2) Battlecross deliver a crushing set
There were many exemplary performances over the weekend, but there was one in particular that has stuck with me since. I always knew Battlecross were good having two thrashtastic albums under their belt, but seeing them live is something else. The band gave an electrically charged performance that was a step above some of the other bands that I saw during my two day stay. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when the band played “Kaleb”, which is about vocalist Kyle “Gumby” Gunther’s son. It amazed me how such a ripping thrash metal song could have an emotional tinge to it without using to clean guitars and vocals. Suffice it to say that Battlecross are one of the better live bands you’ll find today and any band that they open for should be wary that they don’t get blown off the stage.
1) Behemoth are a gloriously evil spectacle
Without a doubt, the band I was most excited to see at the festival was Behemoth, and boy did they bring it. Not many bands at the festival are particularly theatrical (though that’s partially due to the shorter set times), but Behemoth find a balance between delivering brutal blackened death metal and an ominous stage presence supplemented with costumes and set pieces. The highlight of the band’s performance was at the end when the stage went dark, and then they reappeared for “O Father O Satan O Sun!” wearing goat masks. It was a corpse paint wearing metalhead’s wet dream.