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Southwest Metalfest 2024: Metal in the Desert

Southwest Metalfest 2024

This will be the second Annual Southwest Metalfest, a dream of Travis James Manning, it is a true gift to the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico. Giving local heavy metal bands an event that they can call their own and giving them a chance to show off what they can do. Bands from the area and across the local cities of El Paso and Alamogordo take over Amador Live courtyard, a popular nightlife hang out in the area. The day was just right for an electric night of music and dancing, guitar giveaways and food. 

Invictus Unconquerable first up and first time at Southwest Metalfest compared to a lot of other bands at the event. They are fairly new to the scene and have a band packed full of veteran musicians, makes sense they have climbed the latter to their success so far. They also are touring to California Sunset Strip to perform in July at the Whiskey A GoGo with a few other local bands as New Mexico invades California.                                                         

Artery a true death metal band that brought so much energy to the stage, this three-piece band brought the crowd to their feet, and it was just natural for a mosh pit to form.                  

Mighty Demolitious has refined their sound and music. From Alamogordo, NM, they are finding their place with new original music along with a few covers. All the members of the band are veterans of the music business in Southern New Mexico.     

Hellslain is a progressive death metal band from El Paso, Texas, they had a good sound and they excited the crowd. Looking forward to see them again.              

3 Dollar Bill the only LIMP BIZKIT tribute band from El Paso, TX. You could close your eyes and imagine you are at a LIMP BIZKIT concert, from the costuming to the instruments to the singing they had it all. The members of the band are a mix of seasoned musicians from different bands. These guys are tour ready and I could see they are going far with this tribute style.         

Beyond the Ash is a dynamic classic progressive thrash melodic metal band from Las Cruces, NM. After 14 years together, they performed their last concert at the Southwest Metalfest. The core members of Beyond the Ash felt that continuing with the band in the absence of a founding creative member not continuing was undesirable as the music that uniquely gave Beyond the Ash its unique style and tone would not endure. Many of the core members of Beyond the Ash are still making music together in other projects awaiting Beyond the Ash’s reawakening.     

Allway Drive a high energy metal band from El Paso, TX the ultimate live band. I sat down with Mark Perea from Skull King Productions, and he says, Allway Drive is the love child of 90's heavy metal, 70's progressive/psychedelic rock, and 80's new wave. They are pushing the limits of what modern rock music can be, with emphasis on groove and spacey melodies that can live in your head rent free. They brought all the pyromania, smoke, hair and music madness one band could bring. These guys are a band to follow.   

Shalem, if it wasn't for Shalem and Travis James Manning this whole event would never have happened, his passion for local music far exceeds the boundaries of the city of Las Cruces. His connections to Skull King Productions, Hubbard Music N More, and all the other sponsors are what makes an event like this happen. I wrote articles about Shalem before. They are a fun band, playing traditional Metal and Hard Rock all day long.                 

Infernal Seer is a three-piece Thrash Metal band from Las Cruces, NM. They have been together since 1997, they reorganized in 2013, they have 2 albums and one to be released in 2024. They have performed with many other bands around the area. I have covered them in at least three different events.

Cruces Cult is a band that has recently returned to the music scene. They are a hardcore thrash metal band out of Las Cruces, New Mexico. They are the leaders of headbanging, body-slamming riffs that keep you on your feet. This band's first EP was released October 18, 2018, Santa Muerte EP, with songs like “Machines of Meat,” “Relentless,” and “Santa Muerte.”           

Death Benefits, Slamming Death Metal band from Las Cruces, NM, they are a head banging hard core band that has been to this fest before and each time they drew in a crowd, they were right up to the wall listening to every word, some singing along with their songs, in the center of the lawn was a mosh pit, the demographics of the crowd was young kids to older adults. They were holding their status as a headliner for the fest. 


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