After releasing some demos, Hirax signed with Metal Blade and debuted with their first full-length, Raging Violence, in 1985. The band was composed of Katon W. De Pena (vocals), Scott Owen (guitar), Gary Monardo (bass) and John Tabares (drums).
In 1986, John Tabares left the band and Eric Brecht (brother of D.R.I.‘s vocalist Kurt Brecht) joined. After the change, they released their second album, Hate, Fear and Power, which was only 16 minutes and eight songs in length. After this release, the band quit the label and independently released a demo called Blasted In Bangkok in 1987.
But with tensions and disillusions in the band, De Pena decided to leave and form a new band with Gene Hoglan (former Dark Angel drummer), and Ron McGovney (former Metallica bassist). They called themselves Phantasm and released a six-track demo in 1988 (re-issued in 2002 as a CD with the demo and live tracks). After a brief tour with Nuclear Assault, they broke up. In 1989, after De Pena left, the replacement was Paul Baloff (former Exodus frontman). But soon after the band broke up.
De Pena stayed involved in the regional underground music scene and took a job working at a local music store. In 1997, he featured one of his old songs on a split 7″ with Spazz, the band of one of his friends. By 1998, De Pena had received enough fan mail and interest which encouraged him to reunite Hirax in 2000. De Pena reunited the band with the original lineup of Scott Owen, Gary Monardo, and John Tabares, releasing the El Diablo Negro EP in 2000. In 2002, the band played in Abrasive Rock Fest. In 2003, the band played in Bang Your Head Festival, in Germany. The lineup completely changed, and Hirax released the album Barrage of Noise in 2001 with James Joseph Hubler, Justin Lent (Clusterfux), and Nick Sellinger. This lineup was brief as well.
In 2003, De Pena recruited an entirely new lineup again, and released the album The New Age of Terror in 2004 with guitarists Dave Watson and Glenn Rogers (formerly of Deliverance), bassist Angelo Espino, and drummer Jorge Iacobellis. The lineup was also short-lived due to irreconcilable differences.
The band released their fourth studio album, El Rostro de la Muerte, in the spring of 2009. On July 20, 2013, Hirax performed at the International Festival Convivencia Rock 2013 that took place in Pereira, Colombia. Thirty-six bands played in the three-day festival and 10,000 people gathered each day of the event.
March 2015 saw the band play in the UK for the first time in their history, beginning with an appearance at Hammerfest in Gwynedd, Wales. Hirax still performs regularly to this day, and as of 2021, they have been working on a new album.
Mercury Circle:Proggressive Doom Metal from Finland.
Born as a brainchild in 2018 by ICONCRASH’s and SWALLOW THE SUN’s Jaani Peuhu, and featuring members of CHILDREN OF BODOM, SLEEP OF MONSTERS & more, MERCURY CIRCLE create a diverse blend of dark rock infused with electrifying synth wave and slow, epic doom. On their upcoming full-length album, MERCURY CIRCLE unleash ten enthralling tracks, which differ wildly in expression and sonic aesthetics. “Killing Moons” is a deeply powerful and majestic piece of music – truly representing a genre of its own – and one that will take the listener on an all-absorbing trip into yet unimaginable spheres.
MERCURY CIRCLE are: Jaani Peuhu – Vocals, Guitars, Synths (Iconcrash, Swallow the Sun, Hallatar) Jussi Hämäläinen – Guitars, Synths, Backing vocals (Hanging Garden, The Chant) Juppe Sutela – Guitars (To/Die/For) Ande Kiiski – Bass (Sleep of Monsters, Rytmihäiriö) Jaska Raatikainen – Drums (Children of Bodom)