Caution: Contents very heavy
SUMMIT COUNTY – Stand in slightly bent position with one foot forward. Thrust head violently downward, as if breaking a stack of cinderblocks. Repeat with mounting sense of urgency.
Now you’re ready to attend tonight’s Keystone Metalfest, featuring three of Colorado’s top “nü metal” bands, which are breaking out of their regional seams like the Incredible Hulk from his street clothes. TriP CAGE, Tyfoid Mary and Brutal Affliction are not your parents’ heavy metal. Gone are the formulaic guitar solos, the party anthem choruses, and the assurances that rock “n’ roll ain’t noise pollution.
Nü metal, as the term implies, is a youthful and dynamic, intensely energetic style. The primal screams you’ve probably heard from passing car stereos only betray the music’s real complexity.
Rattling the cage
Lead vocalist Stone of TriPCage (tripcage.net) developed his particular roar by mimicking the sounds he heard in the fields of his native state, Kansas.
“You have to have the guts to do it,” he said of first trying out the scream. Now he mixes “in-your-face vocals” with sweeter, more melodious verses. “I write songs about the past, overcoming obstacles, things I wish I’d done differently.”
With the versatility of nü metal, expect to find sudden changes in tempo and mood – a chance to catch your breath and regain your balance – before being pulled back into its heavy sway.
“It’s an emotional thing. There’s more raw energy,” Stone said. “Each generation looks for something new. You’ve gotta have the “wow’ in life.”
He said the challenge is “learning how to find that thing which makes your music special.”
A feverish pace
Tyfoid Mary (tyfoidmary.com) continues the assault on the senses with a well-stocked and diverse arsenal of musical weapons the band has been building since band members moved to Denver from the Las Vegas area almost 10 years ago. The band’s physically imposing front man is Jerry Harper, whose vocal attack alternates between agitated rap, roar and melancholia like that of a man possessed, calm and malevolent by turns.
“He’s very versatile,” said Dugan Demongey, Tyfoid’s drummer. “He has a great sense of humor and stage presence. You can also understand his lyrics, which is important. And, he can sing like Vince when he needs to.”
Vince Stott, the original lead singer, died in a car accident after the release of Tyfoid’s first CD in 2001. After the loss, Jerry joined the band and they went on to record a second CD of original songs that kept the spirit of Tyfoid Mary alive.
With its diversity of musical styles, Dugan said Tyfoid Mary attracts fans who aren’t necessarily into heavy metal. “We’re not afraid to get moody and quiet, too.”
Parents, Brutal Infliction (brutalvoodoo.com) is the band you’ve always feared your children would listen to. A half-hour at the band’s Web site alone should leave any feeling person with the urge to hug his mother, revisit Scripture, and cozy up to Animal Planet with a sleeve of Ritz crackers.
A self-described “sadistic underground metal band,” Brutal Infliction is unyielding and unapologetic in its aggressive musical approach.
With such cheery numbers as “Suffocate the Dead” and “Death Season,” it’s a wonder Brutal Infliction doesn’t appear on any Faces of Death soundtracks. While some of the band’s themes are in bad taste, there is an element of Alice Cooper theatrics here that compares to the thrill of a horror movie or haunted house.
“Brutal shows are energetic, fulfilling, fun, loud and will capture the kid in you. We leave you begging for more,” said guitarist Dave Zaharia. “The girls are hot, too.” If you live near Keystone, you may want to secure loose overhead items and shoo small children and pets inside during this set.
The Keystone Metalfest concert is part of Music in the Mountains, a series that benefits music programs in the Summit County school district. The concert will take place tonight at the Park Lane Pavilion in River Run at Keystone from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $5.
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