Toronto band Vesperia are one of the headliners at the seventh annual Armstrong MetalFest

Toronto band Vesperia are one of the headliners at the seventh annual Armstrong MetalFest

MetalFest forges ahead in Armstrong

The two-day heavy metal festival, which starts today, features 36 local and international bands performing at Hassen Arena.

Armstrong gets loud and proud this weekend with the seventh annual Armstrong MetalFest.

The two-day heavy metal festival, which starts today, features 36 local and international bands performing at Hassen Arena.

Two of those bands are no strangers to metal fans around Canada, and locally.

The 2015 Metal Battle Champions, Toronto’s Vesperia take the stage at MetalFest on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. as part of their Western Canadian tour in promotion of their upcoming EP, The Iron Tempests, due out later this year.

“We are very excited to be back in action and playing more dates across the entirety of Canada this summer,” said Vesperia’s frontman and manager Morgan Rider. “We have been working very hard behind the scenes to get to this point and we can only stand by in anticipation to play for our kinsmen across our beautiful country.”

Joining Vesperia at MetalFest is Vernon blackened death metal band XUL, who take the stage today at 6:30 p.m.

The band has a new EP, Extinction Necromance, which came out in May and follows their 2012’s full-length album, Malignance.

Known for their atmospheric passages accompanied by a storm of punishing percussion and vicious vocal harmonies, XUL has left the beaten path to forge their own brand of blackened death metal.

The band has already built an impressive Western Canadian following that has seen them support such heavyweights as Obscura, Exhumed, Vreid, Kampfar, Woods of Ypres, Macabre, Withered, Cephalic Carnage, Archspire and 3 Inches of Blood, many of which have played MetalFest at one time or another.

Weekend passes for Armstrong MetalFest are available at the Vernon Rock and Smoke Shop or at the gate to Hassen Arena, next to the Interior Provincial Exhibition fairgrounds, with camping available. Day passes are available at the gate only. For more information, visit www.ArmstrongMetalFest.ca.