The Horror Never Ends for Warbeast's Bruce Corbitt

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Texas metal singer Bruce Corbitt's career has seen some wicked ups and downs over the last 30 years, from signing record deals and taking on high-profile tours to being fired unceremoniously and watching bandmates pass away in front of his eyes. It hasn't been a lifestyle fit for the faint of heart. But if there's anything useful that low-budget slasher flicks have taught us, it's that a certifiable creature of the night like Corbitt always comes back for one last slice.

So do yourself a favor and watch your throat tomorrow night, because Corbitt will be back in town again at Acadia Bar & Grill with his band Warbeast, the ferocious Dallas-area thrashers who have become a favorite of Gulf Coast metal god Philip Anselmo. The former Pantera front man signed Warbeast to his Housecore Records imprint and released their aptly titled sophomore album Destroy last year before taking them on the road with his sludge supergroup Down.

Now, Warbeast is working on a worthy follow-up to Destroy's heavy, old-school thrash attack. Tomorrow's show is the only one on the band's books until October as they prepare to hole up, bear down and grind out another thick stack of riffs.

"It's that time again to write new material," Corbitt says. "I'm always excited when it gets to be this point. It's a lot of work, but we got to get around to doing it sometime, and sometimes you need to take off some time from doing shows and everything to be able to focus. We're kind of skipping around, doing shows when we can. And in the meantime, we're writing for the next third full-length or EP or whatever the next one's going to be."

While there's always work to be done, the fact is that Corbitt had originally planned to be a hell of a lot busier than he is right now. Rigor Mortis, the legendary underground group with whom he made his name in the '80s, is releasing a new album called Slaves to the Grave next month -- their first in a very long time. Sadly, it will also be their last.

Shortly after the album was recorded, Mike Scaccia, the Rigor Mortis guitarist made immortal by his contributions to Ministry's seminal Psalm 69 album, collapsed and died of a heart attack onstage at a concert celebrating Corbitt's birthday. Rigor Mortis' big reunion died with him.

"This wasn't intended to be our final album, of course," Corbitt says, his voice softening. "We had a lot of hopes and plans for the future. We wanted to tour and go to Europe, everything. But we have to at least put this album out. There's just no way that the world shouldn't hear it. But I hope [fans] understand that there's a lot of reasons why it took so long to get it out, and obviously losing Mike was a big part of it."

By the time the remaining members of Rigor Mortis recovered from their shock and grief, they discovered that the same labels showing strong interest in releasing the new record were now unwilling to invest in a group with no plans to continue on and tour without their fallen brother. Determined to see the project through, Rigor Mortis turned to their fans for help, setting up an Indiegogo campaign to help finance the recording and release of Slaves to the Grave.

With a week to go, the band is closing in on their $20,000 goal.

"The only way we could do it is with the fans who have kept the band alive all of this time, the people who believed in this band and this album enough to make this dream become a reality," Corbitt says. "And so far, we're overwhelmed. We're on pace to be able to pull it off. That's going to be an astonishing miracle, is the way I feel, because I just didn't really know what to expect when we were going to ask for this kind of money."

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Dedicated fans were given their first taste of the new material earlier this month with the online premiere of "Flesh for Flies," the first new Rigor Mortis song in nearly 25 years. Fittingly enough for the gore-obsessed speedsters, it's a tune inspired by the wickedly whacked-out cult film Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Corbitt says paying tribute to the batshit sequel made way too much sense not to try.

"It's funny, because on the first album, we had a song that was inspired by the first Chainsaw Massacre movie, and that was 'Slow Death,'" the singer says. "It's kind of cool that we're back and we're doing one inspired by the sequel.

"As a matter of fact, I had just joined the band in '86, and my second day of practice, the movie came out that day," he continues. "We were just like, 'Fuck it, let's go!' It was just so funny. The humor of that movie, the gore and the humor mixed together, sort of became what Rigor Mortis was about on that first album."

The surviving members of Rigor Mortis will reunite as Wizards of Gore to play the record release show for Slaves to the Grave next month, headlined by Houston's own deadhorse. Then in October, Corbitt will take part in the biggest confluence of gore and metal yet this October when Warbeast and Wizards of Gore perform at the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin. The second-annual event will pair classic and obscure horror film screenings with classic and obscure bands from the global metal underground. For the state's sickest headbangers, it's a sequel that can't be missed.

"Metal and horror, man, it's the perfect combination," Corbitt says. "It did come into play big with Rigor Mortis, because that was all we liked to do, anyway. We'd put on the next horror movie and be partying while we were checking 'em out. That was easy for us to get inspiration for song ideas and lyric ideas. It's a big part of our lives."

Warbeast returns to Houston Saturday night at Acadia Bar & Grill, 3939 Cypress Creek Pkwy. Doors open at 8 p.m.


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