Death Fests, Local Ragers and Voodoo Organs

My ears are still ringing from Doom in June, a 12-hour doom-metal festival at Cheyenne Saloon. Since I’m a soldier of rock ’n’ roll, though, I’ll be returning to the very same venue June 13-15 for Las Vegas Deathfest V.

Man, I should really get my tympanic membranes insured.

This year’s installment runs three days and nights, and features death-metal bands from all over the world, making this a kind of morbid and misanthropic United Nations gathering of sonic terror. From Germany: Pighead and Acranius. From Australia: Entrails Eradicated. From Taiwan: Coprocephalic. From Russia: Lethality. From Belarus: Relics of Humanity. And, finally, from Mexico: Shattered Eyes. LVDF also offers an opportunity to check out three local underground acts— Excretory Engorgement, Phalloplasty and Crucify the Enslaved. They open the fest in that order starting at 4 p.m. June 13. In case you haven’t been warned, Engorgement has a song called “Corn on the Cock,” so maybe you should bring barf bags.

The Deathfest boasts plenty of hilariously disturbing band names—Parasitic Ejaculation, Paroxysmal Butchering—but the prize goes to Animals Killing People. There’s something satisfyingly to-the-point about it. Day pass: $25; three-day pass: $60. Go to for tix.

If that’s too much goregrind for your sensitive palate, there is an awesome All-Ager Rager taking place at House of Blues at 5 p.m. June 14. Featuring “the next wave of Las Vegas local music,” this show stars seven local bands and serves as the CD-release event for alterna-popsters Rush and Roulette. I caught this group in April at the Hard Rock Rising band battle, and I admire their catchy, hook-filled songcraft. Think—if you care to—Matchbox Twenty crossed with Maroon 5. Other acts include Days After Hail, Play for Keeps, Offset Season, Take the Lead, the Perks and Tuesday After School.

If the Deathfest doesn’t scratch your metal itch, Richmond, Virginia, thrashers Humungus arrive at The Dive (formerly Favorites) at 9 p.m. June 16. These guys are all in their 20s but play like veteran guitar-shredders. Their songs run the headbanger’s gamut, from keg-worthy party anthems (“Drinkin’ a Beer”) to fantastical gibberish (“Ghost With a Gun”). And then there’s the song “Shark Castle,” the lyrics of which defy description, but I’ll try anyway: Jaws meets Game of Thrones. Vegas thrash ensemble Orbitron opens.

On June 18, the Voodoo Organist, a.k.a. Scott Wexton, takes the stage at The Dive at 9 p.m. to darkly serenade fans with his Tiki-lounge-in-hell tunes. The L.A.-based Organist comes on like Tom Waits fronting noise-drone band Suicide, Wexton’s haunting keyboard riffs underscoring the menace of his dour voice and doom-laden lyrics. Last time he came through town, he was backed by a live drummer. For this show he’ll be performing solo again, and I look forward to hearing songs from his brand-new album, Vampire Empire. Fuzz Solow and The Swamp Gospel open.

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