By James Ballinger

New Orleans “sludge” metal legends Eyehategod have been through just about everything. Since the bands inception in 1988 they have endured more than most bands could handle. You name it; jail, drugs, various side-projects and other bands, member changes, even hurricane Katrina. The fact that the band continues to carry on after everything is a testament to the member’s ability to push forward. The group is the paramount of perseverance. The first time I saw them was in 1997, in a big outdoor amphitheater a couple hours from where I grew up in Indiana. They came on first, followed by the Deftones, White Zombie, and Pantera. The landmark album “Dopesick” had been out for little over a year at the time, and bands like that didn’t make it through towns like Indianapolis very often, if at all. I was around 18 at the time, and needless to say I was hooked; the pilgrimage to a record store was in order.

Now 15 years later, Eyehategod is still going strong, after several periods of ups and downs. Bassist Gary Mader attributes the bands newly reformed vigor due to the members eye opening experience in New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina. “For a lot of us, not just our band, that hurricane made us appreciate that we could go up to a practice room and jam. I don’t think anyone took it for granted, but I think everyone was more grateful, took it as a privilege to have the freedom to go jam again. After that the scene came back stronger than ever. So many good bands came out of it, some bands had broken up, members had moved away. But the people that stayed formed new bands.” After the dust settled a bit, over time things started to piece themselves back together. “I remember the first time we jammed again, at the time me and my wife were living on Jimmy Bower’s (guitar) floor. We just had a mattress on the floor, you know?  It was just me, Jimmy, and Brian Patton (guitar). That’s when we started writing again,” Mader says. “When Mike (Williams, vocals) got out of jail, we did a show at the restaurant I work at now. At the time it was just a shell of a building, we had a generator, someone bought a case of Jameson, we had the first show in New Orleans after Katrina. That charged us too; it lit the fire under our ass”. Since then things are moving forward and the band seems more focused than ever. After several tours, most recently a trip overseas and a west coast tour, They’ve recorded and released the first all new material the band has done since 2000’s “Confederacy of Ruined Lives”, excluding a handful of demos released on “Preaching the End-Time Message”. Released as a 7-inch, the one track “New Orleans is the new Vietnam” is pure Eyehategod; classic, unrelenting, and focused. Refreshing, but the “whiskey bottle smashed over your head” kinda refreshing.

As far as what’s next, the focus is all on the new record. “It’s been a long time in the making. We’ve been writing music for a solid seven years. During that time we’ve written a lot of shit. We have enough music you know, enough good music. It will be around 10 or 11 songs, a proper full-length. It won’t just be a record just to put a record out. It will be something we put our everything into.” As far as when it will properly be released, Mader says “We are in the process of narrowing down what studio we want to record in; we definitely want to do it in New Orleans. The atmosphere and the vibe in New Orleans is what we feed off of. That’ll probably happen by the end of the year, maybe January. The plan is to have it out by April, when we start touring again. All of our ducks are in a row finally. The way we look at it, there is no rush. We’re here for a long time generally speaking. In hindsight, I’m glad that we took the time to do things the way we did. The music that came out of it, we’re all happy with. There’s nothing we feel is weak, you know. Substandard.”