Tour de Force



nemhfA great time was had by all at this year’s New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. The bands killed, the people were quality, the Metal Insider panels were insightful, the beer was alcoholic, the pot potent, and the hippies at The Dead festival down the block were downright hilarious and provided for some good laughs. I had smashing fun live-Twittering the event (search for #metalfest on Twitter for all event updates posted by anyone, or look at the MetalSucks twitter account for just our updates), and made many new friends. Your MS reporters did 7 interviews, including a philosophy session with Haunted vocalist / blogger Peter Dolving, and those will be published in due time. But for now, check out my quick synopses of the bands that we saw after the jump.


Kobra Kai: Cover band featuring members of Shadows Fall and Fates Warning kicking through some classic ’80s metal gems. At the early hour of 9pm they were way more wasted than any of the industry heads in attendance; as such, I feel like they would’ve been way more warmly greeted had they played at, say, midnight. But even so, they fucking killed it and everyone had a good time. Playing Queensryche’s “Eyes of a Stranger” sealed the deal.


Psycroptic and Sylosis: Bummed I had to miss both bands due to the Metal Inside panels, but heard through the grapevine that Sylosis was fantastic.

After the Burial: Had a lot of people there to see them, and they were absolutely virgin-tight (no surprise… their album kills). These kids have a bright future.

Trap Them: I’ve listened to their album three times now and I still don’t get why people love this band so much… so I figured I’d give the live show a shot. Still, no dice. Kinda sloppy and just not that interesting musically. Sorry.

Kataklysm: Really solid. Best I’ve heard them sound. Not sure if I’ll ever be super-stoked on this band, but they sounded good, I’ll give them that.

The Destro: Best performance of the entire metalfest, hands down. Like a time-warp back to the hay-day of ’90s power groove resembling Pantera in more ways than just one, but that kinda seems to be the point. Dudes fucking ripped it up in front of 30 people at the 3rd stage. Maybe the fact that those, um, cookies kicked in around this time influenced my experience… but these guys just blew me away. Recordings don’t quite live up.

The Haunted: Intense performance, no surprise. Seemed genuinely happy to be there and put on a great show as always.

Colliseum: Ripped it up! Just the dose of southern hardcore-tinged metal I needed at the moment. All who were there seemed to agree.

August Burns Red: Serviceable if not entirely interesting metalcore. Good musicians, fun to watch live, but the music lacks that X factor for me.

Cattle Decapitation: Sounded like Cattle Decapitation! Had a good interview with the guys before-hand.

Napalm Death: Sounded like Napalm Death!

Between the Buried and Me: Ridiculously good. This band continues to be on the up and up and impresses every single time. Had the crowd on their side in a major way, and totally lived up their billing as main support to the headliner.

All That Remains: Meh.


Animals as Leaders: Canceled because of personnel problems. Bummed.

Century: Not that good, which was kind of a bummer because I dig their record.

Unholy: Surprise of the day for me… they were really tight and had a great hybrid of metal and hardcore (but definitely not “metalcore”) going on. Solid band that I’d recommend seeing if they come to your town.

Broadcast The Nightmare: The 3rd stage was running a bit behind, so when we got there to see Conducting From the Grave we were greeted by Broadcast the Nightmare. Really fucking solid Sumerian-core band (aka… modern progressive death metal) with top-shelf players who put on a good show too.

Conducting From the Grave: Like Broadcast the Nightmare but a little more polished. Excellent. Sumerian-core… can we make that into an official sub-genre please?

Book of Black Earth: Only caught about half a song, but it was a really fuckin’ good half song. Epic, doomy black metal. Or blackened doom metal. The latter, I think. But definitely epic.

Iwrestledabearonce: Put on a really good show and had the kids up front in an absolute tizzy. New material went over really well.

Suicide Silence: Rumors began to circulate Friday that Suicide Silence had been added to Saturday’s lineup last-minute, and it ended up being true. I didn’t make it to their performance but heard from nearly everyone that they impressed the fuck out of the unsuspecting audience.

Austrian Death Machine: Total. Brutal. But the gimmick got old after about one song.

Municipal Waste: Re-thrash. Competently generic. I’m over it.

God Forbid: Completely killed it and had the crowd solidly on their side in a way I was not expecting. Kris Norris filled in adequately for Dallas, though understandably wasn’t much of a stage presence as he had to focus on playing the parts correctly. Still, the band was as on point as ever.

Children of Bodom: You’ve seen one Bodom song and you’ve seen ’em all, but this band is still great. Looked kind of disinterested the whole time, but Alexi’s between-song banter is always entertaining.

As I Lay Dying: Another great surprise. Full confession: never been a fan of this band, and yes, I have seem them live before. But their live show is at a whole new level now, and they were very, very good on Saturday night.

Lamb of God: My tweet after their first song sums it up; “Is there any doubt that Lamb of God are the biggest and best metal band of our generation? If so, fuck you.”


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