Reviews Roundup: Week 42: VUUR, We Came As Romans, Veil of Maya, Then Comes Silence and more

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Ghost Cult rounds up those albums which didn’t receive the full review treatment, for your vulgar delectation… Continue reading

New England Metal & Hardcore Festival Day 1: The Palladium, Worcester MA

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It’s that time of year once again, New England Metalfest graced our state as the Northeast’s best bang for your buck metal experienced, matched by none. I was particularly excited because for me personally, having lived in Massachusetts for almost a decade and being a fan and attendee of the fest even before that, this is the real hallmark of the spring concert season for us. Now in its 16th year, it is an institution here to stay, and led by co-founder/scene Svengali Scott Lee of Massconcerts, it’s always a good time. The venue was packed with all kinds of different bands on two stages, cool vendors and band merch, and tons of fun people from the business, and our scene to mingle with. A special shout out to my friends Liz and Dave from Earsplit PR, who handled all the press these past few years, and as always do a bang up job. Extra props go to Meg Loyal who handled photography for Ghost Cult the entire weekend, freeing up yours truly to focus on coverage.

At times the fest has flirted with getting as big as four days including a pre-fest party, but this year we got down to a much more sensible, shorter kickoff night, followed by two long days. Since festivals like this are more like a marathon than a sprint in terms of staying fresh, this was a lot more manageable.

 

cop problem (2)

We got to the Palladium a little bit after doors opened and after getting our credentials handled, we made it down to the main stage in time to catch the last few songs from local boys Death Rattle. Playing a modern metal/power groove style akin to Lamb of God, early Sepultura, or Pantera, the early crowd was certainly digging them, especially when they closed with Pantera’s ‘A New Level’. Afterward, I hit up the upstairs, smaller stage for a while. Early in the fest I tend to run around between the two stages more and so on Thursday I tried to see as many bands as I could. Catching Cop Problem and Enabler back to back. For the initiated, Cop Problem hail from Philly a.k.a. Killadelphia. They are not here to party, as much as they are here to kick your brain in with passionate, intelligent crust punk for the discerning fan. Front woman Deb is about as accomplished a screamer as anyone on either stage this weekend, and the band may take themselves seriously, but they are fun live. Enabler is one of my favorite crusty bands of the last few years too. Easily at home with hardcore crowds as they are black vest wearing kids who d-beat-off at a mere mention of them. Legit and well deserved hype aside, Enabler crushes and their new album Flies (Compound Records) is an early year favorite of mine. It was over all too quick. Ugh.

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After catching a bit of Scars of Tomorrow, and filling up on a heavenly fig and cheese pannini’s that I ate all weekend and an double espresso (I shit you not) next door at the little cafe next to the venue I am now in love with, I headed back in to check out Oceano. Having just seen them at the same venue a few months earlier, you know what this band brings to the table live. There are better bands doing death core and at their best, tech death inspired music, it really is just beatdown core at its heart. However, led by front man Adam Warren, they bring the chaos live and always put on a great show. Their new album Contagion (Earache) has been overlooked this year. Next up was Darkest Hour, who is just beginning another album cycle with new music to be released soon. DH is always killer live and they seemed to have their own crowd in the house. I have seen them many times over the years and they never disappoint me.

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I caught the first half of the set for Bleeding Through and they were pretty damn amazing. The band is on a farewell tour of the east coast, before heading into retirement later in the year, and they left everything on that stage. There was a weird energy in the venue the entire set, and basically everyone losing their minds. Brandan Schiapatti brought his legendary A-game live. I will miss these guys a lot. They stole the show on this first day of the fest. I made it back to the side stage to see some of the evildoers in Rivers of Nihil last few songs. They were the first true death metal band of the weekend and accordingly, there was a nice crowd in to see them. They are just straight out brutal and technical with zero cheese factor. I wonder how big they will be in 3-5 years. Not caring much about the main stage for the rest of the day, I chilled out and saw Wilson and Broken Hope to close out the upstairs stage. Wilson was one of the most fun bands of the weekend. Their weird blend of proto-metal, thrash, doom, psychedelia and other stuff was spot on. I looked around the room and saw them minting new fans by the second. It was a reminder that from the underground comes tomorrow’s headliners, no doubt. Broken Hope followed after a bit of a long change over to their own gear from the standard back line. It was worth the wait because the death metal fans hung around and were rewarded. The band just slayed with their classic, second-wave death metal material and new songs off of Omen of Disease (Century Media). It was all made worth it by seeing Jeremy Wagner and Chuck Wepfer. It was like going to class at shred university. I felt bad for all the kids watching Emmure, who didn’t know any better, but should have.

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Finally the first day was coming to a close and locals All That Remains readied to take the stage. They are a band I championed to people in the early days, and have seen many times on this very stage. However, the last third of their career, while seeing them scale the heights of popularity, I feel like their musical quality has taken a big hit. I’m happy for their success, but I long for the days of This Darkened Heart and even The Fall of Ideals. I just feel the catchier rock based songs the make now have no balls anymore. They always put on lively show, and you can’t deny they are entertaining, and despite the presence of fan favorites ‘Six’ and ‘This Darkened Heart’ in the set tonight, it was a pretty weak showing. I was even surprised the band didn’t pull out anything special for the metal fest crowd, owing to the bands local roots and many times playing the fest, but they didn’t. It was an anti-climactic end to a good day of fun and music. I headed home to sleep.

 allthatremains (7 of 7)

 

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Words: KEITH CHACHKES

Photos: MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY