It’s hard to believe that Facedown Records has been in existence since 1997. In two decades, the mostly Christian DIY record label that specializes in hardcore, punk rock and metalcore has managed to create a niche for itself among underground music fans and those into both heavy music that is, straight edge and Christian friendly. The label, which was founded by No Innocent Victim drummer, Jason Dunn is based out of Fallbrook, California but represents bands from all over the world.
To celebrate the label’s 20th anniversary, the annual Facedown Fest kicked off yesterday and goes through Saturday, May 13, all at the Glasshouse in Pomona. With over 20 bands performing each day, this is an event to be at if you are a fan of bands like Hands, Impending Doom, For All Eternity, Gideon, Dynast, Saving Grace, Deathbkeakr and many more. Be sure though to at least catch some of the artists mentioned below. Here are 5 acts not to miss at this year’s Facedown Fest.
Friday, May 12
Southern California metalcore band Sinai Beach has been in existence since 2000. While maintaining their Christian roots, they’ve also managed to break the mold and over the years, blending death metal, hardcore and classic metal into their sound. They’ve toured with bands like Bleeding Through, Hatebreed, Terror, Comeback Kid, Norma Jean, 18 Visions, Atreyu Throwdown, and many more. The band’s positive and biblical message of compassion is meshed throughout their catalog. Though they’ve been on hiatus since 2009, the band is back with a reformed lineup and their headlining spot at Facedown Fest Friday night will mark the band’s official resurrection. Fans can surely expect a powerful set.
Friday May 12
Gideon is a Christian metal band from Alabama, formed in 2008. Their sound combines the style of beloved bands like Hatebreed, Sevendust, Fear Factory and Killswitch Engage. Featuring among its ranks, vocalist Daniel McWhorter,
guitarist Tyler Riley and drummer Jake Smelley. After several years of regional shows and tours, as well as word of mouth, the band managed to build up a solid fan base with three full albums, including a newly released album Cold, which features a guest appearance from Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed. The band’s live shows are known to be full of energy and an uplifting, self empowering vibe that the heavy music gives its fans.
Saturday, May 13
From Fargo, North Dakota, Christian metal band Hands was formed in 2007. The band’s sound can be described as a heavy mix of death core, and some experimental post metal sounds, which all fuses with the lyrics that highlight the positive, compassionate, and spiritual aspects of Christianity. With three full albums under its belt, Hands has successfully toured North America. Hands consists of guitarist/vocalist Shane Ochsner, bassist Chris Scwartz, and drummer Josh Silbernagel. Using the Gospels as inspiration for their heavy music, the band promises to deliver a very intimate, exclusive show for fans at the Facedown Fest that will be full of heavy, sounds and music devoted to faith in God.
Saturday, May 13
Perhaps one of the heaviest bands at Facedown Fest, Riverside locals Impending Doom will headline Saturday night with their own self described brand of “Gorship,” which is music that gives honor to worshiping God through Gore sounding music. The band formed in 2005, and have released five full length albums, all with heavy death metal influenced metalcore, with songs taken from biblical tales, interpreted through modern day grind and metalcore music. With original members, vocalist Brook Reeves and guitarist Manny Contreras, the band also features additional guitarist Eric Correa, bassist David Sittig, and drummer Brandon Trahan. Fans will be in for an ultra brutal pit which is sure to entice slam and metal core fans in the pit to slam dance for Jesus.
War Of Ages
Saturday, May 13
Since 2002, War of Ages has made a name for itself among the Christian metal core and hardcore scenes, and earned a devoted fan base. From Erie, Pennsylvania, the band has now seven full albums, and the chance to work with other Christian metal bands artists such as Living Sacrafice, P.O.D. and As I Lay Dying. The band’s faith and messages of hope, love through God are felt, and expressed through a heavy, yet melodic metal that screams with passion, emotion and redemption. The band is made up of vocalist Leroy Hamp, drummer Alex Hamp , guitarists Steve Brown, Jack Daniels and bassist Branon Bernatowicz. This will also be one heavy performance, so get ready to see lots of moshing and metalcore dancing.
Facedown Fest is this weekend May 11-13 at The Glass House. For tickets and full details, click here.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.