Welcome to Metal Power Rankings: Our weekly rankings take a number of factors into account: newsworthiness, record sales, internet buzz, word of mouth and overall importance in the genre. Ultimately, it’s subjective, but if a band generates enough buzz, they’ll wind up on the list. We’re writing this from the upstairs at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, and it’s obviously on our mind, so we’re going to do an all-NEMHF  (almost) version of the Power Rankings.

1) Between the Buried and Me

We saw something very interesting during their soundcheck earlier today. We won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say tonight’s closing BTBAM set will be like a night at the opera.


2) Testament

The thrash legends headline Saturday, right after a stop through NYC tonight.


3) Exodus

Their tour with Testament brings them hurtling through town on Saturday, and there are few crowds that can do a “Toxic Waltz” like a New England crowd. See what Gary Holt has to say about the tour in our interview with him.


4) The Red Chord

Back after a long quiet spell (but not a hiatus – they’d supposedly just needed a very long time to record a new album), the Massachusetts-based grinders are easily the biggest local draw on the bill and surely ready to send the death storm.


5) Slayer

Gary Holt’s other band isn’t playing, but a new Slayer 7″ will be available tomorrow as part of Record Store Day. There are plenty of record stores in and around Worcester, and they’re sure to provide a prime detour before Metalfest Day 2 commences.


6) Nuclear Assault

The final New England performance of one of the most revered underground thrash bands ever.


7) Death Angel

Have you ever noticed how the best songs from the last few Death Angel records are right up there with anything that Overkill and Testament have done in their respect renaissance eras? We sure have. They’ll prove it to you tonight.


8) Nails

Arguably the most extreme band on the bill, Nails has much to prove to a wider metal audience after joining up with Nuclear Blast. We really like their chances to pull it off.


9) Code Orange

It’s a sign of how far this band has grown that nearly everyone we have talked to about New England Metalfest is excited for their upstairs-closing set tonight.


10) C.O.C.

The Blind era of Corrosion of Conformity is part of metal folklore, so it’ll be all the more exciting to watch Reed Mullin and Karl Agell share a stage again to play songs from it.


11) For Today

Even if the band can’t seem to agree on the Godliness of its members lately, it’s worth remembering that their last album pulled the overt religiosity back somewhat to leave us with a damn good metalcore record. In a year where Metalfest won’t have Killswitch Engage coming through, these guys will still leave plenty of fans happy on Sunday.


12) Motionless In White

They may not be a personal favorite, but their following is undeniable.


13) Jasta

Hatebreed is one of the quintessential New England Metalfest bands, and even without them here, their frontman’s band is always worth a look in front of a home crowd.


14) Sworn In

On a noticeable rise with their new album making a solid dent in Billboard, Sworn In is also a lock for one of the heaviest sets at this year’s festival. They get darker and more deranged with each performance, seemingly.


15) Overcast/Downpour

Brian Fair‘s Shadows Fall days may be about to disappear into the rear view mirror, but his new band Downpour will be a welcome surprise to most. And as for his old band, Overcast? If not for them, the New England metalcore scene may never have existed.