What, it’s August already? The good thing is that it means that Heavy Montreal is almost upon us! For their second edition since expanding their definition of heavy music (and rebranding from Heavy MTL to Heavy Montreal), as well as their first 3 day event, the festival offers a wide selection of acts across many genres, some of whom haven’t been making regular stops in Montreal. It’s not easy to follow up Metallica as last year’s headliners, but this year’s event scores on diversity instead. So here are my ten picks for this year’s festival, in order of appearance.
- Venom Inc
The British metallers recently became another entry on the list of bands having multiple incarnations active. While singer/bass player Cronos has kept Venom going over the years, former members Abaddon and Mantas have put together their own line up with “Demolition Man” on vocals and bass. Come to their set and rock out to Die Hard or 7 Gates of Hell!
Alright, laugh all you want, but these guys are seriously skilled musicians. Recently they’ve been playing their “Pornograffiti” album in its entirety, a fantastic record from which their mega hit “More Than Words” is the least interesting song. This will be their first visit to our city since the mid 90’s.
A rare Montreal appearance for this band, and their first since they headlined Heavy MTL 2010. They will be playing their self-titled album in its entirety, a preview of their fall tour.
The new band from Immortal’s frontman will make its second ever live appearance at Heavy Montreal, and promises to offer rarely played tracks from the Immortal catalog, and maybe even some new material.
The veteran Bay Area thrashers just get better with age, and their latest album, “Dark Roots of the Earth” stands tall among their entire discography. Always a force to be reckoned with live, expect a great, tight show from these guys.
- Iggy Pop
The legendary Iggy Pop is the embodiment of the festival’s wider outlook, as he last played Montreal (with the Stooges) at Osheaga 2008. Who would have thought we’d ever see an artist overlap those two events? Apparently Iggy doesn’t hold a grudge for the band’s gear being stolen after that gig. Before that, he hadn’t played Montreal since 1990.
- Faith No More
Another act that hasn’t set foot in Montreal in a long time (last time was opening for Metallica and Guns ‘n Roses at the Olympic Stadium for the infamous 1992 riot show). They’ll play classic songs and material from their latest “Sol Invictus”. Check it out if you haven’t, it’s pretty good.
The band, led by wrestler turned rocker Chris Jericho and former Stuck Mojo guitarist Rich Ward, is a ton of fun live, and their latest album “Do You Wanna Start a War?” is their best yet. Jericho is a consummate showman who commands the stage like few do. They make it worth showing up early on Sunday.
- Nuclear Assault
Reunited for their 30th anniversary, and on what they describe as a farewell tour, the New York thrash veterans (featuring former Anthrax bassist Dan Lilker) haven’t played Montreal in decades (1990 according to my research). With a new album coming up, maybe we’ll get to hear new material too.
- Within Temptation
Symphonic metal always seems well suited to festival settings. These guys will not disappoint, led by the amazing voice of singer Sharon den Adel. A must see.
And there are many bands I’m looking forward to discovering, like Wilson and Nothing More. I’ll definitely enjoy some hair metal flashbacks with Lita Ford, Dokken and Warrant (who were at the first Heavy MTL, with the late Jani Lane), as well as some punk with NOFX, Lagwagon and Marky Ramone. For the more hardcore metallers, Gojira, Anonymus, Arch Enemy and Meshuggah will hit the spot for sure.
In addition to the music, the food trucks are back! Enjoy some of Montreal’s best cooking on the go, while listening to some metal. How awesome is that?
There’s also the fun of discovering new bands you might not have been aware of. Roaming from stage to stage is a good idea! Every year I discover, by accident, a band I fall in love with!
And finally, Heavy Mania will be back this year also for all wrestling fans.
Heavy Montreal will take place at Parc Jean-Drapeau August 7-9. Ticket info can be found on the official site of the festival.
Jean-Frederic Vachon’s writing can also be found at his site Diary of a Music Addict.