SoCal Thrash Metal Upstarts Bring Tour To Bay Area

By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Anchored by metal-loving cousins Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez  (guitar/vocals) and Mario Moreno (drums) since founding the band the band well over a decade ago while still in their teens, SoCal technical thrash outfit Exmortus has earned a reputation as a group to be reckoned with.

Started in the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Whittier in 2002 while Gonzalez and Moreno still lived with their parents, it would take a steady rotation of musical collaborators and a number of demo recordings before Exmortus would sign to Heavy Artillery Records. The band’s early efforts In Hatred’s Flame and Beyond The Fall Of Time showcased an aggressive style of hyper-technical guitar shredding that was equally influenced by Metallica’s NWOBHM influences and more extreme death-metal sounds.

Those albums and the band’s explosive stage performances would lead to a deal with renowned metal imprint Prothetic Records for their third album Slaves to the Sword in 2014, another blazing salvo of songs that met with another round of critical acclaim. The praise along with stints supporting the likes of Dark Tranquillity, Flotsam & Jetsam Hatchet and an appearance at Slipknot’s Knotfest further spread the word of the band’s prowess.

Last year, the SoCal group released it’s latest effort, the corrosive Ride Forth, earning more high-profile appearances including a support slot for Exodus during the second night of the local thrash legends’ two-evening residency at the Chapel in San Francisco’s Mission District this summer. For the band’s current headlining tour, Exmortus is joined by an impressive slate of opening acts.

East Coast thrashers Lich King have been bashing out their style of old-school thrash metal indebted to the sounds of S.O.D., Vio-lence and Slayer since 2004, releasing five full-length albums and logging thousands of miles on the road. Detroit-based outfit Against the Grain deal out a meat-and-potatoes style of hard rock that recalls the kinetic classic output of Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, while Australian opening act Hidden Intent will put their Down Under version classic thrash to kick off the show. The tour stops in San Francisco at the DNA Lounge Wednesday night before moving to the South Bay for a show at the Ritz in San Jose Thursday.

Exmortus with Lich King

Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m. $12-$15
DNA Lounge

Thursday, Sept. 28, 8 p.m. $10-$12
The Ritz

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