As metalheads around Houston gather their strength for headbanging and moshing on Saturday at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival over at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Houston's own metal scene is amping up for an epic battle of the bands.
Tonight at Walters, ten local bands will go head to head for the once-in-a-career opportunity to open up Mayhem Fest on the Sumerian Records stage. Sumerian has been running these contests city to city, and personally judging the sets, giving one lucky winner a chance to garner some major exposure and the street cred that comes with performing on the same bill as headliners like Rob Zombie and Five Finger Death Punch.
For $12 at the door, you'll have the chance to see each band strut their stuff for 15-minute sets, but if you'd like to try before you buy, we put together a preview of each of these Houston natives and their slamming sounds.
Desecrate the Faith Desecrate the Faith is a five piece technical death-metal band who describe themselves as a "unique fusion of technicality, brutality, slam and core." Their YouTube videos are incomprehensibly poorly recorded, but they have some relatively high quality demos on ReverbNation.
Messier Messier (pronounced "mes-ee-ay") doesn't have any live videos that I can find, but they do have some nice recordings on their Facebook page which showcase some impressive technical instrumental capabilities, and a very progressive sound.
Shadows Before Us Shadows Before Us' self-proclaimed goal is to "revitalize the metal scene" in Houston, and make a strong case for themselves with "Truth Be Told," their first single on YouTube which features the "heavy-verse/soft chorus" format that is the seemingly guaranteed formula for success.
Gods of Death Screw One of Houston's more interesting metal bands, these guys don't scrimp on the brutality, but they seem to have a good sense of humor as well, mixing in lyrical and musical references to the Houston rap scene's well-known penchant for drank and the legendary Screwed Up Click.
Nine Minutes Nine Minutes decided to forego simply showing us some lip-syncing and playing a recording for their EP preview, allowing us instead to get a feel for their live sound in this promotional clip. Their energy makes a strong case for how well they might do in tonight's battle.
Dysmetria Maybe the most brutal death metal band on the list, Dysmetria has little use for melody or choruses like others here, instead focusing on pure metal. These guys are practically grindcore, but that suits me fine.
Kleos Describing themselves as "progressive melodic death metal," Kleos shows off all those aspects pretty well in this live video at the Mink from last year. I imagine their playing is even tighter given the year of practice.
In Exile One of the best produced bands on the line-up, In Exile clearly knew what they were doing with their recording and sounds leagues above. How well they can pull this brand of technical death metal off live will be the ultimate decider though. One thing's for sure, they fit the Sumerian Records mold, and that may be to their advantage.
Man Meets Fate Man Meets Fate makes their case by presenting a live video from 2011, opening with a flawless guitar-shredding rendition of "Carol of the Bells." Honestly, this could win them the whole thing if we were closer to December.
An Oath of Misdirection An Oath of Misdirection is the last band to play, which gives them the most coveted slot on the bill. Their professionally produced and utterly crushing single "Antihero" most likely cemented their place on the bill, and I admit it impresses me. But will their live show impress the Sumerian judges, or will they be upstaged earlier in the night?
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The Battle for Mayhem Fest starts at 6 p.m. at Walters, 1120 Naylor, and costs $12 at the door.