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Red Haze was an American heavy metal band from Olympia, Washington, formed in 2017 by drummer Zia Dolmayan, who later recruited guitarist Kinney Cantrell and vocalist/bassist Austin Kilmister. They were recognized for their intentionally raunchy and bleak sound as well as for their dual-harmonized vocals shared between Cantrell and Kilmister, and met critical acclaim on their second album, Psycho Woman. Red Haze dissolved in 2020 over creative differences and hardcore substance abuse from all three band members. During their time together as a band, they had released two studio albums, an extended play, and nine music videos. Their lyrics were focused around depression, suicide, prejudice, corruption, breakups, and masochism.

Background

When Austin's childhood friend Zia Dolmayan booted up the band Red Haze, Austin was hoping for an experience that would let him use his capabilities as a bassist to the fullest and show the world just how many issues it needed to fix. Unfortunately, drug abuse would hold the band behind, and Austin continually grew suspicious of his date's aggressive behavior towards him and Kinney in the studio. This led to violent fights, usually resulting in both of them getting severe injuries, and eventually Red Haze broke up. When he learned that Zia was bad-mouthing him and Cantrell in the press, he swore to never work with that "awful witch" ever again in a live interview.

Zia Dolmayan was a humans right activist that was struggling with premature addictions to heroin and cocaine, moving through a pack of cigarettes in a week and not being very organized as a person overall. She joined numerous up-and-coming bands in the nearby area of Seattle, aiming to become a professional drummer/lyricist that would be able to freely express her libertarian beliefs, but would be rejected from each one because of their disinterest in her politics. Austin Kilmister, her childhood friend that would spend much of his youth in her presence, was at the time practicing as a bassist and was searching for a band to take part in. He had caught Dolmayan at her darkest hour, convincing her out of killing herself through drug overdose and talking her into forming what would eventually become Red Haze.

Zia Dolmayan and Austin Kilmister were the only members for a while, jamming out together at clubs and out in the open with what little material they came up with. They lacked a guitarist, finished lyrics, and actual song structures back then, with everything they made at the time having come from jam sessions. Noticing their struggling but also becoming interested in their bleak sound, practicing Kinney Cantrell would lend his hand to them and join them as their guitarist. Cantrell already had experience with music theory and structuring songs, and would go on to improvise on the band's "jam sessions" and make actual songs out of them (notably including their hits "A Decade of Madness" and "Grey is the New Green"). He also wrote most of the band's riffs and lyrics, inspired by Dolmayann's concerns with the world, occasionally receiving input from his bandmates.

Following the unexpectedly successful release of their debut album, Fissure, Red Haze would tour a little bit across the western United States and soon begin work on their second album. Scheduled to release in late 2018, Psycho Woman would wait to be released until late 2019 because of substance issues running rampantly in the band and frequent fights. Band members would throw instruments at each other, deliberately mess up each other's recordings, and steal from each other. They were eventually able to finish the album when they were forced to come in sober if they wanted to continue recording, or never come back ever. Many of the songs on Psycho Woman were originally lyrically focused on love and compassion to counterbalance Fissure, but new lyrics were written about the band's neverending pain as well as about substance abuse.

The band would tour across the United States in 2020 to support the critically acclaimed Psycho Woman before re-entering the studio. Leftover recordings from Psycho Woman were intended to appear on the band's third album, Blister, but this album never saw the light of the day as the members of the band winded up being too intoxicated to properly record together in the next studio. Angered by the band's inability to keep itself together, Dolmayan fired both Cantrell and Kilmister in 2020, and the band would be broken up soon afterwards. The members of the band briefly reconciled a little later to finish their acoustic extended play, Enough, which was written mostly by Kilmister and had lyrics focusing around the band's temper and inner struggles.

It is unclear if Red Haze will form, as all three members of the band are currently angry at each other and are poisoning themselves with continued drug abuse.

Discography

  • Fissure (2017; first album)
    • Hits include "A Decade of Madness", "Grey is the New Green", "Inside the Inferno Prison", and "Lullaby"
  • Psycho Woman (2019; second album)
    • Hits include "Welcome to the Family", "Alone in the Waiting Room", "Insomniac", "Anything for Love", and "Can't Break the Habit"
  • Enough (2020; only extended play)
    • Hits include "Enough" and "Time's Up"
  • Live in Seattle (2021; only live album)
    • Includes songs from their unreleased third album, like "Million Mile Clobbering", "Twenty Minutes Remain", and "Like a Silver Bullet"

Band Members

Trivia

  • The name of this band originates from a fictional band name Athena once used for the deleted Zaxinian Lifts universe, which was named "Black Haze".
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