Since 2008 Heavy Montreal has been working to bring a more European-style heavy metal festival to North America. While Canada and the United States are rife with “fests” the unique vibe of the Euro-metal festival has remained elusive.
The first incarnation then dubbed “Heavy MTL” made a good first impression with a giant headlining set from Iron Maiden, as well as one of the last Canadian performances from Type O Negative. Since then the festival has maintained a solid annual lineup of mainstream and underground metal bands both classic and current.
But this year, along with an updated name, there’s a bit of a twist. Amongst metal’s biggest (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Twisted Sister) and baddest (Lamb of God, Body Count, Voivod), there’s also a way bigger dose of punk and hardcore than ever before. In the past the festival has taken advantage of passing package tours like Rockstar Mayhemfest. This time around however it’s “The Summer Nationals” Tour featuring The Offspring, Bad Religion and Pennywise. Throw in appearances from Dropkick Murphys, Madball, D.R.I, and Fucked Up and you have what could be the most unique incarnation of the festival yet.
While some of metal’s truest may balk at the idea of a punk invasion it’s actually a bit more in line with what you would expect at a Euro festival. Bands like Agnostic Front or the UK Subs are booked side by side with power and black metal bands. It’s perhaps the straight “all-metal” approach that’s prevented other festivals from lasting, including Heavy Montreal’s short-lived cousin Heavy TO.
In fact an all-metal lineup can be more divisive. A fan that enjoys Cannibal Corpse or The Dillinger Escape Plan may not be so keen to stick around for more accessible bands like Marilyn Manson or Five Finger Death Punch. On the other hand perhaps there’s more of a chance that they might have the curiosity to check out Bad Religion or Dropkick Murphys as these bands still exhume an underground spirit that’s often lost with success (OK maybe not The Offspring).
On the other hand Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Municipal Waste, Overkill and Hatebreed each has a foot firmly planted somewhere in the thrash/crossover/hardcore universe, all of which is easily accessible by a punk audience. Once that fades into view it’s actually not so crazy that Bad Religion is going on right before Twisted Sister.
Metal, punk, hardcore, hard rock and everything in-between collide August 9th and 10th at Parc Jean Drapeau in Montreal. Check out the entire lineup at www.heavymontreal.com.