This grimy city is replete with bands that slugged it out in the trenches for years before gaining serious recognition. But few have stuck it out as long as guitarist Zach Moore and his math-metal quintet Hero Destroyed, which began 10 years ago as the unassuming yet skilled band Nob.
A graduate of Baldwin High, Moore was part of the South Hills indie crew who adulated Don Caballero's ascent -- groups such as Liquid Brick, Jumbo and later Creta Bourzia (the majority of whom eventually merged into Don Cab). Nob's first show was with math-rockers Shale at the legendary Lithuanian Club, a nexus of that scene.
But Nob endured problems with rotating members. In 2005, Obama-style change arose when growling vocalist Pat McNicholas and guitarist Jeff Turko (of punkers Kill the Messenger) joined at the same time. "We decided that we'd drop the old name and move on," recalls Moore. "We won a band battle at the 31st Street Pub and got to play the Warped Tour, and that was our first show as Hero Destroyed."
Three years later, Hero Destroyed joins Don Cab, Zombi and Steve Moore as the fourth Pittsburgh band to sign to indie/metal powerhouse Relapse Records (home to Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and the like), which, this summer, will release a self-titled recording the band made in 2006. Hero has added Neal Andrus on drums, versatile enough to pound skins in Token Black Guy while previously playing guitar in Jumbo and Commit Suicide.
Moore is excited, but cautious. "Neal's the only one who's been on any kind of label of note [Commit Suicide was on Willowtip]," says Moore. "We told [Relapse] we're going to try and do as much as we can. Right now, it's all so new, we don't know exactly what's going to happen."
They do know, however, that they'll be making their public announcement at a Smiling Moose show on Fri., Feb. 22, with Drugdealer and Complete Failure (ex-members of First Day Dead and Circle of Dead Children), who also have something to crow about -- that band has signed to Supernova (the label run by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day) and will embark on six-week tours of the U.S. and Europe.
Soon, steel won't be the only metal Pittsburgh is known for.