The 7th edition of Heavy Montreal was finally upon us. What a perfect day for a fest it was, being overcast and 25 degrees with very little humidity. Heavy Montreal was known for being a festival of pure metal until last year, when one of Montreal’s biggest promoters Evenko had decided to mix it up a little and throw in some punk. There were very mixed reactions regarding this decision but hey, in my personal opinion, I think it’s always good to go outside the box. Music is music, and it’s wonderful to bring it altogether.
Opening the festival as the first band was Toronto’s The Flatliners. I’ve seen this band a couple of times, and I must say the performance was a little flat, not to mention that Scott Brigham sounded like he was struggling a little with his voice. These guys have been touring quite a bit lately, which could explain why, but I was finding myself drifting a little. I still remember seeing Monster Truck for the first time last year at Heavy Montreal when they had opened, and I remember the performance in detail to this day.
Along with Bucketlist photographer Isa, I caught Montreal’s classic melodic death metal band Gorguts next. I am so glad I was able to catch these guys, as it’s been a while since I last saw them. They performed at the Heavy Montreal pre-party last night; check out Bucketeer Angie’s review here. Going from the poppy-punk band Flatliners to Gorguts instantly proved the openness this festival has to offer. The crowd head banged constantly, and we even caught an incredible artist drawing Gorguts while he headbanged, which was quite interesting to watch. (I even got ink all over myself from standing next to him, watching him go ape shit on his drawing pad. His drawings were absolutely incredible.) These guys still have it, and made our city proud.
We strolled to the De L’Apocolypse Stage to check out Boston’s Revocation next. I’m a huge fan of the Boston metal music scene in general, so I clearly dug these guys. I reviewed these guys a while back, and I still really enjoyed watching them perform again. They’re also extremely kind dudes, which is a bonus. The crowd reacted very positively to this thrash metal band with fist pumps and singalongs.
We tracked Arch Enemy next and, despite not being the biggest fan of Alissa White-Gluz’s voice, I could still definitely respect why they are so loved here in Montreal. For one, Alissa is from here, and actually grew up with a few friends of mine. We are proud of our city’s musical culture. And two – well, these guys perform REALLY well. There was tons of chemistry between the band, and the crowd just ate it up. I still managed to enjoy it even though I am not the biggest fan of their music.
When I found out Extreme was on the Heavy bill, the first thing that came into my head was, “I am going to get to see “More than Words” live.” I am sure they heard this a million times – they even made a comment during their set, saying their managers think they are nuts to even bother playing the song. After a few heavier/funkier tracks the boys performed, they took out the chairs and acoustic guitars and I knew it was about to happen. It was beautiful! The entire crowd sang along the whole time, which I suspected would happen. Admittedly, I didn’t really know any other Extreme song; yet I really dug their performance. It was lively, fun, and just pure old-school rock and roll. Nuno Bettencourt also looks incredible. (Just had to throw that in there.)
The first time I have seen Sweden’s Meshuggah was…today. (Yep. I know. Sometimes this happens.) I do have to be in a very specific mood to listen to this band. They specialize in time signature-syncing, simple riffs, and according to a friend and fellow Heavy Mania wrestler, “You need to be really insane to love Meshuggah.” Watching them perform was indeed intense, and the crowd just went wild. People were LOVING this. I did find myself bobbing my head and getting into the set, that’s for sure. I’ll hopefully catch them again the next time they’re around.
I took a small break before I wandered the dark forests to catch the band I most looked forward to seeing: Neurosis. Isa was stuck in an Alexisonfire crowd, so she was unable to make it to take photos, but damn! I was literally in a trance watching these guys perform. The sun set while their doomy blue light shows gleamed on the five-piece band. Darkness prevailed. The deep bass slaps, along with Steve’s and Scotts growls, made a show so great that I couldn’t keep my eyes away. Noah Landis’ took his keyboard into his hands as if it was the last thing he would ever touch, which just made this performance so incredibly deep, dark, and powerful. As cheesy as that sounds, it was my first time seeing this band perform, and I have been a Neurosis fan for quite some time. I was excited!
Last but not least for the Heavy bill was none other than Korn. Are you ready? They planned to play the entirety of their debut album, which is the album I personally grew an obsession with at the age of 16 during my angriest time of teenage-hood. Good timing! It was an extremely nostalgic moment for me, and even fellow Bucketeer Jason Greenberg mentioned that he had never seen me get this hyped during a performance before. Screaming along to Jonathan Davis’ “Suck my dick and fucking like it!” just made me want to punch walls or smash my feet so hard against the floor; it was very high energy. Korn played a couple of tunes off their other albums once they were done with the debut, and it was a pleasant surprise to all Korn fans enjoying the show.
Overall today, Neurosis was my highlight; the crowd was small, but just enough to feel comfortable, and the weather was perfectly metal. On to tomorrow and what I have been looking forward to most…Iggy Pop, and Faith no More! Stay tuned.
Written by Liz Imperiale
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson