HeavyMetalAdam Invades Heavy MTL! The Sequel!

By Adam Wills

It’s been a long two years since the last installment of Heavy MTL, but I’m excited to be a part of the weekend again. And, in true heavy metal nerd fashion, I’ll be live blogging the entire weekend from the festival. Keep tuned in for insight into Canada’s biggest heavy metal festival of the year!

Day 1

— 1:06pm —
Arrived at Jean Drapeau, amidst a flood of black-shirted, “SLAAAAAAYERRRRRR”-shouting metalheads. Within a few moments of exiting the metro station, I felt something hit me in the back. I turn around to discover a lone lobster claw laying on the ground in front of me. I guess it’s going to be one of those days….

— 1:33pm —
Ohio’s SKELETONWITCH are the first band to hit the main stage, and did so with a whirlwind of blackened thrash. Off to a great start, getting the crowd energized for a long day of metal.

The sun is nowhere to be seen, but it’s still humid as hell. I’m already dreading the metro ride home, sharing a packed subway car full of dirty, sweaty, and drunk dudes.

— 2:34 —
High on Fire playing as solid as always. They don’t seem to come off as well playing a large festival stage as they do a smaller venue. Being a 3-piece, and setting up on the far ends of the stage, only moving 3 feet away from your mic just doesn’t fill the stage well.

— 3:35pm —
The first glitch of the festival came during AUF DER MAUR’s set… Their first song didn’t make it to the PA system… Which got fixed for the second song, minus the vocals, which didn’t come through until the third track. Thankfully, I was close enough that I was able to hear them from their stage equipment. This didn’t phase the band a bit, as they continues through their 30 minute set, which was highlighted by a tribute to Peter Steele (and metal in general), with a cover of Type O Negative’s cover of “Paranoid”. Although they were the least “metal” band of the fest, they put on the best set so far.

Next up? KATAKLYSM. Time to get some overpriced food.

— 5:16pm —
Never been into Fear Factory, but they put on a solid set. Gene Hoglan was a monster on the kit as always.

Anvil hit the main stage next… Was my first time seeing them, actually. Easily the most sincere band on the bill, graciously thanking everyone for their support. Powering through a 40 minute set of classics, Lips was up to his usual antics of vibrator playing, pickup micing, and of course, thrashing around to some of the best riffs Montreal has heard today.

— 7:39pm —
Was super excited to see HALFORD here. They started with the two opening tracks from their Resurrection album, which are two of the best openers out there. Guitar leads blazing under Halford’s banshee cries. However, their set continued with a number of mid-paces pieces that really slowed down their momentum for the rest of the set.

Atlanta’s MASTODON hit the second stage next, and tore through the most intense set of the day, consisting of tracks from their entire catalogue. I’ve seen them numerous times, and they continue to blow me away every time.

— 7:58pm —
SLAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYERRRRRR!!!!!

— 9:22 —
Tired and hungry. Enjoying ALICE COOPER from the grassy field at the back of the park. Playing a bunch of classics, with some great stage theatrics that he’s famous for.

— 11:34 —
Back at the hotel. Did a sprint to the metro to beat the thousands of people that were waiting until MEGADETH finished.

That being said, Dave Mustaine and company showed why they were the headliners of the fest. A flawless performance of Rust In Piece, followed by a few classics (“Symphony of Destruction”, “A Tout La Monde”, “Sweating Bullets”, etc). The crowd was as energetic as they were early this afternoon and hung onto every note and word from the legendary thrashers.

After a long 11 hours at the festival, I’m skipping out on any post-Megadeth festivities in favour of a shower, some snacks, and a cozy bed.

Day 2

— 4:18pm —
After catching up on some much needed rest, and making some stops en route to arrive with a full belly, we got here in time to catch Vancouver’s 3 INCHES OF BLOOD on the newly set up third stage. However, with no barriers between this stage and the 2 main stages, Their sound is getting half drowned out by CHIMAIRA’s thunderous bassdrums.

I’ve been extremely curious about the turnout for today. With the three headliners being AVENGED SEVENFOLD, ROB ZOMBIE and KORN, I knew that today was targeting a very different crowd than yesterday. In 2008, the second day had a very similar vibe, and had a very poor attendance in comparison to the first day. However, arriving today, I was surprised to see the place already packed. The small lawn area was already full, and all three stages had huge crowds stationed in front of them.

While I’m not interested in most of the bands playing today, I’ll be checking in with my thoughts on the bands and the festival in general throughout the day. Keep checking in!!

— 5:07 —
Was just wow-ed for the first time today by IN THIS MOMENT on the third stage. Unfortunately, it was a case of “wow, they are TERRIBLE!”. The good news? I found a spot to hear the third stage better. Bad news? I found a spot to hear the third stage better.

— 6:07 —
Watching ALEXISONFIRE. The least worst band by far today (that I’ve seen). Also, the only band without breakdowns. Coincidence? I think not.

Funny enough, as I’m typing this, the guitarist stated “if you’re waiting for the breakdown, keep holding your breath!”

I cheered.

— 6:26pm —
Easily the best line of the day so far, from ALEXISONFIRE: “Any KORN fans out there?” *small cheer* “Well I just saw Jonathan Davis riding around backstage on a Segway! Get your heads around THAT!”

— 7:02pm —
LAMB OF GOD has taken the stage, and as expected, are destroying. Easily, the craziest crowd the fest has seen yet. Love em or hate em, you can deny the impact they have in a live setting.

— 7:45pm —
AVENGED SEVENFOLD are the final band to play the second stage. Also, the first band to have pyrotechnics. Mike Portnoy is drumming for the…That’s about all I have to say about them.

— 9:44pm —
ROB ZOMBIE just finished. I’ve never really been a fan of his music, and this was my first time seeing him live. With all kinds of theatrics, including flaming robots, monsters, and horror movie clips, ZOMBIE easily had the best stage show of the fest. The music translates much better in a live setting, as the straightforward beats and riffs kept the seemingly exhausted crowd moving the entire time. I have no idea how KORN plans to attempt to top a performance like that…

— 11:57pm —
Well, it’s long after KORN have finished, and I find myself at Le Saint Bock, a small micro-brewery enjoying a tasty stout. Figured I should check in with my thoughts on the final band of the evening.

I was quite pessimistic about KORN headlining the evening. Now, I understand that they’ve had a ton of success over the years, have sold millions of albums, and have even won some Grammy awards… But I had a hard time believing that they were headlining a festival in 2010.

But sure enough, they started and the crowd went crazy. I was apparently quite wrong about their current relevance… But that didn’t change my thoughts on their music. They were still playing the same tune-downed slop that they’ve been playing, with underneath more whining by Adidas sponsored Jonathan Davis.

After 3 painful songs, I had no choice but to say goodbye to a very successful. Organization seemed quite well done, attendance was impressive, weather was cooperative, and most importantly, bands played solid sets on both days. Though the festival seems quite corporate (no metal vendors aside from tshirt booths of the bands playing… heck, the only label even mentioned was Roadrunner who had a trailer there), it was still a highly successful metal festival in Canada, and am already excited to see it return next year.

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Adam has been a photographer for Hellbound since day 1 and also has a hand in the technical aspects of running the site.