Last year’s inaugural Bull City Metal Fest saw sets by some of the best heavy music in the Triangle, from Jenks Miller’s widely praised brainchild Horseback to blues-metal blacksmiths Caltrop. The second is now scheduled to happen Feb. 3-4 at Durham’s Casbah, and it promises a continuation of this theme. With such diverse bands aboard as Braveyoung and The Body (hard to list them separately, considering 2011’s excellent split), Asheville’s Shadow of the Destroyer and Bitter Resolve, there’s little pattern beyond this: It’s heavy, it’s good and it’s all on the same weekend.
“I tend to always define things more liberally, and I think it’s one of the highlights of not only the fest, but our local metal scene,” says Steve Gardner, fest organizer and Casbah talent buyer. And while this inclusive approach may have cost him the participation of a certain death metal band (they only play with bands of the same sub-genre), he’s happy that he can showcase exciting, ever-splintering niches within the heavy music world.
“Other regions in the country are known for specific types of metal,” he says, mentioning Savannah’s long history with sludge. He says the Triangle, as a relative newcomer to the heavy game, hasn’t yet crystallized to this degree. As such, there’s enough variety to keep metalheads interested, but it’s not so specialized or compartmentalized as to scare off curious newcomers. With only two repeat acts (MAKE and Hog), the upped ante of headliners Black Tusk and the aforementioned Braveyoung/The Body pairing and more bands to be announced, this already sounds like a good excuse to grab your earplugs and head for Durham.