Montreal – and all of Quebec, for that matter – loves to rock all year ‘round. It’s just a readily apparent fact. And the beginning of August might be the apex of rock in Montreal, with the massive, multi-stage metal music festival Heavy MTL hot on the heels of Osheaga at beautiful, I mean, cool Parc Jean-Drapeau…
No matter what kind of metal turns your crank, Heavy MTL seems to have it. This year’s Saturday mainstage evening headliners are alt-metal System of a Down (pictured above), genre-crossing Deftones, L.A.’s Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage and the awesome Cannibal Corpse.
Sunday bows down to the on-stage chaos of Slipknot, set to play for two hours, preceded by never-say-die Marilyn Manson, hardcore trash-skate-punk stalwarts Suicidal Tendencies, Dethklok (in the running for best band name) and ever-raging Lamb of God. It’s worth it to get to the site earlier in the day though, whether to see old favourites still going strong or discover bands you’ve barely heard of blast the fest’s three stages.
Metal doesn’t wait for night to fall at Heavy MTL: the shows start and the beer begins to flow at 1 p.m. Find your darkest sunglasses and get there early on Saturday for bands like Job For a Cowboy, Periphery, Montreal-based Kataklysm, Between the Buried and Me, and more. On Sunday, make it out of bed and over to the park by noon to sweat with Blind Witness, math-metal Protest the Hero, French death metal band Gojira, and Trivium.
While the big names alone are worth the price of Heavy MTL admission, for music fans looking for more underground heavy sounds, The Apocalypse Stage is the place to be. On Saturday, wander over to check out New Orleans’ death metal band Goatwhore, Exumed, Kansas-based screamers Origin, death-metal fear-mongers The Faceless, and thrash-metal Battlecross. On Sunday, bask in the hardcore punk of Toronto’s Cancer Bats, I Wrestled A Bear Once, B.A.R.F. (both also in the running for best band name) and Montreal’s mighty, must-see Voivod.
And when the summer sun gets a little too blistering and the earplugs begin to fail, it’s easy enough to back away from the speakers and find a patch of shaded green space at Parc Jean-Drapeau where the music still reaches. Maybe that’s not very metal, but rest assured that the hardcore metalists are too busy being into the music to police anyone on their metal etiquette. Picnic away to the heavy sounds of Slipknot, I say, and have a killer time.
Heavy MTL, August 11-12, 2012