Q Magazine

Take Offense Members Speak on Upcoming Album 'T.O.tality': 'Let's Just Crank It All to 11'

The ripping crossover thrash record is defined by its stellar production and 1980s-style guitar acrobatics.

Take Offense
Source: MEGA

Take Offense's album 'T.O.tality' will drop on Friday, May 10 via their new label MNRK Heavy.

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Take Offense has been honing their crossover thrash sound for almost two full two decades.

The San Diego County band has a solid catalog to show for it, but they've never sounded quite as good as they do on the upcoming album T.O.tality.

The record defined by its groovy metallic riffs, 1980s guitar acrobatics and spotless production will drop on Friday, May 10 via MNRK Heavy.

Guitarist Greg Cerwonka told Q the band wanted "no limitations" on the new album.

"Let's just crank it all to 11," he said. "It was kind of a fresh lineup and a different approach."

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Take Offense
Source: Becky DiGiglio

The ripping crossover thrash record is defined by its stellar production and ripping 1980s-style guitar acrobatics.

The guitarist's athletic shredding is at the center of the record. He cited Van Halen, Tygers of Pan Tang and Racer X as key influences.

Cerwonka is such a standout player that he was recruited as a touring member of the Grammy-nominated hardcore act Turnstile. His obligations to the Baltimore band slowed down the production process for T.O.tality.

"It was a very lucrative gig," Cerwonka said. "That also helps me finance other things."

Frontman Anthony Herrera's gruff vocals and socially conscious lyrics are what keep the band tethered to their hardcore roots. He highlighted the track "Stolen Land," which is about the plight of indigenous people around the world.

"That's a theme that drives me," Herrera told Q. "I just go back to the roots of what made me want to write in the first place."

Fans should also look out for the groovy bass lines on the album's title track, the Def Leppard-style cowbell on "Now or Never" and Cerwonka's memorable scratchy guitar work on "The Prayer."

Those looking for a preview of the album should check out the single "S.W.O.," "Assassination" and "Greetings From Below."

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T.O.tality is fast-paced and hectic, but it's not a race to the finish. The nearly 45-minute run time is long for such an energetic record. Cerwonka said it probably feels like three hours given how short attention spans have become in the internet age.

The stellar production is what sets the album apart from the rest of Take Offense's catalog. It was recorded by their longtime producer Nick Jett (who's also the drummer for Terror) and mixed by Matt Hyde, who's also worked with Slayer, Deftones and No Doubt.

"We just wanted it to slam sonically and be very powerful but still very clear," Cerwonka said.

That took a lot of time and effort on his part. Cerwonka said he reamped the guitars three different times before settling on a tone.

"There was a point in time when Greg kind of went dark for a few weeks," Herrera said. "He was just grinding to the bone figuring out his guitar stuff."

Take Offense is a longstanding staple in the SoCal scene. That's how they landed their own signature beer from the local Hodads Brewery. The owner is a fan of the band, Herrera said. The frontman described the "Brewtality" dark lager is similar to a Modelo Negro.

Take Offense will celebrate the beer and the new album with a free listening party at the Tower Bar in San Diego at 9 p.m. on Friday.

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The band hails from Chula Vista, a mostly working class and Latino city about halfway between San Diego and Tijuana. Some people from wealthier parts of San Diego County look down on Chula Vista, but it's always been an important part of the band's identity.

"Knowing where you come from is very important," Herrera said.

That's why he and Cerwonka cited local bands like the Zeros and Amenity as important influences.

Herrera is technically the only original member in the current lineup. He was just 15 when the project started in 2005. Cerwonka joined the following year and has been an integral member ever since.

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Take Offense jumped between several different labels over the years over the course of their long career.

They started off on Reaper Records, which released their first two studio albums Tables Will Turn and United States of Mind in 2011 and 2013.

Five years later, they put out a quick EP called Tensions on High with Flatspot Records. The members are friends with the label's co-owner Ricky Singh.

Take Offense signed to Pure Noise Records ahead of their third LP Keep an Eye Out in 2019. The record defined by vintage vibes and down to earth production wasn't a huge hit with the label.

Cerwonka recalled an A&R rep calling it a "very mature-sounding record." The guitarist assumed they were looking for something more predictable. Pure Noise pushed the album for a weekend but quickly moved on.

The band put out one more EP with the label in 2020, but the pandemic had put a strain on the arrangement. This relationship ended for good around the time Pure Noise moved its offices to Nashville.

Cerwonka said "it all worked out in the end" because this opened Take Offense up for a deal with MNRK.

The band sent the label some early T.O.tality demos in 2021 at the behest of their manager Mike Messina.

The company was all in on Take Offense. They've been very supportive of the new project and willing to work around Cerwonka's touring schedule with Turnstile.

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Following the album release party, Take Offense will embark on a brief California tour next month before an East Coast trek in June.

They're also touring Europe with Toxic Holocaust later this summer. Check out a full list of those dates below:

27.07 Tolmin, SI | Tolminator Festival

29.07 Novi Sad, RS | SKCNS Fabrika

30.07 Sofia, BG | OldSkulls Club

31.07 Rasnov, RO | Rockstadt Extreme Festival

01.08 Budapest, HU | Dürer Kert

02.08 Vienna, AT | Arena

03.08 Stuttgart, DE | Schwarzer Keiler

04.08 Leipzig, DE | Soltmann

05.08 Gdynia, PL | Ucho

06.08 Poznan, PL | 2 Progi

07.08 Krakow, PL | Zascianek

08.08 Bratislava, SK | Pink Whale

09.08 Jaromer, CZ | Brutal Assault

10.08 Berlin, DE | Reset

11.08 Siegen, DE | Vortex

13.08 Düdingen, CH | Bad Bonn

14.08 Dornbirn, AT | Conrad Sohm

15.08 Cologne, DE | Club Volta


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