Metal Helpers

The Ottawa XPress – August 24, 2006 hosts first annual metal benefit concert

For a subculture that gets such a bum rap, Ottawa’s heavy metal scene is lucky to have a solid core of fierce familiars to set the record straight.

“I just want to do as much as I can to diminish the stereotype that metalheads are druggies or unintelligent or bums. That’s definitely not true,” says Kimberly Zapata, one half of the driving force behind

Along with co-founder and boyfriend Eric Mulligan, these metal authorities (who carry such cred that they were once okayed by the Judas Priest tour manager to get backstage to interview opening act Anthrax) have built into a popular one-stop shop for metal interviews, a listing of every genre of local metal bands, show dates, album reviews, metal radio shows and metal nights at local bars, links to music stores, and a message board.

To further unite headbanger bands and the folks who love them, is organizing the first annual metal benefit on Saturday, August 26, at Café Dekuf. The lineup features Syncytia, Toxicator, Conquering Valhalla, Remnants Of A Deity and Medea. Expect lots of awesome giveaways from Steve’s Music, Elgin Street Video and more. Tickets are five bucks and available at End Hits (407 Dalhousie Street).

She’s not the only devil Satan has working to promote local shows. “We’ve got really good ties with Shawn Scallen,” she says of the man behind who also co-owns End Hits, which, like the former metal haven Record Runner, allows to sell tickets.

Zapata also credits big promoters in Ottawa like Revolution Rock, Black Widow Productions and Absurd Reality Concerts, and Chris Gauthier, who books bands for Maverick’s, couldn’t agree more that these companies should get a lot of thanks for their hard work promoting the scene. “We are just four walls with a sound system,” Gauthier says. “It’s really the promoters who put the money in and bust their asses to get people out.”

That said, Gauthier also credits the city for its legions of loyal fans. “When we first started doing shows,” he continues, “we thought, these guys are going to kill each other, but right away if someone falls, right away they’re helped up, it doesn’t get out of hand, they try to police themselves for the most part.”

Ottawa’s been home to some big-name metal acts like Exciter, Jeff Waters from the band Annihilator (who just returned from a stint writing for Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles metal magazine), and, of course, Fuck The Facts.

But admittedly, metal is not for everyone. describes heavy metal as the most extreme music form in terms of volume, machismo and theatricality. And its themes are mostly about the Apocalypse and counterculture with a focus on war, nuclear annihilation, environmental issues, and political or religious propaganda.

For example, even though Zapata is managing black metal band Medea, who will be playing at the benefit, she doesn’t really know what they’re singing about. “Metal is more for the instrumentals, so when it comes to the raspy vocals, you wonder what they’re saying,” she says. “Take Children Of Bodom, for instance: ‘I’ll cut your hand off and I’ll use it like a spoon,'” she quotes, adding that they’re from Finland and probably don’t know a lot of English.

At only 19, Zapata is already laying down plans to open this city’s answer to Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club. It’ll be called The Lair. It will be fashioned with antique swords on the ceiling, serve good food, blast Sabbath to Nightwish, and host metal karaoke nights – that’ll be $6.66 for that burger and a horns up with every meal for you, skid!

But until she finishes the business administration course she’s starting in the winter, I’ll be waiting patiently for a table by the ram’s skull centrepiece and the latest Angie the Barbarian Pure Hell chair made of femurs.

– Sylvie Hill