They moved freely through the Seattle music scene for years – picking up the licks, the influences, the emotion, and the energy along the way which makes the sound so special. Quietly they formed from the ashes of bands that moved throughout the region and, as they struck a chord, they knew instantly they had a sound and drive that was sharp enough to drive itself into a wall.
The attack has started, and Hellbot is on point!
Hellbot consists of Triston Bracht on vocals, Mark Huber on guitars, Bobby Steenrod on bass, and Jake Jovanovich on drums. Their style blends the speed of contemporary rock with the proven impact of the bands of the past. The elements of old and new synchronize to create a fast classic sound that extends its energy to an enthusiastic crowd.
Mark shared some background with NeHi Stripes on how the onslaught began:
“I started playing drums when I was 11 and always wanted to play like John Bonham – but I picked up an electric guitar when I was 14 and never put it down. Playing guitar has always just felt incredible to me and I can’t get enough. When I was 16, my mom posted a video of me playing with my highschool band Playing With Fire on facebook – still on drums – and Jake saw that. He invited me to come down and jam with Bobby and him at the Van Eps’ rehearsal spot back then, and I jammed with the guys a few times before I went off to college in Colorado. In college I kept working at my playing, playing with a fun bar band called Beerfinger for a few years. When the opportunity came to come back to Seattle, I didn’t hesitate to come back. Right after college it wasn’t certain that I’d be able to stay due to the nature of my job at the time, so I spent my time working on a duo project and released a full album with a friend of mine from college singing on it. The album is called “The Rise of the Phoenix” under the group name “The RLN”. It was recorded entirely at home and produced entirely by me, other than the mastering. Shortly after I put that album out, I learned I’d be staying in Seattle, and Van Eps went on hiatus. In August of 2018 Jake called me up to ask if I wanted to jam with him and Bobby again so they could keep their chops up. It turned into a weekly jam session and we wrote a few tunes together… a few weeks in, Jake said ‘see you guys at band practice next week!’ and I realized we’d started a new group.
And you’ve heard the results.”
We got a chance to attend Hellbot’s show at Club Sur on July 23rd. It was clear from the get-go they were in command! Triston is a natural front man, blessed with the strong gritty voice held in high regard by fans of his legendary vocalist father Travis Bracht.
Triston’s on stage presence was the exact method needed to relay the message and power of the band’s music. He twisted. He spun. He dropped to the floor and called out with his rock battle cry. And with each few minutes another female fan made it closer to the stage!
Mark used his guitar to take the classic sound of rock and add a distinctive groove that pulled from the southern fried sounds of Skynard and high flying solos from the 70s and 80s. He never gave his SG a break throughout the show!
Bobby takes his role as the bass line very seriously! In true low-end fashion, his presence on stage did little to highlight the tight runs and frantic fret work that only becomes noticeable after watching him closely. His ability to manipulate those heavy strings is honed from his years with the band Van Eps.
Jake hammered on his drum kit like a mad man, and also provided background vocals!
Also a veteran of Van Eps, Jake kept the band in time with heavy hits and animated stick work. The new breed of drummer is more athletic and demonstrative than in the past – when they sat behind massive kits and did their work in anonymity. Jake is a tall guy and uses a kit built for utility. He’s out there, and easily as visible on stage as the rest of the guys!
And this team wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hellbot played a full energetic set that – by itself – would have been a complete experience; only they did the crowd a huge solid and brought out Travis Bracht to sing along with his son!
Their voices nearly mirrored each other – in power and flavor. After talking with Triston and then hearing them singe together, it’s very clear that he loves his Dad, and drew his stage craft from family ties. I’ve never seen a combo like these two!
The Club Sur show was a message to the Seattle Music Scene that Hellbot has arrived, and the onslaught has begun. Look for them in the future, because their sound and stage show will soon become one that is sought after. All the parts are in place; engage the speakers!