OC Death Fest
The Music Hall
The blazing hot sun and triple digit heat didn't keep hundreds of faithful metal heads away from a warehouse in an industrial corner of Anaheim on Saturday for the second annual OC Death Fest, organized by Arrogant Behavior Promotions, an LA-based underground metal booking company.
With over 20 local and touring bands performing, the festival began early. Doors opened promptly at 1 p.m. and the first bands were on shortly after. The set up of the seemingly makeshift venue, known simply as The Music Hall, was an outdoor stage and an indoor stage, both of which were hot as hell. But from the onset, fans were treated to a flood of local talent throughout the entire 11-hour event.
Whether it was death metal, black metal, thrash, deathcore, grind, progressive or some kind of hybrid, this festival covered it all. From the brutal, head banging death metal of LA's female thrash band Harlequin.
LA's Infinite Death also held down an intense, super fast set of old school death/thrash that definitely had fans head banging and fist pumping.
Fans enjoyed the extreme metal hybrid sounds of bands like Whittier's On Our Own Accord; Long Beach-based death metal maniacs Saprophagous, and LA black/death metal band Deformity, among tons of others.
Just as the sun was setting, Corona-based up and coming self-proclaimed "ocean metal" act Vampire Squid had a raging pit full of locals and new fans. The subtle blend hardcore and brutal technical death metal in the style of Hate Eternal and God Dethroned, and got fans into the songs, and had many heads banging.
LA's brutal death metal/ grindcore band Stages of Decomposition also threw down a lethal slab of pit inducing action on the indoor main stage.
Syrebris took the main stage around 7:00 p.m. just after the sun had gone down. Around 100 people gathered to catch this LA/ based technical death metal band, which features singer/guitarist Victoria Villarreal, guitarist Manuel Villarreal, drummer James Coppolino and bassist Jesse Villalta. Syrebris put on a high caliber performance filled with growling death metal in the vein of Suffocation, Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation.
Murder Construct was on at 9:30 p.m. and for 45 minutes, providing the night's mandatory dose of ear-shredding girndcore brutality. Leon Del Muerte, Murder Construct's guitarist, is also a metal musician who has worked with bands such as Exhumed, Impaled, Intronaut, Nausea, Terrorizer and many more over the years.
With Murder Construct, Del Muerte is joined by bassist Caleb Schneider (Bad Acid Trip), vocalist Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation) guitarist Chris McCarthy (Exhausted Prayer, Dreaming Dead, House of Rabbits) and drummer Danny Walker (Intronaut, Exhumed, Phobia). This is essentially a grindcore super group. Missing unfortunately was the buzzing precise guitar sounds of McCarthy who was out on tour with House of Rabbits (formerly Feast of Fetus). But his absence was not a distraction and Murder Construct buzzed through a razor sharp set with songs fast as a machine gun.
Encino's melodic death metal group the Faceless took the stage after much anticipation at just before 11p.m., and performed a set that got fans swirling in a circle pit for most of the time, and chanting along to songs from all three of the band's albums, Akeldama, (2006),Planetary Duality (2008) and Autotheism, (2012). Led by singer Michael Keene the band's mix of melodic death metal and supernatural, esoteric themes made for quite an energetic show closer, despite the dizzying heat.
Artists Tony Koehl provided live art at the OC Death fest and Thomas Denny was also available for view and sale, as well as Gourmet Street hot dogs provided by Megadogz and Vegan tacos and street foods, courtesy of Bikinni Bites.
Also, the official line up, including bands performing and the time slots was jacked up from the beginning but by the end of the show only was off by roughly half an hour, so there's an accomplishment.
Critical Bias: The only drawback, besides the heat, was the venue's lack of facilities. With only a single bathroom, a long unbearable line was constant and a rude security guard who wore sunglasses would guard the door to ensure a strict one at a time policy.
The Crowd: A good balance and mix of old school death metal fans, and younger kids into more death core. Leather patches, all black denim and long hair everywhere. The mix of pot smoke, sweat, beer, hot dogs and vegan food in the air was indescribable.
Overheard: "I just think that all the younger bands right now the progressive death metal bands trying to get popular are trying to all sound like the Faceless." One bearded dude said in line for the bathroom said to another bearded dude. "Uh. Yeah," the dude replied.
Random Notebook Dump: At 9:20 p.m. the temperature outside of the main stage was 85 degrees. Lords only knows ho much hotter it was inside, before the band Murder Construct went onstage. "Hell Yes!" yelled drummer Danny Walker when the bright lights finally went off for the band's set.