Spiritual Warfare: San Diego Hardcore Unit Makes Striking Debut via Divine Game EP (PREMIERE)

Photo: Natalia Leon

Spiritual Warfare is a new hardcore band from San Diego, California that formed in 2021 by drummer Derek Johnson-May and vocalist Abel Bravo. Once the pair teamed up with bassist Logan Sager and guitarist Rick Benavides, they began working on what would become the songs featured on Divine Game, their debut EP.

Rick previously sang for the Chula Vista, California hardcore outfit Down Again and Derek previously played drums for the early Revelation Records-inspired band Crucial Measures, based out of San Luis Obispo.

Spiritual Warfare already have a few shows under their belt and plan to continue playing throughout Southern California in support of Divine Game. Their self-released EP was recorded at Sunsick Studios in La Mesa, CA by Alex Jacobelli (Lewd Acts, Headcount, Therapy) and mastered by Paul Miner (Death By Stereo, Terror, Thrice) at Buzzbomb Studios in Orange, California.

What is your scene like right now in San Diego?

Our scene has lots of fantastic hardcore bands coming out representing lots of different styles of punk and hardcore. Bands like Mongrel, Madrugado, Basoku, Intercom, Dispersed, Blind Fortune, and Trip Wire just to name a few. There is a positive amount of young people starting bands in San Diego. This can only lead to another explosion of bands and tours here in San Diego.

Locally, hardcore and punk were slow for a while, but gained a high amount of traction right before the pandemic. Things have been picking up lately and we foresee 2023 being a big year for San Diego hardcore. 

Photo: Marino Orino

What are Spiritual Warfare prime influences?

We draw from a variety of bands we love, like, or respect—Terror, Type O Negative, Life of Agony, Integrity, Hatebreed, Sick of It All, Leeway, Cold World, and Helmet. New York and Cleveland Hardcore are huge influences but we pull from all types of music in general. Narrowing it down specifically, the four songs represented on the EP hit all our styles. You will hear some Leeway, some Type O and some Hatebreed right away. 

No Echo is helping present the premiere of Divine Game today. Tell us about the lyrics of "Fall From Grace and Its Heavenly Bliss."

The concept behind the name and lyrics of this band is about growing up with religion, and escaping it. 

“Congregated eyes, that see no lies, inside their minds, won’t catch me playing your divine game”

It’s about being forced into church as a kid and feeling separate from the congregation over time. People go through this in their childhood. They either grow to be a part of the religious institution or break away from it to find their own spiritual path. 

Do you have any immediate plans for shows and/or touring?

We've been playing locally with intentions of doing more. As full time as possible in this current economic climate. Slow Death Promotions is doing a really great job with the local scene, especially in low income areas around National City, Chula Vista, and Barrio Logan. We’re definitely looking to tour later this year. 


Divine Game will hit all streaming platforms on January 7th.

Spiritual Warfare on social media: Instagram | Bandcamp


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