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Friday, May 25, 2018

Memorial Day Bash Gives Syrus a Sendoff Before a German Festival Appearance

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 11:36 AM

click to enlarge Syrus' roots go back to 1984, when it was formed by Southside high school headbangers. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Syrus' roots go back to 1984, when it was formed by Southside high school headbangers.
This weekend's Memorial Day Metalfest at the RockBox offers a chance to send off one of S.A.'s most venerable metal exports before it makes its European debut.

Syrus will perform this summer at Germany's Headbanger's Open Air Festival, alongside old-school heavyweights Anvil, Girlschool and Riot V, another band with deep S.A. ties. The event runs July 26-28 near Hamburg.

Not bad for a band formed in '84 by Burbank and Harlandale high school headbangers.

"We had a cult following in Europe based on a 1986 demo we put out," Syrus guitarist John Castilleja said of the overseas invitation. "There was a lot tape trading back then, and we sold a lot in Germany. It seemed like I was getting demo orders every day for a while."

Syrus is just the latest band from S.A.'s seminal '80s metal scene to appear in Germany, which must have an unquenchable taste for denim and leather. The country's Keep It True festival will feature not one but two S.A. outfits next summer: Juggernaut and South Texas Legion — a supergroup featuring members of S.A. Slayer, Watchtower and others.

This summer's appearance also will be a chance for Syrus to make good on a missed opportunity from two decades ago. The band signed to a German label in '88, but an accident sidelined Castilleja shortly after and blew apart plans for both an LP and a European tour.

"They seem fascinated by the Texas scene in Germany," Castilleja said. "They love the intensity all the bands here had."

But if a two-day metal fest isn't in your Memorial Day plans, you haven't missed your chance to see Syrus. After a layoff for much of the 2000s, the band is back to regular gigging, and a new album, Tales of War, came out last year via Holland's No Dust Records.

"The following's coming back, and everyone seems to be excited," Castilleja added. "Now that we're all in our 40s and 50s, it's been great to see everyone out again."

$10, Sat-Sun May 26-27, 2 pm, The Rock Box, 1223 E. Houston St., (210) 677-9453, Get our top picks for the best events in San Antonio every Thursday morning. Sign up for our Events Newsletter.

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