by Mat Weir

Listen up all you hell-raisers, headbangers and long-haired stoner freaks! The Santa Cruz Music Festival  is back for it’s third year and this time they are unleashing the crushing brutality of metal upon historic downtown Santa Cruz. The masterminds backing SCMF–wizard promoters Angelo Shermann and Euphoric Styles–are taking over the 418 Project with spaced out, blood curdling and violent thrashing local metal bands for all your sadistic needs!

Hosted by the most ugly and masked El Pasty Guero, the man your mom blew behind Tampico’s for money, the metal showcase will feature nine, local, heshian and chaos creating acts over 10 hours of extreme mayhem. This ain’t some wimpy-ass festival thrown by a bunch of sold-out rock stars, these musicians are young and thirsty for your blood, sweat and pain!

SATAN’S BLADE – Hailing from the caverns of San Jose, this freshly formed quartet mixes power metal, thrash and a high dose of speed for a set of satanic-fueled fire. Their debut demo, Curse of the Blade, was released in June of this year, but they’ve been slaying audiences throughout the Bay Area for about a year and have done numerous stints in Santa Cruz. Their guitarists slash through notes with technical ease as the rhythm section holds a steady spinal beat and their drummer even sings when they aren’t playing one of their epic instrumental numbers. Satan’s Blade’s music spins tales of death and destruction while riding the wind to the next massacre and they are the perfect openers for this year’s Santa Cruz Music Fest.

DRAIN – Sludge-thrash crossover quartet, Drain, reap credulous youthful minds with a bloody, old school scythe of sound. Their four song demo, recorded at the local Comprehensive Studios and released this past May, is a patchwork of songs as tightly sewn as the band insignias on their jackets. Drain’s music is a violent rush of gritty disarray with buzzing guitar riffs and pulverizing drum beats sounding the call to war or ultimate destruction. After their set, your mind will be–you guessed it–drained.

A THOUSAND SHALL FALL – Brutal, uncompromising, relentless and with a sound unlike any other in the local metal scene, A Thousand Shall Fall has been blasting Santa Cruz since 2011. The quintet formed as an answer to all of the cliche “genre bands” in the world. From the start they decided to play the music they wanted, combining elements of death and technical metal with the nihilism of black metal. They even throw in a break down here and there as a nice “fuck you” to anyone who tries to classify their music.Two years after forming, they dropped their first album, In the Shadow of the Mighty, four balls-to-the-wall songs themed around the apocalyptic destruction of a living planet. How fucking metal is that? Last year they released their second recording, Horizon, two of their finest songs yet swimming in the theme of new life birthed from the embers of our own destruction. Their live show is a theater of chaos which words can do no justice. Trust us, you don’t want to miss this one.

STONE SLOTH — Let there be DOOM! Recently formed, Stone Sloth has already made a name for themselves in the local scene. They reign a heavy blanket of audible destruction over the audience with their double guitars, droning bass, hammering drums and guttural vocals. Their presence onstage is intimidating and brooding as they wrench the evil from within and lay it out in front of the unsuspecting audience. They recently released their first recording in July, a 7-minute lesson in Santa Cruz sludge called, Whale Bait, that can be purchased on their bandcamp. After one listen you’ll agree: just because they’re one of the newest bands on this year’s lineup, doesn’t mean Stone Sloth will be ignored.

LEUCROTA — Gritty and political, Leucrota delivers blackened crust with a crushing blow. Their five song demo, released in February, is a cacophony of sound with layers of bone-rattling goodness. It weaves from serene doom to black metal guitars with disgusting screams slaughter on top.  Just when you think you know what’s happening they suckerpunch you with some sped-up hardcore. This all makes for a live show blasted with sweat, beer and someone else’s blood. You’ll make it out alive, but you’ll never be the same.

WORSHIP— Hailing from the depths of Salinas rides the heavy destruction of Worship. Drawing from hardcore and metal influences like Tragedy, Baroness, Converge and Botch , they add a twist of sludgy goodness for a sound all their own. Throughout the year they’ve played multiple shows around Santa Cruz, with their audience growing quicker than Lemmy’s health problems. Of course their commanding stage show speaks for itself, but it also doesn’t hurt to have an amazing debut like All Too Human under your belt. This is one band you’ll want to keep your eye on in the near future.

MOUNTAIN TAMER — Of course it wouldn’t be a true local lineup without some heavy psyche and that’s just what Mountain Tamer brings to the table. This electrified trio drops dots of mind-erasing interstellar clarity on the ears with spine-crunching gravity. With multiple time changeups all driven by the hairbanging grooves every smoker craves, they’re the type of band you want to listen to while cruising down Highway 1 on your motorcycle. . .or maybe buy a motorcycle, first. One thing’s for sure, this ain’t your daddy’s psychrock.

THE BAD LIGHT — This group believes in three things: the blues, lots of fuzz, and big-ass bass drums. For years the Bad Light has been a local favorite, always drawing a large crowd from all walks of life. This is due to the band’s eclectic sound, combining a Southern, swampy blues with a driving beat and melodic vocals that catch the ear of rockers and metalheads alike. Don’t believe us? Check out their two full-lengths, 2012’s Marrow of Sound, and 2013’s roadhouse oriented, Onward Downward to see just what we mean. And have no fear all you long-time fans, rumor has it The Bad Light is back in the studio cookin’ up some more savory soul food to feed your starving earholes in the near future.

FOUNTAIN OF BILE — Perhaps their Facebook description says it all, “We are Fountain of Bile. FUCK YOU.” This unkempt quartet is a powerhouse of sound drawing influences everywhere from Motorhead and Pantera to Decapitated and even “inappropriately targeted advertisements,” in their own words. Each musician is a testament to his instrument as they serenely control the stage like they were born on stage in sweaty carnage. This is death thrash with enough black metal seduction to pulverize your face in a circle pit of flailing bodies.

PARASITIC EJACULATION— Once you see Parasitic Ejaculation live, it’s hard to look your momma straight in the eye,ever again. Since 2011, these purveyors of puss and gore have been raining Brutal Death metal with technical dynamics as savage as their name. In that time, this local quintet has shared stages with Pathology, Decapitated and Gorgasm, just to name a few. This year saw the release of their sophmore full-length, Echoes of Depravity, but this cataclysmic crew is already back in the studio recording number three. If disgustingly grimey metal is your taste, then prepare to choke-til-you-vomit on some Parasitic Ejaculation.

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