August 17, 2008

Shred Fest Enjoys Doing Something Different

By Ron Gonzales For the Journal

As much as metal music is enjoying unprecedented popularity, there seems to be a good amount of filler on the scene. It's for this reason that Joe Hernandez hatched the idea of Shred Fest, a showcase of bands that he says take a little extra care to create something different.

"There's a lot of bands that seem to be rehashing the same riffs over and over," he told the Journal. "So we wanted to get the best technical bands in the state in here and let them show off their skills."

Santa Fe's Fields of Elysium leads the charge, along with Hernandez's band Victimas. Upon listening to the former's new album, "Unraveling Arcane Dynamics" (Dead World Syndicate Records), it's apparent that Fields of Elysium is a good fit for the Shred Fest bill.

The band features blistering guitar runs from guitarists Quantah Lee and Omar Perez, and bassist Andre Lamoreux, that surely require every available finger, and the blistering drumming of Gerald Roybal, all of which conjures an unsettling sound.

Pure jazz breaks give the listener a bit of respite, but soon, the roller coaster begins again, continuing the trip toward a frightening tunnel of flying metal.

Lee said that when he's asked to describe his band's sound, it's an understandably difficult endeavor.

"I generally tell them that we play progressive metal," Lee told the Journal. "There's jazz, there's death metal, a little of everything, and we just combine it all into one."

The group of mostly 18 year olds -- Roybal is the oldest at 19 -- first cut its teeth on Metallica covers. Soon, members realized they would rather take the metal road not well traveled and they set about to create an atypical sound. While the band has had the benefit of logging plenty of shows to help hone its craft, Lee said his band's musical indulgence elicits a fair share of dropped jaws from today's young showgoers.

"I don't know that many people like us," he said with a laugh. "We've gotten a truckload of comments, good comments, but we've played for a lot of scene kids too, and we get the 'you suck' kind of thing from them. But that's just a matter of taste. If scene kids don't like us we must be doing something right."

Victimas, too, has readied its new album, "Merciless Obliteration of a Vile Existence," and Hernandez said both that album and "Unraveling Arcane Dynamics" will be released on the same day, possibly before the end of August.

Saturday's Shred Fest bill also features Texas' Horde Casket, Manias, Vale of Miscreation and Vetalas.

Shred Fest

With Fields of Elysium, Victimas and other bands

WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16

WHERE: The Compound, 3206 San Mateo NE, just north of Candelaria

HOW MUCH: Tickets for the all ages show are $10 at the door

(c) 2008 Albuquerque Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.