Southwest Terror Fest Brings Extreme Metal to Arizona

Categories: This Weekend

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Southwest Terror Fest is Arizona's DIY extreme metal festival.
There are very few legitimate extreme metal festivals in the United States; typically fans have to head overseas to events like England's Damnation Festival, Netherland's Eindhoven Metal Meeting, or France's Hellfest to get their fix. However, in the past couple years we've slowly gained some speed. Maryland's Death Fest has been shredding the scene for more than a decade, and Phil Anselmo's Housecore Horror Fest in Austin, which is all about underground metal and horror films, comes later this month.

Now Arizona has entered the frontier, hosting the DIY, booked-by-musicians-for-musicians Southwest Terror Fest right in our rattlesnake-filled, heavy metal-loving backyard.

Organized and hosted entirely by Tucson band members--Godhunter guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers, Great American Tragedy bassist Larry Horvath, and Diseased Reason guitarist Dave Carroll--Southwest Terror Fest 2013: Year of the Snake may have a long way before it becomes the West Coast's answer to Maryland Death Fest.

But after the festival's crushingly successful debut last year, it's clear that this event is bringing a one-of-a-kind, much-need extreme underground music gathering to the Southwestern quadrant of America. It's all ages and inexpensive, too--a ticket for the event, which takes place October 10-13 at The Rock, only costs $55.

"Metal and hardcore have always been more underground, so it needs more of a push to get that broader appeal," explains founder/musician David Rodgers. "So it was easy for me to direct my passion in that direction. I actually like all kinds of music--I mean, my favorite band is Radiohead--but a lot of music is already popular and doesn't need help, so to speak. I've lived in Tucson since 2006, and that's where my band Godhunter started. I guess it's a hobby, because you don't make a living off of it, but I love it. I can't think of doing anything better with my time."

The organizing founders/musicians knew from the start that creating a death metal music festival was going to be quite the undertaking. The idea for an Arizona extreme metal festival was born--"as I'm sure many great ideas in history probably come from," Rodgers laughs--one drunken night a few years back. It was right before Maryland Death Fest and right after L.A.'s MurderFest ended its run. After a night of beers and throwing around ideas, they woke up the next morning and decided to actually go for it.

The three founders had never been on a festival before, let alone organized one, so they brought on their friend Ryan Avery, who runs the kick-ass Los Angeles DIY metal booking agency Ear/Splitters, to help with a lot of the logistics, themes, and scheduling.

The debut was a crushing success, so much so that it has expanded to four days this year.

"The bigger this gets, the more of a pain in the ass it is," admits Rodgers. "But I love it."

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