Hirax is an American thrash metal band from Cypress, California. Starting in 1984 under the leadership of vocalist Katon W. De Pena (the band's only original member of the current line-up), the band played in Los Angeles and San Francisco with the other new thrash metal bands of the area such as Metallica, Exodus, and Slayer. The band was an early example of thrash metal, speed metal and crossover thrash.
After releasing some demos, Hirax signed with Metal Blade and debuted with their first full-length, Raging Violence in 1985. The band was composed of Katon W. De Pena (vocals), Scott Owen (guitar), Gary Monardo (bass) and John Tabares (drums).
In 1986, John Tabares left the band and Eric Brecht (brother of D.R.I.'s vocalist Kurt Brecht) joined. After the change, they released their second album, called Hate, Fear and Power under pressure of the label (only having 16 minutes of length for 8 songs). After this release, the band quit the label and independently released a demo called Blasted In Bangkok in 1987.
But with tensions and disillusions in the band, De Pena decided to leave and form a new band with Gene Hoglan (former Dark Angel drummer), and Ron McGovney (former Metallica bassist). They called themselves Phantasm and released a six tracks demo in 1988 (re-issued in 2002 as a CD with the demo and live tracks). After a brief tour with Nuclear Assault, they broke up. In 1989, after De Pena left, the replacement was Paul Baloff (former Exodus frontman). But soon after the band broke up.
De Pena stayed involved in the regional underground music scene and took a job working at a local music store. In 1997, he featured one of his old songs on a split 7" with Spazz, the band of one of his friends. By 1998 De Pena had received enough fan mail and interest which encouraged him to reunite Hirax in 2000. De Pena reunited the band with the original lineup of Scott Owen, Gary Monardo, and John Tabares, releasing the El Diablo Negro EP in 2000. In 2002, the band played in Abrasive Rock Fest. In 2003, the band played in Bang Your Head Festival, in Germany. The lineup completely changed, and Hirax released the album Barrage of Noise in 2001 with James Joseph Hubler, Justin Lent (Clusterfux), and Nick Sellinger. This line-up was brief as well.
In 2003, De Pena recruited an entirely new lineup again, and released the album The New Age of Terror in 2004 with guitarists Dave Watson and Glenn Rogers (Deliverance former), bassist Angelo Espino, and drummer Jorge Iacobellis. That line-up, due to irreconcilable differences, followed in the trend of the other line-ups and broke up. The band released their fourth studio album El Rostro de la Muerte in the spring of 2009. On July 20, 2013 Hirax performed at the International Festival Convivencia Rock 2013 that took place in Pereira, Risaralda. 36 bands played in the 3 days festival and 10.000 people gathered each day of the event. On February 24, 2014, the band released their newest album titled Immortal Legacy, courtesy of Steamhammer Records.
March 2015 will see the band play in the UK for the first time in their history, beginning with an appearance at Hammerfest in Gwynedd, Wales.
Katon W. De Pena (Bobby Johnson) - vocals (1984-1988, 2000-present),
Steve Harrison - bass (2005-present),
Lance Harrison - guitar (2006-present),
Mike Vega - drums (2014-present),
Scott Owen - guitar (1984-1989, 2000),
Gary Monardo - bass (1984-1989, 2000),
Brian Keith - drums (1984),
John Tabares - drums (1984-1989, 2000),
Bob Savage - guitar (1984),
Eric Brecht - drums (1986),
Paul Baloff - vocals (1989),
James Joseph Hubler - guitar (2001),
Justin Lent - guitar, bass guitar (2001),
Shaun Ross - bass (2001),
Dan Bellinger - drums (2001),
Mike Brickman - bass (2001-2003),
Dave Watson - lead guitar (2004-2005),
Angelo Espino - bass (2004-2005),
Fabricio Ravelli - drums (2005-2008),
Glenn Rogers - guitar (2003-2005, 2006-2007, 2008-2010),
Mike Guerrero - lead guitar (2011-2013),
Jorge Iacobellis - drums (2004-2005, 2008-2013)