The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday May 26th


Metal fest in Durham bolsters Triangle metal

The third annual Bull City Metal Fest is returning to Durham at Casbah this weekend with two nights of heavy metal music.

The lineup includes returning bands such as Caltrop, Hog and Colossus and festival first-timers like Weedeater, Solar Halos and Dawnbringer. Electric guitars will be plugged in, amps will be maxed out and the streets will rumble.

Most of the bands are from North Carolina, particularly from the Triangle area, but a few out-of-state bands add some geographical variety to the local scene. The lineups represent a variety of heavy music and metal subgenres.

“We’ve got doom, technical death metal, elements of black metal, grindcore; sludgier acts, psychedelic acts,” said Elysse Thebner, talent buyer at Casbah and UNC alumna.

Caltrop, a quartet from Chapel Hill, played in the first Metal Fest. The band has two brand new songs ready to test on Friday night’s audience as well as some material from the record released last April.

The band’s music is a long ride that goes from loud and heavy to soft and beautiful, said bassist Murat Dirlik.

“I think we offer more than just loud, cranked up guitars and anger, and just a standard riff fest,” Dirlik said.

Joining Caltrop on Friday night is Solar Halos, a Chapel Hill trio of local music veterans that makes an impression with guitarist and female lead singer Nora Rogers — a characteristic that will set it apart from the mostly male-dominated festival.

Bassist Eddie Sanchez said fans can look forward to “some jump scissor kick splits, duel synchronized hair twirls and possibly a blindfolded slap bass solo.”

The local heavy music scene is becoming more mainstream with the help of the Metal Fest and the success of local metal bands, Thebner said. She added that bands are “combining elements of metal with southern or psychedelic rock” and people have learned to appreciate the music on a deeper level.

Thebner added, “For better or worse, we’re seeing people from all walks of life and backgrounds in music take note of this type of music and realize how intricate the compositions can be, how meditative the music is and how freakishly talented the musicians are.”

The lineups bridge every sub-genre of metal and each band will be equally crushing, Rogers said.

“I think heavy music is very visceral, you can achieve that with volume, repetition and soul,” Rogers said. “But it needs to be mentally stimulating as well, something unexpected in rhythm, structure, instrumentation and lyrics.”

Employees and friends of Casbah were heavily involved in creating a “dream team” of bands to play this year, Thebner said. But the conversation extended to the local and regional music community to record labels, bloggers, bartenders and radio DJs.

“(The Metal Fest) is an awesome representation of where North Carolina is at musically,” Dirlik said. “I’m glad to have all the fellow brethren and ‘sisteren’ together.”

Contact the desk editor at

Time: 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1
Location: 1007 W. Main St., Durham

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