Metal Insider’s Top 5 is a column where we count down the top five of…well basically anything.

Killswitch Engage’s performance at this year’s New England Metal & Hardcore Festival may have been the most buzzed about set from the weekend (and rightfully so). However, that wasn’t the only highlight from the 3 day festival. Kodi and Zach were on hand for a majority of the metal and hardcore festival, and to say that they had a blast is an understatement. With amazing performances from Nile, Overkill, Protest The Hero, All Shall Perish, Periphery, The Black Dahlia Murder, Every Time I Die, All That Remains, iwrestledabearonce, Unearth, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hung, and many, MANY more, the fourteenth installment of the New England Metal & Hardcore Fest was without a doubt one of the strongest years in its history.

With that in mind, here are five reasons (that don’t involve Killswitch Engage) why this year’s New England Metal & Hardcore Fest was a true success.


5. The Diverse Lineup

Ok, we’re sure some of you are snickering at this pick. “How diverse can a metal and hardcore festival be?” you ask? Well take day 2 as an example. Tell us another American festival where you can see iwrestledabearonce, Unearth, Protest The Hero, Overkill, Dragonforce and All That Remains on the same stage and day (and in that order mind you). There may have been more leaning towards metalcore and hardcore, but all in all the weekend was filled with a nice mix of bands.


4. The Guest Appearances

One of the benefits of festivals that bring multiple tours and groups together in one package is that there are bound to be a few surprise guest appearances. We’re sure that there were a handful of special performances that we missed. However, we did catch The Acacia Strain joined by members of Lionheart, as well as All That Remains’ frontman Phil Labonte joining Unearth’s set for a quick scream. Our favorite, though, may have been seeing Fleshgod Apocalypse and Nile hug it out onstage.


3. The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears (Emphasis On The Blood)

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. But are broken noses fair game? Either way, the Palladium’s staff and paramedics were kept busy each day. From what we heard from one security guard, there were at least seven broken noses on Friday alone. Although, even that seems like a low number.


2. The Mosh Pits And Crowd Surfing

In case #3 was already an indicator of this, there was plenty of mosh pits and crowd surfing that took place at this year’s NEMHF (suck on that, Boston!). The crowd went bat-shit crazy for most of the performances, including sets from Nile, The Acacia Strain (with fans catapulting from the stage during and after their set), Every Time I Die, and Unearth. In fact, even the guy forced to wear the Narragansett Beer can costume all weekend did a little crowd surfing and moshing during Every Time I Die’s set. However, All Shall Perish’s wall of death during Friday night still stands out in our mind. Check out some video of their wall of death for yourself:



1. No Telling Who You’ll Bump Into At The NEMHF!

One of the great things about The Palladium Theatre in Worcester, MA is that unless the band locks themselves up in the small dressing room or tour bus, it’s unavoidable to bump into your favorite band outside. And at the NEMHF, not only are you likely to meet bands outside their tour buses or in the parking lot, but there’s a strong chance of meeting them in the audience watching another band on the bill or at the bar drinking away with friends and fans. It’s essentially one big ass meet n’ greet!


Honorable Mentions: Bobby F’n Blitz

We don’t necessarily want to single out one band’s performance over another, but we have to rave just for a second about Overkill’s Saturday night set. If there’s one thing we kept obsessing over during (and even after) their show was “Holy crap, how does Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth still sound and look so fucking good after all these years?!” Seriously, how?! Blitz’s energy onstage and voice were nothing but awe inspiring and a major highlight from the weekend.