Oldschool Sunday: SOULS AT ZERO

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

When the grunge movement of the early 1990s began to burgeon and ultimately explode, many pre-existing bands had very few options. Most imploded or simply faded away with little afterburn or residue left in their wake.

Others tried to reinvent themselves or their sound somehow, in a way to keep up with the changing times and tastes in music. One that tried the latter was Martinsburg, West Virginia’s Wrathchild America. This was after they had achieved moderate success with two albums for Atlantic Records.

Seeing the writing on the walls (after climbing them, so to speak – I’m sure some of you will get the reference) after they were dropped by Atlantic in 1992. The time had come for a change. WA members Brad Divens (also ex-Kix), Terry Carter, Shannon Larkin, and Jay Abbene metamorphosed into Souls At Zero that same year.

The change included a drastic alteration in their sound and overall image both. With Brad Divens still handling bass and lead vocal duties, Terry Carter and Jay Abbene on guitars, and Shannon Larkin drumming, the band released their incredibly underappreciated, self-titled début for Energy Records in 1993.

Not quite as heavy metal as their previous project, Souls At Zero was still intensely heavy and quite groove-oriented. This is quite evident in their official video for the track ‘Never‘ from this début album:


The début did moderately well in reintroducing this new band to newer fans, while keeping many of their older ones on board, as well. Choosing to quickly capitalize on circumstances, Souls At Zero issued the ‘Six-T-Six‘ EP for Energy Records in 1994. This effort consisted of three new original songs, a demo version track from the début, and two covers, ‘I Against I‘ (Bad Brains) and ‘When The Shit Hits The Fan‘ (Circle Jerks).

Souls At Zero were touring all up and down the eastern seaboard by this point. I saw them myself at the famous Bayou in Washington, D.C. on the ‘Rock For Pot’ (yes, a pro-marijuana event) show, where they supported Crowbar and Sacred Reich. It was also around this period that the following interview with Souls At Zero was recorded:


Before 1994 was over, drummer Shannon Larkin would exit the band to join Ugly Kid Joe (and eventually Godsmack where he is at this time). Drummer Jamie Miller would come in at this point and Souls At Zero recorded/released their third album for Energy Records, ‘A Taste For The Perverse‘.

The band continued to tour for this album, but soon cracks began to appear yet again, as they often do. Once the touring cycle for this third effort wrapped up, Miller left the band and went on to drum in such bands as …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead and Bad Religion.

Souls At Zero officially disbanded in 1996, and – as far as I know – have remained inactive ever since. Both drummers went on to lucrative positions in other projects as mentioned, while guitarist Jay Abbene had stints in Crowbar and Kiddie Porn. Guitarist Terry Carter remained out of the spotlight for many years but did resurface in a 1998 project named Lunatics On Parole. They’ve released a string of albums, their last in 2005, and are still considered to be an active band.

Brad Divens has gone on to become a front-of-house sound engineer. He’s worked with a wide range of acts including Slayer, HIM, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Cyndi Lauper, Linkin Park, Garbage, Jane’s Addiction, Motley Crue, and more.


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