No bullshit heads up; you’re about to read a great review, because Earslaughter is one of the best festivals you can find in Montreal. This year being only the fourth edition and selling out before show date, it was just as much a success (and maybe even more) as previous editions.
If you’re not too familiar with the grindcore genre, try to imagine the most chaotic and inhumanely gross piece of shit you’ve ever seen, and add a hidden PhD and the Mrs. Potatohead face pieces to it, and voila – you get something totally incomprehensible at first glance, but seriously just niche enough that its face comedy value is exponential as time goes forward. And all this within less than two minutes. You really got this feel as the whole weekend moved forward, peaking with fist pumps and hard bruising for nearly every band’s performance.
Spread over two days, and with over 22 bands including Dropdead, Infest (first time in Canada!), Slovakia’s BETON, homegrown Maxxpower, TOMB MOLD, technical dream Hummingbird of Death, Disharmonic Orchestra (performing an exclusive old school set), Finland’s Death Toll 80K, and many more, the festival really made a great collection to honour the glory of the grind.
The fest kicked off at 7pm on Friday evening, with the first band starting slightly earlier than show time, but still priming a small audience for what was to come. In between bands, the constantly growing audience could grab a fresh breath of terrasse air along with a sweet BBQ sandwich and some GRINDCORN (yes, you read that correctly). Reasonably priced and packed with flavour, Griller-Killers did us good for the third year in a row. You can’t have healthy moshpits without proper nutrition now, can you? Crazy singers from HOLY GRINDER and Fuck the Facts really tore up the stage (and pit) for us, while BETON opened their hearts to us with gratitude. Hummingbird of Death was exactly as like the name sounds, playing as fast as a hummingbird of death. TOMB MOLD brought absolute honour to us, as always, with the smoothest delivery of chaotic sounds, and GIRTH adorned the crowd with giant dildos flying into peoples faces. Death Toll 80K, Dropdead, and Infest had fans losing their marbles, and Gourmet left the stage in literal shit, puke and fish stink. If that’s not a hard fucking effort in the direction of total grind, I don’t know what is.
Something I’d really love to take a moment to mention is the heart and soul that surrounds this community. Earslaughter reminds me of this, every year. (This is the love letter part of the review, so just try not to get too nauseous.) In the light of recent events at Pouzza Fest (which is such a lovely fest itself) where a band had their entire van stolen with all equipment and passports, the faith in the metal and punk community faltered a little in our hearts. Well, let me tell you that it was a rare occurrence, and let me also tell you that we feel bad, on behalf of our great city of rock n’ roll, because that isn’t what we’re about. While attending Earslaughter this year, I could not ignore the amount of smiles, and the overwhelming gratitude and kindness that encompassed this edition from the bands, from the attendees, from the organizers, from everywhere. Writing show reviews sometimes has our writers attend alone, and it’s definitely worth mentioning that within two minutes of sitting down, a group politely introduced themselves and made me one of their own, being my buddies for the entire night and treating me like I was always their friend, refusing to let me hangout by myself. You’re never alone in places like this, and I’m not sure how many other communities offer this type of love and support to total strangers. Within hours of the festival, and even during the festival, the Facebook event page was riddled with thankful comments on how the fest brought the greatest weekend to attendees and how happy the organizers were with the fruit of their efforts. That’s something that really puffs my jigglies.
The entire organization is really what brought the great mood to this fest. The good food, the brutal tunes, the great beer, the family BBQ feel, the lovely COOP Katacombes staff, the sexiest of venues, and the happy surprise of a little bit of summer weather really made the whole of the experience that much more of an EXPERIENCE. There were even pre-show horror movie screenings during the day to soothe the hangover you acquired the night before! Just absolutely adorable. Just like this festival. Earslaughter Vol.5, the city awaits.
Written by Talia Plante
Photography by Jean David Lafontant
*edited by Kate Erickson