Droves of fans flocked to the annual host of all things rock, metal and horror as Rock And Shock 2016 invaded Worcester, Massachusetts last month. The annual event at The Palladium and the DCU Center for the convention is hosted annually by Massconcerts, and the entire weekend is wall to wall scary good fun!
Friday was the kick off and as people did a first pass at the convention hall, meeting celebs like Malcom McDowell, Meg Foster, Bill Moseley, Matthew Lillard, Chris Sarandon, Judy Geeson, Danielle Harris, Skeet Ulrich, Alan Robert, Tyler Mane, Camille, Keaton, Ginger Lynn and Don Jameson. After checking out vendors in the hall, the stage at the palladium raged with non-stop music. Early arrivers got to see such diverse bands as Flaw, My Enemies & I, Incantation, Seeker, In The Red, Sworn In, Carach Angren and Huntress; offering a plethora of options and style for any heavy music fan .
Death metal legends returned Demolition Hammer played to an enthusiastic audience, as this was the only New England area performance for the band. Great to see these guys back in action. Kataklysm hasn’t been away nearly as long, but 2015s Of Ghost and Gods (Nuclear Blast) was an underrated return to form for the kings of “Canadian hyper-blast.”
Dope was up next, on their Die Motherfucker Die Reunion tour. The band always puts on a great show and they also played a few songs from their new album Blood Money Part I (eOne), proving they are not a nostalgia act, and still have it where it counts, in the songs.
Lastly Trivium closed and put on their usual show full of hits, headbanging, fist pumping and singing along. They really are the best American metal band when it comes to one hand in the past and one in the now. Of course they jammed the hits and played a few new ones from 2015’s Silence In the Snow (Roadrunner). Having caught them the last few times at festivals, it is always better to see the full Trivium experience at a headline set whenever possible.
With the full day out in front of us, Saturday is always the day to check out the hall, meet and greet bands and horror legends, buy some cool merch, see the costume contest, have some beers and have a blast.
The bands on Saturday really were a tale of different sub-genres at work and their over-lapping fan bass. Once again the early day was helped by some talented locals and diverse up and coming names such as All Hail The Yeti, Oni, Kissing Candice, Dead By Wednesday, and more. All The Yeti and Oni are bands we are watching with a lot of interest at Ghost Cult HQ.
Then you had a slew of deathcore bands. Usually more of a draw for New England Metal And Hardcore Festival or past editions of Summer Slaughter, the northeast loves some chuggy, punch someone’s lights out deathcore, especially when it’s well done. Leaders of the scene such as Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Carnifex, and Oceano all either have recent albums out, or in the case of Suicide Silence, one on the way in 2017. Similar to metalcore, if you think this genre will tire out and vanish, guess again.
Then it was time for the weird to go pro. Combichrist lets their freak flag fly live every gig, and tonight was no exception. Definitely more eccentric than your brothers rock band. They played some Combi-classics and new jams from their recent album This Is Where Death Begins (Out Of Line Records). The annual all-star jam from The Rocking Dead is at least always interesting, and sometimes even very good. But as you would imagine whenever you throw even the coolest people and best musicians together to jam glam rock and punk covers, sometimes it goes awry.
At last there was the brutal Return To Roots set from Max and Iggor Cavalera. More commonly known as Cavalera Conspiracy, the band is paying homage to the Sepultura classic Roots (Roadrunner) album on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. Opening with ‘Roots’ and ‘Attitude’, then playing the entire rest of the album, two covers (‘Procreation Of The Wicked’ and ‘Ace Of Spades’) with a punk version of ‘Roots’ coming at the end was totally killer. While a lot of bands are doing this type of thing, no one quite does it like the Cavalera brothers have done with Roots. Many of these songs have never been played live before, and may never again, so it is a real treat for fans.
Sunday hosted Twiztid, Mac Lethal, Zodiac Mprint, Lex The Hex Master, Menace 2 Sobriety, Gods Of Kaos, Outland Camp, Fury, Killer Intellect, Problemattik, Don Gaudy, Splitface, Kraeyzie PayN, Lyrical Deathwish, Unlimited Future Objectives (U.F.O), Dirtyburg Productions, NFG, Infinitti, Whitney Peyton, but we could not stay for day 3, thus we high-tailed it outta there.
With that another Rock And Shock was in the books. Until next year you can check out these great photos of the fest captured for Ghost Cult by Lisa Schuchmann.