Originally from the Philippines, Intolerant is a setup of Filipino metal band members Heaven church and Loss of control—Singer / guitarist Russell dela cruz and guitarist Joey dizon being of the former, and bassist Micro Gallegos and drummer Pepo Gohu of the last.
While the band has been on hiatus for a long time, they recently re-released their 2010 debut album. Reasons for the troubles which features ten powerful tracks which are particularly characteristic of intolerant sound.
the moving train caught up with guitarist Joey Dizon, who spoke about this latest reissue of their debut album and recounted the founding of the band, specifically how they wanted to form a team that was moving away from the politics of the heavy metal scene.
To begin with, how would you describe the metal brand Intolerant?
Intolerant was born out of two bands, Skychurch which was a crossover thrash metal band, and Loss of Control which was a bit more extreme metal with a lot of blast beats and fast stuff. It was a combination of the two. I guess for convenience it was really a metalcore band with the best of thrash and hardcore because we were also really big on bands like crazy and Hatred race.
At the time, that was what we wanted to do but lamb of god was also becoming very important and so we kind of incorporated that. We were from the underground scene but wanted to break out of that stereotype so our first song was actually a heavy metal ballad. What we had in our heads were songs like ‘Fade to black’ Where ‘Nothing else matters’ through Metallica. Originally it was supposed to be our version of moving away from metal, but we ended up writing metal songs anyway, so we figured we couldn’t get away from it no matter what. we were doing.
Your first full album Reasons for the troubles released in 2010 – how does it feel to know it’s been a decade since?
Well, it makes us feel old. It all happened so fast. Basically Intolerant was such a contradiction to what we wanted to do. We only wanted to play on Fridays and Saturdays because in Manila, the reality is that you can’t be in a band, you also have to work. We said we wouldn’t do the weekdays because we were already involved in groups that were very busy, so we just wanted to do it for fun. But for some reason people liked it, and a lot of unexpected things happened.
Our first gig was in Hong Kong and we didn’t even have a CD at the time. We went there to play a set and we only had nine songs so we had to replay two songs because the audience wanted more. Essentially, things went very quickly.
Tell me about the reissue of Reasons for the troubles. Why did the band decide to reissue this album?
Intolerant folded unexpectedly. All of a sudden we realized we didn’t want to do it and a lot of us weren’t on good terms anymore. But when Spotify came, someone downloaded the whole album. Because we weren’t talking to each other, I thought it was the other guys, and they probably thought it was me. We come from a very punk-rock, hardcore, DIY or whatever ethic, so everyone was thinking, as long as it’s there, it’s okay.
But just before the pandemic, Pepo, our drummer called me and told me people were actually listening to the album. We realized whoever downloaded it was making money that should have come back to us, and it wasn’t like we wanted that money, but we thought maybe we should take back control of our songs. Initially we wanted to re-record the album and we even planned a studio but due to the pandemic we couldn’t do it so we just decided to re-release everything.
The new illustration was done by Doyle See. What was it like working with him for that?
Doyle is great. When we were still there over ten years ago, it was this kid from Cebu province who was doing this really cool art and we didn’t know he was already working for international bands. We were supposed to be merchandising because we had a bunch of t-shirt designs, but the band stopped so abruptly.
We’ve stayed in touch over the years, and when we found out we wanted to re-edit “Reasons For Unrest,” I called him to get his permission to use his art. I was surprised because Doyle wanted to make us a new set of works of art. I was already working with him on a bunch of stuff like Maternity expenses re-releases because I’m re-editing old stuff that never made it out on Spotify.
Off the record, your song ‘Eye For An Eye’ is quite reminiscent of Slayer and ‘God of War’ seems to be a nod to Pantera — are you inspired by those bands?
Oh yeah, totally. There was so much debate within the band — Mic and I argued because he said it sounded too much like Pantera, and I was like “that’s the point.” They are our heroes and you can’t really hide your influences, especially in metal. There is always room for creativity and you can always give things a new twist, but these are the classics. With ‘An eye for an eye’ I just wanted to make a song that people are passionate about. Rather than cover a song from Slayer, I thought we should just do a song that sounds like them.
Either way, we’ve never been ashamed to wear our influences on our sleeves, and you’ve hit the nail on the head. ‘God of the war’ is a very Pantera song and ‘Eye For An Eye’ is a very Slayer song. We had an argument about it, but when we posted it I guess people didn’t mind. The occasional underground asshole would be like “you ripped them off” but that’s totally the point, we’re not hiding that fact. She’s the Total Slayer.
And are there other bands that influenced the creation of Intolerant?
A lot of our influences are actually non-metal influences. We were tired of being called sold. We were fed up with people telling us you can’t do this if you’re a metal band. The two groups, Skychurch and Loss of Control, were both so tired of politics that we wanted to form a group that had no rules. Our thing was, we were a metal band that played non-metal concerts. We were really breaking the mold. We wanted to be part of this live tour.
A lot of our influences were the Big Four, and as far as Lamb of God goes, we weren’t trying to sound like them, but we were influenced by how they made up their sound. Russell and I also love great pop music. I always joke that if Boyz II Men and Slayer had a gig the same day, I would probably go to the Boyz II Men show. Mic was really into this weird artistic shit like Explosions in the sky and Sun O))) kind of stuff. Pepo also designed hip-hop albums and tracks, so there was never just one type of music. That’s why we were so eclectic and there were so many left turns on the album.
Since you started you have performed for notable events such as the Fête de la Musique in 2007, UP Fair in 2008 and PULP Summer Slam. Of all the concerts you have organized, which have been the most memorable so far?
the PULP the gigs weren’t really memorable for me because I was working there, and it was tiring to work then play a gig but we opened for a lot of bigger bands like Hatred race and Sworn enemy. We were also on the same bill with Angel of Death.
The overseas gigs were all the more memorable since at that time it was unheard of for a Filipino metal band to go around and do it right. There’s also this stereotype that if you’re a metal band you have to play in bad conditions but we wanted to do it right. We wanted to make the finances work and do it professionally, and we were really lucky because Hong Kong arrived. The Hong Kong show was what started it all for us. We have to play with really cool bands like Shepherds the weak.
When we performed in Singapore it was kind of like a reunion show because a lot of our Filipino friends who worked there showed up, and we performed with amazing bands like The truth must be known and other local Singaporean bands that really blew us away. It was a large gathering of metal groups.
How would you say Intolerant is different from other metal bands you’ve played in?
I’ve played guitar in a bunch of bands including a punk band and an alternative band that was doing 90’s stuff, but Intolerant is really different because that’s one of those things that just happened. There was an element of planning, but it all went organically. But when something happens organically, it can go away very quickly as well.
I guess it was some kind of intolerant experience. He’s accomplished so much in such a short time by heavy metal standards. I’m not claiming we were a big group by any means or anything, but it was a mad rush and everyone just got on the mad train. We had to fight our way through all this madness and played anywhere and everywhere for a good 4-5 years.
We knew we wanted it to be a standalone group, so we were doing things that were kind of new in our circle. We were also getting sponsors so we learned the trade on the fly. It has become a bigger entity than the four of us. It really was a well-oiled machine but then it collapsed. It’s such a cliché, but I guess that’s really how it works – you get that chance in a million and you grab it and ride it until the very end.
Finally, do you have any future plans for Intolerant? Since the band has been on hiatus for a while now, I was just wondering if you have any projects going on?
I have a bunch of solo stuff that I’ve recorded over the years. There was a track that was kind of an intolerant song that never came out. Basically the music was written by me, Pepo and Mic, but I released it with other guys from Hong Kong in collaboration. It was a single called “The power of your words”.
Pepo and Mic are so open-minded and musically creative that they’re always exploring other stuff, and when we released the Intolerant stuff, we were thinking that maybe we should put the other stuff under one account as well. We thought it was a good idea, so that might be the trick for the future. Russell is busy with Skychurch so at the moment I would say there are no specific plans. But you know, never say never.
to listen “Reasons for the troubles” to Spotify.