A Hell Broth of Sonic Sorcery, or The Incestuous Nature of The Capitol City’s Metal Scene

Tomorrow night we’ll be playing at the Taj Mahal of Austin’s live music venues: Headhunters. This place is definitely not for the claustrophobic or faint of heart and even less so on this particular evening, as eight different bands of metallic bent will be piling into this cavernous club with the full intent of out-heavying all other contenders on the bill. If cramped quarters, drunken revelry and maximum volume aren’t your thing,  you are well advised to steer clear. For those of you who can deal with the extremely cozy quarters and ear-splitting volume then checking out this bill just may prove to be worthwhile, as quite the eclectic array of ponderously leaden sounds will be on display. Everything from doom, thrash, death, crust, psych, traditional metal and even some good ol’ hardcore will be represented at some point before the last riff has been played and final shot of liquor has been consumed.

For the uninitiated I’ll give a few brief thoughts regarding the bands on the bill.

Whenever someone asks me about The Blood Royale I always want to say they sound like Motorhead meets Discharge. I’ve never really listened to Discharge so what the hell do I know? I do know that The Blood Royale are oppresively heavy and infectiously catchy and they put on a hell of a show. They play regionally constantly so all of you locals probably know this already.

Curse The Heavens mix up epic metallic compositions with the filth-ridden angst that comes from their old-school hardcore origins and produce a sound that, to my ears, is quite unlike anything else in the Capitol City. These guys have been slogging it out in the trenches here for quite some time to very little fanfare. They deserve your attention and support.

The Well are quite possibly the band most likely to have a derisive eye cast in their direction from the most “cult” and “true” of the metal faithful in attendance, but I also suspect that they may also win over quite a few converts and provide a much needed breath of fresh air to the nights heavier-than-thou proceedings. Don’t get me wrong, because there is plenty of heft and weight to their Pentagram-inspired delivery and the dueling vocals of guitarist, Ian Graham, and bassist, Lisa Alley, are an especially nice touch. Check out their version of Pink Floyd’s “Lucifer Sam”.

Aside from old-school death I am not really much of a fan of this genre anymore, especially with regards to the modern ultra-technical bands that dominate today’s scene. For my money, Entombed, Autopsy, Asphyx, and Bolt Thrower are where it’s at.  That being said, I did enjoy Demontuary the last time I saw them at The Scoot Inn. They played a tight and technical set that was not without catchy hooks. They certainly had the most memorable onstage moment of the night when their Satan-praising lead vocalist quit the band mid-set and threw his beer at their guitarist for proclaiming that “Satan sucks”. Very metal indeed.

I have yet to catch the remaining acts live so I don’t have too much to say, but what the hell…

According to what I’ve read and heard about Witches Mark, they produce a stylistic mix of traditional metal and only the “purest” of its sub-genres . I recently heard their cover of  “Solitude” by Candlemass and I must say that it was not too shabby. I am looking forward to catching them in action

The Cruxiter Facebook page describes them as being “Traditional Hard Rock/Heavy Metal From Texas USA”. Fair enough. I have also heard good things about them from very reliable sources so get down early enough to catch their set. They go on at 9:30.

The ridiculous band name of the evening award goes to (drum roll, please)….ASS! I showed the flyer to a co-worker and she thought the name was cool, so maybe it’s just me. I was, after all, a member of a band called Bukakke at one point fer chrissakes, so who am I to judge? I hated that band name too, by the way. Apparently ASS is a crossover thrash band from College Station. I was weened on the stuff so I will certainly give them a go. Hopefully it’s not the trite party thrash that all the kiddies have their skinny jeans all in a bunch over. We shall have to wait and see…

If you are reading this blog then you more than likely already know what Mala Suerte sounds like so I’ll leave it at that.

After making the above flyer for this show and looking and the bands on the bill I got to thinking about all the performing bands that have shared or do share band members. The Blood Royale’s drummer, John Petri, played drums for Mala Suerte for many years up until about a year ago and he and their guitarist, Tim Corken, played togther and moved from Iowa while playing in a noisy metal/rock outfit called Gutbucket. Additionally, their lead-guitarist, JT Smith, also shares duties in local trio Dixie Witch and Houston’s The Drunks. As mentioned above, our guitarist, David Guerrero, and I were also in a band with Tim and John called Bukakke. We played quite a few shows and even recorded a rough 4 song EP which unfortunately, due in part to shoddy recording quality and the band’s implosion, never saw the light of day. Dave and I also jammed briefly with guitarist John Alaniz and drummer Tony Degon in a pre-Curse The Heavens incarnation. A few songs were written but no live shows or recording ever came to fruition.
Witches Mark stick-man, Scott Palmer, also manned the drum stool for Demontuary and he, together with Demontuary guitarist, Steve Perez, were also in two other metal ensembles together, namely Of The Fallen and Hollow Point. Witches Mark’s  bassist, Andy Gonzalez, will be performing double duty as he also handles the low end in show openers Cruxiter as well. I’m not exactly sure what this says about the state of the Austin metal scene. Are we a bunch of prolific fuckers that have too much creativity to let out, or are we just an incestuous bunch of bickering bastards that just can’t seem to get along with one another? As is usually the case, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Either way, I think the metal scene is certainly starting to pick up some steam and is beginning to produce bands of a more varied and diverse nature than ever before.

Anyway, if you see me at the show come and say hello. I’ll be the thirsty guy at the bar. Prost!

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