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Colombia’s Significance of Bands on Festival Rock al Parque

Colombia’s Significance of Bands on Festival Rock al Parque
© Photograph by Angélica Vargas

As mentioned in a previous article, the main objective for the creation of Festival Rock al Parque was to create a safe environment to enjoy and promote rock and all its subgenres. Therefore, besides having a solid group of international bands, Festival Rock al Parque also presents Colombian acts, both old and new, to an audience always thirsty for the experience. Between special guests Masacre and newcomers Apolo 7, this year the festival is bringing both history and innovation to the audience.

Masacre is one of the most emblematic death metal bands from Colombia and Latin America. Founded in 1998 by vocalist Alex Oquendo, the band has been shaped by the harshness present in Colombia in the 1980’s and 1990’s; reflected in their lyrics and brutal approach to music.

After six full-length albums in which the musical act has remained relevant over the years with presentations in the 7000 Tons of Metal Cruise and Las Vegas Death Fest. If you have done the math, 2018 marks the 30th anniversary for Masacre, and the band is preparing a very special show for the festival, where they will be performing the entirety of their first studio album ‘Reqviem’, a seminal album for plenty of Colombian bands.

Another national guest band is Skull, founded in 1998. With a heavy influence in metal bands such as Motörhead, Venom, Exodus, Bulldozer, Voivod and the NWOBHM, Skull has developed a Speed Metal sound fit to their lyrics and energy. With two studio albums, ‘Metal to The Bone’ (2015) and ‘Doom Overlord’ (2018), Skull is preparing to enter the studio to record their latest album ‘The Truest Rock and Roll’.

From the border between Colombia and Ecuador comes Vobiscum Luchipher, a band that has pioneered in the extreme metal in the Southern Colombian Andes. In over twenty years of existence, the band has created a solid sound around their criticism to Catholic church, reflected in the titles of some of their albums ‘La Guerra Divina Ha Comenzado’ (2001), ‘Batallas de apostasia en el reino de la bestia’ (2003), ‘Excomulgación, Blasfemia y Sacrilegio’ (2007). With a clear influence from death and black metal, this band comes to Festival Rock al Parque to present their latest studio album ‘Altar de Blasfemias’.

Another guest to Festival Rock al Parque is the band Hypoxia, a Colombian band forged in the international soil. Founded in 2008 in New York by Carlos Arboleda and Carolina Pérez, Hypoxia has as musical influences bands such as Vader, Malevolent, Creation, Monstrosity, Sepultura and Sodom. At the beginning of 2016, Hypoxia recorded their first studio album ‘Despondent Death’ at Full Force Studios in Long Island. After that, the band has participated in other festivals like Las Vegas Death Metal. In 2017, Hypoxia recorded their second album ‘Abhorrent Disease’, which is still under production.

But not all can be national bands, for Festival Rock al Parque is an event organized by the Mayor of Bogotá and it also aims to promote the local talent. After a long process of selection in which over 50 bands participated, only 20 were selected. Within this group, you can find bands that ring more to the current tendencies of rock, however, here are some of the bands that you may find interesting.

Apolo 7 is a swing metal band that, according to their members, have heavy influences from the fills and rhythms coming from Latin music. The messages the band wants to express in Festival Rock al Parque are related to topics from political and social unconformity to heartbreak. In their short carrier, Apolo 7 has released an EP ‘Apolo 7 Hits’ (2015), and ‘Sangre Latina’ released only last year.

Another band that qualified to this year’s Festival Rock al Parque is V For Volume. One of the few rock bands in Bogota with a female leader. This band has generated a great impact in the Colombian Rock scene, thanks to their solid sounds and original lyrics. With a strong sound and a pop aesthetics, their live performance and the production behind both the stage and their videos have made this band gain recognition in the local scene.

Another freshly faced band that will try to blow your mind at Festival Rock al Parque is the band Implosion Brain. Founded at the end of 2014 with renown musicians from Bogota, this band has joined the ranks of extreme metallers by using elements from melodic death metalcore, djent and progressive metal. Their songs are charged with violence, deceitfulness and their own experience in this cruel reality, which make the perfect combination for brutal live performance. Currently, Implosion Brain is promoting their debut album ‘Qualities of a Simple Mind’.

When there is a scene like the one in Bogotá, there are cases in which a band must start from scratch and reborn from its ashes, and that is the case for Syracusae. Formerly known as Cambio de Frente, Syracusae has changed their approach to music and live performance to express themselves better. As Cambio de Frente, the band has opened for As I Lay Dying, The Black Dahlia Murder and they have played at Festival Rock al Parque in 2012.

The Brainwash Machine got started as a bachelor’s degree project that slowly but gradually became an innovative progressive rock band. This band aims to take their musical project to as many ears as possible, to show there are other alternatives to the traditional sounds in the Bogota rock and metal scene.

Tears of Misery is a death metal band founded in 2003. Their music is influenced by different tendencies within the death metal subgenre, using elements from the brutal and faster North American death metal and absorbing some elements from melodic and technical European death metal. Their lyrics are focused on different aspects of Colombian’s reality, which are analyzed from a realistic and critic point of view.

And there you have it, some of the bands that are going to entertain you during those three days of extreme coexistence between different audiences, different concert goers. Festival Rock al Parque has become an institution not only for the local scene, but as a referent for Latin American festivals. Remember, the festival is an endurance test, so make sure you are prepared correctly, know your schedule and go with the best attitude possible.

Festival Rock al Parque will take place at Parque Metropolitano Simón Bolívar, on August 18th to 20th. The entrance as always is free of charge and the gates will be open from 12:00 p.m. onwards. Remember, this festival is an act of endurance, and to anyone planning to see as many bands as possible, it is highly recommended to organise the schedule ahead of the dates.

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