Music Spotlight

Strap on your viking horns and join Pat on his review of the new Amon Amarth album “Deceiver of the Gods.” Pat gives an in depth look at “Viking Metal” as a whole and we find out the good the bad and the ugly for Amon Amarth’s newest offering. You can check out the review here. 



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Music Spotlight

KoRn is a band that has been around for twenty years. They are also one of the most polarizing bands of the last twenty years. Although their songs are often heavy and frequently incorporates metal style growls courtesy of frontman Jonathan Davis, KoRn’s style is too erratic and too nontraditional for many fans of heavy metal. On the flip side KoRn’s music is way too heavy and occasionally vulgar for many mainstream rock fans. Forging their own musical style inspired by heavy metal and influenced by hip-hop they were credited in the late 90’s as creating a whole new genre of music that would inspire a long list of copycats and would later become known as nu-metal, which is a stigmatic title even the members of KoRn resent as many people use it as an implication of musical ineptitude. Still its not often a band comes along that is so different it comes to define a whole new genre of music.


KoRn is going strong well over a decade after the nu-metal scene has all but disappeared. A few bands from that era still exist but none have reached the level of success that KoRn has achieved. Despite the polarizing nature of KoRn’s music since their self-titled album debuted in 1994 the band has sold over 35 million records worldwide with 11 of their official releases peaking in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. Eight of their official releases are certified Platinum or Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and one album is certified Gold, 28 of their 41 singles have charted and they have even won 2 Grammy Awards.


In 2005 founding member Brian “Head” Welsh, guitarist as well as backup vocalist for KoRn announced his departure from the band. This was big news as KoRn developed their unique sound around a 2 guitarist dynamic and many were left to wonder how the band would carry on without him. “Take a Look In the Mirror” was KoRn’s last studio release with “Head” and was KoRn’s heaviest album overall at that time. The first album without “Head” was “See You On the Other Side.” It was sort of like KoRn meets Alice in Wonderland. It wasn’t quite as heavy as “Take a Look in the Mirror” but “See You on the Other Side” was a very interesting follow up full of bizarre themes and creativity. I actually caught KoRn on tour for this album at the Continental Arena in the Meadowlands and it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. The stage show was just crazy and the band sounded great. They had a second drum kit stage left with one guy playing the drum kit sitting down in a full suit wearing a pig mask and another guy in a full suit wearing a rabbit mask leaning over the drum kit from the outside of it and both guys in suits were playing simultaneously with each other and the drummer from KoRn. They also had a giant brain walk across the stage on its own brain stem and all of the wrinkles in the brain looked like people intertwined. While that happened KoRn played over 5 different songs of theirs from different albums into each other ultimately finishing with the song they had started with. The show was amazing.


After the “See You On the Other Side” tour ended founding drummer David Silveria went on an indefinite hiatus and the rest of KoRn followed up the success of that album with an “MTV Unplugged” album recorded live at MTV studios in NYC. To be generous it was awful. KoRn’s influences and styles just don’t lend themselves well to the unplugged sound. Listening to KoRn unplugged is like having someone like Skrillex do an acoustic set, while mildly entertaining at first for the sheer novelty it presents the whole thing quickly overstays its welcome and you start begging for the love of god pick up an electric instrument and plug it in!


The same year as the unplugged album KoRn released their “Untitled” album. There is little doubt that losing two founding members of the band had put the remaining band mates in a bit of a strange place. Drummer Terry Bozzio of Frank Zappa fame was hired to record on the album with a ridiculously huge drum kit. This album showcased a wide variety of instruments experimenting with different sounds. The lyrics explore the feelings of a band struggling with the emotions of losing two major members and while there is definitely some unmistakable hostility on this album it is undercut with an overwhelming reality of a band that realizes it must go on into the unknown with or without those who helped to start it. Ultimately even without “Head” and the recent departure of David the band’s efforts still yielded some great songs. The lyrical writing showed more growth and the end result of “Untitled’s” over all sound is still without a doubt a KoRn album.


“KoRn III: Remember Who You Are” is a raw album. Stripped any effects from previous entries in the KoRn library this album was recorded on analog tapes to give it a sound familiar to the early days of KoRn when they were just starting out and to help the band tap into their roots. Sort of a, “to go forward we need to remember where we came from” kind of thing. The album features the drum styling of Ray Luzier who drummed for David Lee Roth for many years. “KoRn III” is an album just dripping with hostility. The songs still don’t showcase that heavy bass that was heard back on “Take a Look in the Mirror” but the frantic guitars paired with Jonathan Davis’s hostile vocals is palpable. The album is dripping with manic anger. For some reason, whether or not its the analog recording I am unsure, the songs on this album can occasionally sound a bit flat as if the full depth of the instruments were not captured properly and muffled just a bit. This album showcases some of KoRn’s best lyrics with lines like, “love without affection is hate without the pain, life is a connection separate from the brain.” Its a good album but it just lacks that old-school flavor of the original KoRn albums for it to be a true return to the classic style of KoRn partially due to the analog recording style but also in part because for long time fans of KoRn to truly return to its roots they would need to recapture that 2 guitar dynamic that defined KoRn’s sound.


The follow up to “KoRn III” was “The Path of Totality” a dubstep infused KoRn album. An idea that many longtime fans myself included were fairly skeptical about. I mean it kind of made sense for KoRn to go this route as a reaction to recording their last album with such a minimalist approach to go full out into big effects, electric sounds and whatnot but still dubstep. I get a lot of the concerns with this album having all the instruments going through processors that were manipulated by various dubstep artists and how easy it would be for the instrument to get lost in the mix. To be honest that does happen on this album. It took me a while to really give this album a shot. Once I gave it a fair shot and listened to it all the way through I realized that they actually pulled it off. Somehow KoRn had taken dubstep and made it work. Not only did they make it work in many regards it was the best album KoRn had done in years. In regards to “The Path of Totality,” KoRn had created their first album in years that didn’t sound like them experimenting with instruments or trying to recapture something that was long gone and instead whole heartedly trying something new. This was the first album since “See You On the Other Side” to feel like a full fledged KoRn album again.


Early this year a photo surfaced of lead singer Jonathan Davis hugging estranged guitarist Brian “Head” Welch on stage and the rumors began. Would “Head” join the band again? Would he record on a new album? We soon learned the answer to both questions were yes and all we could do was wait and see what would happen. Enter “The Paradigm Shift.” This is the best thing to come from Korn in over a decade. My first instinct with this album is to tell anyone who is even remotely into KoRn or ever thought about listening to them to put this album into their music player crank the sound to 11 and break the fucking knob off. While the dubstep album strangely worked for KoRn this album is the one KoRn fans have been hoping to get for years. It takes all the different musical experiences from KoRn’s past and distills them into a pure and potent cocktail. The songs feature some of the strongest structure and writing ever from KoRn. The soundscapes combine with Jonathan Davis’s vocals to create songs that are truly haunting. For instance on the song “Punishment Time” which features one of KoRn’s best riffs ever as well as choruses the song breaks its high tempo and falls into a soft verse out of nowhere before it crescendo’s back into its vicious riff. The experience is surreal. Its schizophrenic its reminiscent of the early albums from KoRn and at times genuinely feels like your listening to the inner workings of a poetic psychotic but its a refined insanity that takes the listening experience to the next level.


The overall sound is sort of like a bionic evolution of KoRn. The sound is familiar enough to remind you of the early days but its like the protagonist at the end of a good action movie. The fight to the end was arduous and the protagonist needed to grow to overcome their obstacles to search within themselves and remember why they joined the fight in the first place and why they must still fight. This album is that scene at the end of that action movie, after the protagonist has defeated the final boss and he emerges from the burning rubble of his enemies lair, beaten, burnt, and smoking but they still stand, tougher and wiser for the experience. The years during “Head” and David’s departure from KoRn had left the band in a bit of an identity crisis but it also inspired some of the bands most creative works. After losing 2 core members of the band, KoRn had found a way to carry on and develop musically. “The Pardigm Shift” is not just a triumphant return for “Head” to the band it is the band’s triumphant return to form.


David Silveria may never return as drummer but Ray Luzier is also a great drummer who’s style suits KoRn very well. KoRn is not metal and they aren’t rock n’ roll they are just KoRn. They are heavy, often angry with psychotic tendencies, at times schizophrenic and they just wouldn’t be the same any other way. Every song on “The Paradigm Shift” could be an anthem in its own right but personal favorites would be “Love and Meth,” “What We Do,” “Mass Hysteria,” “Punishment Time,” “Lullaby for a Sadist,” “It’s All Wrong,” and “Tell Me What You Want.” I am not saying this is the be-all, end-all KoRn album but it is a lean album that proves KoRn is still very much a relevant band in the music world with plenty of good new and interesting music to offer. “Head’s” return seems to have really energized the band and it will be interesting to see where KoRn goes from here.



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Horror Spotlight

Let me be clear I don’t in anyway work for or have I ever been an employee at Universal Studios. Halloween Horror Nights is an event that has been held annually on and off again under various names throughout the last 20 years at Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood. For many years the events theme revolved around Jack Skellington of Nightmare Before Christmas fame. In recent years the Halloween Horror Nights event has been themed off of popular horror movies including Friday the 13th which quite honestly I really wish I could have gone to. The reason I bring this all up is because this year looks to be exceptionally awesome if you are a horror fan and a heavy metal fan. Some pretty great horror franchises are being tapped this year for the event so I figured with Halloween not too far off I would break down the different attractions being thrown at this years Halloween Horror Nights.


The first attraction this year is a maze based on the Walking Dead AMC TV series. You start off in a maze through the prison from the series the West Georgia Correctional Facility which is obviously full of Walkers. Even the fenced in area outside the prison is full of Walkers. After you make it through the prison there is a forested section full of Walkers and if you can “survive” the wilderness you will actually end up at the town of Woodbury where you can meet the Governor. Universal Studios has promised that you will relive many iconic moments from the Walking Dead series.


The next attraction is a maze inspired by the Evil Dead. You literally walk through the forest to the most famous of abandoned cabins in horror history. The description says you can either try to run from the Deadites into the forest or you can try to survive the night in the cabin. Exactly how it works I am not sure, you might have to keep running through the maze as staying in the middle seems like a difficult way to get out again. Either way the maze is filled with plenty of gore and Deadites. When you reach the cabin listen for the words from the Book of the Dead as that definitely will be your cue that lots of crazy stuff is about to happen.


OK so by now you probably guessed pretty much all the events are mazes. The next maze is inspired by Insidious. People will actually get to walk through the haunted house from Insidious and experience different moments from the movies first hand. The special effects look pretty impressive as they show a girl being wrapped up by a shower curtain seemingly on its own volition. One of the most exciting mazes for me is the one inspired by songs from Black Sabbath. You start the maze in a demon filled cathedral, then go through graveyards, madhouses, corpse filled battlefields and even a nuclear apocalypse full of mutated beasts. You wear 3D glasses the whole time and Black Sabbath music will be playing in the backround. Personally I would love to see Black Sabbath’s reactions as they all walked through the maze. Its being called a interactive 3D movie inspired by Black Sabbath’s most famous songs.


The next maze I am kind of on the fence about. Its a maze called “El Cucuy” The Boogeyman. I am all for bringing back the boogeyman for some good old fashioned horror fun but this maze is narrated by Danny Trejo. It looks like it could be fun and if Danny Trejo only says a few things at the beginning and end of the attraction it probably won’t be too bad but I just can’t for the life of me find him scary. The final attraction for this years Halloween Horror Nights is called Universal Monsters Remix: Resurrection which is supposed to be a revival of the classic Universal Monsters. That sounds really cool I am all for the original Universal Monsters being revived for the 21st century. However the attraction features the music of Figure a dubstep artist. The comments on the page make him seem pretty beloved by Halloween Horror Nights patrons but I really don’t want to see Frankenstein pop and lock. I have no proof that is what the attraction will be like but my own gut feeling is sour towards dubstep Universal Monsters. Not saying it can’t be done but it is with guarded skepticism that I would patronize this final attraction. All mazes were constructed with direct input from the creators and producers of source materials including the Black Sabbath maze, Ozzy, Geezer and Tony all had input on their maze.


Other non-maze attractions include “Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead” sort of a tram tour of a Walking Dead infested area. Bill & Ted will have an “Excellent Halloween Comedy Adventure” if you have a will made of pure steel. There are several “Scare Zones” each with its own theme. One scare zone has you playing hide and seek with Chucky. That could be fun. Another scare zone is themed after the movie the Purge that came out last year where you will be literally hunted by psychos with weapons and no laws. One of the scare zones features murderous french clowns in haunted Paris. ( Yes I am laughing even as I type it. ) There will be a field of haunted scarecrows looking to fertilize their crops with human blood, that could be promising. Finally Walking Dead Walkers will be everywhere inside the theme park so look out. The final attraction is you can actually walk through the backlot used in Season 3 of AMC’s Walking Dead series and it will be filled with Walkers. There will also be a landscape you can run from the walkers in that is inspired by Black Sabbath’s new album “13.”


So if I had a way to get to Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood or Orlando and could also afford it. This would definitely be on my list of places to go this year for Halloween. If you can swing it and have the schedule for it this just might be the place to get your scares this Halloween.  As always I am Z3R0TH3RT33N and I will continue to keep you updated on all things Horror, Metal and Videogame related.



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For the Fans!

Hey everyone the feedback has been amazing lately. I greatly appreciate the level of passion followers have. I wanted to thank everyone for supporting Sonic Mercury. When I started I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I think that I quickly found my voice. Clearly videogames have been at the forefront of my updates lately. I promise more metal and horror related articles will be included on the site to help diversify content in the future. I am thinking a top ten 80’s horror movie list is in order.


Gamescom was huge! So much stuff was shown off their it really was hard to break it down. Here is a quick overview. Someone at the Sony conference said something like “unlike others, we have had a clear path for our new console.” There was outrage. People were like “Cheap shot!” “ohhh Sony slams Microsoft again!” “Scandalous!!” Honestly at this point who cares? Microsoft messed up really bad and burned a lot of bridges with gamers around the world. Whats done is done. Lets get on with what we all really care about, the shiny new consoles and their respective videogames. Nonetheless people definitely tried hard to make this one comment in a 90 minute presentation a big deal. Seeing the comment in context it sounded to me like the speaker was just saying that they have been focused with the PS4 and the path Sony was taking with their new console. Anyone who saw this as a major jab at Microsoft was reaching.


The PS3 slim model will have a limited edition model available next year in the color blue. Special Microsoft employee  only editions of the XBOX One were shown off and they will be white. What is it about videogame consoles in different colors that makes them more desirable? Is it that we actually like the other colors or is it more just owning something that others don’t? “I have a new console!” “That’s cool, I have it to but mine is blue.”


Lets see other news from Gamescom. Battlefield 4 reportedly looks a lot worse than expected in the port from high end PC’s to the PS4 and XBOX One editions. This is very disappointing news considering the game is highly anticipated and every demo of the game up until the Gamescom hands on demo were visually impressive.


The new revamped Dualshock 4 controller for the PS4 received positive feedback at Gamescom with many FPS fans saying they would now be more likely consider playing first person shooters on the PS4 in the future.


Lots more happened at Gamescom but there are some highlights for you. Thanks again to everyone who has been following Sonic Mercury and I promise plenty more content on the way. Look for more info on Sonic Mercury’s new YouTube channel SonicMercuryTV in the next few weeks. Bookmark for more unique perspectives on videogames, horror, and heavy metal.



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Volbeat Review

Ever wondered what happens when Danish rockabilly metal meets the wild west? Pat dons his cowboy hat and duster to find out for you. In this episode of Pat’s metal reviews the featured artist is Volbeat, formed in 2001 from Copenhagen, Denmark. “Outlaw Gentleman and Shady Ladies” is Volbeat’s 5th studio album. Find out “the good, the bad, and the ugly” in Pat’s latest review. If you like Pat’s Video make sure to click the like button and join the GessNation by subscribing to his Youtube channel here.



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Gamer Integrity?

I have noticed a disturbing trend in this era where online multiplayer games have become more popular than ever. On the cusp of the next generation of console gaming both Sony and Microsoft have touted a larger more connected online community of gamers as a lynch pin in the future of gaming. On paper it sounds great, your future gaming console will be a hub for communication and social interaction.  It will become easier to find people who like to play the games you like to play.


Honestly it sounds really cool. People will be able to record parts of the games they are playing share it with their friends show others how to play a certain level or how to beat a certain boss. Gaming from your smart phone or tablet is being emphasized for next gen games as well. You will be able to participate in your favorite games wherever you are, whenever you are. So whatever you are doing you can always work on leveling up.


I have noticed in my own online mutliplayer experiences lately an absence of couth. Respect and reason has been abandoned. There seems to be a major rise of hate in the online gaming community. Maybe I missed the memo but aren’t we just playing games at the end of the day. Yet it seems like more and more people have no problem shouting racial slurs or calling someone something homophobic. I actually gamed with someone who’s gamer tag basically translated into hard penis and it wasn’t even a clever pun. I can’t help but wonder, are people getting dumber? I have been in some online lobby’s lately that would make you think the civil war never happened.


What happened to integrity? The weight of a mans honor? The importance of self discipline? Wherever you go, be it to your job, your home, the supermarket, one should always approach all situations with RESPECT and REASON. Why should it be any different in an online multiplayer lobby? All of the sudden some people get behind their gamer tag and they think that gives them free license to rapid fire hate speech. I have even seen recently in online matches players tearing their own teammates down because they play the game differently than themselves. Instead of, you know, cheering for your own team.


What happened? Why are so many people in the online gaming community talking like bigoted hate mongers all of the sudden? Over the years I have played with a lot of cool people online. There is always that competitive side to gaming and it should be encouraged. I have no problem with people taking shots at each other during competitive play but lets keep it reasonable. Hate speech and bigotry shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone ever. After all we are playing GAMES, a healthy escape from the every day grind, an excercize for the mind. Most of us work our asses off day in and day out with little to show for it and all we want to do is sit back and play our video game of choice without having to hear hateful ignorance turned up to ELEVEN!


Obviously there are a lot of good, genuinely cool people to play games with online. The problem is this growing cancer of self righteous fuck ups who have no manners and no concept of how to address other human beings in a friendly competitive arena. We aren’t fighting for the existence of all mankind and that needs to be kept in perspective. It sucks I even felt that this article was necessary but clearly this problem is getting worse.


I have grown up a heavy metal fan. A lot of people unfamiliar with the genre assume that heavy metal is all about devil worshiping and beating the shit out of each other at concerts. In fact their is a metal band about or for just about anything you can think of, be it helping out others, fighting waves of the undead, mythical beasts or just every day life. Heavy metal fans are proud to be a part of their culture. The music means something to each and every metal fan. At concerts their are mosh pits where people run into each other while screaming lyrics from their favorite songs but their is an etiquette. If someone falls down in the pit their are several people right there with them to immediately help them up and make sure they are OK. We metal fans may have a strange way of bonding with each other but we RESPECT the music and we RESPECT each other.


Shit talking is a part of competition but at the end of every sporting event opposing teams shake hands and congratulate each other on a game well played. Whether or not players like each other they still show respect for their opponents. Maybe an official rule book should be made for gaming or a code of conduct but we can not continue on this path where some players think its totally fine to completely berate someone they have never physically met in an online video game lobby. I love video games and am proud to be a part of the culture. I can’t wait to see what the generations of gaming to come will have to offer but I want to do it in a future where gamers act like adults and not sub-human parasites.


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New England Metal and Hardcore Festival

                             I have to admit that I got schooled a bit at the NEHMHF. It was really great to see so many different genres and styles represented. From the 80’s hardcore scene to Folk Metal there was plenty to do and see in Worcester Mass. this year. The only sub genre of heavy music that I felt was missing was black metal. There really wasn’t any representation of black metal (except for maybe Opeth) which personally I really would have enjoyed to see especially because it seemed that pretty much all the other major sub-genres were represented in some form or fashion. I will gloss over the highlights of the weekend but before I do let me just say that the New England Heavy Metal and Hardcore Festival was a fucking blast and I think everyone who stayed for the whole three days were treated graciously by some very talented classic hardcore pioneers.

                                  Day-1) Day one was crazy to say the least just getting oriented with the all the action going on. Upstairs was the smaller stage where more of the hardcore bands played throughout the weekend. One of the best parts of this set up was that for a large portion of the day if you weren’t really into one band you could just go to the other stage and check out the band playing there, or if a band finished their set you didn’t have to wait for the next one to set up you could just go over to the opposite stage and check out some more heavy music. There were plenty of merch tables around selling the usual wares, T’s, hoodies, wristbands, but there was also a lots of cool stuff from labels and different companies associated with the heavy music culture that offered everything to skateboards to hard to find albums. (My friend found a sweet Early Graves CD that I really should have picked up as well)

                              OK so the first day ended with a lot of energy. Admittedly I did miss Munipal Waste’s set but there was just so much going on it was hard to see everything. One of the earlier draws was Holy Grail, a speedy power metal band with some intricate guitar work. The people I went with commented that Holy Grail had improved a lot since the last time they saw them. Black Breath was on of my personal highlights of the weekend.  Every Time I Die started off the end of the night and served as a prelude to the headliners coming up and they were good, admittedly not one of my faves but the crowd got into them and the chicks dig them. Then it was on to EXODUS and if you haven’t heard of them stop reading this immediately and go check them out the “Toxic Waltz” is one of there classics. EXODUS was great, high energy the band was really on. (Not that they ever really are off) The crowd surfing was on overdrive and the crowd was going nuts. However some crowd surfers are above the recommended size and you know who you are yet you insist anyway. I think that a Too Fat to Fly clause should be enforced at all shows. Anyway EXODUS raised the energy bar tenfold.

                          Up next was Hatebreed. I know they can be a divisive band in the metal and hardcore community, personally it took me a while but once I gave them a chance I really enjoyed what I heard and have been a fan for a long time now. Hatebreed really brought the brutality in spades. One of there best performances I have ever seen them put on, they started with one my favorite songs called “You’re Never Alone.” It was kind of interesting that for the rest of the weekend you would occasionally overhear someone saying something along the lines of “yeah I am not really a Hatebreed fan but that show was awesome!”

                         The last band to play on day one was Anthrax, again another band if you have never listened to stop, go listen now!, this will be hear when you get back. Anthrax was on the bill to play the entire “Among the Living” album, (A great place to start if you are new to Anthrax) and they did play most of the album I think they left out “A.D.I./ The Horror of it All.” Anthrax played a few covers including an AC/DC cover of “TNT”  teasing “Back in Black” at the end of it, which admittedly I would have liked to have seen. Scott Ian was his usual talkative self which I honestly find gives Anthrax a lot of its personality but I definitely heard someone near the front row yell at Scott for talking to long and to “shut up and play a fucking song!”  Anthrax is one of those bands I think can be taken for granted a little bit, especially in the sensory overload setting of the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival but then when it finally comes to see Anthrax with the back drops with there logos and Joey Belladonna takes the stage with the rest of the band and they all start to play its like a smack in the face, “Oh yeah ANTHRAX is playing!!! alright!” They are one of those bands that just seem larger than life when you see them.

                               Day-2)   Was a lot of fun because it was heavy with folk metal bands. I saw a guy playing the lute in a heavy metal band which is just an truly cool thing to see. Part of the charm of folk metal for me is that its very up beat for the most part and I find it makes me want to be in a great viking beer hall full of maidens singing songs of old while all stand and slam there mighty steins together. One of the early stand outs for me was Trollfest, a Norwegian folk metal band. They were unique and just a lot of fun to listen to. The lead singer was wearing a bumble bee suit and antennae. They had me saying ” beware the Brumblebassen” the rest of the weekend. Something to be noted is that the entire weekend everyone was really nice to each other, bands and concert goers alike, I saw very little hostile violence towards anyone the entire weekend.

                                    The moshing during the folk metal bands is one of the most polite I have ever seen. People were moshing in rhythm and singing together instead of slamming into each other, as much. That’s not to say that these pits weren’t high intensity by any means just a different style than the traditional slamming into each other most in the states are familiar with. Other highlights of the day included Battlecross, self described as “Blue Collar Thrash Metal” from Canton, Michigan  (One of my personal favorites of the whole weekend), and Goatwhore a death metal band from New Orleans. Ensiferum, Heidevolk, and Helsott were other folk metal bands that were fun to see. Tyr was really good and definitely worth checking out. The atmosphere that the folk metal bands cultivates is really cool. People dress as vikings wearing traditional garb, furs, giant boots, belts and war paint right out of Braveheart. I actually heard a guy complaining that they took his viking helmet with the big horns on it and his authentic animal viking war horn.

                                              Katatonia put on a good show, they have good stage presence. Then it was on to sort of the odd man out on this day Dillinger Escape Plan. Now admittedly I have never been a huge Dillinger fan but I know a lot of people who are. It definitely seemed a strange juxtaposition to place Dillinger in between Katatonia and the headliner Opeth who are both more melodic metal bands. If your not familiar with Dillinger I think it is safe to say they can be an acquired taste. To an outsider listening in its very high energy for the most part and the beats can be really sporadic at times which can be off putting for some who prefer more traditional styles of metal. This is how I will describe there set. Very high energy. The people in the pit were going nuts. The front man puts on a hell of a show……I have no idea what happened. Was it good? Bad? I can’t really tell you. What I can tell you is that I was there and it happened. What it means exactly I couldn’t really tell you. I felt kind of like Willem in Mallrats trying to decipher a magic eye poster, everyone else could see the sailboat but I just saw a lot of bright colors and heard a lot of loud sounds. What I will say though about Dillinger Escape Plan however is that they brought the energy in spades and towards the end of the second day of a three day weekend of non-stop metal I think high energy is what everybody needed to keep going.

                                  The second day headliner was Opeth and they are band I honestly knew about but never really heard anything by them and didn’t quite know what to expect. In my head I was honestly thinking sort of like a rock and roll cross-over type band. From what I saw at the show I would have to say that Opeth is a very talented band. They did everything from an acoustic version of a death metal song to actual death metal, complete with a healthy death metal scream. Actually I was impressed at how heavy Opeth actually got during some of their songs. I felt that the set that Opeth played was way too heavy on the acoustic and slower melodic stuff for a headliner at the NEMHCF. Like I said before it was the end of the day and it felt like the acoustic melodic stuff was lulling a lot of people to sleep, myself included. I am pretty sure that they played something like three acoustic songs in a row and Opeth songs are at least seven minutes long a piece. A reliable source told me that Opeth had basically played there exact set from their headlining tour which I think was slightly inappropriate for the festival. The stuff they played was sort of for the hardcore Opeth fan who wants to see all the facets the bands catalog has to offer. At NEMHCF I feel like most people want one thing and one thing only, to have there faces melted off with high energy performances. By no means is it my intention to bad mouth Opeth as they proved to be a very talented band and I enjoyed a lot of there songs. I just think that Opeth could have catered to the audience a little bit and given the crowd less acoustic and more heavy everything else. From what I am told there is plenty in Opeth’s catalog to accomplish this feat. To summarize Opeth good band, New England Metal and Hardcore Festival set could have used a little tweaking.

                                      Day-3) Admittedly I didn’t know very many of the bands that played on Sunday. I knew Suicidal Tendencies and I wanted to stay just to hear “Institutionalized.” One of the booths I really enjoyed at the festival was the Rock and Shock booth which was basically a booth selling cool horror movie stuff and promoting the Rock and Shock show that is held in Worcester, MA sometime in October. Basically a horror convention with some metal bands which sounds like a great time year round to me.

                                              Of the earlier bands I thought the hardcore band Warhound had a great stage presence and a lot of attitude. Dark Sermon a metal band from Tampa, FL put on an entertaining show. The lead singer could easily make  you believe that he was actually insane as in certain parts of songs he wouldn’t sing into his microphone at all and just screamed verses at the crowd. It was pretty fucking crazy and a lot of fun to watch. They are a solid band with catchy riffs I would like to see how they evolve. Texas in July sticks out in my mind mostly because they all wore big black rain gear and it looked really hot and uncomfortable to be wearing while trying to perform. I remember Brick by Brick putting on a good show. The rest is sort of a blur until Job for a Cowboy came on. Job for a Cowboy played a pretty good set. Miss May I had a pretty solid following but you could see the overall crowd thinning out by this time of the day.

                                       Then finally came the old-school hardcore trifecta. Starting off with D.R.I.(Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) They were a lot more melodic than expected. Great songs a lot of fun. It was cool to see the loyal fans come out, who have probably been going to shows for all three of the final bands for over thirty years, and watching them sing along to all the songs. Up next was Sick of it All and they were just awesome. The lead singer came out and told the crowd to expect Black Sabbath heavy style riffs not speed metal. The energy was impressive to say the least. Considering Sick of it All formed in the mid 80’s I have seen bands half their age struggle to keep the intensity they did. The lead guitarist was making me tired just watching him run around the stage. During the Sick of it All set the lead singer set up a wall of death claiming that it had started with hardcore and then metal culture took it for there own. What was great about this particular wall of death was that some guy showed up dressed in a black and white jumpsuit like an old-timey prisoner and the lead singer of Sick of it All pointed him out and said “hey look its the guy from the get out of jail free card” and the guy in the jumpsuit proudly walked out into the middle of the pit to show off I guess and as soon as the fake prisoner walked out there the lead singer of Sick of it All gave the signal for the wall of death to begin and closed it with that prisoner right in the middle. Sick of it All were a great show.

                        For the grand finale was Suicidal Tendencies and again I really didn’t know what to expect. I own there first album which was recorded back in 1981 and the lead singer is an angry teenager on it. Suicidal Tendencies was fucking awesome! I was so glad that I waited to the end to see them. The drummer was unbelievable. A friend compared him to Gene Hoglan. The band was just so much more diverse than I ever imagined and the songs and the atmosphere that S.T. creates is so much fun to lose yourself in. The lead singer was a really positive guy and he had some cool morality stories leading into a few of his songs. He said something along the lines of “through out your life you will meet people with there hand out, some you try to help and they will try to pull you down but others just need help getting back on their feet and when you help them they will always remember what you did for them and hopefully pay it forward.” For the last song Suicidal Tendencies invited everyone to come up on stage until the band was lost in a sea of fans and everyone joined in singing. It really was the perfect end to such an epic weekend. Seeing D.R.I., Sick of it All, and Suicidal Tendencies was a real treat to someone who really respects the history of music and it was really cool to see them kicking ass after all these years.

                             In conclusion the New England Metal and Hardcore festival is a must at least once for anyone into heavy music. I found the weekend educational actually, seeing all those bands for the whole weekend gave me a better understanding of the different sub-genres within metal and hardcore music. I also gained a better appreciation for the specific nuances that go into each sub-genre and I also saw a lot of cool bands I didn’t know very well and now I desperately have to improve my music library. Sometimes it can be easy to feel alienated as a fan of heavy metal and hardcore music and it really is nice to go to a place where your favorite style of music isn’t just accepted but celebrated. Consider the New England Metal and Hardcore festival a sort of Ellis Island for the uninitiated, a great place to be welcomed to the world that is heavy metal and hardcore music but ultimately only the tip of the iceberg.


Vision of Disorder

Hey everyone, I went to see Vision of Disorder last night and they were awesome but totally got kicked in the hand and broke at least one finger and sprained my hand so I guess that’s why they call it hardcore music haha.