[ENTERTAINMENT]Heavy-Metal Sound to Bang Around Seoul

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Heavy-Metal Sound to Bang Around Seoul

What comes to mind when you hear the word "Dongdaemun"? Probably that it's a famous area near the center of Seoul and the word means "great east gate." Dongdaemun also is a major shopping district, popular with young people and wholesalers, and perhaps best-known for its terrible rush-hour traffic jams.

On Aug. 23 the area will be filled with the shouts and screams and amplified sounds coming from several heavy-metal bands from Korea and abroad. Ready or not, it's time for Metalfest 2001, a gathering of heavy-metal music makers. Though some international rock festivals such as Reading Festival or Fuji Rock have had success, many others in Seoul have not. Much of the reason is because festivals tend to feature the same performers.

Metalfest 2001, which is debuting this year, is to be held for five hours in Dongdaemun Stadium, and only 7,000 seats are available. Koh Jae-gwang, in charge of planning the festival, said, "The Dongdaemun Stadium subway station is at the intersection of three different subway lines, No. 2 (green), 4 (blue) and 5 (purple) lines. Thus, it is the perfect spot for everyone to enjoy a rock concert." Mr. Koh, however, is asking for an ambitious 70,000 won ($54) for all seats, much more than the typical concert in Korea. Because some people think heavy metal appeals only to a limited number of fanatics, it is questionable whether there are enough headbangers to fill Dongdaemun Stadium.

Still, the concert is noteworthy, especially considering the lineup of eight notable local and international heavy-metal groups.

Slayer, from the United States, will be the biggest name band. Slayer is regarded as a first-rate "thrash" metal band. Thrash is an old-fashioned style of heavy metal sound that features technical and rapid guitar riffs and super-fast drumming.

Also, Machine Head, a California-based hard-core band, whose debut album in 1994 sold 500,000 copies in the United States, is set to perform. Machine Head's fourth album is scheduled to be released in September. Other bands with festival experience include Vision of Disorder from the United States, and Sepultura from Brazil.

Local bands to perform include Crash and Diablo, and both known for their thrash sound. Crash, formed in 1991, has especially made a name for its enthusiastic stage performance and a four-album portfolio. Mr. Koh said that this festival would provide a good chance to compare the local rock scene with the worldwide one.

For more information, call 02-3141-3488, or visit the Wet site in Korean, www.allaccess.co.kr.

by Chun Su-jin

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