Rivers To Ruin (or just another heavy metal Saturday night in the River City).

mala suerte flyer

As I set out to write a little something about our next show in San Antonio I couldn’t help but reflect back on some of previous gigs we’ve played there in the Alamo City. From all night illicit and intoxicated shenanigans with the gents from Las Cruces, Pillcrusher, and Slo’ Poke, to almost landing myself in the slammer on felony charges after a gig with Eyehategod and Phobia, San Antonio has proved to be a place of many vivid memories for me, fond or otherwise. Many people will tell you, especially those who reside in the area, that San Antonio is without a doubt the metal mecca of Texas, a sentiment that can be evidenced by those “Keep San Antonio Metal” bumper stickers that I saw emblazoned on more than a few truck bumpers a few years ago. Now while I may agree that pound for pound San Antonio probably has more metal per capita than anywhere else in the state ,which could also possibly be attributed to it’s even more superb tradition of absolutely delicious Mexican cuisine, I must say that it currently fails to live up to it’s lofty reputation. It’s legendary status of being a metal oasis is still supported by the memories of a scene that once was really thriving and vital, but unfortunately, rose colored glasses and the occasional backyard barbeque with a bit of Slayer and King Diamond does not a scene make. I remember hearing about all the unforgettable shows that took place there in the 80s and early 90s but the viability of the scene seems to have fallen away quite a bit since then. Nowadays it seems that many metal fans there seem less concerned with supporting their local scene and can only muster up the energy to attend shows featuring more established national acts, and in all fairness, this is probably the case in many others scenes as well, Austin included. Now before I get all my San Antonio friends and associates upset and ready to string me up and burn my corpse in offer to the metal gods, I will say that there are great bands, musicians, and fans there that are very much involved in the scene and because of their continued dedication and support we do continue to play there.  With mainstays like Las Cruces continuing to carry the torch and current frontrunners, Hod, spreading the gospel, San Antonio metal could be poised to experience a new renaissance, and I for one welcome it.

On Saturday, October 5th we’ll be returning to SA and Nightrocker Live once again for a bill that features a collection of bands that all do decidedly different takes on the riff-based sound that Sabbath created. For our part we’ve been taking the miserably morose doom-laden foundation that we’ve been known for over the past several years and incorporating a lot more velocity and chunky riffing to add an even more vicious level to our morbid miasma of sound. Fellow Austinites, The Well harken back even further and much closer to the initial source of inspiration by eschewing modern sounds in favor of a more heady concoction of psychotropic freakscapes, Iommi-induced guitar-gasms, and an almost poppy sensibility that all but belies the enveloping heaviness on display. San Antonio’s sons of feedback and fuzz, Slo’ Poke, bring the good vibes and buzz and are probably the band most likely to be a hit with the heavy metal parking lot set. I’ve yet to hear Mount Sherpa but from what I’ve gathered from the postings I’ve seen, they do the whole doom/drone thing and should add another varied element to the evening. Don’t forget your qualudes.

And by the way, to all of my San Antonio friends who may have gotten up in arms about the comments above, they should in no way be deemed as an indictment against the city or those in the scene.  Maybe I’m completely off base or maybe I’m just a cranky old bastard, but believe me I could go on an even longer rant about the Austin scene. Huzzah!

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