The annual Show Your Scars Festival has proven to always book some of the heaviest metal bands whether they’re well known or still underground. This year was no exception and what better way kickoff the new year than one of the biggest metal shows for the year. This show was extra special because thrash metal veterans Nuclear Assault would be playing their final west coast show and quite possibly, their final show ever. As expected, this show sold out ahead of time so it was guaranteed to be a wild night. The Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles was about to be shaken up by the metal community.
Thrown Into Exile are a relatively new metal band from Los Angeles. At 6pm, they came out to nicely packed venue to ensure that they got plenty of metalheads to witness their shredding techniques. They had a very energetic stage presence that would for sure get heads banging and mosh pits starting. For many people in the audience, it was their first time seeing the band. With an amazing performance that the band delivered, hopefully they reach new heights and prove that rock nor metal aren’t dead.
Expulsion is a super group metal band consisting of members from Repulsion, Exhumed, Phobia, Gruesome, and more. They are a newly formed band and had made this concert their second performance ever. They only have one album out titled Nightmare Future and it’s pure grindcore goodness. Expulsion kept the mosh pits going as they played fast, quick, and heavy tracks such as Altar of Slaughter, Mask of Fear, and Funeral Bells. Their performance came to an end when they played a cover of Corpse Grinder by death metal legends/pioneers, Death. The song was originally played together by guitarist/event organizer Matt Olivo and Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner back in the 80’s when Schuldiner was still alive. It was a great way to keep his memory alive.
Evildead are an 80’s thrash metal band that in 2016, reunited for the first time in years. They are set as being an active band once again and are even writing new material for a third album. Even once the band came out, metalheads started moshing and shoving in anticipation for the band. It was around this time when crowd surfers and stage divers were constant for the rest of the festival. Evildead brought the old school thrash with them as they played classic like F.C.I/The Awakening, Napoleon Complex, and even a new song, Word of God. A short set, but they did not disappoint and kept it up all the way to the end when they finished with Annihilation of Civilization.
Toxic Holocaust are a thrash metal band from Oregon. Plenty of fans were in attendance sporting the band’s merch. The trio came out and started the show with War Is Hell and right away, fans kept up the moshing and stage diving. Toxic Holocaust delivers fast and aggressive metal that drove the audience wild. They never slowed down as they delivered thrash-tastic tracks like Reaper’s Grave, In the Name of Science, and Nuke the Cross. Frontman Joel Grind thanked the audience for coming out and finished the set with Bitch ensuring that the fans had one last chance to rock out with them.
Hirax are a veteran metal band that started out in the 80’s, but later broke up. Years later, Hirax reformed and have been active since then with only singer Katon W. De Pena as the band’s only original member. The venue had already been packed to capacity so by the time Hirax came out and started the show with Baptized by Fire, a full blown mosh pit could be seen with little space to move around, yet moshers made their own space to continue the insanity. The band has a very energetic stage presence as De Pena would actively run around on stage screaming his vocals into the mic. He’s a very down to earth and overall friendly guy as he would stop to take pictures with stage divers and even let them sing parts of a song before the fans would dive off stage. Hirax kept the intensity of the show going as they performed blistering tracks like El Diablo Negro (The Black Devil), Hate, Fear, and Power, and wrapped up the show with Bombs of Death. All that craziness, and the headlining band was still to come.
Nuclear Assault was set to play what could possibly be their final show ever. For many people in attendance, it would be the only time they get to see the band. Nuclear Assault came out and started the show with Rise From the Ashes from their famed 1988 album titled, Survive. Right away, fans moshed violently to this classic thrash metal band. Brainwashed was the second song played and is also from the Survive album and is the band’s most popular track. The audience went all out for Nuclear Assault as they moshed during the whole set and stage divers were everywhere. Nuclear Assault thrashed through their set as they played classic like Radiation Sickness, Game Over, and Hang the Pope. Never was there a dull moment in their performance. The show came to an end as Nuclear Assault performed Trail of Tears and gave the audience one last chance to give it their all as Nuclear Assault closed out the Show Your Scars Festival. This show proved to be the start of a great year for the metal world and who knows what the 2019 edition will bring.
Thrown Into Exile