Upon forming in 1987 in Brooklyn, New York, Biohazard was among the pioneer bands to fuse hardcore punk and heavy metal with elements of hip-hop. Through its most successful years, 1988 to 1995, the band was comprised of guitarist/vocalist Billy Gradziadei, bassist/vocalist Evan Seinfeld, guitarist Bobby Hambel, and drummer Danny Schuler who replaced original drummer Anthony Meo in 1988 before the band’s first album. After several lineup changes, a breakup, a 2008 reunion, and a seven-year hiatus of band activity, the classic lineup of Graziadei, Seinfeld, Hambel, and Schuler reunited in 2022 and announced live performances for 2023. These would be Seinfeld’s first performances with Biohazard in 12 years.
This tour was not about promoting new product, as Biohazard’s most recent album was released in 2012. This was purely a reunion tour, celebrating the band’s formative years.
In New York City, Biohazard sold out a Friday night concert and then added an early-evening Sunday show, which was billed as a matinee. The Sunday show featured more songs, but in both cases the sets consisted entirely of songs from the band’s first three albums, plus a cover of Bad Religion’s “We’re Only Gonna Die.”
Bright white stage lights came on and Biohazard launched into a hum of strums and percussion. “New York City, are you ready?” Seinfeld growled into the microphone as the wireless front line paced, hopped and spun on stage. A minute later, the hard chords and drums double-timed into thrash mode, and Seinfeld howled two words, “Urban Discipline.” Gradziadei and Hambel approached their microphones and, employing hip hop metrics, joined in the vocals.
After the second song, “What Makes Us Tick,” the band reminded the hometown audience that the performance was being live streamed globally. They then announced to the worldwide audience that this homecoming show demonstrated the band’s roots, when in the 1980s the musicians were not on stage but in the audience for heavy rock shows. Biohazard then dedicated the show to its original drummer, Anthony Meo, who may have been watching the live stream. The band then stormed into “Down for Life.”
Was this heavy metal, hardcore, punk, or rap? It was inseparably all of the above, executed powerfully. The rest of the performance matched the intensity of the opening songs. Banger after banger, the music consistently retained a hard, fast, furious, and volatile dynamic. This was Biohazard at its best.
The 2023 concerts are only the beginning of Biohazard’s rebranding. In announcing the reunion gigs, Biohazard also announced that it will compose and record a new album, release a 35th anniversary documentary film, create a new line of merchandise, and tour the world. No longer a relic from the 20th century, Biohazard has resumed its quest for world domination, at least in hardcore music and heavy metal circles.