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One of the Dallas metal scene's hidden treasures is EMPTY SHELL without any doubt. They have been trafficking and narco-grinding for more than 10 years and two albums have left the lab so far. They have been putting some songs together for a new recording recently and getting ready for upcoming shows. They have been outflanking the Feds since the beginning, but let’s read what all members came up with these answers and what have to say about the next delivery.


How can you summarize all these years of EMPTY SHELL?  “… We're having a blast writing music and playing shows. We love playing live and playing to crazy crowds. Dallas has so many great local bands and we're happy to be right up there with the best of them. We do this music for ourselves, but it's awesome to see that there are fans of the music, and we continue to grow our fan base. We've carved out our own niche and each of us can bring ideas to these songs and they become something very unique. Underneath it all we're truly family and brothers and just like brothers, we can fight and argue, but the result is always something that everyone is happy with, and we wouldn't want it any other way..."

Any struggles or barriers that you guys proudly overcame? "... We're happy we made it through the pandemic and still made it out as a band. You can feel that everyone was just ready to get back out for live music, and everyone's coming out guns blazing. You can't stop the narco grind! lol We are ready to start spreading the grind again. We've opened up for DEICIDE twice, BRUJERIA, VADER, GOATWHORE, DECREPIT BIRTH, UNIDAD TRAUMA, DEVOURMENT, and FROZEN SOUL. We have been together for 10 years now and are still going!..."


How was that first talk to form the band? Were you guys drinking or smoking at the time you decided to found a death grind act? " ...EMPTY SHELL started in 2012 in Ivan's garage in Dallas TX. The band was Tom, Ivan, and Isaak at that time. We wanted to take our love for really heavy shit like BRUJERIA, CANNIBAL CORPSE, NAPALM DEATH, DEICIDE, and METALLICA; and mix and combine those kinds of elements. We were indeed smoking and drinking, lol! Back in 2001, Tom and Ivan played together in a nu-metal band called CODE OF SILENCE in Dallas. The sound was like a mix of SOULFLY meets FEAR FACTORY with a rapy edge, lol! That band lasted until 2003…”
“… The name EMPTY SHELL came from a time when the band went out for drinks at an Irish pub called Sherlock’s on Central and Park in Dallas. Ivan's dad had recently passed, and we went out to have drinks in his honor. After many beers and shots of tequila, Ivan says to the other guys that he wishes he could just dig up his dad and hug him one last time. Tom says to him, "Even if you had the nerve to dig up your dad it wouldn’t be him. He's just an Empty Shell." Like a light bulb going off, everyone turns to each other and goes, that's the band name…”


Why did it take you almost five years to release the first album Narconomics 2017? “… When we started in 2012, once we had a set of songs, we immediately started playing live any chance we could. We also went through two vocalists and played live with them and hadn’t really carved out our true sound yet. It wasn't until Tyler Berry joined the band in 2014 that things started to take shape. Chad joined shortly after and added a fuller sound and in 2015-16 we began recording "Narconomics" ourselves at our studio space in Dallas. We had a mac book pro and some cheap mics and went for it. So that’s why it took 5 years to record Narconomics…”

Was BRUJERIA or any other acts the main influence as the band was growing up? “… BRUJERIA is definitely one of our biggest influences. When they came out, everyone was scared of the band because they took brutality to another level. They were talking and showing fucked up pictures of narco atrocities back in the early 90s and it’s still relevant today! They were reporting on all the fuck up shit that goes down in Mexico and that unfortunately still continues today. We’re carrying the torch and continuing the narco dialogue…” 

Have you guys incorporated new themes or ideas with the passing of time? “… We try to keep it fresh and new with every release. The last release Inner City Hustle took you away from the border and right into the next stop of the narco route, up 35 north to the big city. We’re not changing lyrical themes too drastically, the new material is still narco-drug related, but the music is where we try and push it to the next level…” 

Although Inner City Hustle is dated from 2021, is this the latest recording for the band at this moment? How much did this album help the band to build up a fanbase and be known in the extreme metal scene? “… Inner City Hustle was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Irving Lopez. That in itself says a lot because the guy has a reputation for putting out solid recordings. Inner City Hustle really captured our sound, and it got a really good reception with the crowds. Our lyrical themes revolve around the brutal Mexican border drug wars. The last release took you out of the borderland and into the day-to-day grind of inner-city hustle: pimps, playaz, and pushers …” 

What are your thoughts that Texas law takes a Zero tolerance approach to Marijuana possession? “… If you go to El Paso, Texas today, you can get legal bud in New Mexico and drive it right back. Simple and easy, it’s almost like it’s already legal there, it's laughable. I think when the right leadership is in place, they’ll look at the benefits instead of the stigmas and legalize it across the board. I think the cat is already out of the bag in Texas because they allowed Hemp, Delta 9, and of course, CBD-type products to be sold. The avalanche that is marijuana decriminalization has started and I don't think it can be stopped. In Dallas, you can actually possess 2 ounces for personal use. Change is on the horizon…”


There's a huge difference between a local show with local bands and when national acts like OBITUARY or CARCASS tour in terms of attendance. What are these local shows lacking? “… I think everyone is going through tough times post covid and the local shows suffer more in attendance than bigger shows like CARCASS or OBITUARY. In Dallas, we do have a lot of good metal acts and there may be several shows going on during the week. Lots of choices, so choose wisely my friends…” 

What’s the band up to these days? Are you guys getting ready for Auditory Annihilation Dos? “… Yes, currently rehearsing for Auditory Annihilation Dos! We’re also wrapping up our 3 songs EP and will begin looking for a recording studio to book. We’re hoping for a late 2023/early 2024 release…”

What’s the band cooking in the meth lab? “… Lol!!! A true chef does not reveal his recipe! lol! Just kidding! It’d actually be great if we could just start legally growing bud! Lol!...”


State some words for the fans of the band and extreme music. “…Yo, Obscene Extreme get us on! loll Be on the lookout for our 3 song EP, be sure to check out your Facebook page for the latest. It was a pleasure speaking with you. Current Lineup: Tylero (vocals), Ivan (drums), Tom (guitar), Isaak (bass), and Chadpo (guitar)…”

By: Alex Sanchez

photos: Band's courtesy

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