DALLAS METAL SCENE’S 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY: War Ensemble, Protozoid, Cropdust, Empty Shell, & Beer Break – 4/20/18 @ Reno’s

All the usual suspects were gathered at Reno’s last night to celebrate the five year anniversary of Dallas Metal Scene (DMS). Founded by Joseph Cabrera to help promote and build the local metal scene, DMS works tirelessly with local venues, promoters, and bands to keep the scene alive and kicking. Their annual Deep Ellum Metal Fest has been a huge success, but the countless shows they have put together over the last five years have been critical in developing the scene, not only among the bands, but also among the fans who show up and support the music they love. Indeed, those who turn up on weeknights, weekends, and all the special occasions have become a close knit family. And without that crucial component the “scene” wouldn’t exist.

Beer Break went on at 8:30 and there was a healthy crowd already gathered and ready to celebrate. Over the following 30 minutes, the band warmed up the crowd, encouraged the consumption of beer, and delivered the metal. Maybe it was the occasion, maybe because it was 4/20, or maybe something was just in the air, but the crowd was ready to let off some steam and mosh their asses off. Grind metal specialists Empty Shell followed with an ass kicking set of their own. As their guitarists traded off licks and solos, the rhythm section pummeling away, and the vocalist growling and screaming relentlessly, the crowd only became more charged the deeper into the set they went. Protozoid followed for what was their Dallas farewell show. Unfortunately, the band is going on an indefinite hiatus, but they did their fans right by playing their guts out one “final” time. Dynamic and powerful, Protozoid is one of the top metal bands in the scene and last night they showed exactly why they’ve earned a rabid following. They will be missed.

Cropdust followed with an exceptionally brutal set. We’ve covered the band a couple of times this year, but last night – for whatever reason – they seemed better than ever. The band excels in putting on a performance that makes you think at any minute chaos could ensue. The band just released an EP, Purple Sabbath Diesel, that we recommend your punk ass buy now. Near the end of the bands set, Joseph Cabrera took the stage for special announcement. Sadly, this announcement was that he was retiring from the Dallas Metal Scene organization he created. The crowd was in disbelief. But, as he explained it, he accomplished his mission of developing the scene and was now at a point where he could hand over the reigns and enjoy it as a spectator like the rest of us. Thanks for all your hard work, Mr. Cabrera. You’ve created a beautiful community of metalheads that will continue to grow in your absence.

Sometime after midnight, War Ensemble took the stage to throw fucking Slayer down everyone’s throats. More than just a cover band, War Ensemble is made up of members of Chemicaust and Protest, so these aren’t just some random dudes playing their favorite Slayer songs. War Ensemble honors Slayer’s legacy in the highest way you can, short of carving the bands name into your arm with a razor blade. As they worked their way through disc one of Slayers monumental live album Decade of Aggression, the band and the crowd became one. A testament to the evenings celebration of the Dallas Metal Scene, everyone – crowd and band – were having a blast. It is this camaraderie that makes the scene so special and worth celebrating. Here’s to five more years!

– J. Kevin Lynch (words); DeLisa McMurray (photos)

– click photo to enlarge –


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