Heavy Montreal 2018 in Montreal, Quebec

Following a year of hiatus, the nation’s premiere heavy music festival returned this past weekend, and collected quite a gathering.

High heat and a scorching sun had many running to the beer tents. A party ambiance floated above the festival for the duration of its two days. Not even a thunderous monsoon during Marilyn Manson‘s set on the first day could drown out the good times.

Marilyn Manson brought in a monsoon for his encore // Photo : Kieron Yates
Marilyn Manson brought in a monsoon for his encore // Photo : Kieron Yates

It might have left lakes of muddy water everywhere and drenched everybody to the skin. But these musical extremists reacted by jumping and stomping about in the puddles. And by generally rocking out, without a care in the world. Because nobody parties harder than fans of heavy music. To borrow a timeless albeit tired cliche, the show must go on.

The aforementioned master of shock rock, Marilyn Manson did take the stage to the relief of many. His appearance was thrown into question following his last minute cancellation of his Toronto show the night prior. Showing up a good ten minutes late didn’t help the rumor mill. As mutterings from the gathering ran wild with all manner of speculations. Alas came the man in question, although perhaps the effects of his flu medication made him stumble and seem a tad lost at times. We’ll stick to calling it flu medication.

Whatever the case, Manson delivered a spellbinding performance and belted out a formidable set. -Even if the gaps between songs were a little exaggerated. Manson was a man possessed on the night and was on fire – until the skies opened up and drowned everyone. The amount of rain that fell in such a short amount of time, was incredible.

See Also : ’77 Festival 2018 in Montreal, Quebec

The remainder of the night was in question. Some left the grounds. Seemingly having been drenched through to the skin.  But soon Emperor took the stage. Telling fans that they had been given permission to go ahead with their set. To the roaring appreciation of the drenched masses, that old adage about shows going on came around full circle once more. Two decades since its release, and about as long as these mighty Norwegians have been away from Montreal, Emperor played their 1997 album, “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk”. From start to finish. Flawlessly. With flashes of lightning kicking off all around the stage. The atmosphere couldn’t have been any better.

Rob Zombie was next, playing a psychedelic neon set to the biggest crowd of the first night. By then, the rain clouds have all but departed. The cool, fresh air, was now breathing in relief. Somehow, Zombie and company had found a way to bring a night club’s black lights outside.

Day two featured Limp Bizkit replacing headliner Avenged Sevenfold. Who had backed out due to illness. Fred Durst and company were a worthy replacement, that had the crowd jumping around for the duration of their set. He and guitarist Wes Borland jumped down off the stage and into the crowd for a while, too. Sending security scrambling to keep them out of trouble – but this is Montreal and a metal show. So there wasn’t any form of trouble to be found.

Photo gallery :

There had been many great and noteworthy sets on the weekend but none better than that of France’s Gojira. Who are treated like national heroes each and every time they return to Montreal. And their fans are always growing in numbers.

To put it bluntly – Gojira were the pinnacle of the festival. Truly awe inspiring. With flames bursting around them, Gojira firmly melted ears and further cemented themselves at the forefront of modern heavy music.  Which is a very good thing given the lyrical content of their work. Deeply concerned for the world and it’s wildlife, Gojira could inspire a generation to get involved in saving the sphere thing we all live on. And perhaps put things right. If that isn’t already too far gone.

The weekend had many highlights. Baroness’ set was great. Solemn yet beautiful at the same time. Napalm Death came to grind minds with short, angry songs. Songs with deep political and social meanings. Also from the UK, Asking Alexandria, kept the younger crowd amused. Helix were a lot of fun. A band that was quite popular in the 1980s. Havoc came to thrash and so they did.

A trio of Quebec natives also played well to their home crowd. The Agonist and Voivod from Montreal. And Quebec City’s Get The Shot. The latter whose singer had fun walking on people’s heads. No, I’m serious! Check out the Heavy Montreal photo gallery.

Hollywood Undead, as well as Tech N9ne brought a hip hop element to the festival – for some reason. I also still don’t understand why there’s wrestling at these events, though.

The return of Heavy Montreal was a welcomed experience, and one that thousands of people seemed to thoroughly enjoy. You just can’t stop the rock. That means you – Saint-Lambert.