FUNERAL AGE IS:
Vocals & Guitar
Lead & Rhythm Guitar
The story of Funeral Age finds its beginning in the United States, Pacific Northwest city of Bremerton, Washington during the winter of 1996. Drawing from influences ranging from primarily Thrash and Heavy metal roots, Kevin Bedra and Joshua Hanenburg, set to work collaborrating ideas for what was to be an 8-song full length recording. In the middle of this writing process, they decided that it would be best to make the move across the Puget Sound to Seattle. In the summer of 1997, with no bassist and not yet a band name, the move was made. Once in Seattle, these 2 musicians wasted no time keeping on with their task. The vacancy of bassist was soon filled with mutual friend, Terry McCorriston. A few months would pass during which, through constant practice the band finally had the songs hammered out and were ready to record. The songs were of a rough, crunchy, mid-tempo nature along the lines of Sodom, Venom, and Coroner which often lends itself well to a 3-piece configuration. Now that these pieces were finally on tape the band decided on a name that they felt fit the recording and would become the name of the band itself, “Suicide Culture”.
As Suicide Culture, Kevin Bedra (Guitar/ Vocals), Joshua Hanenburg (drums), and Terry McCorriston (bass guitar/backing vocals) set about booking shows at clubs anywhere as far north and south as the eye could see. While the rest of the world was still reeling in the throes of Grunge-worship, in the late 1990’s, Seattle soon revealed its non-responsiveness to Metal to be as cold as its outside temperature. The music scene that had put Seattle on the map was forced on the back-burner. All-ages venues had been taxed out of existence. Laws were passed prohibiting the stapling of flyers to telephone poles. Metal Bands of this time were only granted weeknight shows and would be lucky to draw audiences of 30 people at best. Despite this, the brotherhood of the few Death, Black and Thrash Metal Bands which now included include Suicide Culture in its ranks, soldiered on playing anywhere and on any night that would have them.
As this juggling act of writing and gigging went on, new songs began to take on a sharper, more focused approach with more intricate riffing and a faster attack from the drumming perspective. The band also decided that the new recording would include a cover song which had become a highlight of its live show, Celtic Frost’s “Jewel Throne”. At this time, Terry McCorriston began to seek musicians for the recording of songs he’d written on guitar (his primary instrument). He found them and would go on to become the Vocalist/Guitarist of the band “Scorched Earth”.
The position of bassist would soon be taken over by a 5-string player in Greg Hartung. Being influenced by finger-picking masters such as Steve Harris, Cliff Burton, Geezer Butler, and Alex Webster, a more dynamic level of musicality was brought to the songs and this was to become a staple of the 5 tracks which would comprise the 1999 recording of Suicide Culture’s second CD, “Hallowed Be Thy Agony”.
While the reception of the crowds for Metal was still slow to warm, the band persisted playing as many live shows wherever it could. The frustration of this experience was conveyed in the form the new songs took on. They progressed in an ever-more faster, upbeat/blast-beat direction. It was decided at this time that a 2nd guitarist was needed to do these songs justice. Also at this time, Joshua Hanenburg took a temporary hiatus from music. He would 1 year later rejoin Terry McCorriston and become the long-time drummer of “Scorched Earth”, record CDs and accumulate many successes with that bands.
The position of drummer would fall to Mike S., A drummer from Tacoma, WA. The band went to record a 3rd CD entitled “Fistful Of Christ”. This marked a new era for the band as the disc featured 2-part guitar harmonies and soloing, still faster blast-beats and upbeat drumming. The goal of the band was now to create music that could, for example, go from Thrash Metal through Black Metal to Death Metal effortlessly in the context of an individual song. Upon completion, the band, mutually agreed that a new band name was also needed. The name “Suicide Culture” no longer fit. They named the band after the last track on the CD, “The Funeral Ages”. Thus, in the winter of 2003 the band then comprised of Kevin Bedra (Vocals/Guitar), Greg Hartung (Bass Guitar), and Mike S. (Drums) became “Funeral Age”.
With recording in hand the band set about a tireless self-promotion campaign for the CD Funeral Age-‘Fistful Of Christ’. Many interviews and reviews such as the one featured in Metal Maniacs, Aug. 2004 Firing Squad hailed; “Fistful… rips with the tones of Krisiun but with more of a USDM feel i.e. Angel Corpse, dusted with frigid BM harmonies. Diverse time changes and relentless intensity drive the entire disc with a vengeance,” greatly aided in spreading the name to the world beyond the Pacific Northwest.
The search for a second guitarist was finally a success with the addition of Mark Bent. The band was now prepared to begin its live assault. While in the process of playing shows the band constantly sought to improve its performance. Also, fortunately the climate for Metal in Seattle had surprisingly turned a corner. The numbers of formidable Metal Bands coming from The Jet City had grown and consequently, so had its audiences. At this time, bassist Greg Hartung decided to take a hiatus from the band. With the duties of Bass Guitar now falling to Rob Steinway, the band began to play larger and more prestigious shows. Funeral Age were being offered prime slots on the Northwest Death Fest 1, Seattle Metal Fest 2 where they shared the stage with Hirax and The Accused, as well as The Northwest Death Fest 2 where they secured the direct-support slot right before Incantation, Sadus and Cannibal Corpse. This along with other shows such as the bill opening for 2 of their greatest influences, Kreator and Vader catapulted them to becoming one of Seattle’s premier Metal acts.
One year after his departure Greg Hartung was able to rejoin Funeral Age. Rob Steinway was to go on to play guitar in “In Memorium”. He now plays guitar in Skelator and Somnae. With Greg Hartung back in the fold, “Funeral Age” were given the chance to open for Vader (a second time) and Decapitated. Shortly after this show. Mike S. would decide to walk away from drumming.
The search for a new drummer was slow and arduous at best. After endless auditions over the course of one year the shoes were finally filled by John Devos in the cold Winter of 2006. This 19 year old skin-basher barely out of his teens was able to inject an element of energy which proved to be exactly what the direction of the songs demanded. With a new drummer in the ranks, “Funeral Age” plunged headlong into writing the follow up to “Fistful Of Christ”. Funeral Age made their new lineup known at the 2008 Seattle Metal Fest where they put the crowd in the palm of their hand and showed them that Funeral Age was back.
The direction of the writing became still more dynamic with faster and slower songs. During this writing process guitarist Mark Bent decided to step down after 5 years with the band. The call for a new guitarist went out and was answered 2 states away by a guitarist by the name of Marlon Deppen in Santa Ana, California who would soon make the the move to Washington State.
Late in August 2008 Kevin Bedra (Guitar/ Vocals), Greg Hartung (Bass Guitar) and John Devos (Drums) entered the studio once again. After 6, 10-12 hour days of non-stop work, the basic tracks were laid for what would be Funeral Age’s long awaited second offering, the 8-song full-length “Thy Martyrdom Come”. While staying true to the vision with the band’s signature speed, harmonies and soloing, the band experimented with mountainous riffing, faster and slower parts, keyboards, clean vocals, and included an instrumental track; a nod to the thrash bands of the early years.
In early September, one week after the recording was done, guitarist Marlon Deppen arrived at his new home of Tacoma, Washington. The next day he made the drive to Seattle and was learning Funeral Age riffs. Line-up complete and stronger than ever, “Funeral Age” once again were given a golden opportunity which was also to be Marlon Deppen’s first show with the band. “Funeral Age” were granted the position of direct-support. They would play right before one of Thrash Metal’s most pioneering bands, “Exodus”.
In the Summer of 2010 long time Bassist Greg Hartung decided that he was going to take leave from the band and pursue his own life. This was greeted with much surprise, but Funeral Age kept on pushing. Funeral Age would take hold of the Seattle Metal scene by playing as many shows as they could with temporary members to fill the vacant spot as Bassist, and sharded the stage with such acts as “Enthroned” and “Destroyer 666”. However, in the Fall of 2010 Marlon Deppen decided that he wanted to experiment with different musical styles and try something new, thus taking leave from the band. This didn’t slow Funeral Age down at all. They may have been unable to perform, but they still continued writing for their next album. After months and months of try outs for a new Guitarist, they were finally joined by the shredder, Henry Bale. Henry was able to bring in a whole new arsenal of riffing, the kind of guitar work that Funeral Age has been looking for since the beginning. Funeral Age was ready to take off and show everyone exactly what they were here for…
Over the next year Funeral Age would open for sure acts as Decapitated, Impiety, Possessed, Marduk, and Moonsorrow, with each show bringing more and more aggression from the band than ever before. In December of 2012 Funeral Age decided that it was time to take things a bit more seriously, and were ready to bring in a new full time bassist, Victor Hamilton. Victor was the final piece that Funeral Age needed, and was able to not only bring his own style into the band, but more energy and enthusiasm than ever before…
2013 brought many big things for Funeral Age, opening for acts such as Nile, Gorod, and Morbid Angel. They also went on their first official tour in the Summer with Thou Shall Kill, going from Spokane to Boise to Salt Lake City, Denver, and ending up at Billings. After returning back home they got asked to headline the 2013 Sickness in September Fest in Portland, OR. Unfortunately, Sickness in September would end up being one of Victor’s final shows with the band.
Funeral Age took a short break after their show with Morbid Angel in November to recharge their batteries and continue writing, but in this time, Victor decided that he would not be able to continue on with the band, and decided that it would be best not only for himself, but for the band, if he went his own way, thus leaving the bass position open yet again. However, the duties of the bass would not be empty for long. Funeral Age made quick work to seek out a replacement in time for their shows they had coming up, and called upon Shevin Mycon to come in and try out. After just a few practices they knew that the band had found a new bassist that could help them continue forward and show everyone just exactly what Funeral Age was here for.
Now with a solid line-up in Kevin Bedra, Henry Bale, John Devos, and Shevin Mycon, “Funeral Age” forge forth to bring it’s brand of uncompromising mixture of Death, Thrash and Black Metal to the world stage…