EPIC FEST—Hyped up for months by Facebook posts and street rumors, the show strove to revitalize metal at the Women’s Center by featuring not one or two, but THIRTEEN metal bands to play over Labor Day weekend. Culminating in seven straight hours of brutality, the fest brought a lineup of the heaviest hitters Chico has to offer. The guest list included A Holy Ghost Revival, Abberance, Armed For Apocalypse, Astronaut, Blood Cabana, Cold Blue Mountain, Fallon, Into The Open Earth, Io Torus, Sorin, Taunis Year One, Teeph, and Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy. The collection covered a nice slice of the metal spectrum. I’ll admit, I first expected 7 hours of doom, but the show was surprisingly upbeat. There was enough noise to melt the face off a gargoyle. No one was prepared for what ensued. And with a sonic boom, it began.

Blood Cabana opened on the main stage. The young boys were the perfect sacrifice to the metal gods. They’re a talented group of kids, and their music sure is heavy. A perfect start for the festivities. Blood Cabana warmed the crowd up, and slowly got people getting down. Their quick tempo licks, brutal riffs, and sludgy breakdowns blended into a death metal smoothie with extra kick to the face. Almost like something you would find in Satan’s Tropical Cabana bar. Refreshing, yet deadly.

It was a great idea to have a floor stage along with the main stage. Saved a bunch of transition time that was wisely used for rocking out instead. Between sets, if you didn’t want to go have a drink in the beer garden, you could simply turn around, and the next band would start!

Minutes after Blood Cabana finished, Teeph took the floor of the Center. If you’ve never heard Teeph before, go find a microphone, put it into an empty can, and toss the whole thing into a blender. Then hit the ‘crush’ button at odd rhythmic intervals, and listen carefully. Alternatively, you can also check out, where their newest EP Vitenamaste is available to download. These master metalsmiths create a sound that is sludgy, upbeat, crushing, airy, spastic, and heavy all at the same time. If you missed their Epic Fest set, definitely check ‘em out sometime.

Abberance held it down for the fellow metalheads up in Paradise. They opened their set by saying “We’re loud and obnoxious…” and they meant it. A wall of feedback exploded into chugging riffs and vicious snarling vocals. Their breakdowns were grave-diggingly sludgy. Earlier, Abberance said they had “FREE COFFINS FOR EVERYONE!” so it was no surprise they tried to kill everyone via inner-ear hemorrhage.

Taunis Year One has certainly evolved since the last time I saw them. Now with new dual vocal action, the band was ready to tear it up. Even with the new change, Taunis Year One was fluid, seamlessly transitioning between lightning-fast gliding melodies, and jaw-dropping chugging breakdowns. They are easily the auditory equivalent of getting beaten with a baseball bat for hours on end.

Next up on the main stage was Io Torus. If there are two things these pro(g)digies love, it’s dissonant chords and math. Not to mention the sweeping guitar lines, eerie breakdowns, intricate timings, and songs that go on forever. Still have that blender out? Toss your graphing calculator into it this time and drink up. There’s still eight bands to go.

After Io Torus finished, Astronaut flew in from their latest space mission and crashed right onto the floor stage. And Holy Shit! They blew me away! I was expecting super sludgy space rock or some shit, but they were super down-to-Earth extremely brutal! Ultra fast speed metal jaggedly paired with offbeat breakdowns and quirky interludes.

Turn around and there was Fallon—metal trailblazers of the north. For twenty five or some odd years these cats have been tearing through guitars like it was nothing! Straight. Heavy. Metal. No chaser. Blazing riffs, wailing guitars, thudding bass and steadfast drums crushed the audience. Hope everyone took great notes, ‘cuz that’s how it’s done.

Keeping the pace was Into The Open Earth. These guys rocked the house with driving metal right into that gaping hole where your face used to be. For just three members, they ripped it apart, buried it, and dug it up again.

While Into The Open Earth is a hard act to follow, Cold Blue Mountain did it effortlessly. Their chilling use of space between crushing riffs and intense breakdowns sends shivers down my spine with each set. Back with a vengeance after the release of their self-titled EP and their singer’s stint on The Amazing Race, “rusty” is obviously not in their vocabulary. Breaking out new songs and old favorites, Cold Blue Mountain obliterated both the stage and the crowd.

Touch Fuzzy Get Dizzy shook the entire building. Both inside and outside were loud and shaking to the bizarre mix of doom and pop. Some parts were sludgy, others upbeat and fast. Despite my confusion, I enjoyed their set. I definitely left the room dizzy.

A Holy Ghost Revival was the only band I saw that had a keyboard, which isn’t surprising for metal. But what was surprising was the fact you could hear the damn thing! It tied the entire sound together by creating eerie dissonance alongside the band’s brutal riffs. Their singer had great energy, constantly pumping up the crowd between deep screams.

Sorin shut the floor stage down as the night vamped to a climax. They packed more music into their set than anyone, and still managed to only play a handful of songs. Their energy carried out into the crowd as members jumped back and forth from the pit.

A band that is ever evolving, Armed For Apocalypse, displayed their latest efforts at grinding faces to a pulp. Made up of nearly all new material, Armed For Apocalypse’s set was an epic conclusion to an epic show. They gracefully slayed everyone who made it through the night.

The videos don’t do it justice. The pictures only capture moments. Without a doubt, Epic fest was… Well, I don’t even need to say it. You know.

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Tommy Diestel can't remember life without music and writing. He began writing for the Synthesis at the ripe age of 19, and aspires to be a life-long writer.