Interview: Steel Bearing Hand On ‘Slay In Hell’ and the Spirit of Texas Metal

Photo Credit: Adam Cedillo

Texas metal guild Steel Bearing Hand has been operating well below the surface for a little over a decade now, and one thing they do not do is limit themselves whilst forging their metal creations. One of the most glaring achievements of Steel Bearing Hand’s sound is how the band seamlessly melds together speed, death, doom, punk, and even some blackened impulses as well. The band’s latest full-length endeavor Slay In Hell, out now via Carbonized Records, is an exhilarating amalgamation of the aforementioned styles, and embodies all things heavy metal. 

However, to vocalist and guitarist Wyatt Burton, this writing style mostly comes natural. 
“This was our approach from the very beginning of the band,” Burton says. “SBH was formed in dedication to metal itself, so there isn’t a whole lot that’s considered off the table. We like a wide variety of bands under the umbrella of metal and, to an extent, punk, so we just play what we like, and it winds up being several seemingly disparate styles combined. I think people get hung up on genre identity now; we just think of ourselves as a metal band.” 

The songwriting and musical elements that make up the gargantuan Slay In Hell reek of old-school praise, professionally executed at that.  
“The music that inspires me to create has always been the cream of the crop, classic metal bands, who have pioneered the various sub-genres,” Burton explains. “That’s all that exists to me, really. There’s nothing new under the sun and we’re all just building on what came before us.” 

For Burton, bands like Motörhead, Black Sabbath, and Celtic Frost are “definitely important in terms of the inspiration to create in general.” In fact, the name of the band itself is a phrase taken from the song “The Usurper,” by Celtic Frost.  
“Celtic Frost is a huge influence on the band, especially in terms of lyrics and artistic mindset.” Burton proclaims. “We’re at war with the blasphemers and heretics who corrupt the sanctity of Metal, we are (one of) the hand(s) that wields the steel.” 

As far as the journey of Steel Bearing Hand is concerned, Burton has been at the core for its entire duration. To him, the project “represents an incalculable amount of blood, sweat, and tears.”  
“It’s consumed my every thought and been my primary motivation for well over a decade now,” he says. “Recently it’s ceased to be my sole concern, and I’ve included other endeavors, but it’s still something I think about practically every day.” 

“The band is tighter than it was on the band’s self-release, or ever before for that matter,” Burton adds. “Thanks to the titanic contributions of bassist Chris Bonner [Frozen Soul] and drummer Anthony Vallejo [From Beyond].” 

Steel Bearing Hand represents one of the many skilled, newer generation Texas-born metal acts. Burton praises both the hometown heroes that came before him and the ones that currently fight alongside SBH in battle.  
“The spirit of Texas metal could be described in the image of a warrior with a dagger in their teeth, leaning over a grindstone, sharpening an axe,” says Burton. “We have a mighty tradition, from Boss Tweed, Rigor Mortis, Morbid Scream, Solitude Aeturnus, Divine Eve, Absu, Imprecation, and Blaspherian, to War Master, Aggravator, Oath of Cruelty, Maiestas, Black Jackal, XIL, Cemetarian. There are many mighty warriors that make up the parts of our tribe.” 

Steel Bearing Hand was put on indefinite hiatus right before the pandemic hit. On top of that, Slay In Hell was completed before the pandemic, as well.  
“We were primed for a long period of inactivity anyway,” Burton says. “We had to wait for Carbonized to put out releases they had previously agreed to before Slay in Hell, so we just had to wait our turn, so to speak. We couldn’t be happier with the way they [Carbonized] handled every single aspect of the release. They’ve gone above and beyond for us, and we’re eternally grateful for their staunch support.” 

Check out Slay In Hell below, and pick up a copy on CD, cassette, or vinyl here.

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