New England Metal and Hardcore Festival Review
Metalfest is an annual gathering of good metal bands and shit bands claiming to be metal…or shit hardcore bands who hate metal. That being said, it’s the closest thing to a real metal festival us New Englanders have (besides Bobfest!), so all the grubby, long-haired, zit-covered hordes leave their collective mother’s basement to fight with the overly clean, short-haired, basketball jersey-wearing hxc kiddies who love da breakdowns. Sounds like a great bear-on-twink flick. -Ed.
This year was no different.
NOTE: I am only covering bands that I actually saw–so, if there are any omissions, that is why.
Pathogenic started off the day with their happenin’ brand of generidjent. I was actually fairly surprised at their performance, because the last time I saw the band was at Black Xmas 2010, where the room was so horrified from their aggressively awful performance that folks would have probably been happy if Mudvayne took the stage. This time around, the music still suffered from a severe case of “hey, we’re djent too, guys”–in other words, there wasn’t a single original riff played–but they put on an entertaining show and were tight as all hell. I was at the barrier for their set, and actually wasn’t sad to be there.
Hour of Penance’s set began late because of an asshole sound guy who literally ignored the band’s requests, which resulted in whoever controls set punctuality to hop on the loudspeaker and yell at the band to get going. When they finally got through to the sound guy and started playing, the set was an absolute blast. They only got to play a few songs because of the fucking absurd time limits, but they were tight, energetic, and looked like they were having a great time. The crowd was fairly bullshit though, as most of the people spent time bitching about how they didn’t play any breakdowns. I mean, FUCK, what good is it without any breakdowns??? Check out teh protoslam in Slavery In A Deaf Decay and dance. -Ed.
I only saw the tail end of Legion’s set, and from what I did see, that ain’t a bad g-thang. They were one of the worst bands I have had the misfortune of witnessing. F’real, holmes. There was nothing tight about them; the 7-8 minutes I saw were rife with mistakes and sloppiness, and when you’re playing such a simple brand of hardcore, let’s face it–that’s weak as hell. To make matters worse, the singer sounded like Mitch Lucker crossed with Frankie Palmeri. There’s really not a whole lot more to say about this. I mean, they had a lot of breakdowns, which I guess is enough for some folks, but for me it don’t cut tha cheese. Don’t forget the synchronized hops. -Ed.
This was my second time seeing Fit for an Autopsy recently, but my first without numerous technical difficulties…meaning that this time, bass drops made me want to poop my pants every time a breakdown hit. There wasn’t much of a difference between the two times otherwise, and that’s a good thing–this band may not come close to being unique or innovative, but I’ll be sheep-fucked if they ain’t damn fun every time they play. Though most of their set serves as filler in between the classic tunes “The Conqueror” and “The Jackyl”, it’s acceptably well-done filler, and certainly isn’t as offensive as, say, Legion. Solid.
Conducting from the Grave was a nice change of pace, seeing as while melody wasn’t a big factor in any of the previous sets, Conducting let their big collective melodicock dangle. I’d master that instrument from both ends. -Ed. Harmonies soared through the air like Slaughter of the Soul was just released–these guys do NOT fuck around when it comes to their precious melody. The extremely tight guitarists shred with reckless abandon, leaving the mosh pit a worthless pool of happiness and puppies. No, for real, these guys remind one of the golden days of metal, without sounding like a retro or revival band, which is fucking awesome. The great thing about Conducting from the Grave is how even though they use breakdowns, they aren’t always the climax of the song–sometimes they are–but not always, which is crucial. Their set was, again, far too short, but that’s no fault of their own, and they played a fun set of fun songs, including the stellar “And Our War Will Dawn”, “Marching Towards Extinction” and “Her Poisoned Tongues”, the latter of which caused the pit to explode in a tsunami of arm flailing. It’s also worth mentioning that Mikey Powell is an immensely powerful frontman, absolutely owning the stage–even if he does look almost exactly like Axxe from Ecliption’s evil twin.
Prog/djent/deathcore/whatever group The Contortionist absolutely wowed, opening up with one of their fairly involved numbers, “Flourish”. The song goes from techy to brutal to calming to beautiful to epic to brutal and finally techy again. Yeah, they’re one of those bands. The thing is, despite ripping off Between the Buried and Me’s stage act to a tee (what with the singer singing and playing keyboard/hopping around and growling like a maniac), they come across unique because they really don’t sound anything alike, and well…they don’t suck. My skewed reasoning aside, I really don’t see how anybody in the audience couldn’t like their set. Yes, they had breakdowns, but fuck elitists who would bitch about that anyway. They only had time for 4 songs, but they used their time well, evenly splitting the set between old and new material. The old material is great, but the new stuff gives me a good ol’ fashioned stiffy. It focuses more on the progressive aspects and, in one of the 2 songs they played, puts clean vocals in the forefront, which works amazingly well, given their style–even if the beat down sections aren’t quite as memorable as in, say, “Expire”.
The last time I saw Molotov Solution was quite a while ago, a few months after they released their sophomore album, The Harbinger. Molotov plays a brand of deathcore that, while painfully generic, is admittedly stupid fun to mosh along to. Songwriting superior to many of their peers is responsible for this, as seen in songs like “Rule by Secrecy” or “Enslaved”. That being said, they released a third record, Insurrection, not too long ago, and I haven’t had much time to spend with it yet. My initial reaction was that it wasn’t as good as The Harbinger, but upon seeing some of the songs live, I may need to revisit that, as their set was pretty fucking cool–and the new songs blew the old ones out of the water (with the exception of “Enslaved”). On a side note, you know when you’re walking down the street and see an enormously obese man and think to yourself, “Goddamn, that broski ain’t got no neck!”? Well, I bet Nick is responsible for all the fatties’ lack of necks–he’s gotta be stealing them left and right, because this guy is so abnormally tall, it looks like he has three.
I would have been more excited to see Fleshgod Apocalypse around the time the Mafia EP was released, since their latest full length, Agony seems to be an exercise in excessiveness. Keyboard melodies fly left and right, blast beats seemingly never stop, and two singers (both who play instruments as well) trade off guttural growls and operatic singing like there ain’t no thang sacred. Must be ex-gospel choir. -Ed. That being said, while it’s far too much on record, live it comes across as a rip-roaring good time. I do wish they had played “Thru Our Scars” or “In Honor of Reason”, but these metallers from the land of macaroni ‘n gravy gave us a great set nonetheless. Gabagool. -Ed.
While I like some of their material, deathcore merchants Carnifex are an INCREDIBLY frustrating band live. The first time I saw them live, they played a mix of material I liked and disliked, and were tight, but suuuuuuuuuper fucking dull, dude, and seemed bored the entire time. The second time, which was at Rocko’s in Manchestah, Namshaw, they only played 2 songs I didn’t hate, but sold the bad shit so well, with a passion and energy reserved for first-tier acts, that it was impossible not to enjoy their set. For their New England Metal/Hardcore Festival set, they played every fucking song that I wanted to see, and still managed to disappoint–they were far too sloppy (which one could chalk up to the fact that it was 420, but that’s a copout) to give a damn about their set choice. Blame it on the a-a-a-a-a, a-alcohol. -Ed. The drummer slogged along, often more than a beat behind the rest of the band, the guitarists fucked up every three seconds, the singer’s voice cracked…I’m giving up on this shit. For a metal band with the popularity and exposure of Carnifex, it’s totally unacceptable and downright reprehensible to give fans a performance of this craptastic caliber. Hopefully the tables will turn on this band soon and fucking kill ‘em, so another, better band can rise up in their place. What a fucking disgrace.
Thankfully, blackened thrashers Skeletonwitch were up next to wipe one’s memory of Carnifex’s shitshow. While not the most memorable or technical band in the world, Skeletonwitch are a great drinkin’, thrashin’, old school band who, even though they didn’t amaze, gave us a break from incessant breakdowns and lung-scraping gutturals. Honestly, even though I’ve seen this band more than my fair share of times, I’m not familiar with their recorded material as I should be–to me, they’re kind of like Warbringer or Goatwhore: lacking in substance, but able to make up for it live with buckets of energy and big ‘ol scoops of fun (like shotgunning a can ‘o Bud Heavy while lying upside down on a steep roof). Bud is terrible and you’re fired. -Ed. There’s not much else to say, really. Check them out if you give a shit; if not, it’s probz not the end of the world, yo.
Though I’ve spent quite a lot of this review complaining about breakdowns, Oceano fucking ruled, despite using them more than I smoke camel 99’s to the filter. See a lung doctor about that. -Ed. Adam Warren is a captivating frontman, engaging the audience, and even tossing out a “This one’s for the ladies,” coupled with a song title that makes the statement fairly offensive (the song was “Disgust for Your Kind”). They played a fantastic set, tight as your sister’s puss puss (yeah, I went there), and filled with songs from both records. Fuck, they even played “Samael the Destroyer”, huge doom ending included. I must have fathered a bunch of children during that song, because I jizzed so hard to it, I fucking FILLED The Palladium with my seed (sorry, Palladium janitorial staff). They closed with the requisite “District of Misery”, leaving all but the elitist fuckheads more than satisfied. Triumphant.
That being said, my personal best-set-of-the-night award goes to All Shall Perish, who destroyed all the competition without even trying. They not only played a wonderful set culling from all four albums in their discography, but played it flawlessly, with nary a mistake–and they even incited the show’s only wall of death, set to the monstrous breakdown in “Deconstruction”. Eddie Hermida is a beast on the microphone–the guy can do just about any style of metal vocals out there on cue, and he owns the stage like a boss. The interesting thing about All Shall Perish is, despite being associated with deathcore, their music feels far more on the metal side, and they play it with the conviction and attitude of an arena rock band. Take “Wage Slaves”, for example–you got the metal-as-fuck down-tuned intro, but with a cowbell keeping time, and when the whole band finally kicks in, Eddie does a Steven Tyler-style jump and shouts “Owwwwwwwww COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!” Cephalic Carnage and Aerosmith are filing a joint lawsuit. -Ed. I hope someone sees this comment and calls me out for being an asshole, but if you have watched All Shall Perish and DIDN’T have a good time, you are fucking stupid. You are fucking stupid as hell. In fact, you are such an incredible bowl of idiocy, I’m ashamed you came to this blog. Fuck off.
Nile, on the other hand, despite being a death metal classic, disappointed me for the second time, and honestly left me with a sour taste in my mouth for the drive home. This is why hookers don’t own cars. -Ed. It’s not that they weren’t tight–they were–it’s just that they’re too full of themselves for their own good. Look, guys–you have an extensive catalog of amazing death metal, fucking dive into it and play us, the fans, some classics. Their set consisted of a shit ton of tracks from their latest record, Those Whom the Gods Detest, and only one song from each other record besides their classic debut, Amongst the Catacombs of Nephren-Ka, which they completely ignored. And you know what? Those Whom the Gods Detest is a great record. But when you’re an upper-echelon classic like Nile, you have to hit the classics. Sure, I got to headbang to “Sarcophagus” and “Black Seeds of Vengeance” (which they play every show), but where the hell was “Masturbating the War God”? “Serpent-Headed Mask”? “Execration Text”? “Lashed to the Slave Stick”? “Nepenthe”? “Surrounded By Fright”? -Ed. Hell, they didn’t even play anything from the upcoming record, At the Gates of Sethu. To make matters worse, most crowd interactions were generic throw-away lines like “How we doing tonight????”. While I love this band and will purchase At the Gates of Sethu when it drops, they need to re-evaluate their live show and give back to the fans for once. And I bet Karl’s pre-game snacks could feed the audience twice over. -Ed.
I didn’t stay for the final two bands because I’ve seen The Acacia Strain a bunch of times before, and I don’t like The Black Dahlia Murder. And I live in Namshaw, and didn’t want to get home at 4 AM. So fuck all y’all. Bring Your Own Protection. -Ed.
Redneck from Hell