You don't have to wait long for the new Hirax record, but before the long-awaited LP arrives, I thought I'd ask the band's frontman, Katon W. De Pena. Now go ahead and get all the useful information from our chat!

Hail to thee Katon! "Faster Than Death" will be Hirax's sixth full-length album and is expected to be released in 2024, but before that, a 9-song rehearsal demo was released in April of this year on cassette and later on CD. Why was this necessary?
- We released the "Faster Than Death" rehearsal demo cassette tape, because it had been nine years since our last studio album "Immortal Legacy", and we felt that it was a great way for the fans to get ready for our upcoming 6th studio album FTD (Faster Than Death)... It was received very well by our diehard fans and music critics alike.
How many songs will be in total on the new album? What was it like reconnecting with Bill Metoyer and working on the album at Beach Avenue Studio? How long did it take to make the new record?
- I have been working with Bill Metoyer since 1984, so it's a very comfortable working relationship he's like a big brother and he totally understands our music and what we're trying to do... This has been the hardest Hirax record we've ever made, but totally worth it in total, it took us about one week to record it, because we were in and out of town in between playing concerts. It is the ultimate Hirax recording and the 9 songs are very creative and fast with a lot of unexpected tempo changes... When the fans hear it they will be pleasantly surprised.
The album cover is pretty rad. Who painted it? I can already see a connection between the artwork and some of the song titles, but please shed more light on the lyrical concept of "Faster Than Death".
- The album cover artwork was painted/designed in Brazil by international artist Thomas Pinheiro, at the beginning of the pandemic, he started doing art for us, so when it came time to work on the album cover concept, he was the natural choice for us! We are very pleased with the artwork... Without giving too much away about the lyrics the record is inspired by the world events of the last four years, and they perfectly fit in with the brutal music...
Your previous album "Immortal Legacy" (2014) was released by Steamhammer. So are they going to release "Faster than Death" as well, or is another label interested in the new record?
- Fortunately, for us, we have a lot of record label interest in this new Hirax album; so for different territories, such as Japan and South America, we will release it with a different record label just like we will do for Europe!! On all three formats, vinyl, cassette and CD with very high quality packaging/layouts. Our fans deserve the best...
I also noticed the difference between the recording and the actual live lineup, please comment on these changes.
- The studio lineup will be different than the live touring band just because some of the musicians can't go on the road touring for long periods of time... However, I can promise you the band will be better than ever... And very loud.
You played quite a few shows this year, which were the most memorable and why? Oh, I can't ignore that you've already been booked for an Australian tour with D.R.I. in February 2024. That's awesome! Are you planning to visit Europe soon?
- Yeah we've had a pretty busy year in 2023 and yes we will be back in Europe for summertime tour/festival dates in August 2024.
On the 2023 tour as usual Mexico and South America were incredible some of the loudest audiences ever...
By the way, what is Hirax's current setlist? How do crowds react to your live performances these days? Is it completely different from what you remember from the 80s?
- The current Hirax live, setlist is: "Baptized by Fire", "Blind Faith", "Hellion Rising", "Warlords Command", "The Plague", "Black Smoke", "Faster Than Death", "Lightning Thunder", "Hate, Fear and Power", "Hostile Territory", "Mouth Sewn Shut", "Destroy!", "Criminal Punishment", "Broken Neck", "El Diablo Negro", "Bombs of Death".
The setlist normally changes, depending on if we are headlining or a support act.
Our audience has pretty much stayed the same over the decades still very wild crazy and there's always a giant mosh pit.
Your famous first two albums, "Raging Violence" (1985) and "Hate, Fear and Power" (1986), were reissued this year by the Armageddon Label. How do you personally like these reissues? Was your former label Metal Blade Records completely uninterested in these rereleases?
- Oh, trust me, Metal Blade Records are still involved, they still support us, even though we're not on their roster we will always be a part of the Metal Blade Records family...!!! Considering we were amongst some of the first to sign with them. And I do like working with Armageddon Label they have been working diehard on both the old-school releases.........!!!
You have a huge collection of musical relics in many different formats. What are your favorite bands and albums? Please mention at least ten. The last record you bought?
- Here are 10 of my favorite bands: Thin Lizzy "Thunder and Lightning", Kiss "Creatures of the Night", Motörhead "No Remorse", Iron Maiden "Live!! + One", Riot "Fire Down Under", Tygers of Pan Tang "Spellbound", Rainbow "Rising", Yesterday & Today "Yesterday and Today", Judas Priest "Unleashed in the East", Loudness "The Law of Devil's Land".
And the last record I bought was: Thor "Keep the Dogs Away".
Thanks Katon for answering these questions. Please give your final thoughts to all Ukrainian Hirax fans.
- To all the fans in Ukraine thank you for your support and I want you to know that we support you too...!!
We Hirax have been received messages/emails from soldiers on the front line in battle. Long live the Ukraine!!!!!!

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