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Panel Premieres Dio Charity Tribute Album, Iron Reagan, Ringworm and Whores Rock MetalSucks Showcase

Friday, March 14, 2014, my third day attending SXSW music festivities, started just after 3 pm. This event was my only excursion outside of live music. Members of Landshark Promotions and DJ Chuck Loesch of 101X "No Control Radio" premiered a CD of the Ronnie James Dio tribute album "This Is Your Life." The three-person panel presented each track from the forthcoming recording featuring an all-star lineup of modern and classic metal artists. It felt good singing along to these majestic reworkings done in the name of charity. 100% of the proceeds will go towards Wendy Dio's "Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund" .

The panel spoke about each track between songs and asked the crowd trivia questions. MU classic/power metal aficionado CromCarl would have needed a wagon to carry all his winnings! The panel presented nice gift bags filled with all sorts of killer swag such as Elf records. The best prize came at the end of the listening party when one lucky fan won two-tickets to the "Yes Cruise" featuring Yes and Queensryche.

I missed "Neon Nights" by Anthrax and caught the last few chords in Tenacious D's revision of "The Last in Line." Adrenalin Mob performed a track befitting their name, "The Mob Rules." Russel Allen has always possessed Dio-like qualities in his voice, so this track worked perfectly. Slipknot and Halestorm fans were not in attendance, but Corey Taylor's "Rainbow in the Dark" and Halestorm's "Straight Through the Heart" proved excellent tributes.

Other highlights include “The Temple of The King” (Scorpions), “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” (Doro) and “Catch The Rainbow” (Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren). Metallica stayed the closest to their own formula on the eight-minute ode, "Ronnie Rising." Their accelerated chunks of “A Light In The Black,” “Tarot Woman,” “Stargazer,” “Kill The King" in step with modern-tallica, which added a few pounds to vintage tunes. Make sure to grab a copy of the album when it retails on April 1st via Rhino.

All I had to do was walk across the street to arrive at my next destination, Dirty Dog Bar. On Wednesday, I came here for the Relapse Records showcase. Tonight, I caught Metalsucks' annual metallic shindig. New Jersey's East Of The Wall took the stage first. This was an one-off show from its five-week tour with Diamond Plate. The Jersey act produced a dynamic set of sounds from " Redaction Artifacts" with a strong taste of contemporary Mastodon. Guitarist Greg Kuter sang all clean vocals, while bassist Chris Alfano screamed heavy parts.

Whores lack a commercially viable name, which doesn't really matter because the noisy, down tempo music the group creates isn't for the masses. Armed with a new track from their split with Rabbits and second full-length "Clean," Whores was another highlight in the doom factions that clutched this year's festival. The power trio separated itself from this faction through its punk approach and vocal hooks. This sole performance was one of the best surprises found on SXSW 2014 metal showcases.

Mutoid Man was one of the more eccentric bands of the bill. They played a set of blistering, meandering rhythms with didn't lose steam. It was as they were charged by a battery with jumper cables that didn't come off until the end of their performance. Some parts were easier to follow than others, while other parts were absolutely face melting. Still, there were mid-neck guitar parts owing to indie rock that completely lost my attention.

Iron Reagan always receives a warm welcome in Austin, as I'm sure they do elsewhere. Just the fact that the group contains two members of Municipal Waste, arguably the most important band in the new wave of thrash metal, makes people take notice. Not long after noticing, it doesn't take time for someone to start moving in the pit. Phil "Landphil" Hall brings to the group more death metal guitar licks, but don't expect Tony Foresta to growl in the mic. As if George Romero hopped on a skateboard, Foresta's machine-gun vocal style applied to Cannibal Corpse's classic "Skull Full of Maggots" gives a new meaning to "crossover."

Ringworm and After The Burial initiated a double dose of metalcore from different eras. Ringworm represents the second wave of metalcore from the '90s, while After The Burial wears the new face of metalcore built in the 2000s. Ringworm possessed flushed faced, boot-stomping anger, while After The Burial focused more on finesse. I only caught a couple of songs from After The Burial because I stepped outside to interview "Human Furnace" of Ringworm. Both bands possessed swagger that put the crowd into motion.

One gripe from SX metal heads this year is the lack of headliners. Animals As Leaders is still a young band, but their stock is rising fast. They've put their own brand on the down-tuned, complex rhythms of Meshuggah, resulting in a tornado of jazzy rhythms and hopping, 8-string notes. A drunk youngster stood next to me yelling his devotion to the group. I didn't share his fervor. Sure, Tosin Abasi and cast played brilliantly. The band has no shortage of talent. However, I lost my attention after a couple of tracks due to the lack of vocals and constant guitar wankery. I'll defer this band to guitar teachers.

Visit MU in the coming days to read my final report from SXSW on a stoner/doom show at Red Eyed Fly featuring Spirit Caravan. Also, keep an eye out for my interview with Human Furnace of Ringworm.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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