I like to think of myself as a well-versed guy in all things Metal. I can tell you Savatage’s classic lineup by heart – the one from Gutter Ballet, of course –, I was the only kid in my neighborhood with a bootleg cassette tape recording of that one time Rob Halford fronted Black Sabbath, and I have a picture with Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate. That’s metal cred right there! You know, those things used to go a long way when I was a teen.
Before I moved to Medellín, Colombia in January 2017, I had never heard of local bands such as Parabellum or Reencarnación, let alone the tale that says they were a direct influence on Norwegian black metal bands from the 1990’s. Rumour has it that Mayhem’s guitar player, Euronymous, exchanged letters with Bull Metal, a legendary drummer from Medellín, and told him that Colombian Metal inspired their music. In fact, the sound was so unique that it was considered to be a sub-genre of its own, named Ultrametal.
I was born and raised in Brazil and all of that was unknown to me. Partially because I came of age in a pre-internet era but also because Sepultura is from Brazil and I was a massive fan. Their popularity grew at the same time I entered my teenage years and for a while, they were the only band I cared about, so the thought of looking for Colombian bands never crossed my mind.
SInce I got here I heard the most amazing stories about Medellín’s old school metal days, looked for bands online, watched this doc. and even met some of the guys who played a part in the scene back in the day.
I felt compelled to learn more about what happened here but also what is going on nowadays. This is an ongoing project that portraits people and places I find while I learn more about the city and one of the most authentic and cool metal scenes in the world.