Kirk Hammett reunites with Exodus & joins Death Angel at Fear FestEvil


Written by Scotland Miller // Photos by Tom Dellinger //

This past weekend saw the first incarnation of an event that will surely become a mainstay in annual Bay Area activities. February’s true desire for rain was accompanied by the “Kirk von Hammett’s Fear FestEvil” held at The Regency Ball Room in San Francisco, an incredible gathering of metal heads and horror fanatics. Kirk’s personal collection of horror movie memorabilia was put on display, panels of horror celebrities were assembled to discuss various aspects of the genre, taxidermy classes were given, and oh yea…there were two nights of live music that would wake any dead soul from their eternal sleep.

As this was the first time run of the Fear FestEvil, I was curious as to what the vibe was going to be like. My curiosities were answered when the first security guard I ran into was in full zombie makeup complete with demon-eye contact lenses, a yellow “Event Security” t-shirt ripped and bloodied, and an amputated arm wiggling in my face as I nodded my head in recognition. Yea, it was going to be a good couple of nights.


Carcass was the first band to take the stage. If you call yourself a metal-head and you don’t know who these guys are, you might want to find out before banging your head again. Hailing from Liverpool, England and considered by many as the innovators of grindcore, Carcass has been throwing down since the early 80’s. The pit churned as lead singer Jeff Walker growled his way through songs from their early albums Reek of Putrification, and Symphonies of Sickness. This set, however, was not highlighted by the band but rather from the man in the wheelchair who thrust himself into the middle of the pit. After throwing some blows on his way in, a friendly mosher grabbed the handles of his chair and began steering him around in circles with the rest of the pit. That’s thrash. Walker was also very vocal about the roots of thrash and hardcore punk specifically coming from the Bay Area bands of the 80’s…very cool!!


Local hardcore legends from Oakland, Exodus, were the second and final band of the night. The frontlines of the floor were now at least ten deep, and more and more space was being carved out for the pit. I have never been as stricken with intensity as I was for the first few moments of my first Exodus show. The fog on stage was so thick that only the mike stands were visible for the opening riffs of their set, and you couldn’t see the drum kit until at least the third or fourth. All heads banged their way through shrills and screams of Rob Dukes’ voice as Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt melted faces to the floor. Being that Kirk was a founding member of Exodus (ya know, before he joined that other band), it was only fitting that he joined them for the closing song of the night — Blue Oyster Cult’s classic, Godzilla, complete with a guy in a purple Godzilla costume who ended up taking a few riffs of his own.


The second night’s line-up consisted of LA’s Death Division, Orchid from San Francisco, and Death Angel from Concord. This remained consistent with the theme of how influential the old skool metal bands from the Bay have been within the genre. It seems that each front man chose to be very vocal about one little fact; the Bay Area in the 80’s gave birth to fast-paced thrash.

On paper, Orchid didn’t really seem to fit the bill other than sharing the same hometown as Kirk. However, this did not matter with the crowd as they pumped out some of the most eardrum rattling sounds of the entire weekend. With their more classic stoner/doom sound, Orchid managed to be the throwback band of the festival despite only being around since 2007. “Nomad”, “Eyes Behind the Wall”, and “Silent One” seemed to transport the crowd back to the early days of heavy. As they did in their last gig in the City a few months back, they did not disappoint. These guys are going to do something big.


Death Angel has been around a long time, and has been through a lot of lineup changes. That hasn’t stopped them from becoming underground kings of thrash and metal. Their performance at the Fear FestEvil was impressive, but not as impressive as what happened at the end of their set. The weekend was closed out in a true metal-head fashion with Kirk joining Death Angel on stage to cover a Metallica classic, “Trapped Under Ice”. I’m not going to try and describe it to all of you in fear of not doing it proper justice. What I will say is that it was long, loud, and I lost my shit. Kirk Hammett being the axe slayer that he is absolutely killed it.

If you didn’t make it this year I can tell you to keep your eye out next year, because this is only going to get better. Forget my face…these guys melted my skull! My ears feel like they have been cored with melon ballers.


  1. Looked like one helluva an event

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