Introduction

Following the success of the last year, Hell’s Heroes is back and ready to raise some hell! Texas’s biggest traditional metal festival features the cream of crop of The Lone Star State’s bands along with some of the most prominent names of the North American metal scene.

The Pre – Party takes place in Warehouse Live at the Studio Capacity stage on the 12th of April while the main event will be held at White Oak Music Hall (WOMH) upstairs and downstairs stage on the 13th of April.

Pre- Party: April 12

Location: Warehouse live/ Studio Capacity, Huston – 813 Saint Emanuel Street, Houston, Texas 77003 (located just three blocks from Minute Maid Park, one block from BBVA Compass Stadium and directly behind the George R. Brown Convention Center).

Scrollkeeper

(Authored by Eduardo)
Who’s Who: Based in Texas, Scrollkeeper is a young band that released their debut EP Path to Glory last year. With a nod to classic US power metal, twin guitar harmonies and melodic solos, Scrollkeeper have become one of the most promising bands of the Texan heavy metal scene.

Suggested Discography: As we mentioned early, they only have a debut EP so far so check it out!

Looking forward tο: Seeing this young band translate their promising music to the big stage.

Sleeping Ancient

Who’s Who:  Huston locals Sleeping Ancient play a creative amalgamation of post rock/metal, sludge and atmospheric black metal, with a bit of shoegaze, along with the use of electronic samples. Melancholic and withdrawn, Sleeping Ancient have a knack of creating dark and foreboding atmosphere, and it would be great to see them evolve when they will have more releases under their belt.

Suggested Discography: The 3 track EP titled The Last Seer was released in 2016 and its available through bandcamp.

Looking forward tο: See how the band performs in a big festival like Hell’s Heroes and how they will manage to replicate the EP’s atmosphere in a live show.

Amenra

Who’s Who: The Belgians who for the last 20 years of their discographical presence people try to fit them in a genre with absolutely no luck. Post metal/ sludge/ doom/ post hardcore and the rest of the genres fail to describe the essence of their music which is derived from a person’s most hidden feelings. Anger, despair, struggle, passion are better fitting interpretations of Amenra’s gloomy musical saga, which is empowered by Colin H. Van Eeckhout’s expressive vocals and Mathieu J. Vandekerckhove guitar playing.

Suggested Discography: Each of Amenra’s record tells a different story but Mass IIII is the story that is told more often.

Looking forward tο: To the very emotional performance that the band gives during “Razoreater”.

Yob

Who’s Who: YOB are Oregon’s signature doomsters who employ lots of stoner and sludge elements to their music in order to create their trademark gonzo and evocative “suffocating into darkness” feeling. Already into their 8th album, YOB are on same dark and path with fellow travellers Electric Wizard and Sleep, although surely there isn’t any light at the end of it. Slow, heavy, almost spiritual riffs manage to create the scenery of YOB’s world, utilizing pauses in their songwriting in order to create a musical sucking void, that draws the listener right into it.

Suggested Discography: Each of Yob’s albums tells a different story, but the narrative on Clearing The Path To Ascend and The Illusion of Motion is especially great.

Looking forward tο: YOB’s live shows are a very unique experience, and the climax of that is expected to occur when the band plays “In Our Blood”.

Voivod

(Authored by Eduardo)
Who’s Who: Raging from the industrial boroughs of Quebec, Voivod soon became one of the most international Canadian metal bands. From their savage and post-apocalyptic early albums to their evolution towards more progressive sounds, Voivod always managed to keep a very personal trademark sound, marked by the unique style of their mastermind and lead guitarist Piggy. The sad demise of Piggy in 2005 left the band orphan, and it wasn’t until 2008 when new guitarist Chewy joined a band with such big shoes to fill. A self-confessed Piggy devotee, he soon proved himself able to keep the legacy of the band alive, adding his own touch with founding members Away and Snake.

Suggested Discography: To understand the evolution of this band, you should go for 1987 Killing Technology to discover those post-apocalyptic roots and move to Dimension Hatröss to listen to the perfect balance between their early years and the more progressive style they later developed.

Looking forward tο: Feel the engines of a thousand V8s rrröööaaarrr as soon as they introduce “Voivod”, the self-titled song from their debut album, a motörized hymn of the band.

Main Fest: April 13 – Downstairs

Hell Fire

Who’s Who: Almost on their 10 year anniversary and after two album releases, Hell Fire from the Bay Area play a refreshing combination of NWOBHM influenced riffs with many traditional speed elements. Ultra Melodic and intense, Hell Fire are a rejuvenating addition to a genre that quite often suffers from repetition, however the band clearly found their identity and playstyle. It is worth mentioning that guitarist Jake Nunn is also a member of the latest rendition of thrash/speed legends Sentinel Beast.

Suggested Discography: The band’s first album Metal Masses released in 2016 is speedier and more aggressive, while on the second album Free Again has a more melodic approach, in the spirit of many speed metal bands of the 80s. By the time of the festival, the band would have released their third album Mania, which from what we have already heard would be a more guitar based with hoarser and more aggressive vocals.

Looking forward to: Listening live to one of the band’s hits, the melodious and emotional “Wheels of Fate”.

Haunt

Who’s Who: The band that everyone has been speaking of for the last year and a half since the release of 2017’s Luminous Eyes EP. It was followed by the the very successful Burst into Flame which turned a great deal of people into fans of the band. Already at the first quarter of 2019, the band added another EP Mosaic Vision and another album If Icarus Could Fly has already been released through bandcamp. Haunt started as an one man project of Beastmaker’s guitarist and vocalist Trevor William Church, but it evolved to a full scale band shortly after.

Suggested Discography: Having the privilege of listening the bands new album If Icarus Could Fly album, I would suggest it to every Angel Witch, Sumerlands, and Ozzy Osbourne’s solo albums. Burst into Flame is close second.

Looking forward tο: When Haunt perform they do it without gimmicks and frills, just straight, headbanging heavy metal, which makes songs like “Burst into Flame” and “Winds of Destiny” very enjoyable.

Omen

Who’s Who: One of the biggest and most influential epic metal bands in the world, Omen is travelling extensively the world shouting Battle Cries! Since the band needs no introduction, let’s focus on the one person that people who missed Omen the last two years need to know: singer Nikos Migus A. He has a very distinct hoarse vocal tone, close enough to Kimball’s, but without resorting to cheap imitations. For those of you who will see Omen for the first time, Kenny Powell is the epic genre personified and a tireless performer who gets better as he grows older.

Suggested Discography: If no one’s told you how amazing the first three Omen albums are, stop what you are doing and go buy them right away. While you are at it, check last year’s EP Alive, which is a very “back to the roots” release.

Looking forward to: Bow down to the Axeman, while taking the earth by storm and Omen will teach us how to stand how to fight because we know the truth, we got the right.

Helstar

Who’s Who: There are not a lot of things left to say about the legendary Helstar, Texas’s biggest traditional metal band ever. They have led the US power metal scene for 35 years now and have released monumental, larger than life albums like Nosferatu and Remnants of War. James Rivera’s voice still sounds astonishing and Tom Doherty is still writing and executing amazingly. Helstar was, is and will be, one of the best groups of the genre and the fact that they released 3 great albums in the last ten year is the affirmation of that.

Suggested Discography: There isn’t a single album in Helstars discography that isn’t great. All 5 of the albums that the band released during the 80s are absolute must haves for any collection, while 2016’s Vampiro is one of the best albums that released in the current decade.

Looking forward tο: A similar setlist like last year which covered most of the classics, but let’s be honest: Helstar will need at least 3 hours just to cover the basics.

Razor

(Authored by Eduardo)
Who’s Who: From the bouncing riffs of their early albums to the savage speed they reached with their thrash/speed metal masterpiece Shotgun Justice, Razor were one of the leading forces of Canadian metal during the 80s. Maybe they weren’t as technical as fellow Canadian bands Annihilator or Voivod, but the aggression and fierceness of Razor were always unsurpassed. A vast discography that would make a perfect soundtrack for sheer street violence, stab wounds, chain fighting and high speed motorcycles.

Suggested Discography: Get Razor’s classic hymns stuck in your head listening to their first two albums Executioner’s Song and Evil Invaders, and if you need a further shoot of adrenaline, go for their insane 1990 album Shotgun Justice.

Looking forward tο:Raise your first and bang your head along the catchy chorus of Evil Invaders!

Exciter

Who’s Who: Probably the first band that comes to mind when somebody is talking about speed metal, Exciter has been raising hell for the last 40 years with their raw, electrifying riffs that cause relentless headbanging. Two thirds of the original members remain in the band, singer/drummer Dan Beehler and bassist Allan Johnsson, while rookie Daniel Deekay replaced John Ricci who left the band less than a year ago.

Suggested Discography: Everything the band released is the 80s is gold, notably the classic Heavy Metal Maniac of 1983.

Looking forward tο: Songs like “Heavy Metal Maniac”, “Stand up and Fight”, and “Pounding Metal” are moshpit war anthems and we are definitely looking forward that experience.

Power Trip

(Authored by Marco)
Who’s Who: Hailing from the heart of Texas itself, Dallas-based Power Trip are one of the biggest modern thrash metal/crossover bands in the game right now. Taking cues from late 80s legends such as Cro-Mags and D.R.I, Power Trip intend to keep it old school. Their brand of hardcore leaning thrash is as catchy as it is high energy. Power Trip’s live show is infamous and if there’s a single band that can get an entire crowd moshing, it’s Power Trip.

Suggested Discography: 2017’s Nightmare Logic rightfully launched Power Trip straight to the top, but don’t ignore Manifest Decimation – the band’s 2013 debut is just as deadly.

Looking forward tο: You all know the lyrics… SWING OF THE AXE!”

Main Fest: April 13 – Upstairs

Oath of Cruelty

(Authored by Rhandgar)
Who’s Who: Having a lot of different extreme metal experience under their belts with various previous and current bands like Morbosidad, P.L.F., Blasferian, and Imprecation to name just a few; people in Oath of Cruelty gathered to play old school thrash metal on the extreme side, paying their tributes to German bands like Sodom or Kreator as well as “brutal” thrash acts like Demolition Hammer or Morbid Saint.

Suggested Discography: All the demo/EP material you can get your hands on, for they don’t have a lot of recorded material as of now. In addition to their own material, Altar of Impalement closes with a Sodom medley, Immeasurable Sadism closes with a Slayer cover, and their two-track EP, Hellish Decimation, has the band’s most recent offering up to date.

Looking forward to: How they will push the overall traditional metal atmosphere of the festival to the more extreme side with their breakneck speed.

Blade Killer

Who’s Who: Hailing from Los Angeles, Blade Killer released their debut album last year titled High Risk, which earned very positive reviews almost unanimously. They draw influence from bands like Sortilege (which the band named themselves after one of their songs) Paul di’Anno’s era Iron Maiden, and mid 80’s Judas Priest to name a few.

Suggested Discography: High Risk found its way on numerous album of the year lists in 2018, while the only other release the band has is the 2014 self titled EP, which sounds even more NWOBHMish than the album. Both released are very enjoyable and will satisfy the bands of the aforementioned bands.

Looking forward tο: “Lost Angels” is an amazing live song, full of passion and headbanging riffs, and most likely it’s gonna be the highlight of their set.

Graven Rite

Who’s Who: Austin’s best kept secret has been revealed to the rest of the world. The local epic metalers are going to warm the stage for future acts with their energetic set and the haunting atmosphere that their songs create. The band drew attention on their demo after the immense success of lead vocalist Jason Tarpey’s other band, Eternal Champion.

Suggested Discography: The band’s sole release The Summoner’s Pit Demo is available on a CD format and is a perfect addition to any collection, especially of you are a fan of Eternal Champion, Sumerlands, and Manilla Road.

Looking forward to: Believe me when you hear the first “OOOUUGH” you will be already drowned into the battle. Jason Tarpey’s performance is one of the best in the genre worldwide.

Bat

Who’s Who: There is something to be said about 3 member bands. Motorhead. Venom. Midnight (sort of). They produce this rusted, speedy punk rock and roll sound, and Bat fall right into that category. Bassist/ vocalist Ryan Waste and guitarist Nick Poulos ,both former Municipal Waste members, teamed up with D.R.I.’s drummer during the 80s. Felix Griffin following the footsteps of those trios with riotous results.

Suggested Discography: The bands only album is 2016’s Wings of Chains, which is when the band’s sound solidified to what it is today. If you check the demo version of the songs in Primitive Age, you can listen to how the band evolved through the years, gradually stepping away from their influences.

Looking forward tο: A heabanging, moshing, drop kicking energetic show under the sound of “Code Rude” and “Rule of the Beast”.

Cauldron

Who’s Who: One of the first bands that helped in the formation of what on later years will be known as NWOTHM, the Canadians have already amassed 5 albums and 3 EPs in their 13-year lifespan. Their characteristic style has a resemblance of co-frontrunners of the scene, Enforcer and Skull Fist, who in turn have their roots to the classic NWOBHM bands.

Suggested Discography: All the bands releases are quality, my personal favorites are the the first two albums Chained to the Nite and Burning Fortune.

Looking forward tο: Cauldron’s ultra hit songs like “All or Nothing” and “Nitebreaker”.

Visigoth

Who’s Who: One of the most amazing and popular bands of the NWOTHM movement. Their lyrics and music are filled with true epicness along with some of the most memorable chorus lines ever. There has been a lot of talk lately of who will be the torchbearer of the next generation of epic metal, and Visigoth surely are great contenders. Their utilization of chorus vocals is ingenious as is the lead guitar parts. Highly suggested for fans of Borrowed Time, Eternal Champion, and Omen.

Suggested Discography: Lets clear something right from the start, both albums are amazing. Revenant King is a bit more slow, heavy, and epic with longer tracks that flirt with the band’s doom influences. Last years Conqueror’s Oath is one of best releases of 2018, with a bit more power metal which I think works just a bit better.

Looking forward tο: Among the excellent tracks that Visigoth have released, “Steel and Silver” has a very special vibe which offers great sing along moments when played live.

Skull Fist

Who’s Who: Canadian quartette who play NWOTHM and are considered one of the most successful groups of the scene. Speedy and melodic riifs, shredding guitar solos, high pitched vocals, and lots of 80s influence are some of the ingredients that constitutes Skull Fist’s formula. After 2 full album releases and one EP, Skull Fist released their 3rd and latest album titled The Way of the Road last year, and proved that they are not afraid to incorporate new aspects to their music – in this case 70s and 80s hard rock elements.

Suggested Discography: Head of the Pack and Chasing the Dream are great examples of NWOTHM, Skull Fist-style.

Looking forward tο: Skull Fist are a strong live band, always giving performances of the highest quality whether they are playing in small venues or big city festivals like Hell’s Heroes. Tracks like “Ride the Beast”, “No False Metal”, or my favorite, “Sign of the Warrior”, are meant to be played live.

While you are in Texas…

Stores

And of course while you are in Texas make sure you try some Lonestar beer and Tex-Mex style food.

Directions

Driving

The easiest way to get to WOMH is to take I-45 either southbound or northbound, depending on where you are coming from:

If you are coming southbound on I-45:
1) Take I-45 southbound
2) Take the N. Main Exit (#49B)
3) At N. Main, make a left onto N. Main
4) Continue about 1 mile to the corner of N. Main and North St.
5) WOMH is at the corner at 2915 N. Main St
6) To access Lots A or B, make a right onto North St. To access Lot C, continue just past the intersection of N. Main and North St.–Lot C will be on your left. To access Lot D, continue down N. Main to the Boundary St. light. Make a right onto Boundary, and Lot D will be on your right.

If you are coming northbound on I-45:
1) Take I-45 northbound
2) Take the N. Main Exit (#49B)
3) At N. Main, make a right onto N. Main
4) Continue about 1 mile to the corner of N. Main and North St.
5) We are on the corner at 2915 N. Main St!
6) To access Lots A or B, make a right onto North St. To access Lot C, continue just past the intersection of N. Main and North St.–Lot C will be on your left. To access Lot D, continue down N. Main to the Boundary St. light. Make a right onto Boundary, and Lot D will be on your right.

If you are coming from downtown Houston:
1) Take Main St. north out of downtown
2) Main St. becomes N. Main St.
3) Continue on N. Main for 1.5 miles.
4) We are at the corner of N. Main and North St., at 2915 N. Main St.
5) To access Lots A or B, continue past the venue to North St. and make a left. Lot C is just before the intersection of N. Main and North St., on your right. Lot D is accessible via Boundary St., which is the first stop light before you reach the venue.

Other

Biking:
We encourage all our guests to bike to WOMH! WOMH is easily accessible from the Heights using the North St. bridge, which takes you safely over I-45. Approximately 30 bike racks are located on site, with about half on N. Main St. and the other half on North St. Please use the bike racks and avoid locking your bikes to street signs!

Light Rail:
WOMH is just a 5-minute walk north of the Quitman St. Metro light rail stop on the Red Line. Hop on the red line either northbound or southbound, and take the Quitman St. stop!


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Panos Anagnostopoulos

Traditional metal addict, storyteller, and food obsessed. Hailing from Greece, Rides into Glory

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