Band: D.R.E.A.D., Dark Star Coven, Oracle, Hot Graves
Date: Saturday, Oct. 19, at 9 p.m.
Venue: Alabama Music Box, 12 S. Conception St., alabamamusicbox.com
Tickets: $10 at the door
A conglomerate of metal bands from across the region are coming together at the Alabama Music Box for a very special event. The Gulf Coast Metal Alliance (GCMA) and DeltaSwamp Productions will be giving the crowd an evening full of thrash, doom, death and sludge metal styles.
In addition to Dark Star Coven, this lineup will feature Gainesville, Fla.’s Hot Graves and its chaotic mix of thrash and death metal. Mobile-based metal band Oracle will bring measure of vehement guitar riffs in between roaring vocals and breakdowns. Longtime Azalea City metal band D.R.E.A.D. will also be performing. In addition to the musical aspect of the evening, this show will be a reception celebrating the wedding of Dark Star Coven frontman Shane Reneaux and his new bride, Whitney.
“We might pull out a cover tune or two to play for him and his old lady,” said D.R.E.A.D. frontman Jason Few. We’re definitely going to smear some cake into their faces. Otherwise, I have no idea, other than making sure they are very appreciated, which they are.”
Even though this group pulls from the classic days of thrash, D.R.E.A.D. could be one of the longest-running original metal outfits in the Azalea City music scene. Few says the band’s loyal fan base and passion for music is what has given this band its longevity. A familiar face in the local metal scene since 1989, Few says the local metal scene is more vibrant than it has been in years.
“I think that it is stronger than it has been in many years, and it has undergone a unity that I haven’t seen since I was a young teenager,” Few said.
One reason that the metal scene is flourishing could be the creation of GCMA. Few is a founding member of this union of metal bands from states along the Gulf Coast. In fact, D.R.E.A.D. is known as one of “The First Five” that conceived ideologies upon which GCMA was founded. The First Five are the five original bands that joined together to create this network. Few says The First Five’s vision for GCMA began with a show at a venue near Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
The lineup for the evening included D.R.E.A.D. (Alabama), Dark Star Coven (Florida), Killhammer (Mississippi), Omen of Ruin (Louisiana) and Grimwär (Florida). The promoters billed this show as the “Gulf Coast Metal Alliance” because of the geographic spread of the featured bands. After the show, a representative from each band began discussing the benefits to forming a union of metal bands from across the Southeast. A year later, Few says he and Kerry Thibodaux (Killhammer) revisited the idea. With a number of complications plaguing the Southeastern metal scene as a whole, the two decided it was time to make GCMA a reality.
“There was a bunch of different drama and segregation across the board,” Few said. “We figured one way to eliminate that is to bring everybody under one umbrella, and that is that we play music.”
Whether you are a band or a supporter, the first step in joining GCMA is to “patch in.” As far as bands joining the ranks of GCMA, Few says they must first reach out to a GCMA band or one of the group’s state representatives. After a band shows interest, a show will be put together for the patching in. Before the madness ensues, Few says they will have a patch-in ceremony where bands will receive their GCMA patch.
“It’s not just another patch for your vest,” said Few.
The patch opens the door for a list of benefits for being a member of GCMA. First, the vast network of 25 bands across the Southeast means there are a plethora of bands from which to get assistance on a number of levels. Scheduling out-of-town shows are a little less tedious than not belonging to GCMA. Not only is it easier to find shows in cities across the Southeast, few says GCMA bands also look out for members while they are performing in a city that is not their own. Whether it is lodging or food that guest bands require, Few says GCMA provides “a shoulder to lean on.” While these are very noble actions, Few says GCMA has not gone without complications, especially when it comes to how the group is perceived.
“We try to make people understand that we are not a gang,” Few said. “We are merely a club that supports heavy music of all types through brotherhood and unity. We also want the other brothers to understand that there are many, many benefits to patching into the alliance.”
Since the formation of GCMA, Few says there are 25 bands and 100 “support members” who belong to GCMA, and the lineup is growing. Currently, GCMA is working to form a Texas chapter. He also says there is a Georgia chapter in the works as well. However, he says forming the Georgia chapter has been a little more challenging than other locations.
“Georgia is kinda finicky,” Few said. “They have other clubs going on that don’t approve of what we’re doing. We don’t care. We’re across the table friendly. So, we’ve worked around it.”
The next patch-in ceremony will take place at a Florida venue. Few says this round will feature a Florida band and a Mississippi band joining GCMA’s ranks. As far as the future, Few says “the sky is the limit.” He adds that there are a number of bands and support members constantly asking how to join GCMA. Overall, Few cannot help but be proud of how this vision has become an epic reality.
“I helped get this up off the ground,” he said. “It took the effort of myself as well as other true supporters to the scene. I would’ve never guessed that it would’ve grown into something as big as it has.”
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