Saturday, August 11, 2012

Heavy T.O. 2012: Day 1

Oh man. Today ruled. Today was the day I was less excited about too. Tomorrow is going to fucking slay. I just know it.

I got into the festival around 12:30ish, just in time to catch Protest the Hero. I've never really been too much of a Protest fan, but they were so energetic live that I couldn't resist headbanging along to their tunes. They included in their set the one song of theirs that I like, "Bloodmeat". Considering how ridiculously technical their music is, they played it flawlessly. Good job, boys.

Up next was Cancer Bats whom I'm not really a fan of either. I stuck around for their opening song because they busted out a cover of the Beastie Boys' classic, "Sabotage". Once they moved to original material I went to peruse the merch booths for some wicked loot.

And wicked loot I did find. There were two main tents, one operated by Sunrise Records, which had a bunch of vinyl LPs, CDs, and live DVDs, and the other was just a tent to find all your band related clothing. None of Saturday's clothing merch was terribly alluring, but I did get my hands on some wicked sweet LPs. I picked up the classic thrashterpiece, Slayer's Show No Mercy, the cosmos spanning journey that is Mastodon's Crack the Skye (which also happens to be my favorite album, ever), and a beautiful special edition copy of Tool's magnum opus, Lateralus.

First up: Crack the Skye.

Then, Show No Mercy.

When I cracked this baby open, I was greeted by a pleasant surprise.

It's a little tough to make out in the picture, but its a beautiful translucent marbled red vinyl. It's my first coloured record! Last, but not least is Lateralus:

Again, this picture sucks, but the rainbowy colours on the cover are because it's a holofoil design. There's something wicked about this pressing too. As soon as I saw the sticker on the plastic wrap, I just thought "holy fuck, I need this in my hands right now". What could be so awesome to warrant that thought?

Picturedisc. That's what.
Since Lateralus is a double LP (has sides A, B, C, and D), each side of the album has a different picture of the layered design. When I say layered, if you don't know what it is, it's tough to explain. On the CD copy, the booklet is made of clear plastic sheets, each with a design on it. when you close the booklet and look at all the superimposed designs, you get the picture that's shown above. It's pretty sweet. Unfortunately, typical to most picturediscs, it skips and crackles a bit, but honestly I picked it up more for it to be a collection piece than anything.

On to the show!

Once I picked up my music and Cancer Bats finished their set, it was time for old school thrashers Overkill to take the stage. Overkill probably stole the show out of all the bands I saw. The members are pushing 55 years old and they rock out on stage harder than bands half their age. Singer Bobby Blitz even challenged the audience, screaming "Who the fuck wants get their ass kicked by an old guy!". Overkill played a mix of their old and new material, busting out classics like "Rotten to the Core", "Elimination", and "Fuck You" as well as their newer tunes like "Ironbound", "Bring me the Night", and "Electric Rattlesnake". It was a wicked sweet set of nothing but full on thrash metal.

The last band I saw this day was Gojira, a progressive/ death metal band from France. Gojira are one of my favorite bands and their album From Mars to Sirius is one of my favorite albums. Their set comprised mostly of songs from that album, which was just a dream for me. They dropped tunes like "Ocean Planet", "Backbone", "Flying Whales", and "The Heaviest Matter of the Universe". They opened with their most famous song, "Oroborus", and played a couple songs off of their newest album to round off their set. One thing I was nervous about for seeing Gojira was how heavy they'd sound live. On their recordings, whether it's due to the guitar tone, or the production, or whatever, they sound absolutely massive. When I toss on one of their songs, each guitar chug is like a blow to the head. Seeing them live put their chugginess to a whole new level. Gojira's live guitar tone was so fucking good. It was like being blindsided by a semi truck every time they palm muted a power chord. For anyone unfamiliar with Gojira's music, it only comprises of palm muted power chords. The riffs they write are sometimes called "marching elephant riffs". Just let that sink in for a second.

Shitty camera phone for the win!
After Gojira, the next band I wanted to see was In Flames, but I decided to head out instead for two reasons. One was that there were a bunch of bands I really didn't care about playing for about 3 hours before In Flames hit the stage, and In Flames would most likely play songs off of their newest album, which in my opinion was probably one of the worst they've ever released. In Flames are a band that tours incessantly too, so it really won't be long until they come back to Toronto. With that in mind, I hopped on the bus back to the subway station and made my long trek home.

All in all, I have to say today was a great experience, although it didn't compare to last year's Saturday in the least. The one thing that kind of made everything less awesome was the weather. It was raining like crazy when I was on my way to the festival, and it slowed down to a drizzle during Protest the Hero and Cancer Bats. Because of all this rain, and because the festival takes place in large field:

Mud. Mud everywhere.

By the time I left the festival, everything up to my knees were coated in mud, and I hadn't even been in the pit! The sun did come out to rock with us during Overkill's set and the beginning of Gojira's, but then the most incredible thing happened. When Gojira played "Ocean Planet", it started raining. Not just raining. It was a torrential downpour. When the song finished, the rain stopped. Most people would chalk that up as a coincidence, but I'm convinced Gojira are just magical demigods who can command the elements. That's a much more reasonable assumption.

Holy balls, this post was long. More to come for tomorrow's metalgasmic day!

That's all for now, folks! Stay rotten to the core.

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