It's not uncommon to see 10 bands on a line-up on any given Friday night, and when it comes to local festivals, that number averages around 20. But the AZ Brutal Fest is taking it to an entirely new level at Rogue Bar in Scottsdale on Friday, April 17, and Saturday, April 18.
Over the course of two days, 30 bands will take the stage to exhibit our very own Arizona brand of wild west brutality. And with the word "brutal" in the name, you can expect some pretty intense acts, ranging from speed and black metal to roaring death metal.
Two years ago, when the death slam scene started to get bigger in Arizona, Manni Jimenez (founder of KillDeath Productions), decided that there was no reason the genre shouldn't be celebrated with a festival.
"There's only one way to describe this two-day fest: BRUTAL!" says Jimenez.
For those who aren't familiar with the slam death metal genre, here's a quick summation. The genre evolved from the '90s New York death metal scene, incorporating elements of hardcore. It's not so focused on guitar solos and blast beats aren't so important; it's more about utilizing mid-tempos (and you can't forget the breakdowns), palm-muted riffage, the occasional surprising element of hip hop-inspired vocal and drum beat rhythms, and a healthy dose of growls and grunts. Oh -- and this genre takes the macabre of death metal to the extreme. That's why the band lineup for AZ Brutal Fest looks like a roundup of horror movie search engine tags.
Basically if you like heavy metal, you are guaranteed to discover a new local band (or a few) that you'll love at AZ Brutal Fest.
Day one starts at 5 p.m., and bands taking the stage include Pedestal Of Infamy, Splatterkill, Left To Rot, Meatcleaver Amputation, Gods Of Death Screw, Evisceration, Bloodgeon, Colpolscopy, Lurid Memory, Viral, Rott, Fucking With Nuns (Mexico), Logistic Slaughter, and Diminished.
One of my favorite desert metal bands, Lago, is also playing on the first day.
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"We wanted to do a tour kickoff show, and this festival just made sense," explains vocalist/guitarist Cole Jacobsen. "We're excited about being part of a two-day show dedicated to death metal. Even though we've been around for a few years, there is still pockets of death metal fans here that we haven't played for yet."
Lago is one of those bands that cross over from death metal into the more mainstream metal genre. The band is headed out for a West Coast tour on April 24th, and their album Tyranny was just released on vinyl through Blood Harvest Records out of Sweden. Already working on the next album and now endorsed by ESP Guitars, Jacobsen is hoping that it won't be too long before they have it out to their fans.
On the second day, music begins two hours earlier, at 3 p.m., just for the metalheads that can't get enough. Bands include Stormbringer, Descension, Zeohn, Cursed, Opressor God, Deadspawn, Atoll, Meathook, Cranial Defecation, Magguts,Genocaust , Bloodscribe, Stages Of Decomposition, Slaves of Suffering (Mexico), and Cerebral Incubation.
Deadspawn is another one of my favorite local metal bands. They just released their first official EP, and are planning on doing a few shows this summer throughout Phoenix and Flagstaff.
"We'd really like to start developing the full power of the new songs, in a live setting so they can reach their full potential," says vocalist/guitarist Curt DuRocher. "This festival is going to be insane. I'm really looking forward to seeing Left to Rot, Bloodgeon, and Lago the first night, and our buddies from Flag in Stormbringer the second night. The second day really has a dominating lineup throughout with Oppressor God and Meathook as well.
"The AZ metal scene in general is really getting a good showcase over this weekend festival," he adds. "It's a constant evolution--honestly, it's amazing to watch it transform. 2015 to 2016 is going to be a ridiculous year for extreme metal in the Valley. The tide has turned and AZ is on the map."
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