The Deep Ellum Metal Festival continued on Saturday and the number of great performances was staggering. The buzz that filled the air on Friday carried over and the bands and venues were firing on all cylinders as fans wandered from one stage to the next.
Shattered Sun, from Alice, Texas, played an absolutely brutal set. Vocalist Marcos Leal, with an intimidating presence, led the charge by engaging with the crowd and belting out the songs like his life depended on it. All around, the band was spot-on in their execution, as evidenced by the raucous mosh-pit they induced at the Curtain Club. Over at Reno’s Skull Archer and Electric Vengeance played inspired sets. Skull Archer’s energy was high as they approached their set like a bar room brawl. Electric Vengeance was one of the most fun sets of the weekend. They sound like the second coming of D.R.I. with their brand of thrash/punk that you think you’ve got figured out until they pull out something unexpected that shows their influences run deeper than your first impression.
Los Angeles’ Act of Defiance, featuring Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover (ex-Megadeth), Henry Derek (ex-Scar the Martyr), and Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall), were the big national touring act who headlined at the Curtain Club. It was only two songs into the set when Drover busted his bass drum, but after a 5 or 10 minute equipment change, the band returned and continued their set in full force. Broderick’s guitar playing was pure fire as the band ripped through songs off their albums Birth and the Burial and last years Old Scars, New Wounds. The band was tight and showed exactly why they’ve been successful since moving on from their previous bands.
The evening closed out over at Reno’s with great sets from silvertonguedevil and the return of Exploder. Silvertonguedevil brought a ton of energy to their set and were unequivocally a crowd favorite. Frontman Craig Meinhart led the band through a potent set that seemed to fly by in a minute. Indeed, the band could’ve played another half a dozen songs and no one would’ve complained. Exploder marked the occasion with the release of their new album Demolition. Playing tracks from the new album, as well as past material, the room seemed on the verge of combustion. The band was completely locked-in on their mission to destroy everyone’s eardrums. Vocalist/bassist Brandon Chandler held down the low end, while simultaneously spitting venom, and guitarists Jacob Slatouski and Carlos Avila traded off solos and leads with razor-sharp precision. This was the bands big return since the untimely passing of Joshua Castilleja, and needless to say, it was emotional for everyone on hand. They did their brother proud by delivering a killer set.
In its fourth year, the Deep Ellum Metal Festival was again a huge success. The venues were great, the bands even better, and the crowds that gathered were duly rewarded for their loyalty to the local metal scene. Check out our gallery below with photos of Act of Defiance, Astyanax, Black Chamber, Blackstone, Bloodletter, Electric Vengeance, Exploder, Marked in Blood, MetalEd, Rabid Flesh Eaters, Shattered Sun, Silvertonguedevils, Skull Archer, and Sylo.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Brently Kirksey & DeLisa McMurray (photos).
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