Hit the lights!

Suffocation, Into Eternity headline as eleventh annual Manitoba Metalfest takes over the Zoo

Formed in 1989 in Long Island, New York, Suffocation is known for laying the groundwork for death metal in the ‘90s. “They’ve been a huge influence on me and a lot of the bands that are playing (Manitoba Metalfest),” says festival organizer Cory Thomas. Supplied

No life til leather - they’re gonna kick some ass this weekend.

Brutal death metal pioneers Suffocation, progressive thrash metal five-piece Into Eternity and a host of other fast-riffin’, head-bangin’ metal acts will take over the Zoo on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25 as part of the eleventh annual Manitoba Metalfest.

“I love the music,” Winnipeg metal promoter, festival co-founder and Putrescence drummer Cory Thomas says of why he keeps organizing the festival year after year.

“I like seeing the crowd all happy (when we) bring in bands that they never really get to see that don’t tour that much out here,” the 31-year-old continues, citing Sacrifice and Razor as examples.

This year, Suffocation is one of those bands.

“This is an exclusive fly-in - they’re not touring,” Thomas says. “We try to make the festival special each year … to keep our scene thriving, and to get (Winnipeg) bands more exposure.”

For Thomas, booking Suffocation is a dream come true.

“They’re pioneers of death metal - I love that band. I’ve always wanted to do a show for Suffocation. They’ve been a huge influence on me and a lot of the bands that are playing.”

Into Eternity’s appearance at the festival this year is also special, as it will be the acclaimed Regina band’s first show with new singer, Amanda Kiernan (see article below).

But Thomas is just as excited about the other bands playing the festival as he is about the big-name headliners.

“Untimely Demise is from Saskatoon and they’re a hardworking band. They’ve really got a buzz going. I’ve done a few shows for them over the past couple years, and I knew if I slapped them on the fest in front of a huge crowd, they’re just going to steal the show so hard. Their album just got mixed by Glen Drover from Megadeth, so there are really good things on the horizon for those guys.”

Local bands on the bill include Legion of Liquor, Annex Theory, Dissolution, Alphakill, Hoarfrost and Abhorupt, who won their spot in the festival during a battle of the bands contest.

“They’ve got a huge buzz going and they’re young kids,” Thomas says of Abhorupt. “They’re 18 and they’re already shredders. I couldn’t play like that when I was 18!

“It’s a really well-rounded line-up. I like that we have a lot of new bands from the scene, and some bands that have been around for a few years that already seem like veterans because they work so hard and play all the time.”

So if you’ve got the metal madness, head to the Zoo this weekend.

“It’s insane - it’s come so far,” Thomas says of Winnipeg’s metal community. “We have one of the best scenes in Canada. I’ve toured across Canada with a bunch of bands, and we’re super fortunate in Winnipeg that we have the support we have, the diversity we have and the quality of metal that we have.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 22, 2012)

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