Published on January 7th, 2014 | by Joe Lawler

D.M. metal band finds Green Death by deconstruction

Green Death was born from the ashes of another Des Moines band, Only. The metal band had been playing together for years, but Mark Reinking, Erich Tran and Sol Bales were getting burned out on the style of metal they were playing and were looking to switch to a more thrash and death metal sound.

At the same time they were looking for a new bassist and drummer. With the whole rhythm section open, the remaining members decided to toss aside the Only identity and start anew as Green Death.

“I think it was just a natural progression,” guitarist Tran said. “Toward the end of the old band the songs started getting heavier. We kept going with our gut feeling of what we wanted to write. I think at this point in the game we’re all a little older, with day jobs and families. If we’re going to spend time doing music, we really want to love what we do.”

It’s been less than a year since Green Death’s first performance, but the band has already released two EPs and plays a release show for its first full length, “The Deathening,” Saturday at Wooly’s. The album is a CD/DVD combo, including the five videos the band has made over the last year.

In that time the band has also opened for bands like Napalm Death and Phil Anselmo of Pantera. All of the band’s shows so far have been in Des Moines, which made the fact that “The Deathening” hit No. 68 on the iTunes metal charts last month all the more surprising.

“It’s pretty cool for an unknown, unsigned band to have our album up there with the Slayers and Megadeths and Ozzys,” Tran said. “Bands release albums all the time, so to have it register blew our minds.”

While the digital sales are nice, a physical copy of “The Deathening” is worth it for the album cover alone. The band reached out to German artist Eliran Kantor, who has done covers for Testament, Hatebreed and other notable metal acts, to create artwork for “The Deathening.” The result is an epic image of H.P. Lovecraft’s tentacled elder god Cthulhu destroying Des Moines.

“It has kind of a fantasy vibe to it,” Tran said. “We wanted an album cover that looked professional, could grab attention and also say we’re from Des Moines. I think we got it.”

Cthulhu isn’t the only horror icon with ties to Green Death. This week Zombie Burger is rolling out the Green Death basket. The burger combo has chile verde pulled pork on top of a beef patty and topped with pepper jack cheese, salsa verde, cilantro mayo and pico de gallo. It’s served with fries and a green version of the house sauce.

“After every Green Death show the band always goes to Zombie Burger. We always order a basket of fries and the servers ask if we want to split the basket,” Tran said. “We have a song called ‘Split the Skies,’ and a few months back we came up with a little riff called ‘Split the Basket’ that’s our tribute to Zombie Burger. They were nice enough to offer us the Green Death Basket the week of the show.”

Green Death

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.

Cost: $7.


About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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