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Entry Level: Austin Lucas on His Hero Is Gone

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Entry Level is a new series where musicians re-examine the records that piqued their interests in heavy and loud music as children and young adults.

I think my real indoctrination into being a true fan of heavy music came in the spring of 1996. I remember it well because it was one of those quintessential record store moments, one where the clerk puts on a new release, and everyone in the store just stops what they’re doing and buys a copy immediately. The record in question was a 7” on Prank Records, a label that quickly became my favorite for years to come, the band, His Hero Is Gone.

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Undoubtedly to this day, still one of my favorites of all time, literally changed my idea of how broad an expanse, punk music, it’s politics and aesthetic could cover. Although I already listened to metal staples, such as Slayer, Metallica, Iron Maiden, etc… bands which were important to my formation as a young music listener, I separated those sounds into a “guilty pleasures” bracket, that didn’t quite fit inside of my fully punk aesthetic. As well, beloved bands such as Aus Rotten, Los Crudos, Filth and Hiatus, who were already on my turntable and being thrown into mix tapes, didn’t strike this particular chord.

His Hero Is Gone was somehow different, the way they weaved melodic hooks into their minute long bursts of malice. It just floored me, I hadn’t thrown myself into the fandom of a single band that way since I was in single digits, listening to the Beatles and X. And if I’m honest, it was surely the last time I would have the opportunity to do so. Before the flaws and humanity of my musical peers became fully understood, forcing me to take my heroes off of any kind of pedestal.

Regardless, that 7” kicked in serious musical doors for me, “HHIG” would only be the first heavy band of many to take hold in my heart. And I’m grateful because they were a tremendous first love, retrospectively, I’d say, as far as legacies go. The Burdette brothers and all of their musical collaborators have left one of the most unfuckwithable, throughout what is an enormous pantheon of heavy music.

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Austin Lucas is an alternative country artist from Nashville with musical roots in death metal and hardcore bands the likes of Rune and Twenty Third Chapter, as well as many others from lower Appalachia. His new album Immortal Americans is out now. Read more about Lucas and stream his music here.

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