New England Metal & Hardcore Festival in Worcester, MA

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Monday, May 11, 2009 @ 6:24 PM

At The Palladium

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Reviewed by Holly Lucian:

It's only my second year going to The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, but I am already feeling a tradition starting form. Despite the fact that it rained, the streets were covered in hippies from the Dead concert right next door, and passing out on the worlds hardest hotel floors two nights in a row- it was still fun as hell. The beer was relatively cheap (I'm used to this 7 buck b.s. in NYC), the lineup had its select winners, the people were friendly (from the cheap-ish beer) and the pit was pretty consistently active from start to finish. The hippies even managed to keep the smell of patchouli from wafting over.

Here's a rundown of the days events. I arrived Friday in time to catch the first band of the day that I really wanted to see, Toxic Holocaust. I had to miss Thursday's events which included a screening of Anvil! The Story of Anvil and a live performance from the trio themselves. I really wanted to catch that after hearing all the hype around this movie and being an actual owner of Anvils self titled cd. Word amongst those there was that the movie was awesome, but the bands performance was a little lost on the 300 or so in attendance.

Friday, April 17:

Toxic Holocaust: I just saw these guys open for Napalm Death and was craving more. They didn't disappoint. Opened up on the main stage with "Wild Dogs" and ripped out solid Venom-style thrash. Only these guys are actually good. And I'm a Venom fan.

Coliseum: The first band of the day I caught on the second stage. The crowd was small but into it, and the sound quality wasn't perfect. Still, I'm glad I caught the band- pretty crafty southern style metal with a bit a punk thrown in for shits and giggles.

Whitechapel: These guys sound like any other death metal band on the albums, but live they had the crowd shitting bricks. Considering they packed the main stage floor & pit pretty early on in the day showed they must be doing something right.

The Haunted: I was looking forward to seeing these guys. Peter Dolving is a great front man to watch live. Too bad he was more active than the crowd. Still, it was an intense performance and the vocals sounded dead on.

Cattle Decapitation: They are what they are. I wouldn't recommend buying their albums, but I would recommend seeing them live just to witness the most consistently screeching and piercing vocalist around. Is is possible to sound annoying as hell and entertaining at the same time? I think yes.

The Acacia Strain: Eh, didn't love it. The midget singer from Between The Buried And Me came out and sang for a bit. Despite the stage being decked out with massive polar bear and Pillsbury doughboy photos, the actual set was pretty dull. Typical deathcore. I gotta point out that they got the crowd to do 'the wall of death' and it was one of the most intense ones I've seen in person. It made me thankful I was drinking my beer with the old farts in the back.

Napalm Death: Grindcore legends that packed the main floor. Watching Barney Greenway is fun, but not watching bassist Shane Embury is impossible. No surprises here.

Suffocation: I'd never seen this seminal death metal band and I was hoping for more. A little bland on the music end, but Frank Mullen's banter was entertaining as hell. The night starts to get a little foggy here, but I am pretty sure he invited the crowd to a BBQ "to eat some potato salad and get your fucking faces smashed in." What a cutie.

Between The Buried And Me: Why did everyone love this? Despite the crowd reaction I found the music to be boring. It wasn't the keyboards, gong or clean vocals (more than half the time) that bothered me, it was the songs.

All That Remains: These guys played Natalie Portman SNL rap song before coming on, which was funny, but the actual set was a little boring. It seemed like a lot of people left, although the main floor area was packed with people singing along. Not too much of a pit going on which was a bit surprising for a metalcore band. Typical stuff, not very memorable. Apparently these guys have played every Metal Fest and this was their first year headlining. Hopefully the last, too.

I headed out after the show to try and rub elbows with Brian Slagel (the man likes his jager) and a few other metal powerhouses at the neighboring pub. Lots of drinking and metal on the jukebox. Festivals like this are always good for a fun after-party drinkfest. To sum up the day in music, I think the headliners didn't carry the weight of a lot of the earlier bands. Highlights of the day were Toxic Holocaust, Cattle Decapitation and the Haunted.

Saturday, April 18:

Woke up sleeping on the world's hardest hotel floor in the management of Children of Bodom's room with my friend... Last nights events still questionable. I remember raising my hand in pride and screaming "metal fist!" with a bunch of hooligans, but from there on is a bit of mystery.

Century: Per suggestion of the Bodom management team I got to Metal fest in time to catch these guys. Hardcore music. A little dull for so early on in the day and it didn't manage to perk me up too much.

Book of Black Earth: Really doomy black metal sounding stuff. Didn't know much about these guys before the festival and I will definitely check them out more.

Austrian Death Machine: Fun. With one singer wearing a Reagan mask and the other being Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying these guys played a set that was right up the alley of their tagline "Total. Brutal." The even brought out a guy in an Arnold mask to represent the Austrian death machine himself. Not the most innovative stuff, but a fun show to watch.

Terror: Straight up hardcore. The moment they took to the side stage people from the crowd began to climb up and leap off again. The act got a little relentless for me, but then again I was hear for metal and was getting over all the ____core bands by this point.

Municipal Waste: Party/thrash/punk... whatever you want to call it, MW are fun and know how to get the crowd going. It's impossible to watch these guys without wanting to get drunk and laugh. This show was particularly hilarious as the entire band must have gone shopping at the hippie convention next door & came out affixed in tie dye shirt and whatever the hell else the hippie uniform is. They kept up the peace & love shtick in between songs the entire set and ended with Tony Foresta belting out "Municipal Waste is Gonna Fuck You Up" atop the right speaker with pants around his ankles.

God Forbid: Good.solid.metal. It was certainly refreshing to have these guys up on stage after the lack of metal bands throughout the day and they kicked everyone in the ass. Guitarist, Dallas Coyle was out, but Kris Norris (dude from Darkest Hour) filled in nicely.

Children Of Bodom: I love these guys on the albums but they are good, not great, live. Not much movement went on onstage but musically they nailed it. Alexi chatted up the crowd and got a few chuckles. Since they were really the only power-metal-ish band, it was a needed fix.

As I Lay Dying: My roommate, and partner in crime for the weekend, loves this band, but I was never really huge on them. This show won me over. Front man Tim Lambesis was much better than he was with Austrian Death Machine (no surprise here, since this is his *real* band), and whoever their guitarist is absolutely killed live. I was left impressed.

Lamb of God: Bar a few folks who "only like hardcore and underground shit", everyone here was excited as all hell to see Lamb Of God close off the festivities. The boys went on 30 minutes late to a blinding light that dimmed down leaving Randy, the Adler brothers and co. up on stage for all to get off on. And did we ever! The second the first note was played everyone went ape-shit. Clearly one of the biggest metal bands of now, it was the perfect headlining act. Unlike the night before where people left the venue early, everyone (no matter how wasted) stuck around and sang along. Despite going on late, they still played the promised 75 minute set. The three song encore included "Contractor" (heaviest song on Wrath) and left everyone exhausted but wanting more.

Post-metal festival there isn't much to do but go on drinking and keep the party going. After effectively kicking all the hippies out of the local bar through a barrage of Slayer songs, me and the gang headed to the Children of Bodom bus where we downed vodka and cheered as the Lamb of God men made brief appearances. Apologies to Alexi & company for drinking their booze and passing out (I hope I wasn't drooling) on their couch, and thanks to their managers for allowing us their hotel room floor one more night.

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