Here are Six Underground Fests to Check Out This Year
It used to be that fests were few and far between, and only found in Europe or Maryland. But damn if there aren’t a shitload of fests going down this year. Lately, I see a Facebook post about a new fest every day. It seems like more and more people are realizing that if you rent a venue and book a ton of otherwise-hard-to-see bands there, the fans will come out in droves and spend good money on them.
Some of these fests are bigger and more mainstream than others, but the majority of them are nicely entrenched in the underground, with headliners that plenty of typical metalheads have never heard of and a small group of fans would die to see. So if you’re one of those people who likes his bands somewhere between a ballroom opener and totally impossible to track down, here’s a list of six fests coming up in 2016. I’ve included them in chronological order, so break out the claendar.
BERSERKER FEST III – March 3rd, 4th, and 5th
Probably the most accessible of the festivals listed here is Detroit’s Berserker Fest. The three-day event features big-name bands like Voivod, Ghoul, and Holy Grail, while still giving top billing to crushers like Black Fast, Yautja, and Brooklyn’s own Mutilation Rites. This line-up looks pretty awesome, and more than anything it provides a genuine variety of music in case you just can’t take three whole days of nonstop black or death metal. Get tickets here.
BLOOD OF THE WOLF FEST II – March 25th, 26th, and 27th
On the other side of the coin is Blood Of The Wolf in Kentucky, which is chock-full of filthy black, death, and thrash metal. And while we may not have heard of half of these bands, some of them are MS favorites, like death-doom crushers Temple of Void, filth mongers Coffin Dust, and black metal maniacs Throaat. If you’re looking for a fest at which to score some sick patches and see some really nasty underground shit, look no further. And hey, you can hit the Bourbon Trail in the meantime. Get tickets here.
DOOM OVER LONDON – March 25th, 26th, and 27th
While we normally don’t cover European shows at MetalSucks, Doom Over London’s line-up is just too cool not to mention. I think seeing Impaled Nazarene, Hooded Menace, Moonspell, Pantheist, Swallow The Sun, and Undergang in one weekend would cause my brains to come burbling out of my tear ducts. If you have the money to travel to and drink in London for a weekend, I say buy a fucking ticket and go nuts. Nothing like flat beer and mind-bending metal to calm the hesher soul.
THE COVENANT FESTIVAL II – June 16th, 17th, and 18th
Maybe even more dark and obscure than Blood Of The Wolf is the Covenant Festival in Vancouver. The event page describes it as, “a proper gathering of Death’s music,” which seems pretty accurate, given the inclusion of bands like Loss and Sempiternal Dusk. Just don’t forget, the dudes from Deiphago are rumored to enjoy punching women in the face. Get tickets here.
MIGRATION FEST 2016 – August 12th, 13th, and 14th
From our buddies at 20 Buck Spin and Gilead Media comes Migration Fest, a doom- and experimental-leaning event in Washington, and I have to admit that among all these line-ups, this is the one I’m most intrigued by. Obviously I love Khemmis, and the chance to see VHÖL and Full of Hell live is always one worth taking. More so, this line-up suggests a fest with true variety, where you’re never seeing the exact same type of music twice, which would make the three consecutive days of headbanging and drinking a bit more interesting. Keep your eyes out for tickets.
HELL’S HEADBASH III – September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
Of course, the underground standard these days is Hell’s Headbangers and their annual festival, Hell’s Headbash, which goes down in Cleveland, a city as grimy and harsh as this festival. I was at last year’s festival, and it broke me; I went home with hearing loss, liver damage, and bed bugs (don’t stay at the University Hotel & Suites, even though they’re close, cheap, and have a solid bar). The line-up has yet to be completed, but so far the label has announced Revenge, Profanatica, Morbosidad, Void Meditation Cult, and mother… fucking… Angelcorpse, so no matter what, you’ll have a great time. Here’s the event page. Tickets should be on sale late next month.