New England Metalfest - Day One - April 28th, 2006, The Worcester Palladium, Worcester, MA
Metal Festival
Live Concert
Reviewed by Kayla

I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a show as much as I was looking forward to the eighth New England Metal (and Hardcore) Festival. Thanks to being part of the board of WMHC as well as a DJ, I was able to apply for special funding from Mount Holyoke’s Student Government Association to fund my trip this year. The current Loud Music Director and I had grand plans for a hotel room and, in her words, “partying like rockstars.” Alas, our plans did not see fruition, but we still had enough money to pay all our expenses. We had planned to split the driving for the weekend, but she was unable to attend on Friday, so I went by myself.

I arrived at doors, as three of the bands I wanted to see were playing main stage right off the bat. Fortunately for me, runt that I am, the floor was still quite empty when I got down there; I got a good spot for Alarum, who were already playing. They play an interesting brand of jazzy death which works a little better on a recording than live; I know I was missing some of the more intricate parts of their music because of the sheer volume of it. Performance-wise they made a good showing, even though they were essentially playing to an empty room for most of it. Florida melodic death band The Absence was next, and did quite well indeed. More energy than Alarum, and they played a good selection from their latest album, From Your Grave. Arsis continued the melodeath assault, with just as much energy as The Absence.

After they were over, I left to go investigate the second stage; there wasn't anyone I wanted to see for quite awhile, so I figured I might as well make sure I wasn't just writing off good bands as metalcore who did not, in fact, play this abomination against the gods of metal (no, you aren’t just imagining things, I am being very hostile toward metalcore - you'll see why in a bit). I discovered that, nope, Ed Gein is just as metalcore as I recall them being from having their cd in the radio station. They had good stage presence, but that wasn’t enough to keep me there, and I decided to investigate the vendor area. I wasn’t planning on spending money at that point, but I ended up spending about a hundred bucks thoughtfully provided by MHC's SGA. I love my school; it was great to pick things up just because the guy at the table said nice things about them - according to him, Falchion has members of Korpiklaani in it, Mistweaver sounds like Ensiferum, Månegarm's vocalist sounds a bit like Vintersorg in his clean vocals, and Aes Dana is trOO and kvlt folk black with violins and flutes and such. Having listening to all of them at this point, I can say that he was right, and highly recommend all of them.

After I dropped my stuff off in my car, I went back to second stage because Cephalic Carnage was coming on soon after; I got up to the front for Ringworm, a metalcore band, intending to simply stay there until my need for grind had been met. I would tell you how Ringworm was, except that something rather unfortunate occurred. About halfway through the first song, people started getting a bit rowdy; some dude crashed into the guy next to me, so I half-turned my head so I could watch for him out of the corner of my eye and brace for impact when necessary. This worked for about ten seconds, until he clocked me square in the face with the back of his fist.

I was pissed, to say the least. I was actually unaware that it was physically possible for me to hate 'core style moshing more than I already did, but indeed it is. It offends me on both a professional and personal level; as an art student, I can unequivocally say that it looks ridiculous, and now I’ve been smacked in the face because of it. I started for the bathroom, having touched my nose and had my fingers come away bloody, and was intercepted by a security guy, who brought me outside, gave me ice and paper towels, and ascertained that nothing was broken and I was not concussed. I sat outside until I stopped bleeding (which was quite profuse, thank you) and then went back inside and cleaned the blood off my arm and face in the bathroom. Just so you all know, hydrogen peroxide works wonders in getting blood out of clothing.

Cephalic Carnage was quite, quite good. Extremely tight live, and they've got a sense of humor - for Black Metal Sabbath they put on tongue-in-cheek corpsepaint and horse’s head masks. I don’t know why they were relegated to second stage; although their intensity was bolstered by the smaller space, I don’t think any of it would have been lost in the bigger room of the main stage.

After that, I returned to the main stage, and proceeded to sit through four metalcore bands, Through The Eyes Of The Dead, The Acacia Strain, Still Remains and Haste The Day, waiting for Necrophagist. Unfortunately, when they did come on and I got all excited for some death metal, they turned in the worst performance of the night. Although technically fine, their performance was extraordinarily rote; no energy, no real interest. It definitely felt like going through the motions. A Life Once Lost was next, followed by Between the Buried and Me and The Black Dahlia Murder. Between the Buried and Me is another example of a band that probably works better on disc than live, although I can’t say I’m a big fan anyway. The Black Dahlia Murder performed well, although I don’t care for the screechy vocals.

Lacuna Coil were the headliners that night. Unfortunately for them, everyone was starting to clear out at that point, although their performance didn’t really suffer from it. They played a lot from Karmacode (To The Edge, Fragile, Our Truth, Fragments Of Faith) and some older stuff, too, like Daylight Dancer. I got a little misty-eyed at the closer, Heaven's A Lie – it has quite a bit of nostalgia attached to it for me. All in all, a very good day, with the promise of two more, even more awesome days to come.

Stay tuned for reports of Day Two and Three in the coming weeks.

Killing Songs :
Kayla quoted
Other albums by New England Metalfest that we have reviewed:
New England Metalfest - Day Three - April 30, 2006, The Worcester Palladium, Worcester, MA reviewed by Kayla and quoted
New England Metalfest - Day Two - April 29th, 2006, The Worcester Palladium, Worcester, MA reviewed by Kayla and quoted
New England Metalfest - 2005 Day Two reviewed by Jay and quoted
New England Metalfest - 2003 Day Two reviewed by Jay and quoted
New England Metalfest - 2003 Day One reviewed by Jay and quoted
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