Metal for the Brain

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Advertising bill for the 2006 festival




Venue (s)

  • ANU Canberra 1991 - 1999
  • University of Canberra 2000 - 2006


Metal for the Brain was Australia's biggest and most siginificant all-metal festival event from 1991 until 2006. From 1996 the promoter was Sanigav Productions; previously it had been Armoured Angel. The event was established as to raise funds for the Alec Hurley Trust and the National Brain Injury Foundation. Alec Hurley was a Canberra teenager who was rendered severely brain-damaged after a fight outside a club in 1990. To assist with his ongoing care, his friend Joel Green of Armoured Angel staged the first Metal for the Brain concert at the ANU in Canberra on November 16, 1991. Six bands appeared at this show. Interest in the event increased yearly until it had become so large that attendance restrictions forced it to be moved to the larger Refectory building at the University of Canberra in Belconnen in 2000. This first show at the new venue was headlined by Canada's Voivod, the first non-Australian act to appear.

In 1996, Alchemist took over the organising and promotion of the event due to the disbanding of Armoured Angel. By 2006, the event was hosting more than 30 bands on three stages. Two compilation albums were released celebrating the event, the first in 2001 from Chatterbox Records and the second in 2005 from Faultline. In its latter years, the festival attracted criticism from some areas for the inclusion of heavy rock and hardcore acts in contrast with the purely metal bands that had formed the event's early bills however this failed to have any detrimental impact on Metal for the Brain. The festival's major hiccup came in 2002 when insurance concerns fuelled by a death at the Big Day Out forced Metal for the Brain to be cancelled after the line-up had been announced and headliners Destruction already booked to appear. The Destruction tour went ahead with a smaller-scale show held in Canberra instead.

In 2004, Alchemist's overseas touring commitments meant the show was held over until February 2005, when two smaller events were also held under the MFTB banner in Brisbane and Perth. Increased costs caused Alchemist to announce on July 25, 2006 that Metal for the Brain would no longer be held after that year's show on November 4. In a 2007 interview Adam Agius intimated that the festival may return in 2008, but this did not happen and a revival of the festival is unlikely; Alec Hurley died in 2011.

Line up history

Advertising bill for the 2003 festival
  • 14 November 1992 - Hard Ons, The Hammonds, Bladder Spasms, Armoured Angel, Alchemist, Percursor, Grungeon, Cyborium, Manticore
  • November 1994 - Alchemist, Armoured Angel, Manticore, Psychrist, Epitaph, Cod Peace, Black Earth, Dement Ensemble. Cruciform was billed to headline but split up in the meantime.
  • 27 November 1999 - Cryogenic, Alchemist, Blood Duster, Superheist, Nazxul, Destroyer 666, Armoured Angel, Dreadnaught, Pod People, Sakkuth, Psi.Kore, Order of Chaos, Lord Kaos, Earth, Psychrist, Crypt, Dungeon, Kompost
  • The show set for 9 November, 2002 was cancelled due to insurance concerns, however, the proposed line up was: Destruction, Blood Duster, Dungeon, Earth, Frankenbok, Cog, Jerk, Pod People, Astriaal, Devolved, Psychrist, Alarum, Chalice, Sakkuth, Daysend, Psycroptic, Maladiction, Abortus, K.I.N., Enter Twilight, Clauz, Black Steel, Suns Owl, Contrive, Fuck...I'm Dead, Oni, Post Life Disorder, Infernal Method, Tourettes, Headmess, Hollow, LOG and Omnium Gatherum. This would have been the only Metal for the Brain not to feature Alchemist.