FESTIVAL REVIEW: Decibel’s Metal & Beer Fest 2019

Decibel Magazine’s Decibel Metal & Beer Fest was, to put it simply, stacked. Fourteen bands across all variants of Death, Grindcore, Prog, and Doom, descended onto Orange County for a weekend of heart-pounding jubilation. The two-day event was held this year at The Observatory, a large yet paradoxically intimate standing-room-only venue, intelligently designed to put the audience at three different heights across the entire space, offering uninhibited views of the stage beyond the perils of the pit. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Adult Swim Festival

For just one weekend the Banc of California Stadium was transformed into a carnivalesque outdoor funhouse for the Adult Swim Festival. The stadium was alive with colorful distorted animations reminiscent of children’s cartoons and claymation scenes warped and hyperbolized beyond the mind’s comprehension, while a giant Meatwad dome sat across an even larger inflatable slide shaped like Morty’s head vomiting a rainbow.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Exit 111 Festival 2019 – Manchester, Tennessee

Exit 111 Festival, aptly named for the highway exit in Manchester TN, made its début October 11-13, 2019. Arriving in powers of three, it was three days of riffs, rock, and rowdiness. One part Metal, one part Rock, one Southern rock, and a whole lot of nostalgia, the event hosted three stages: the Rise Above Stage (honored suicide awareness and featured many of the Classic rock/Southern rock acts), Heaven Stage (the main stage and home to the headliners), and Hell Stage (spotlighted mainly heavy artists). Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2019: Live at Leeds University

When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading

REVIEW: The MegaCruise 2019

Like most metalheads, I’ve been to a lot of metal shows over the years. Over the hundreds of metal shows I’ve attended, never once did I think to myself “You know what would make this even better? Being trapped on a boat in the middle of the fucking ocean.” And yet, having taken some time to reflect on my experiences aboard the inaugural MegaCruise by Megadeth, I revel in the memories of experiencing choppy water while thrashing through the Pacific, convinced I’m going to die on a boat watching Dragonforce and being oddly ok with it. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Badgerfest 2019 Live at The Breadshed, Manchester

2019 see’s the third installment of what’s becoming an important event in the calendar for the discerning Heavy Metal connoisseur, BadgerFest. The brainchild of the undeniably hardest working man in the Manchester metal scene John Badger, If any qualification of that were needed, aside from it being reiterated by every band of the weekend, as well as their gratitude as to the smooth running, he’s also running the Drumming up Change in November whereby he’ll be playing the drums for the full sets of all ten bands. There’s hard-working and then there’s John Badger. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Slipknot, Tool, Korn, Rob Zombie, Staind, and More Rule Aftershock 2019

It comes as no surprise that this year’s Aftershock Festival was once again sold out. I mean, how could it not with big-name talents such as Slipknot, Tool, Korn, Rob Zombie, Blink-182, Lamb of God, Dropkick Murphys, Marilyn Manson, Bad Religion, Chevelle, and many others. And with the über-early announcement of next year’s headliner—Metallica, for those of you living under a rock—there’s no question that 2020’s Aftershock will sell out as well. In fact, as of this writing, VIP weekend passes were all gone. A year in advance! So, how was this year’s outing? Damn good, in our humble opinion. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: RPM Festival 2019

A three-day music festival in the woods with rock, punk, metal, copious amount of drinking, and an undying sense of community… throw that all in a blender with some camping and yard games and you get RPM Fest. The “Heaviest Party of the Summer” and the unofficial end to the summer in the New England metal scene. This was my 2nd year at RPM Fest so I knew what to expect, but at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect. As it is never a repeat of the year prior at this loud and dirty circus. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Bloodstock Open Air 2019

Now in its nineteenth year, the annual metal pilgrimage to Bloodstock Open Air at Catton Hall in Derbyshire was joined this year by a very special, but highly unstable, guest.

The weather.

Yes, I know it’s England in August, and we should be more than accustomed to inconsistent weather conditions, but this really was something else. Tents too hot to be inside one moment were waterlogged the next. People soaked to the skin by sudden, torrential downpours were suffering sunburn minutes later. Grass turned to mud, mud became rivers, and the unprecedented winds would go on to cause problems all of their own. Continue reading

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Tons of Rock 2019

After six years at the Fredriksten Fortress in at Halden Norway, it was clear Tons of Rock needed more space. So here we are in the biggest city in Norway, Oslo, at the new home for the festival. From my American point of view, this was wonderful to see so many bands I have enjoyed but haven’t made it across the sea. With three stages and forty bands, two of the said stages named in honor of famous Norwegian expressionist artist Edvard Munch. The Scream and Vampire had an electric mix of hard and most styles of metal. In addition to the campgrounds, there was plenty of rides, painted art and music for sale to browse on these bright and sunny Oslo days. Continue reading