by Noe Gutierrez
Formed in early 2010, In The Name Of the Dead are; Robert Wood on left handed bass, John Camacho on drums, Michael Mondragon on vocals, Chris Reyes on guitar and Luis Diaz on lead and rhythm guitar. With the introductions out of the way, we can now talk about what has led them here and how they plan to create a metal music scene where there is little to choose from.
Wood jokingly describes ITNOTD’s music as “Albanian Hip Hop with an Italian Rap flare”. After observing them in rehearsal and being a spectator at several of their shows, it is obvious that thrash and death metal are the end to the means. Their sound is melodic with a groove, very heavy and fast with a classical twist.
The two newest members are Camacho and Mondragon. Camacho has been in the band since late August 2012 after their former drummer/vocalist Devin Jay, also of the band Perishment, relocated to Portland, Oregon. Diaz had known Camacho since they were kids and it came as a shock to Diaz that he would consider performing this style of music. Mondragon has performed with the band since October 2012 after admitting that he was their biggest fan.
Diaz played guitar and drums in a late 90’s death metal band called Obscuridad. Diaz talks about his sound, “I like classical too. I’ve been told my playing style is classically based. I’ve never taken any type of classical music lessons in my life. Some of my favorite guitarists have been classically trained so I guess it shows.”
The Road Traveled
All members of ITNOTD have a significant history with metal music. Diaz concedes the visual allure to metal. “What got me into metal was the artwork. The first album that I saw was Iron Maiden’s Killers. I think it was in 7th grade. I happened to be in class with a bunch of metal heads. I was watching all these tapes being traded. I asked one guy if I could check it out. I took it home and listened to it. It just blew my mind. I went back the next day. I asked if he had any more. He gave me Slayer, Possessed, Megadeth and Metallica.” After the early 90’s grunge scene was in place Diaz became disinterested with metal in the 90’s. He then found death metal. It was more aggressive and to his liking, thereafter he was hooked. He makes no bones about passing his love for metal to his children. “I have two kids. Hopefully the cycle will continue.”
Reyes shares the same gratitude towards metal, “I’m just glad my kid doesn’t like Justin Bieber!” Reyes shares, “I’ve always liked metal, but I’ve mostly been in punk rock bands. I was never good enough to play metal. I’ve always stuck with punk rock. Just kinda had the urge to try and better my playing. Metal was where I wanted to go with it, so here I am with these guys, and we’re holding it down pretty good.”
Mondragan was raised on classical music. “I always listened to Bach and Beethoven. Our metal is angry and brutal, aggressive and melodic. It’s everything I always wanted from classical but couldn’t get.”
Camacho has a more traditional path to metal. “My dad got me into KISS. Ever since then I’ve been into rock.” Wood professes, “Headbanger’s Ball is what really got me into metal early on. Pantera, Slayer and Sepultura were my favorites. The Alice In Chains album Dirt is my favorite album. As I started playing in my late teens and into my twenties I wasn’t very good so of course punk rock was the way to go. I wanted to play faster and louder. ITNOTD had an ad on Craig’s List that said that they were looking for a bass player.”
ITNOTD recently participated in the Perpetual Productions & Promotions show Metal Nyte, which was held at the Red Barn. Metal Nyte will continue as a series of shows that features local metal music and all its genres. After the huge success of the first show, Metal Nyte will be held at different venues featuring a variety of metal artists. Wood contends, “There’s not a lot of venues around here who are willing to have metal bands play cause they think that we’re gonna cause riots and sacrifice goats. You have to have at least 400 people before a goat gets sacrificed. So we’re not pulling that in the valley yet.” Metal Nyte and local venue general managers are trying to change that. “Mostly it’s us trying to build a scene here. There are no ‘all ages’ venues so the kids who are into metal have nowhere to go.”
ITNOTD are currently working on recording, mixing and producing new music in order to release an EP or demo in the next two months. Wood, a teacher by trade, is optimistic about the band’s future, “We make between three and seven new fans every show so we figure in about 20-30 years, we’ll be bigger than the Beatles, who were bigger than Jesus.” Wood’s alter ego, the infamous booking agent for ITNOTD, Muhammad Goldstein, is consistently looking to secure gigs. By Wood’s account, Goldstein is “Jewish and Palestinian and raised Mormon”. Diaz leaves CV Weekly readers with this so eloquently put cautionary statement, “When you hear ITNOTD just get ready to have your faces melted and your ear holes fucked!”
Upcoming shows 3/30 Wheelhouse in Hemet, 4/13 Plan B Entertainment & Cocktails, 7/6 California Metal Fest in Norwalk. Gain more knowledge about ITNOTD at: Facebook and Reverbnation.