New England Metal and Hardcore Fest at the Worcester Palladium is one of the highlights of the year. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this time around, the two-day festival hosts some of the best metal bands from around the world. Highlights in this year’s lineup included Spite, Carnifex, Oceano, Kamelot, Delain, Life Of Agony, and many more bands.
I was unable to make the first day of the festival, so I missed out on seeing Spite, Carnifex, Oceano, and many other great bands. Headlining day two was Kamelot, with the lineup including Powerglove, Jason Richardson, Within The Ruins, Delain, and Life Of Agony.
The festival took place on both of the Palladium’s stages, the large one downstairs and the smaller second stage upstairs. Local bands started the day off on both stages and there were a few acts that really stood out. Thrash metal band Epicenter was the first band to play the downstairs stage. They gave a really energetic performance and had phenomenal stage presence. Noxii Arena, the third band to play downstairs, was unforgettable; their unique brand of metal is pure viciousness. On the upstairs stage, symphonic metal band Vivisepulture really stood out. Everyone in the band was wearing a suit, so their look was very cohesive. You can hear a lot of influences from multiple genres in their music, so it was really cool listening to them. Dead By Wednesday also impressed on the upstairs stage. They were one of the most brutally heavy bands of the entire festival; their performance had no frills, just pure metal, and they were really memorable. All four of these bands were incredible and are bands that you should definitely keep an eye on.
At 4 p.m., Battle Beast started the touring acts off downstairs with a set that was a lot of fun. They had a really big sound and got the audience involved with fist pumps, claps, and head bangs. Battle Beast left the stage with a lot of new fans, myself included. Candiria was a highlight for me, as I’ve been a fan for a while, but this was the first time I got to see them live and was not disappointed. Doyle was another highlight, as this was my first time getting to see them live as well. I was not prepared for how powerfully charismatic both Doyle himself and frontman Alex Story are. Their set was monstrous and I would love to see them live again soon. There had been a lot of amazing bands throughout the day and headliner Kamelot rounded out the festivities perfectly. The production up until their set had been pretty sparse in order to account for the quick changeover time, so it was exciting to see the stage open up. Their set started off with “Phantom Divine,” which included guest vocals from Lauren Hart – one of my favorite vocalists – singing her part. Their set had a lot of my favorites, so I got to hear both “RavenLight and “End Of Innocence” live. Despite my best efforts to stay for their whole set, I ended up leaving early because it had been a long day, but I will definitely see Kamelot again.
New England Metal and Hardcore Fest gave me a chance to see a lot of my favorite metal bands under one roof for the first time live. The festival also passed safely and enjoyable thanks to the always vigilant eyes of the Palladium staff. It was a great festival at an amazing venue and I am looking forward to next year.
Post and photos by Karen Shalev
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