Tour de Force



drunken festival goerIn the summer of 2006, before MetalSucks was even a twinkle in our young, stoned eyes, Axl and I headed across the pond to England’s famous Download Festival at Castle Donington to get our metal on. Our minds were literally blown; neither of us had ever been to an event of such magnitude and we were literally shocked at the seemingly endless and welcoming metal community in Europe. In 2007 and 2008 we talked of going to other European festival mainstays like Wacken and Hellfest, and though we never made it back we were continually jealous of the rich European metal festival scene.

Americans have reason to be jealous of their European forefathers no more; a glut of both indoor and outdoor festivals have hit the American circuit in the past few of years, and in 2009 even more promoters are jumping on the bandwagon with a glut of killer destination metal festivals already lined up.

There’s the obvious ones, festivals that traditionally haven’t catered to metal audiences but have hosted metal bands recently. Much was made last year of Metallica’s headlining slot on the hippie-throwdown Bonnaroo festival, and this year’s lineup already features Nine Inch Nails and Down. California’s Coachella festival, held the weekend of April 17-19, already boasts appearances by Mastodon, Genghis Tron, Henry Rollins, and Mike Patton & Rahzel on top of their usually indie-centric lineup.

But let’s cut to the real shit; no metal head in their right mind would withstand dozens of hours of hipster wank to catch a couple of bands that tour all the time anyway. Right? Right.

The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival celebrates its 11th year in Worcester, Mass the same weekend as Coachella and features a two-day all-star lineup we’ve already publicized plenty in this space. And you all well know about the ridiculously awesome and slightly more left-of-center Scion Rock Fest going down in Atlanta at the end of February (win tickets from us here!).

Maryland Deathfest, now in its 7th year, is kicking off May 22nd and boasts a roster of 50+ bands including just about every band on Relapse and any band you’d be likely to read about in the pages of Decibel. Read: lots of old-school death, grind and other off-the-wall shit. Samples: Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Pestilence, Aura Noir, Misery Index, The Red Chord, Brutal Truth, Immolation, Pig Destroyer, Today is the Day, just to name a few. How ’bout them apples?

But wait, there’s more!

Several readers have emailed us about California Metalfest (in its 3rd year, from what I can tell) which takes place March 28th at The Grove in Anaheim and features a lineup that’s pretty much a who’s who of modern death metal; The Faceless, Whitechapel, Arsis, Decrepit Birth, Veil of Maya, and Psycroptic. Long-established heavy hitters Carcass, Exodus, Suffocation and Samael round out the top of the bill, and the festival MySpace page boasts “many more TBA.” The Texas Metal Up Your Ass festival features all of the same bands — minus Exodus, plus Suicide Silence — and takes place exactly one week earlier at The Ridglea in Fort Worth. A scaled down version of this tour being billed as “Texas Metal Fest” also appears to be hitting Houston the next night.

Lastly, a press release that came in this morning at 4:31am announces L.A. Murderfest 5.0 at The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on May 9th and 10th. The lineup features Eyehategod, General Surgery, Outlaw Order (aka Eyehategod minus Jimmy Bower), Coffins, 16, Abysmal Dawn, Braindrill and a shitload of others.

So there are plenty of options to get your metal on this summer outside of the usual touring package scene (Mayhem, Ozzfest if it happens, etc). Furthermore, American festival promoters smartly chose not to compete with their European brethren, instead choosing to hold their festivals in the Spring as opposed to the Summer.

So what the fuck are Americans complaining about? Get in your fuckin’ car or buy a bargain-basement flight and get your ass out there.


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