In less than two weeks, the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival will kick off. In its 17th year, the Fest is an annual rite of passage for many all over the East Coast and beyond. With everyone from Between the Buried and Me, Testament, Exodus, Death Angel Nails and The Color Morale playing, this year looks to be a great one, and tickets are still available. We’ve spoken to booker Scott Lee about what goes into putting the Fest together, and are giving away weekend passes, so we thought that for this week’s top five list, some of the Metal Insider staff thought we would reminisce over our favorite New England Metal and Hardcore Festival memories. While there are five of us participating, our thoughts and memories are in no particular order.
Zach: During my time as a student at Clark University, I attended at least one day of every New England Metal & Hardcore fest that occurred between 2008 and 2012. It was a chance to see a crapload of bands I loved and discover lots new talent (more on that in a bit) with a bunch of like-minded metal heads at The Palladium, a theater just a few blocks away from my campus. But the NEMHF holds a special place in my heart for another reason…
To celebrate its launch, Metal Insider hosted the “Metal Insider Summit” at the Hilton Garden Hotel across the street of The Palladium during the first day of the 2009 edition. Industry heavyweights like Metal Blade founder Brian Slagel, Ozzy Osbourne bassist/manager Blasko, NEMHF founder Scott Lee, and many, MANY others partook in two panels giving advice to aspiring metalheads wanting to take over the world. One of those aspiring metalheads was me; a sophomore in college who wanted to be in the music biz after watching one too many Behind The Music episodes. To make a long story short, if it wasn’t for this event, I would’ve never been inspired to truly pursue a career in metal, let alone start heavily contributing to Metal Insider (or even write this very sentence). So in theory, I ended up in the industry thanks largely to the New England Metal & Hardcore fest.
But aside from the fact that the festival gives fans in New England a place to bond as a community, it also (as I teased earlier) provides a chance to witness some pretty stellar performances. For instance, I’ll never forget seeing both Between The Buried And Me and Skeletonwitch for the first time within the same weekend back in 2010. However, the one performance that still stands out in my mind comes from Killswitch Engage in 2012. It marked Jesse Leach’s first full set with the band in years… well, I’ve gone on and on about how amazing it was before. In short though, the entire theater was in the palm of the band’s hands, and you could’ve cut the energy with a knife. It was truly a site to see, and an experience that could rarely be duplicated.