Tour de Force

Looking for a Vicious Vacation? Try Chaos in Tejas!


When it comes to festivals, Austin’s spoiled rotten. There is, of course, SXSW, which is such a behemoth/clusterfuck that calling it a “festival” is insultingly modest. Psych Fest is a recent entry to the fray, bring together legions of musicians who love effect pedals and singing about being on acid. ACL may bring the fratbros in droves, but hey, gotta cater to their needs so they don’t overrun the other fests. Austin Reggae Festival, aka “Marley Fest” does the same, but for UT trustfarians and burnouts. Fun Fun Fun Fest is ACL’s way cooler little brother, being more true to its “eclectic” standing and the origin of the “Danzig chicken sandwich” fiasco.

My favorite? Chaos in Tejas. Once a small punk festival, Timmy Hefner’s brainchild is now the premier summer banger in Austin, bringing together an impeccable mix of punk, hardcore, indie, hip-hop, and most relevant here, metal. Some of its metal alumni include Eyehategod, Autopsy, Saint Vitus, Inquisition, Midnight, Harvey Milk, Toxic Holocaust, Cro-Mags, Hooded Menace, Batillus, Nasum…you get the point: this rules. Mix that all in with Austin’s amazing Mexican food, rising food truck scene, black metal beer, refreshing swimming holes (Austin in June doesn’t fuck around), Texas’ beautiful women, (and all the hot crusty girls that come down!), and the best barbecue in the country just forty-five minutes away in Lockhart, and you’ve got an excuse to come down the weekend after Memorial Day.

Can’t attend MDF this year? Chaos has plenty of MDF’s heaviest hitters coming through. Most notably, FUCKING BOLT THROWER. If you need me to explain why this is a big deal, why are you even on this site? It’s been forever since Bolt Thrower has played Texas, much less places that aren’t MDF, so this is too crucial. Manilla Road are also playing Chaos, as a part of campaign to gain them the success that has eluded them for so long. It’s about damn time they’ve gotten their due, as they make some of the best heavy metal – and “heavy” is the only word in front of “metal” needed. Denver beer drinkers and hell raisers Speedwolf will keep you “Up All Night” rushing like John Elway in his prime. If you love Engrish, blackthrash, and a total lack of PC, Japan’s Abigail will be rock you and your “Satanic Hell Slut” and/or “Tokyo Pussy Girl” to pieces. Anhedonist, returning to Texas for the first time since the infamous Rites of Darkness, are gonna make it rain with their Seattle-bred gloom. Tragedy will once again return to the festival, making sure the stank from their melodic crust clouds the entire 512.

Hefner isn’t leeching off MDF, as he roped in plenty of other great bands not heading up north. For you kvltists out there – looking at you Kim – Hefner got two of the best bands jocked by the NWN Forum, Mitochondrion and Wrathprayer. Mitochondrion hail from Vancouver, and they make dizzying, layered death metal. Wrathprayer are a Chilean group that take the bestial sound pioneered by Canadians like Blasphemy and Conqueror into terrifying new depths. Thankfully for both of these bands, Hefner is not Danny Serna. The Men, whose Open Your Heart was my favorite punk record from last year, will play two shows of heartfelt, emotional (but not “emo”) punk at Chaos. Satan’s Satyrs, another 2012 favorite, will bring their garage metal mastery to y’all to froth over. Dallas is also showing Austin it doesn’t the monopoly on cool with occult metal lords Absu, who had to cancel last year, turnt thrashers Power Trip and synth-driven crushers – and recent Century Media acquisition – Pinkish Black.

There’s a whole lot more, but this should be enough to sell you on getting sunburned and smelly. The long and short of it is, don’t waste your money on Orion Fest.

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