Finally, payday Friday and beer o’clock rolled around for this guy. As stragglers started filtering into Dickens Pub, Krepitus led off our festivities with an ultra-tight rhythm section backing an Obituary-like front. More attack on the kick drums would have made my ears and heart melt, but very little was lost in translation. State of Demur followed suit with some down-tuned chugging riffs and wonderful time changes. While the drummer knew the intricacies of a perfect rim shot, the chosen snare sound was atrocious.

Metalfest organizer Big Nate and KYOKTYS were up next, opening to a wide range of applause and praise from the legions. There was more life in their performance this evening than usual, surely based on the event, and it showed with the crowd. Their set blew by and seemed they were only onstage for a few minutes.

Wacken Metal Battle Alberta finalists Death Toll Rising just completely slay. Go check them out. Right now. Why are you still reading this? GO! World Class White Trash was next to take stage, and their lamentable name did not subtract from the wonderfully dirty death metal they brought to the table. Excellent playing from all members made me an instant fan.

The Great Sabatini was miles different than the five bands former, bearing a slow, sludgey, doomy, stonerish style that was a refreshing treat. Delving deep into long, full band syncopation, the tracks always had the listener guessing where the group was going to take you next. Great stuff.

My favorite night of the three so far, Metalfest continues to crush. This evening will be tough to beat in my eyes, but I’m sure all the bands on the bill for Saturday will make you change your mind!

Words by Matt Telgen

All of the above bands mentioned by my colleague, with the exception of the final two that were missed due to overlaps with bands performing at Vern’s, were bloody enjoyable. Again, a shout out for KYOKTYS, because that set was the best they’ve yet to play and it was fantastic.

As for the Vern’s bands: Friday was hit and miss. There were a few screaming, coreish acts at Vern’s, and both Witch of the Waste and Astrakhan were alright, but after three days of bands, lack of sleep, and double shifts going straight from work to cover a festival, it took more than alright to prod my exhausted brain into appreciation. Of course, the ever ass-kicking Bison did exactly that. Although the sound was muddled nearly beyond recognition for the vocals, there is absolutely no doubt they are one of the strongest live bands in Canada. The crowd was wasted, people were perched on the amps, and moshing to their hearts content, and one attendee continuously stepped on stage to scream his appreciation at drummer Matt Wood, who is riveting to witness live. Utterly soaked in sweat, I collapsed in the back of a cab afterwards. It’s always excellent to cap off the night with a set that leaves you wanting more. Despite starting after 1 a.m., Bison did just that. BISON!

Words and photos by Sarah Kitteringham 


Beer was consumed. Vicariously. All evening. The recollections of this night took a few days to get out, as Metalfest left me with a bad cold and utter exhaustion, just like any metal festival should. But here goes!

It was a night of swearing frequently over lineup overlaps on Saturday. First up at Dickens was Gatekrashör, Calgary’s speed metal denizens, who played to a small yet appreciative crowd, despite their muddy sound. Next up were the thrashy weed addled Planet Eater, who had the suddenly packed audience eating from their hands. If you’re into actually well packaged heavy tunes and can stomach breakdowns, check this band out. They were tight as hell.

Black metallers Dark Forest were next, and my alcohol-addled brain was far too distracted to watch the entire set. Although they are excellent musicians who play an apt blend of grandiose black metal, the festival crazies were setting in, an affliction only cured by fresh air and pizza. Onwards, to Vern’s!

Winnipeg’s Psychotic Gardening was performing, and their death metal songs were dull and clunky. Exhaustion had set in, but the walk back to Dickens did not disappoint: Midnight Malice was the undisputed highlight of the entire festival. This was walloping traditional metal delivered by two ex-Calgarians and their Toronto band mates, and it got the entire room moving. When it comes to this band, Fenriz knows what’s up…. So should you, damnit.

And yet another trip to Vern’s was up. Agony Spawn was delivering some groovy metal akin to Lamb of God, tailor made for the previous night but sonically undesirable for yours truly. Endless Chaos was next, and their energetic death-laden thrash metal was decent, though given my mental state all I ended up doing was wishing they were instead one of frontman Jordan Dorge’s other projects, namely the excellent black metal act Wilt.

Although they were my second last band, Chronobot capped the evening off for me. One part Acid King, second part Mournful Congregation, and third part Hawkwind, their noise-laden doom set let me drop out of life. Although the promise of friends and beers lured me back to Dickens Pub, Abigail Williams did not impress whatsoever. That ain’t black metal, bros, nor is it interesting. Oh well. The company certainly was, and it was clear that despite the odd overlaps in scheduling and unevenly organized nightly lineups, people were having a blast.

The third rendition of Metalfest was a success, and a huge thanks goes to the organizers, volunteers, photographers, friends, and foes for making the weekend enjoyable and interesting. Till next year!

Words by Sarah Kitteringham

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