Heavy Montreal is coming

Our To-Do List for the festival of loud, hitting Parc Jean-Drapeau Aug. 7-9.




In spite of Heavy Montreal joining the trend of ever-generalizing festival line-ups and trying to cram as many genres that use electric guitars onto a single bill (symbolized by the recent retirement of its actually sort of clever “Heavy MTL” spelling, on the grounds that the name made the fest sound too metal-centric) the festival still has a lot to offer to serious metalheads of many stripe.

Admittedly, they are sandwiched between and among various nu-metal abominations and luminaries of skate punk (which it appears there is now such a thing), but perhaps we should be thankful for this variety after all. Take it as a means of structuring some downtime, building in some breathing room so you actually have time to purchase and pound a few beers between sets, rather than rushing ineffectually against a seething, drunken, sun-stricken throng in order to get from one end of the grounds to the other to catch yet another great band whose set you’ve already probably missed half of.

Anyway, this is my Heavy Montreal 2015 To-Do List:


Gorguts: Although on the whole I find technical death metal a pretty hard sell, Gorguts’s 2013 album Colored Sands was one of the most fascinating and refreshing of a genre that oft-times comes across as mostly a pinch-harmonic delivery system designed by some Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-esque jazz demon villain. I have no doubts about them delivering it in full mind-bending, pummeling force, in spite of having to do so in the full early afternoon sunlight.

Neurosis: For those craving something a few hundred BPM or so slower, Neurosis will be ushering in the twilight Friday night with sprawling waves of what can (or could once have been) defensibly called proto-post-metal, or if you cock your ear just right, like Tom Waits singing for a doom band.

Deafheaven: Probably the most loathed band in black metal, but I have resigned myself in advance to probably enjoying seeing them, because they’ll probably still be better than Isahn.

Nuclear Assault: Duh. Live, suffer, get thrashed, die.

Abbath: The first Canadian performance by erstwhile Immortal frontman Abbath’s self-titled project, which for all intents and purposes it turns out is basically still Immortal, based on early reports of their setlist including a lot of the Immortal’s back catalogue. One could similarly argue that it is basically just a rechristened I — the Immortal / Gorgoroth / Enslaved super-group side project, given that Abbath (the band, not the man) is made up of two out of three members of I (Abbath and King Ov Hell) and has also been playing songs from I’s motorcharged stadium-black metal masterpiece Between Two Worlds. Any way you cut it, that is going to be some icy, triumphant, unmissable shit.

So watch out. ■


Heavy Montreal takes place at Parc Jean-Drapeau from Friday, Aug. 7 to Sunday, Aug. 9, 1–11 p.m., $85 for a single day, $160 for 2 days, $230 for a three-day pass. See the line-up and more details here