30 Years Into an Intense Career, All Out War Still Love Playing Heavy Shows (Interview)
The Hudson Valley in the early ‘90s was something else, as All Out War vocalist Mike Score recounts. While there were bands, some of the shows were few and far between, with a barbaric and committed number of showgoers to support them on any given night. All Out War have endured against the changes in extreme music and the persistence of time long enough to be celebrating 30 years as a band, and they have a new album out last month called Celestial Rot.
In the interview below, Score goes on to talk about extinct venues of years’ past as well as great early lineups that they participated in with a healthy audience size to boot. He makes it very clear that the band wanted to combine metal and hardcore and let the chips fall where they may. We talked about their upcoming appearance at Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Philadelphia, a special brew they collaborated on, their magazine cover experience, and what a dream lineup would look like for the band, both past and present. Read on below for more from All Out War.
What is it like to have been around for 30 years?
It’s been a wild ride; that’s for sure. We weathered many storms and have managed to keep going. We’ve been both lucky and unlucky on many fronts. I guess we are fortunate to still be able to do something we are all so passionate about. We are a band that time just can’t seem to kill.
What are some of the earliest gigs you remember playing? How many people were there?
The earliest gigs were in late 91 and early 92. They were very well attended due to the fact that the Hudson Valley in New York had a good scene, and the members of AOW all came from popular local bands, but shows were few and far between, so there was a strong thirst to see bands. We came around at the right time.
What were some of the best venues, still existing or not?
None of the early Hudson Valley venues still exist, but the best was the Newburgh Skate Park, otherwise known as the Avalon. We played there early on with bands like Biohazard, Sick of it All, Type O Negative, as well as others. Those shows were insane. Outside of the Hudson Valley, obviously CBGB was always great to play. The Continental and Coney Island High were also awesome spots. One of my all-time favorites was the Rat in Boston.
What was the NYCHC scene like in the early 90s from your perspective?
Very intense and a bit dangerous. It was uncontrolled chaos filled with eclectic characters who were very passionate about their scene.
What was the band's initial purpose?
Mix metal and hardcore, and play some shows. There was never a set purpose. It was never something we talked about. We were kids who loved extreme music. It was what we did; we lived and breathed this stuff. It was all we did, whether playing shows, going to shows, going to record stores… this was it.
What have the last few years leading up to Celestial Rot been like for the band?
Very creative. We’ve spent the last few years exploring different influences and embracing a darker vision for the band. It has been a very exciting time for us, and we are looking to expand on our sound even further on our next release. The last few years has been a reawakening in the love of discovering new influences.
What would be a dream lineup of contemporaries to play with in 2023 and beyond?
Spectral Wound, Black Anvil, Wake, and Caustic Wound would be a fun bill to play. There are so many bands I’m enjoying right now. Those are just a few.
As far as some bands from back in the day, I would love to see another Crisis, Disassociate, Starkweather, Candiria, AOW show happen again. Afzaal from Crisis and Ralphy from Disassociate always put on phenomenal shows of different-sounding, but like-minded,bands.
What inspired Celestial Rot in particular?
A desire to push the music farther into the extreme. We wanted to be heavier and much more brutal on this release.
What was it like to be on the cover of Decibel Magazine?
It was an honor. Decibel has been very supportive of All Out War over the years, and we really appreciate everything they have done for us.
What about Metal and Beer Fest, anything unique happening for you there? Looking forward to any band in particular?
We are very excited for the fest. We partnered with Bone Up Brewing in Boston to create an All Out War beer called Caustic Abomination. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a beer made for us, so this is very cool.
The show itself is going to be amazing. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Gorguts on Friday. As far as our day goes, Incantation and Eyehategod have been longtime favorites of mine, and I’m also psyched to see Escuela Grind. On top of that, Suicidal playing the first record in full is going to be incredible. I’m looking forward to the whole fest.
Anything you would like to close with?
Thank you for the interview. I very much appreciate the interest in the band.
Get the album here.