Spotlight: HeKill Three
1am, Back Room
Watching HeKill Three practice is like being at ground zero in Alamogordo for one of the early nuclear bomb tests. The Austin fourpiece rattles the foundations of their rented space at South Austin's Million Dollar Sound so completely, you half expect someone from the U.S. Geological Survey to tell them to cool it.
No such luck. Drummer Chris Martin ravages his kit with unyielding savagery, guitarist Dan Collins and bassist Mel Langenberg assault their strings with near-perfect headbanger choreography, and singer Zak McMakin issues his vitriol-laden diatribes with Continental nonchalance.
The only interruption of this metal orgy comes when Collins' mom calls from Arkansas.
"Mom ... I'm at band practice," he pleads while his bandmates try (unsuccessfully) to refrain from cracking up.
Martin, McMakin, and Langenberg all spent their adolescence in Victoria, but didn't sow the seeds of HeKill Three until McMakin and Martin who didn't like each other in high school moved in together in Austin. They got kicked out of their apartment and crashed for a year in their practice room at Acme Arts, a downtown rehearsal complex where they took showers in a mop sink.
"We learned how each other played and smelled," says Martin.
"It was horrid," confirms McMakin.
Langenberg, who used to ferry Martin around Victoria in his 280Z while blaring Soundgarden, and Collins, a veteran of Austin-via-Arkansas shredders Shovelnose, came aboard in time to record One With a Bullet, HeKill's bestial full-length debut on local label CardinalZen. Thanks to last year's similarly throttling 3.0 EP, major labels have been sniffing around. They haven't quite worked up that Darkness cover yet, but they're working on it.
"You have to be willing to lay everything down," says Martin. "You have to want it really fuckin' bad."
"It's really good to know that everybody does," agrees McMakin. "It also helps to be a cock rock band stuck in a heavy metal band's body."