Impact is Imminent, and 1992′s Force of Habit—as well as 1991′s live Good Friendly Violent Fun. The group disbanded shortly after his departure, but when they reformed in the early 2000s, Souza came back, too, and sang on 2004′s Tempo of the Damned and 2005′s Live at the DNA 2004: Official Bootleg, before leaving once again.
Watch Exodus‘s video for “The Toxic Waltz”:
In the 1990s and 2000s, Souza devoted most of his time to building a life and career outside of music. But he’s made a few appearances on record: He sang on 2009′s Sovereign, the sole album by Tenet, a project put together by Strapping Young Lad guitarist Jed Simon, guitarist Glen Alvelais, and SYL bassist Byron Stroud and drummer Gene Hoglan. He also formed the group Dublin Death Patrol (named for his California hometown), which included his brother John Souza on bass, Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel, and Testament frontman Chuck Billy, among others. It’s only now, though, that he’s devoted his full energy to a new band: Hatriot.
Taking their name from a line in the Exodus song “The Scar-Spangled Banner,” Hatriot are a family band—in addition to guitarists Kosta Varvatakis and Miguel Esparza, the lineup includes Souza’s sons Cody on bass and Nick on drums. The music is fierce, modern metal; there are obvious links to classic thrash, but the production and songwriting make it clear that Souza and his bandmates are well-versed in multiple styles. At times, the music recalls Pantera as much as Exodus. The band’s debut album, Heroes of Origin (buy it from Amazon), is a forceful statement of purpose, with bottom-heavy, percussive riffing from Varvatakis and Esparza, and the Souza brothers serving as a tight, groove-oriented rhythm section. The solos burst forth like showers of sparks, but never lose touch with the song as a whole. Lyrically, the album runs the gamut from gore and horror (“And Your Children to Be Damned,” “Shadows of the Buried”) to a more socially and politically engaged point of view (“Weapons of Class Destruction,” “Globicidal,” “Murder American Style”)
Watch Hatriot‘s video for “Blood Stained Wings”:
After the jump, an interview with Steve “Zetro” Souza.