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Gather the Horde

New album highlights North Bay metal bands

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HEAVY DUTY Ernest Wuethrich has amassed a who’s who of local metal.
  • HEAVY DUTY Ernest Wuethrich has amassed a who’s who of local metal.

As a concert promoter with Gather Booking & Management and administrator of the social media group Sonoma County Metal & Hardcore, Ernest Wuethrich has made it his mission to bring the North Bay's diverse underground metal scene to a larger audience in the Bay Area and beyond.

This month, he unveils his most ambitious project yet, the double-disc

Sonoma County Metal & Hardcore 2018 Compilation, featuring 26 local bands showcasing mostly brand-new songs.

"The compilation is a way to try to grow a scene organically by reaching people that might be into heavy music without knowing that these bands actually exist," says Wuethrich.

While the North Bay's dedicated metalheads are already keenly aware of the array of talent that takes the stage at Wuethrich's concerts, he knows there is a larger scene that would welcome these bands outside of Sonoma County.

"The idea came about because I work with other promoters in other markets and we like to do show trades, so I'll give shows to bands based on friendly promoters recommending them," says Wuethrich.

When he wanted to secure shows for local bands in other markets, Wuethrich found complications in promoting bands that had no recordings to show for their work.

"We had to get the bands as active as possible so they can grow past Sonoma County," says Wuethrich. "It was a creative way to try to force bands to produce music."

Wuethrich worked with engineer Kyle Rhine of Outer Heaven Recording in Santa Rosa to record a bulk of the band's tracks. Rhine offered to give the group a discounted rate to make the endeavor affordable to the bands who self-financed their studio time.

Nearly 20 of the 26 bands on the album recorded new tracks specifically for the compilation, including speed metal band Trecelence, groovy progressive metal outfit Predation, death metal group Obelisk and thrash metal band Incredulous.

All 750 of the printed discs will be distributed for free at concerts and local spots like the Last Record Store in Santa Rosa. This week, the compilation is officially released in a massive concert that features many of the bands on the album, from Sonoma County's longest running metal band, Skitzo, to hardcore act 4199, making their live debut.

"The fact that everyone was able to come together and pull it off was pretty cool," says Wuethrich. "I hope everyone gets something out of it."

'Sonoma County Metal & Hardcore 2018 Compilation' is released on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa. 7pm. $10–$13. All ages. 707.528.3009.

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