Metal fans about to converge in Armstrong

Armstrong Metalfest to welcome 32 bands and hundreds of metal fans to the Hassen Arena this weekend.

Vernon band Xul

Vernon band Xul

Time to check your inhibitions at the door for the fifth annual Armstrong Metalfest this weekend.

The established festival is once again happening at Armstrong’s Hassen Memorial Arena, and this one is said to be for the books.

Organized by West Metal Entertainment, the event, which takes place all day Friday and Saturday, is welcoming 32 metal bands on two stages.

“This is the third time we’ve held the festival at the Hassen Arena,” said Jesse Valstar, festival co-founder. “Before that it was a backyard party that just sort of exploded. We moved it indoors to meet capacity and guidelines.”

Approximately 600-to-800 metal fans are expected to converge on Armstrong’s good nature this weekend, said Valstar.

“Tickets are selling and I’m happy,” he said.

Since its beginning, the festival has run smoothly with very few hiccups,  said Valstar.

“It has received full support from the City of Armstrong and any problems that have arisen have been dealt with ahead of time,” he said.

The scope of the festival is also burgeoning, with bands coming from just about every corner of Western Canada.

“Every year we try to balance everything so each genre of metal is represented. We have bands from Kamloops, Vancouver, Prince George, Edmonton, Red Deer… We take bands from each area so we can span it better. We really tried hard to cover the Western Canadian spec this year,” said Valstar.

One of the acts scheduled to perform Friday is Vernon’s Xul, a five-piece band who have been on tour across Canada in support of their latest album, Malignance, the past two months.

Known for their energetic and interactive live performances, the band has been captivating audiences and has garnered positive reviews with its own brand of blackened death metal since releasing Malignance, in June, 2012

With songs reminiscent of war-torn landscapes, destructive human nature and evil intent, Xul is said to expand upon the previously established essence of the sub-genre of death metal.

Xul  has proven itself worthy to share the stage with bands such as Obscura, Exhumed, Vreid, Kampfar, Woods of Ypres, Macabre, Withered, Cephalic Carnage, Archspire and 3 Inches of Blood, some of whom have previously played Armstrong Metalfest.

This year’s festival kicks off Friday at around noon and is open to all-ages (those 16 and under will need to be accompanied by an adult.) Bands also take the stage all day Saturday, along with a thrash wrestling event that evening.

Camping is available for two-day pass holders, with tickets available locally in advance at the Vernon Rock & Smoke Shop. Full festival details can be found at