Bringing Down the Hammer: One on One with Angel Cotte of Demolition Hammer
Written by Matt Drummond
It had been a long time since thrash legends, Demolition Hammer, pulverized an audience. When I say a long time I’m talking over 20 years, but regardless of that time off, Steve Reynolds, James Reilly, Derek Sykes, and Angel Cotte have mangled audiences with their “Epidemic of Violence.”
Catching them live in Chicago on September 24th I can tell you first-hand that these frenzied thrashers sound like they never stopped. Not only has Demolition Hammer realigned themselves musically they proved to be extremely approachable and available for fans new and old. Prior to their savage set in Chicago all members of the band could be found talking with fans out front rather than hiding backstage. Having an interview in place with drummer, Angel Cotte, I also had the opportunity to meet everyone in the band. What I can tell you about this band is these guys bleed thrash metal and couldn’t be nicer.
When Danny Nelson of Malignancy initially approached Angel Cotte, he asked if he’d be able to “help out” playing drums for a band. Cotte being the kind of drummer who always welcomes new opportunities, he blindly said yes. What Cotte didn’t realize at the time is the band Nelson was referring to was thrash legends Demolition Hammer. How do you react when you’re asked to join a band you love? Well, I asked Cotte that very question and he put it ever so eloquently:
“I shit myself!” Being a longtime fan of the band, Cotte told me, “If I wasn’t the guy playing in the band, I’d be the guy buying the ticket.”
One thing that really stood out to me while talking with Cotte is how thankful he is, and how much pride he takes in being able to play drums with Demolition Hammer. When I asked him what the craziest thing was that has happened on tour, he said, “nothing crazy, it’s just a dream come true.” When asked how much pride he takes in helping to continue a thrash legacy, he very genuinely told me, “I’m simply honored.” I can’t speak for everyone, but Angel exudes respect for where he is today and that’s one of the most impressive things about this guy. He never once acted like he deserved anything. Instead, he reiterated time and time again that there are no words to describe how truly honored he is. He also gave overwhelming praise to original drummer, Vinny Daze, never once mentioning how amazing of a drummer he is himself.
I was curious what it meant to Cotte to be a metal fan and band member, and once again his true metal shined.
“It means being part of a family, its unity amongst all of us. It helps me get through rough times.”
Watching him play, Cotte certifies that answer with a detonation of madness on his kit. Even though he may not tell you, Cotte’s the real deal, a true giant on the drums. I asked him what his favorite Demolition Hammer songs were and he told me ‘.44,’ ‘Crippling Velocity,’ and ‘Skull Fracturing Nightmare,’ are at the top of his list.
Prying into the future of Demolition Hammer I asked Angel if there was any new material the band was working on?
“It’s talked about”, he told me. “Every day it starts to lean more towards yes, James Reilly definitely has stuff brewing.”
With that being said, I don’t want to give anyone the impression that a new record is in the works. Cotte stressed that although it’s something that can change at any time, there are no plans to record a new album. Having witnessed this recent show I ask all of you to keep your fingers crossed. Demolition Hammer definitely still has gas in their tank and a new album is just the havoc thrash metal needs.
I’d like to end with one last quote from Cotte. When I asked him what he wanted people to know about Demolition Hammer, his answer was direct, and to the point. “We’re gonna kick your ass!”
Special thanks to Steve Reynolds, James Reilly, Derek Sykes, Angel Cotte, Markus Johansson, and Susie Fischer. Thank you guys!