If your ears weren’t ringing enough from yesterdays sonic attack on your ear dreams, Day 2 of Heavy MTL 2013 would be certain to get the damage done. Day two of Canada’s largest metal festival saw a lot of tired people dragging their feet across the festival grounds but also saw those same people push through the urge to sleep under a tree and rock out to whoever was playing because let’s face it…. you can sleep when you’re dead!
Montreal’s own Slaves On Dope got things heated up with a strong set on the small Galaxie stage to a crowd that, although wasn’t plentiful in numbers, made up for in enthusiasm. Some long standing Slaves On Dope fans were in the crowd. Frontman Jason Rockman leading the charge with his gritty vocal styles and the rest of the band following suit with punishing tune after punishing tune. After Slaves On Dope, if you thought to yourself “I could really go for a band with the musical equivalent of a Lord Of The Rings marathon” then lucky you because Finntroll hit the stage. Armed with elf ears and medieval costumes, Finntroll lured the bouncing crowd into their world with ease. It could be argued that Finntroll was the closest band to a black metal act on this years lineup albeit less evil and more elfish. Still, they were heavy and fast and most importantly a ton of fun to watch.
Death metal champions Amon Amarth were up next blasting through the catchiest death metal in the history of the genre, each song more catchy then the next. If it wasn’t so loud you could almost imagine the crowd whistling along with their tunes. The tongue in cheek approach to themes of fantasy and norse gods hit a soft spot with the crowd affirming once again Amon Amarth take their music seriously but not themselves. Vocalist Johan Hegg even invited the crowd to sing along even if they didn’t know the words because after all it’s death metal and nobody can understand you anyway. Following Amon Amarth was Phil Anselmo and the Illegals. I over heard mixed reviews after their set but I am convinced this was probably the most aggressively crushing and intense set of the day. Anselmo’s cockiness somewhat in check but still, the only guy I know who can pull off mid-sing banter before the band even starts their first song. The whole outfit was on point and with a brutal discharge of sonic violence decimated the eardrums of all who watched. Well done Mr. Anselmo.
August Burns Red tore out the standard faire with no notable flair. They were tight and had decent energy but something seemed lacking in their performance. Perhaps it was the fact that they were surrounded by such greatness on the lineup that it felt like they were the underdogs but they did hole their own even if it was on the bottom rung. And they did incite the largest circle pit of the entire festival as per frontman Jake Luhrs instructions. Next up, Machine Head. Classic Machine Head. Good ol’ Machine Head. This band is the equivalent to your best drinking buddy. Always fun to watch and be around and at the same time, as time goes on, things start to get a little foggy. Watching Machine Head for more than 20 minutes would get anyone to feel a little drained as their unforgiving audible slaughter was just right. Rob Flynn roars like a monster trucks’ engine, a perfect companion to the chug o’ rama and artificial harmonic screeches that is the Machine Head signature sound.
Just as energy levels began to dip Children Of Bodom were there to save the day! Speed metal disguised as death metal wrapped in melodic black metal is Children Of Bodom’s specialty and the crowds of adoring fans ate it up like they have been starved for decades. The Children Of Bodom gang sure know how to light the fire under the asses of those who may seem like energy is a fleeting commodity. With blood still flowing, Atlanta, Georgia’s Mastodon took things down a notch, tempo wise but brought things up several notches heavy wise. Luckily Mastodon’s sound was perfectly mixed so everyone could hear each note of every intricately crafted song that Mastodon is known for. The heaviest and most brutal of prog rock bands, Mastodon delivers. I would have liked to hear more from their earlier catalogue but their set certainly did not suffer from that omission.
Then Godsmack showed up. If Mastodon are the well liked yet nerdy kids of the school yard, Godsmack are the douche bag jocks who come out to knock the ball out of your hands. Even though they had a giant crowd who praised them with seemingly endless cheers, it did seem a little lacklustre. Or maye just in comparison the technical stylings of Mastodon, Godsmack seemed almost childish in their musical approach and probably wasn’t the best band to follow. Then again, thousands of people would disagree with me but I had a hard time with the transition.
Finally Rob Zombie showed everyone how to put on a show. Rob Zombie has an eye for the visual stunning and designed his show around the eye catchy, the flashy and the endless supply of eye candy. It was the perfect way to wrap up a weekend of non stop brutality with a high energy show that wouldn’t let you sleep even if you were drugged. Zombie’s set was filled with classic Zombie tunes a White Zombie song and a headshakingly unnecessary cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman. It was a strong finish with Dragula while perched atop what appeared to be a giant demon head thing while explosions, confetti and fireworks went off. A great way to wrap up Heavy MTL 2013 and lead the crowds on the path to recovery so we can ready ourselves to do this all again at Heavy MTL 2014.
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