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Hatebeak – A Death Metal Band Whose Lead Vocalist Was a Parrot

I suppose nothing complements the loudness of heavy metal better than ear-bleeding screeches. And when those sounds come from a bird instead of a human, it’s bound to make an impression. Meet Waldo, a Congo African Grey Parrot, a heavy metal prodigy and the lead vocalist of a Baltimore-based band, ‘Hatebeak’.

The band was formed in 2004, by audio engineers Blake Harrison and Mark Sloan, who played the guitar and drums respectively. Hatebeak was a strictly studio project with unintelligible lyrics and no real melody. They never toured so as to not torture the bird. “We don’t play live,” Blake once explained. “It would be absolute torture for the bird to experience decibels at those levels. Waldo is the only vocalist for Hatebeak. He does parrot noises and also says some words.”

In the years they were active, Blake and Mark never revealed their last names on their releases in order to maintain the mystery surrounding Hatebeak. They were signed by Reptilian Records (which is now on hiatus), and most of their discography had an avian theme with titles like ‘Number of the Beak’, ‘Beak of Putrefaction’, and ‘The Thing That Should Not Beak’.

Hatebeak

According to ChrisX, chief executive officer of Reptilian Records, the band’s records sold well; lots of people were ostensibly willing to spend $5 on Hatebeak’s ‘nest-crushing’ style. “When the idea for Hatebeak hatched, I admit I was sceptical,” he said back in 2004. “But now that it has taken flight, I believe Hatebeak will soar to new heights, making Waldo the parrot as popular as all the other birdbrained pop stars out there.”

Hatebeak2

Critics seemed to love the band’s work as well, describing it as ‘furious and blasting death metal’ that’s ‘completely and stupidly brilliant’. And according to Hatebeak fan Chris Okon, the group’s sound was like ‘a jackhammer being ground in a compactor’. In other words, perfect.

Blake had revealed that the only reason for Hatebeak’s existence was the love for heavy metal, and they weren’t trying to convey any particular message. “The only goal for Hatebeak really is to raise the bar as far as extreme music goes,” he said. “Many bands have come before us and played an extreme form of music, and this was my way of taking it up a notch.”

The band split up in 2009, but not before making their second record with Caninus – a band whose lead singers are two dogs!

One of their signature singles is called ‘Bird Seeds of Vengeance’ – a video that went viral with over 400,000 views on YouTube – featuring a unique blend of hoots, honks, and growls that perfectly showcase Waldo’s vocal range.

Sources: Parrot Chronicles, The Daily Beast, SF Gate

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