Most music festivals announce their musical headliners first. Not the Housecore Horror Film Festival, which just released a list of 18 heavy-beyond-heavy opening acts, plus an astounding special guest: Randy Blythe from Lamb of God.
Blythe's appearance as MC and speaker is a major coup for the festival, running Oct. 23-26 at Emo's. The vocalist became an unexpected figure in the news after being falsely accused of manslaughter after a fan died at a Lamb of God show in the Czech Republic. That tragic series of events chronicled in the documentary As the Palaces Burn (which we can confirm will be screening during the festival) and his upcoming book Dark Days. He's still had time to work on music, including collaborating on Teenage Time Killers, the punk supergroup featuring Dave Grohl, Keith Morris (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Jello Biafra, Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity), Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) and pretty much every heavy musician ever. He's also composing a ballet with Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick.
But it's not just talking about music. Last month, the combination horror/metal festival announced it would be the site of the official 40th anniversary The Texas Chain Saw massacre reunion, and now it has announced the first round of bands. Here they are in full:
Satyricon: Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Dark Medieval Times, the Norwegian death metal legends are personal favorites of festival founder Phil Anselmo, having supported his old band Pantera in 2000 on the Re-Inventing the Steel tour.
Eyehategod: More close friends of Anselmo. The NOLA sludge punk pioneers played a tribute set to lost drummer Joey LaCaze, with Melvins’ skinsman Dale Crover filling in. Now they’re back with Mountain of Wizard’s Aaron Hill as LaCaze’s permanent successor.
Warbeast Returning after HHFF 2013, the DFW thrash all-stars were one of Anselmo’s Housecore Records’ first signings and a top priority ever since 2011 blaster Krush the Enemy.
Author & Punisher: One man sonic reducer Tristan Shone toured with Anselmo’s Down this year. While his home-welded keyboards and samplers may not be the traditional metal tools, his Godflesh-via-Nile assaults prove deafeningly heavy. Shone will also be providing the live score to the festival’s film awards, the Rot-Scars.
Wizards of Gore: Last month, Down played Austin as part of a fundraiser for Rock the Heart, a new cardiac disease non-profit founded in memory of the late, great Mike Scaccia (Rigor Mortis, Ministry.) The departed guitarist’s former Rigor Mortis bandmates and friends played a tribute set as the Scaccianators, and now return under this new nom de guerre.
Krigblast: D.R.I. drummer Felix Griffin ran into Anselmo’s fellow festival founder Corey Mitchell outside of that same Down show, and mentioned he had a side project going with Stza Crack from local maniacs Leftover Crack. Now they’re on the bill as the first Austin wrecking crew.
Evil United: Looks like they’re not alone for long. Local metal legend Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth and Watchtower brings his other other other band, his flying-V thrash ensemble with their 2011 eponymous release.
Macabre: Grindcore, straight from the midwest. Chicago's answer to Japanese serial killer obsessives Church of Misery.
Cattle Decapitation: Determined eco-controversialists, and PETA’s favorite deathcore combo.
Unearth: Another band celebrating an anniversary. The Massachusetts metalcore crew recently toured Europe and Canada after a decade of The Oncoming Storm, and are working on new material.
Portal: Australian extremists who push metal to its most radical outer limits, with their own bleak and sinister iconography replete with Chthulhu references and bizarre ceremonial stage gear.
Ringworm: Cleveland hardcore, touring with their latest from Relapse Records, Hammer of the Witch.
KEN mode: Canada’s clinical metal geniuses, perched between the post-rock of Pelican and the bruising brutality of Tombs.
Archspire: More precise death out of Canada, with merciless rat-a-tat accuracy.
SubRosa: Experimental sludge rock out of Salt Lake City, dabbling in pagan rock and scouring soundscapes.
Acid Witch: Detroit’s self-proclaimed kings of Halloween metal, all crunchy riffs, gravelly vocals, and stoner rock swing.
Witchburn: Classic doom rock out of Seattle, picking up sludgy fascination for “Der Hexenheimer” from last year's Bathed in Blood.
Fulgora: Grind/hardcore featuring Pig Destroyer/Misery Index drummer Adam Jarvis.
And this is just the first round for the true believers. Mitchell and Anselmo have still to unleash the rest of the roster, including the actual headliners, plus a lot more film titles. We’ll be first on the battleground with that news when it’s released.
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