In honor of my brithday, and that of my good friend and bandmate Jan Kimmel, I’m putting together the El Birthday Metal Fest. Co-headlined by local occult-metal kings Venomous Maximus and DFW thrash supergroup Warbeast, The El Birthday Metal Fest features my band, Sanctus Bellum, San Antonio doom legends Las Cruces, a reunion show from local fuzz rock icons Mr. Plow (1st show w. original lineup in 5 years), and local doom mainstays Project Armageddon.
The El Birthday Metal Fest
Project Armageddon 1:10
Venomous Maximus 11:50
Sanctus Bellum 9:10
Las Cruces 8:00
Mr. Plow REUNION SHOW 7:00
Doors at 5pm
Project Armageddon (Conroe, TX)
Alexis “Dok” Marie
Venomous Maximus (Houston, TX)
Houston’s Venomous Maximus gurgles with the sounds of proto-metal gods Pentagram and Blue Cheer as well as new-school leaders like High on Fire. The headspace of this band falls somewhere between a Alejandro Jodorowsky film and a New Orleans voodoo den. Hail Satan and pass the chicken feet.
Bands we’ve played with: High on Fire, Mastodon, Pentagram, Eyehategod, Fu Manchu, The Sword, Valiant Thorr, Red Fang, deadhorse, Royal Thunder, Tombs, Early Man, Torche, Honky, Dixie Witch, Black Cobra, Priestess, Black Tusk, Bison BC, Dead Meadow, Green and Wood, Gypsyhawk, Suplecs, Ancient VVisdom
Warbeast (Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX)
With the “retro-thrash” trend in full-swing, and hordes of bands trying to re-create “old school metal”, Texas monsters WARBEAST offer the real thing. Their music is not the result of careful study of 80’s thrash or classic metal; it just comes naturally because that is who they are. Krush The Enemy, their debut CD on Philip Anselmo’s Housecore Records, features ten tracks covering a wide range …of metal terrain aimed squarely at the neck-snapping headbanger in the front row. For WARBEAST, “metal” means high speed riffing, thunderous double bass, roaring vocals and plenty of blazing guitar solos.
The roots of WARBEAST are firmly entrenched in the legendary 80’s Texas underground metal scene. Vocalist Bruce Corbitt was the voice of speed metal splatter kings Rigor Mortis, who achieved major label success on Capitol Records in 1988. Guitarists Rick Perry and Scott Shelby were the riff machine behind Gammacide, one of Texas most furious thrash exports. Bassist Alan Bovee joined Gammacide when they re-united in 2006, and drum tornado Joe Gonzalez provided blast beats and mayhem for Dallas death metal band Demonseed.
The band was originally formed in the fall of 2006 under the name Texas Metal Alliance for a one-time performance to play a benefit show for Hammer Witch bassist/vocalist Wayne Abney. Abney had suffered a near-fatal motorcycle accident in August 2006. TMA’s performance for the benefit included special guest members from some of Dallas/Ft. Worth’s original thrash bands… Gammacide, Rigor Mortis, Rotting Corpse and Hammer Witch. After the benefit, some of the core members that made up TMA decided to make it a real band.
TMA initially played songs by the individual member’s previous bands. Now they focused on writing new material, and playing many shows throughout Texas. Two demos were recorded, and Bruce brought them along when Rigor Mortis was doing a tour in which they were supported by one of Philip Anselmo’s side projects, Arson Anthem. Bruce passed the demos on to Philip, who liked what he heard and wanted first shot at signing the band to his new Housecore Record label. After speaking with Philip and hearing his enthusiasm for the project, no other offers were even considered. In Anselmo’s own words: “Bruce is a commanding fucking presence. His performance on Krush The Enemy is the best he’s ever been. Rick and Scott’s use of chugging power riffs, mixed with classic progressions and twisting harmonies are executed flawlessly. Jose Gonzales plays the ever-loving shit out of the drums. Alan Bovee’s playing is as solid as a vice grip.”
In early 2009, the band changed their name to WARBEAST, feeling they had outgrown Texas Metal Alliance. In April they spent 2 weeks in New Orleans recording Krush The Enemy, with Anselmo producing. Engineered by David “The Puma” Troia, who has worked with bands such as Mudvayne, DOWN, OTEP, and Arson Anthem, among others. 100 proof metal has been forged here, and among many standout tracks are the blazing “Scorched Earth Policy”, the menacing “Stalker” and the apocalyptic “We Are The Vultures”. Once again, we’ll let Philip say it best: “every song is its own SONG; riff-delirium, thunderous cadences and classic Thrash vocals delivered in TRUE, classic Thrash style. WARBEAST will prove to be major players in the very near future…you can bet your ass on that.”
Sactus Bellum (Houston, TX)
Classic Doom Metal
Ben Yaker – Bass
Jan Kimmel – Guitar
Justin Waggoner – Vocals
Cory Cousins – Drums
Maurice Eggenschwiler – Guitar
Ben first. Soon thereafter, Jan. Then Doug for a little bit. Then Jim for a little bit. Now Justin. Then Derek for a longer bit. Now Cory. And later Maurice. No further changes planned.
Las Cruces (San Antonio, TX)
The American doom metal band Las Cruces was formed in San Antonio, Texas, in 1994. After a couple of releases for the Brainticket label and a self-financed EP in 2001 they more or less broke up.
In February 2005 they announced that they were active again and working on their 3rd full-length album to be released in the summer.
Mr. Plow (Houston, TX)
Formed in the mid nineties without a name or singer. Greg, Jeremy and Dave got together on Friday nights at Jeremy’s house right behind the original location of the Goode Company BBQ on Kirby. While the patrons at the Goode company were dining on BBQ outside on a picinic table with old country music playing through cheap outdoor speakers, the sound of Mr. Plow was being forged; overbearing the a…tmosphere with a big thick wall of bass and groove. After a few attempts of playing shows with a couple vocalists that never worked out, it was finally suggested that Jeremy’s good friend and law school cohort Justin Waggoner join the band. Soon thereafter the name Mr. Plow was decided upon based on a favorite episode of the Simpsons and a catchy jingle therein. The first album, Head On, was soon recorded and released. Mr. Plow played several gigs around Houston at places like The Mausoleum, The Oven, Mary Jane’s, Fitzgeralds, and Emo’s. Cock Fights and Pony Racing was released a couple years later. This album had a more produced sound albeit very bass heavy and thick by design to mimick the sound of a band favorite album, Kyuss-Blues for the Red Sun. By this time the band was reaching out to places like Austin and Dallas for a gig here and there, as well as playing more venues in Houston such as Rudyards. It was at Rudyards where the band met Joel Omelcheck, sound guy extraordinaire who recorded their most recent album, Asteroid 25399. Asteroid was considered the crowning achievement recording by the band but lacked as much public interest as their previous efforts despite being nominated as Album of the Year by 94.5 The Buzz rock DJ Zakk United who invited the band to play the Scout Bar as a part of the Texas Buzz. Some of the Mr. Plow catalog even saw airplay on the radio at this time slot, especially the stand out track from Asteroid 25399, Dead Eye Dick. Eventually, Greg Green left the band to pursue an out of state education to become a doctor. The band tried to carry on with another bassist but floundered after a couple gigs. Today the band memebers remain good friends and Greg is back in Houston. Justin is playing with a new Band called Sactus Bellum with the bass player, Ben Yaker, who briefly replaced Greg in the Plow. Jeremy and Greg play weekly in a band without a name and no gigs as of yet, playing mostly covers. David has been playing bass with a cover band called Likely Story for the last few years as well. The band is at least open to the possibility of playing again at some point some day.