Although they’re based in Ypsilanti, Michigan, the brutal hard-rock quintet Chapstik has deep SA roots. Vocalist-guitarist Leighton Mann put the original lineup together here in 1994, with Kick It! beatmaster Ernesto Olivo on drums. Even after moving to Michigan, he maintained a long-distance, free-floating version of the San Antonio band for touring purposes. Last April, Mann returned to the homeland to reunite with his original lineup for a gig with Boxcar Satan.
On April 11, Mann’s latest incarnation of Chapstik released Fire! Die in It!, a six-song slab of thick, relentless riffage carried home by the band’s trademark three-guitar army. For all of Mann’s personnel shuffling and address changing, the band has always remained San Antonio to the core: mercilessly dark and heavy, with a devotion to the sweet spot between early Black Sabbath and the Melvins. On the new EP, they hit pay dirt with the sonic assault of “Mustache.” And what other metal band would think to write a snotty mosh anthem called “Egregious Philbin”?
Chapstik is currently touring with the Meatmen, and they’ll work their way back to Texas next month for a May 27 show at Emo’s in Austin.