Underground metal bands will take over downtown Durango

by Alicia Rae Hansen

As a region rich in bluegrass, country, and jazz, Durango’s musical atmosphere is lively and buzzing with excitement. Musicians make Durango a stop on tours from in and out of state. With a wide array of venues to choose from, many of which are eager to host a good time, downtown is the place to be on a summer night.

Yet, deep the shadows, a populous of residents eager for something a little heavier than bluegrass lay anxiously in wait. Among the metal and hard rock musicians of the Four Corners, there is often a feeling that their musical efforts are ignored and undervalued, and, despite the growing number, their fans are swept aside by venues and bars. Even jukeboxes have little to offer.


Perhaps that’s because the trees can be shaken by the growls and screams of metalheads, but the fans will still be standing at the end. Many of us just want variety, and that’s exactly what local recording label Death Portal Studio, and the “cute-meets-occult” artists at Devilishly Rotten, aim to deliver to the local music market.

Death Portal, as it’s known locally, is an underground production label and recording studio. They specialize in small runs and limited-edition items from over 35 bands who pull from genres like black metal, doom metal, and other ear-piercing noise. The label’s bands hail from all over the world. On Death Portal’s roster are bands like Sarcophagus from Turkey and Zardens from Belgium, along with homegrown acts like Aetranok and Vile Aesthetic, two bands on the front of the region’s black metal scene. Part of the Colorado music scene for decades, Death Portal’s reputation in the metal market is solid and respected.


The artists at Devilishly Rotten, while newer to the scene, share Death Portal’s interests, and have been working to share their music and artwork, a mix of cute, poppy, bubblegum-coloring and a cartoonish style with occult-themed imagery and the macabre, and is plastered on stickers, pins, art prints, and t-shirts.

Both Death Portal and Devilishly Rotten have been trying to get their foot in the door whenever they can, and they’ve managed for the first time to snag a spot this Saturday at Balcony Bar Backstage. If metal is your jam, this is your night.


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