Metal Music and People Beating the Crap out of Each Other

Sword & Steel participants with Adavänt at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on March 4th, 2023

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: 13th Floor Entertainment ( )
Venue: The Nile Theater ( )
Date: Saturday March 4th, 2023
Tour: Swords & Steel

I guess I got your attention.  I bet you thought I was talking about the mosh pit at the concert, but it was something even more violent.  This was a combination event of medieval fighting and a metal music concert.  So, lets define what the Medieval Fighting was: It is a full contact event where people (both men and women) dress up in full medieval scale armor and then they have mele fights with sword, axes and other objects.  There are very few rules other that no stabbing.  When a player hits the ground, they are out.  These people are punching, kicking and hitting each other with their swords and axes.  They are not pulling their punches either.  And these are not play swords or axes, but the real things.  When they would hit each other, you could really hear it.  The group that put on the showcase is a local medieval fight club, Live Combat By Armored Academy of Arizona.  If you are interested in joining this group or just want more information, please check out their website or Facebook page:
Facebook Page:

This was also a metal concert event.  Three local metal bands performed.  First up was a new band, Borne of Ash.  Then came Varkan.  The last band was Adavant.  It was a fantastic event.  I have been to different medieval shows before and this was nothing like them.  This was the real thing.  These people really hit each other and there was no idea of who the winner would be.  Add in the 3 local metal bands and I had a very enjoyable evening.

Please get out and support local bands.  They put a lot of effort into their performance and some are extremely good.  I actually really enjoy seeing Varkan and Adavänt.  I have been following them since 2019.  If you want to keep these local bands performing, please purchase some of their merchandise.

Borne of Ash

Borne Of Ash at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on March 4th, 2023

Borne of Ash is a new Melodic Death/Doom metal band from Phoenix, AZ.  They consist of lead singer Nate Cates, guitarist Diego Hoyos and Tim Vurich, bassist Justin Massey and drummer Andrew Gayster.  Nate Cates is a very dynamic front man and take command of the stage.  The combination of Diego and Tim on guitars definitely add that extra dimension to each of the songs.  In Doom Metal, you need a strong bass player and drummer and Borne of Ash has two very good musicians in Justin and Andrew.  Together these musicians provide a solid performance and definitely drove the fans into a frenzy.  I almost got smashed by the mosh pit as I was attempting to photograph the band.

If you are into Death/Doom Metal then this is definitely a local band to watch.  They are very good.  You can find out more about Borne Of Ash on their Facebook Page:

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Right Reserved


Varkan at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on March 4th, 2023

Hailing from the Arizona desert, Varkan combines elements of NWOBHM, thrash, and extreme metal to create hard-hitting, melodic, and technical power metal. The Phoenix power-thrashers deliver theatrical, high-energy performances that hearken back to the glory days of heavy metal.

I was first introduced to Varkan by my metalhead friend back in 2019.  They are a combination of thrash and melodic metal similar to Megadeth.  They are fronted by Alec Damiano as lead singer and guitarist.  She is joined on guitar by Dom Scarano.  Together they shred like crazy people.  Bassist Sal Barragan lays down a solid baseline that defines the core of the songs.  Michael Rodriguez provides the heart pounding drumming.  Together they unleash a thunderous sound that affects you at your very core.

I have seen Varkan perform multiple times over the past 5 years and I can say they just keep getting better.  If you like music that gets your heart pumping and fills your soul with joy then I highly recommend you see Varkan.

You can find more information about Varkan and their upcoming events on either their website or Facebook page:
Facebook Page:

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Right Reserved


Adavänt at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on March 4th, 2023

I first saw Adavänt back in June of 2019 when they performed prior to Gloryhammer.  When I first saw them, I thought that they looked like Celts that were about to go into battle.  They were dressed in leather battle clothes and had face and body paint.  Then came this beautiful maiden on stage that looked like a warrior princess with full face and body paint.  As the first song started, I was blown away by her voice.  She reminded me of Tarja of Nightwish.  Just like with Nightwish, Adavänt’s bass player also provided the guttural roars.

Adavänt at The Nile Theater, Mesa, AZ on March 4th, 2023

A couple of changes have occurred since I first saw them.  Charlotte “The Alluring” is still the lead female singer.  Corey “The Vigorous” has relinquished the bass and has take over the fulltime roll of lead growler.  Corey “The Vigorous” has stepped in and taken over the bass player duties.  Justin “The Fierce” is still the lead guitarist.  Andy “The Cunning” is still the crazy and wild keyboardist.  And we can’t forget poor Javad “The Fearless” all hidden back in his drum kit.  They have added Ryan “The Bardic” to provide a myriad of folk instruments.

They just released a new CD in January of this year (2023) called, The Mystic And The Mountain.  I was at their release party and got to hear the entire CD live for the first time and was blown away.  I also got the CD and have been listening to it off and on for the last couple of months and it still holds up.  If you like Nightwish style of music, then I believe you will also like Adavänt.  Please give them a listen of Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music or other streaming services.

If you want to see Adavänt, they have an upcoming concert on May 29th, 2023.  They will be the first band performing along with Rhapsody Of Fire and Seven Kingdom at The Nile Theater in Mesa, AZ.

You can find more information about Adavänt and their upcoming events on either their website or Facebook page:
Facebook Page:

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Right Reserved


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