Gladiators Eat Fire
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Gladiators Eat Fire

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Rock Alternative




"Unsigned Band of the Week: Gladiators Eat Fire"

Photo by Jenny Miller

Gladiators Eat Fire is an organic, psychedelic, hardcore group from the heart of Seattle, WA, on a sonic journey in search of identity and freedom of self-expression.

In January 2011, the band celebrated the official release of their debut full-length album. The self-titled album marks the culmination of over two years of work and identifies the band as an emerging new sound in the Seattle music scene.

The group, founded by vocalist Mark Blazer and guitarist Brian Kim, quickly found a kindred spirit in drummer Joseph Wilkinson. After writing 2008’s Keep The Beat Alive EP, the band recruited friend Taylor Weston to play bass guitar. The band played constantly in Seattle and embarked on several tours around the Northwest and down the West Coast, writing new material, before finally entering the studio again in February 2010.

In April, after writing and recording a majority of Gladiators Eat Fire, Weston left the band. Soon after, the band had all of the original album artwork and promotional materials stolen. Despite this, and many other setbacks, Gladiators Eat Fire continued onward. Close friend and musician James Erwin was available to fill in on bass guitar immediately, and much of the lost artwork was recreated or salvaged to some degree. After a month-long promotional and viral campaign that caught the attention of local press, a successful run of local shows, and a month-long summer tour, the band officially announced Erwin as their bass player in October with big plans for a bright future.

Currently, Gladiators Eat Fire is at work on a new full-length album as well as a new EP in conjunction with Salem, OR band, Electric Cities. With the release of their full-length debut – after almost a year of struggling to survive – Gladiators Eat Fire is ready to go all in all over again. - High Times

"BJ's Loud and Local Band of the Week"

DJ BJ Shea's Loud and Local Band of the Week - 99.9 KISW

"Gladiators Eat Fire Don’t Need VHS to Scare You"

For their new self-titled release, local hardcore band Gladiators Eat Fire took a turn for the creepy—injecting the straight-ahead, blistering rock heard on their previous EP with a heavy dose of psychedelic guitars and eerie, echoing vocals that ring through songs like lost souls. “Kid, I’m Johnny Fucking Appleseed” intros with low and slow buzzing bass. Nervous drumming kicks in, adding speed, and after the guitar weaves a maze of ethereal feedback, it starts to thump like a panicked heartbeat until the song stops for one second, and everyone starts screaming and the whole thing implodes. “Wasabi, You Handsome Devil,” doesn’t end well, either. After some sonic freak-outs of These Arms Are Snakes proportions, the nearly-seven-minute-long song ends with more than a minute of crashing cymbals and distanced howling. Such structural experimentation isn’t that surprising coming from the band that last year randomly hung spray-painted VHS tapes in trees all over Capitol Hill. Anyone brave enough to untie the twine and take a tape home got an eyeful of ghostly figures passing through the shadows while pieces of the band’s songs supplied a perfectly haunting soundtrack. Even without the images, the goose bumps come organically from this full-length’s walls of wiry guitars and repetitive, hollowed, distant vocals that sound like they’re sung by a person who’s been locked alone in the room at the end of a long hall for years. Pretty much all you can do after hearing this shit is pray that a little dead girl doesn’t come through the speakers to drag you to the bottom of a goddamn well. - The Stranger

"Gladiators Eat Fire - Gladiators Eat Fire (2011)"

Seattle’s Gladiators Eat Fire sound like a lot of bands. Not in a derivative way, though. Rather, their self-titled album pulls in plenty of influences into a post-hardcore nexus. At times they match the technicality of Dillinger Escape Plan; at others they mirror Refused’s passion. Other moments still recall a more intricate, late-period Crime in Stereo, and every so often they pull off the Church’s brand of ambient psychedelia simply because they can. Hell, sometimes Gladiators Eat Fire sounds like two records playing at once.

The truth is that, while the record could probably most easily be called “technical hardcore,” it incorporates enough elements from other styles that it could either repulse strident fans of the genre or act as a gateway to other sounds. “This Shit Is Christmas” starts off as a blistering rocker, but by the end it hits a quieter, experimental stride. Things get psychedelic on a whim or, in the case of “Kid, I’m Johnny Appleseed”, an acid-drenched dancepocalypse.

Gladiators Eat Fire never commit to one sound, which keeps their songs fresh despite some lengthy running times. But the record never comes off as self-indulgent, even though I imagine this review reads like a Mars Volta article. Granted, GEF sometimes overplays an idea, but never to the point of exhaustion. Even things that seem dull serve a purpose. “Appleseed” could be two minutes shorter, but the protracted ending segues perfectly into the whistled intro of “Arcane Silva”. These are fairly anti-commercial songs, but they’re not alienating either. If nothing else, they advertise what I imagine to be an insane, unique live show. -


Seattle is the place to be if you want to head angry, loud music in the USA. The self-titled debut full length by Gladiators Eat Fire will peel the wallpaper of your room, an ear breeding collection of hardcore post-grunge songs.

Loud Is The New Freedom is their mantra, but there is method in their sonic mayhem. Listen closely and plenty of patterns come crawling out. Psychedelica and progressive rock are lurking in the shadow. Sure, they wear evil grins but once you come closer they are quite friendly. The slow burning Obarama contains a few licks that Robert Fripp could have come up with. Thumbs up for the new contestants in the musical arena. - Here Comes The Flood


This is one of those. Sometimes you get an album someone would like you to review. You take a listen, it’s very concrete in terms of what it is. You like it and you can write something about how it’s a thing you like, because you like that kind of thing. Then there are things you get and you have to listen to repeatedly, because you don’t even know what you’re listening to, much less whether you like it or not. This is one of those.

I am actually pretty cool with that. You have days when you want comfort food, days when you want something you haven’t had before. Gladiators Eat Fire is a little bit of both of those. Their music is like a sculpture made out of existing stuff. It’s vaguely recognizable as a whole, there are certainly many small parts you can recognize individually, but the whole thing may confuse you. I like this for the most part. I had to go through about five listens of the album to get to the point where I felt comfortable addressing the music. The main deal here is the mix between the loud as hell bits and the gentle, almost jazzy psychedelia. The issue for me is that the band aren’t interested in really meeting any kind of epectationsI should have about how to do that. The music sounds disjointed; but clearly there is a method to their approach here. I wouldn’t have bothered with five listens if it didn’t pull me in. The one other thing that sticks out for me here; there is really a huge early 2000's-modern hardcore influence here. Stuff that reminds me of At The Drive In, maybe a little Glassjaw; that kind of thing. So as much as I was confused by this, I liked it. It was challenging, but a worthwhile listening. Despite the fact that I review by means of comparison, this is unique stuff. I like it when people say psychedelic and experimental and actually deliver on that.

You can check out the self titled album and their previous offerings at their bandcamp. The self titled album is out today. I am recommending you get it. - To Eleven

"This Week In Demos: Excruciating Pain Edition!"

Forgive me for getting all blues lawyer on your ass, because it's true that tone doesn't make or break a record. Howevs, Gladiators Eat Fire are in possession of an absolutely huge fuzz-bass sound. Do you ever hear someone play an instrument and think "Yeah, that's exactly how it's supposed to sound?" That's GEF's bass player. True stuff. At their best, Gladiators Eat Fire remind me of SST-era Soundgarden and pre-glam Icarus Line: rooted in punk and hardcore, but also vaguely psychedelic. Their Bandcamp page has an early EP and a teaser for an upcoming album; the former is all scorched-earth single-note Big Muff riffing and vocal shrapnel, the latter is similar but also adds welcome moments of serenity and clarity. This could be another band to watch in 2011. - The Stranger

"Upcoming Events"

Gladiators Eat Fire, Doomfock, Red Obelisk, Into the Storm

(Funhouse) Gladiators Eat Fire cite Muse, the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, and Deftones as influences, and after listening to their album, Keep the Beat Alive, I move to add Refused and Idiot Pilot to that list (I can do that, right? As an official "music critic" or whatever?). It's a clusterfuck, really. Gladiators Eat Fire have that whole "loud as hell" thing for which Muse are known, and they're just as frenzied as anything Plot have ever done, with intense guitar breakdowns building back up to explosive climaxes (e.g., "Felix the Boy Who Cried Fenix"). Live, it'll be either an ear-blistering hot mess or a fantastically successful sum of all its parts. There will be no middle ground. MEGAN SELING - The Stranger

"Live Show Review"

The Comet Tavern
Seattle, WA

Gladiators Eat Fire's debut EP, Keep The Beat Alive, immediately caught my attention when it came in the mail. The artwork was simplistically appropriate, the name was clever, and the music was urgent and inviting, in a chaotic way.

It certainly didn't hurt either that Keep The Beat Alive happened to come during a period when I was dusting off my Refused Shape Of Punk To Come disc and listening to it on a near daily basis. Something familiar and comfortable immediately struck me about Gladiators Eat Fire, and it wasn't until I saw them at a show at the Comet Tavern that it finally clicked. They reminded me of Refused in quite a few ways, but most notably in vocalist Mark Blazer's vocal stylings and in the band's songwriting patterns and breakdowns.

Gladiators Eat Fire headlined the show at the Comet, playing after Goose Vargis, a duo with some potential but absolutely horrible vocals, and Crossfox, who were too mediocre to even say much about. By comparison, Gladiators Eat Fire were a powerhouse of spastic movements and disorder, on the part of all band members. Vocalist Mark Blazer used every sector of the venue his mic would stretch to, making certain to mingle with the audience and stand on elevated platforms where available.

There's little doubt that Gladiators Eat Fire are made up of four extremely talented -- albeit young -- musicians who are absorbed wholly by their craft. And the audience must've been able to sense the passion too, for Gladiators Eat Fire managed to be the only band at the Comet that night which actually possessed the attention of the audience from start to end. Their brand of hardcore-influenced post punk was engaging and curiosity-inducing enough that quite a few folks on the street peered in through the windows to see what all the hub-bub was about.

While the core of their style was there, however, something was lacking during this particular performance, most likely owing to a set of broken pedals. One other issue was the band's interaction with the audience, which was made up of strangers like myself and four friends of the band who made their way front and center. It's natural for friends to support their musician friends, of course, but bands should not make the distinction between friends and strangers during their performances. During some parts of the set, it felt as though the band was performing to and addressing their friends exclusively, which felt a bit alienating as an outsider. A simple act of screaming in the face of absolute strangers, like Steve Snere of These Arms Are Snakes might, would go a long way for audience amusement and comfort (or discomfort, but either way, it'd add to the feeling of the band's lack of control).

Gladiators Eat Fire have themselves rooted well in solid music and showmanship basics. For a band that is still as young as they are, they show a remarkable amount of songwriting prowess. Their songs punch hard yet are easy to swallow, which is generally a difficult feat. Their future definitely looks promising, and I hypothesize that wisdom gained from experience alone will take their full-length release in Fall 2009 to higher grounds.

Reviewed on Jan 11, 2008 by VIVIAN HUA. - Redefine Magazine

"Comet Tavern"

May I have your attention please? I think I found the love child of “Screamo/Indie Rock” circa 2002-2006.

I enjoyed GEF for a lot of reasons. For starters, They bring a lot of energy to the table; energy reciprocates energy, so you can count on being pumped up if you see them live. Mark screamed and danced like there was no one watching. I was loving it because there is something so pure about someone who can scream from their toes and it’s coming from a place that is real, not just screaming because they are a jackass ham. That pure feeling was present with the entire band and with their colt following.

Another reason I enjoyed them was the fact that they were able to change the mood of the room while maintaining the integrity of their style. This did not come as a surprise, because GEF are a band that plays music not only for the people, but they play for themselves, and for the people. If you are a kindred spirit with this ilk, this will be a show that you will really enjoy, and be grateful that you can find music of this genre that is new and forward thinking.

Video link: - Seattle Show Gal

"Band of the Week"

Band Members: Brian Kim, Mark Blazer, Joseph Wilkinson, Taylor Weston

Genre: Experimental, Hardcore, and Punk

Record Label: None
Sounds Like: Refused, The Kinison
Years Together: 1
Next Show: This Friday, April 25th @ Mix Lounge. 9pm, $5

To read more about Gladiators Eat Fire and listen to sample MP3s of their music, go to - Seattle Stranger


Gladiators Eat Fire (2011)
Keep The Beat Alive EP (2008)



"I could hear them from the outside. And even though I hadn't opened the door yet, you knew they were playing music as if they were crawling out of their graves. Dirt cached under their fingernails, exhaling the shortest of desperate breaths, fighting for their lives. Nowadays the sound doesn't equal the fury. The acclaim doesn't equal the value. The approach and process has given way to appeal. Sure, I could've stood there frozen. With the uncertainty of our times that would've been easy. Those who wait are never safe. Somewhere between the oblivion of everyday and the unsaid wishes that we all wait for... there was a light. It was hiding behind that door."

- Phil Bouie