“Fun, brutal… and intense! Throw that into a grinder and that’s us!” So exclaims Ryan Donato, drummer of the fast rising thrash metal band Condition Critical. Ryan is joined in the group by Alonso Maguiño on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Dreher on bass, and Sam Agnew on guitar.
“I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for musicians interested in forming a thrash metal band,” Ryan says. “Alonso answered the ad and Condition Critical was born. Then I recruited Mike from Strychnia, and we had met Sam at a Nuclear Assault show. We were tired of what was going on in the metal scene and felt that metal fans needed a dose of true thrash metal.”
The group has garnered gigs opening for Whiplash, Morbid Saint, Obituary, and D.R.I., among others, and even filmed the opening for an indie film titled Creel Road Creeper.
The sound the band has developed, which as Ryan described is totally “in your face” and direct, also manages to keep a modicum of fun in the mix, something many of the newer thrash metal bands lack. “We all have a part in the writing process,” explains Ryan. “Alonso, Mike, and Sam will come to me with songs and riffs and then I’ll figure out the structure of the song and how some of the parts should be executed in the mix. Then we bring it all together and just create what you hear as Condition Critical.”
The group takes some of its cue from classic bands of the genre, which they cite as influences, among them Slayer, Kreator, Exodus, Testament and Demolition Hammer. As this is written, Condition Critical are actually heading to St. Petersburg, Florida, recording with producer/engineer Brian Elliott at Mana Recording Studios, which is owned by Erik Rutan, the frontman from Hate Eternal. “We can’t wait to get down there and start making this album a reality,” exclaims Ryan. “It’s gonna be killer! Lots of great things are happening at Mana; the latest Cannibal Corpse release, Torture. Belphegor are in the studio there now. Goatwhore, Madball, Agnostic Front; all great bands that have recorded there, and now it’s Condition Critical’s turn to be added to that list. It’s going to be a fucking killer record!”
One of the new songs they will be tracking at the legendary studio is one that has become a crowd favorite at live shows. “We have been getting a lot of excellent feedback about ‘Shock Therapy,’ which is one of our newer songs that will be featured on our debut album,” Ryan relates. “But as far as the demo goes, we have been getting great reviews on all of the tracks from fans and media alike. As for a favorite of ours, it’s hard to choose, but I think we would all agree that any new material at this time is always our favorite to play.”
The name of the band actually derives from a huge selling album, although not exactly from a thrash band. “A lot of our fans probably think that our name is derived from the Quiot Riot album Condition Critical,” laughs Ryan. “Well, they’re not too far off. I was looking up the Quiot Riot album with the song ‘Metal Health’ on it, when I saw the cover with the singer on a hospital bed with the flatline font bearing the name ‘Condition Critical.’ I liked the concept and I said, ‘There it is, that’s the name of the band.’”
As for the future, Ryan indicates it’s just a matter of trying to spread the word to fans and those who appreciate the genre. “Our goals musically as a band are simply to provide the best thrash metal we can for the fans that really live for the music, the way we do, and to make the scene and fans our home and extended family. As far as professional goals, we would like to make a name for ourselves in the metal community, spreading the word about the music we believe in and live by; so that everyone knows what we’re all about, and hey, if we can make careers doing what we love, that would be a dream come true for all of us.”
You can find out more about Condition Critical, and well as the new album and upcoming tour dates in support of the release, at facebook.com/conditioncritical, and reverbnation.com/conditioncriticalnj.