Between us, we Hellbound folk make it out to a fair number of shows, festivals and other metal events throughout the year. Here are some of the ones that impressed us most in 2014.
I was lucky enough to see a great deal of memorable shows over the course of 2014, in wide variety of settings, but the one that made the most lasting impact was the biggest. Metallica’s headlining show at Heavy Montreal on August 9. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from a massive festival show like this. After all, a crowd of 40,000 people is a far cry from the couple hundred at my first Metallica show. But my vantage point was impeccable, the sound and light show were sensational, and most importantly, the band was on point the entire night, as they played an all-request set that paid generous attention to their ‘80s material, which pleased me to no end. Situated on a terrace with an unobstructed view, I was in awe of the entire spectacle: the band, the music, the biggest audience I had ever been a part of. I’ve been a fan of that band for nearly 30 years, but this concert was the first time in decades that those old feelings from the 1980s were reawakened.
INQUISITION opens for BEHEMOTH in Toronto. A stunning performance by the distinctive black metal duo at the Opera House. hellbound.ca/2014/05/metal-alliance-tour-behemoth-toronto-april-23-2014
AGALLOCH record release, Portland hellbound.ca/2014/06/agalloch-record-release-portland-may-16-2014
SORTILEGIA appearance, Toronto hellbound.ca/2014/12/zombitrol-blacktooth-blackdoom-showcase-toronto-nov-29-2014
MUSK OX record release, Ottawa hellbound.ca/2014/06/muskox-woodfall-release-show-ottawa
July 8, 2014. The Mansion, Kingston, ON: West Coast heavyweights Anciients came to town with Black Wizard in tow (sadly no Black Cobra. FUCKING BORDER GUARD PUNKS!) and local act Basalisk. Being familiar with all the material was pretty rad as I screamed my guts out the whole time. It was the first time I saw my neighbour play with Basalisk. Hung out with Black Wizard between sets and made a mess out of my neck and back in the tiny club. Anciients are just incredible live.
By far the event of the year for me was the MDF (Maryland Deathfest) — was blown away by Hooded Menace, My Dying Bride, Asphyx, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, Candlemass, God Dethroned.
Progressive Nation at Sea: hellbound.ca/2014/03/hellbounds-progressive-nation-at-sea-awards-2014. Flying to Miami in the depths of February to board a cruise ship in the to the Bahamas. Taking in double performances by bands like Anathema, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Devin Townsend Project, Haken, Jolly, King’s X, Riverside… Prog rock/metal heaven. This was also the year I finally witnessed My Dying Bride live (at MDF). There were other great shows I had the good fortune to experience in 2014. But these two events were unsurpassable.
Progressive Nation at Sea: Take some of my favourite artists (Anathema, Anneke van Giesbergen, Devin Townsend), throw in some artists that I was eager to see (Haken, Riverside) and combine them with a cruise in the Caribbean during one of the coldest Canadian winters in recent memory, and you have yourself a wonderful experience. Between a number of unforgettable performances and the organization of the festival itself, the PNAS cruise was an absolute pleasure to be a part of – and not something I’ll forget for years to come.
The best individual performance though, had to go to SubRosa, who were in Toronto with Boris and The Atlas Moth (for a full photo gallery, head over to adamwills.com). While their set was only long enough for a measly 2 songs (alright, they were long ones), their well-crafted heaviness (both tonally and emotionally) was unlike anything I had experienced before. As their final song ended and they began to pack up, I was left in pieces.
You can also check out Gruesome Greg‘s concerts of the year: hellbound.ca/2015/01/gruesome-gregs-top-10-concerts-2014.
Edit (late addition):
No single noteworthy metal-specific event or occurrence in 2014 sticks out for me (perhaps because my mind is still addled by hormonal myopia thanks to my brand new daughter, the undisputed overall number one of last year in terms of personal upheaval and impact). But one thing trendwise that struck me within the genre was the number of high quality, full length albums, EPs, 7″s, and tapes released last year by both experienced and emerging artists, not simply performance wise, but also in regards to the wholly realized concepts and creative ambition on display (so recently declared by many to be a vestige of a bygone, storefront retail era). As an overall barometer of continued market health, this bodes well for the future of metal – which is good, because my little Rose is more than ready to assume her family legacy.