This Is Austin, Not That Great Interview: Fugitive

Power Trip's Blake Ibanez talks new Fort Worth metal venture

Fugitive (Photo by Will Mecca)

Though some members of Fort Worth crew Fugitive have played This Is Austin, Not That Great before, the 2023 gathering introduces a fresh iteration. Embodying the local fest's metal and hardcore focus, the headliners present an ideal combination of both. Next Sunday, Fugitive closes out an intense evening with Fleshrot, Ozone, Sadistic Force, and more.

"We just work together, so we all inject our own personality into the music," says founder and lead guitarist Blake Ibanez, also of Power Trip. "It always seems to work out and satisfy everybody's desire. We're all friends, which makes everyone want to work together to create the best possible sound."

Following the death of Power Trip vocalist Riley Gale, Ibanez took a hiatus from performing and releasing music. Last spring, however, he managed to string together some hardcore greats: vocalist Seth Gilmore (Skourge), guitarist Victor Gutierrez (Impalers, Criaturas), bassist Andy Messer (ANS, Stymie), and drummer Lincoln Mullins (Creeping Death).

"I feel really lucky to be able to make music with people who I have admired for a while now," says Ibanez. "We definitely have musical similarities, but we also have different musical experiences and exposure. It makes for a good sound."

Soon after formation, the band debuted 2022 EP Maniac. "Hell's Half Acre" chronicles a doomed man whose fate parallels the formerly lawless red-light district in Fort Worth. On Gilmore's barren verse ("Seasons of disaster/ Lines of victims caught/ Out in hell's half acre"), Ibanez reflects: "Seth amazes me with his lyrics. They're very concrete and real, which blends well with our instruments."

Sonically, Maniac couples crispy metal solo riffs reminiscent of Power Trip with dark, thunderous drums. "We reference particular places in our music because it brings us and listeners, since many of them are from Texas, to a specific place. Like if you're from DFW, chances are you know that Hell's Half Acre means haunted," adds Ibanez.

Fugitive plays Mohawk on Sunday, March 5.

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Fugitive, This Is Austin, Not That Great, Blake Ibanez, Power Trip, Seth Gilmore, Victor Gutierrez, Andy Messer, Lincoln Mullins, Riley Gale

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