Ohio’s Metalfest was a show that was very highly anticipated and I have to say that that anticipation was justified as well as delivered. This was my first Metalfest and I caught as many bands as I could between the two stages. Before I go on, I’ll list off the bands I saw because there were a lot of great artists there and only so much time to get around to everyone (some bands didn’t make it to the show so the times were a bit messed up as well)
I made a note to try and get around to the more notable acts but I definitely caught some of the smaller bands as well. My knowledge of each band ranges as some of them are my favorite but others I had only their reputation to go off of.
I See Stars
The Word Alive
Born of Osiris
Veil of Maya
Each band played for 30-45 minutes and in general, they were all great. Some were definitely better than others and the heavily reverberated ballroom at The Rave made a lot of the main-stage sets sound muddy and at some points, inaudible. But, I did my best to keep all of those things in mind and focus on the quality of the playing of each band as well as their presence on stage.
I See Stars started things off on the ballroom stage at around 2:00pm and they definitely got things going in the room. As they came on stage, the room was immediately filled with an energetic atmosphere and the floor quickly filled up. The crowd was anxious before they came on but the second they stepped foot on the stage everyone was excited. They played great and ranged from their more famous songs like “NTZ48” as well as playing some newer ones off of their new release. Despite some small technical difficulties, the set went pretty smoothly and the band played great. The singer was the most impressive part of their live show. He hit just about every part spot on and he didn’t cut corners around the higher notes.
Many singers in this genre will half-ass their parts and often times they won’t even sing some parts. I See Stars was different as both vocalists (synth/screams) were amazing and really made them stick out in my mind. Their stage presence as well was notable as the members were all moving around constantly and keeping the audience engaged. At one point a man in a full body chicken suit jumped into the crowd from the stage.
After I See Stars came The Word Alive on the ballroom stage. This band kept the energy up throughout the entire set and the crowd was able to keep up their excitement and movement high. This band was especially tight live. The guitar solos and intense vocals were near perfect onstage and this made everything more enjoyable and immersible during the show. The Word Alive played many crowd pleasers off of their newest release Life Cycles which was a good thing in this case as it kept everyone entertained as they could sing along to each track. The band ended their set with Telle (vocalist) repeating a memorable line from Life Cycles as well as a backflip.
The next band to take the stage was Veil of Maya. Although this band has a incredibly impressive recorded material, it didn’t hold up as well live. Overall, the set was good but I felt they were carried a bit by their excessive backtracking and lack of ability to really deliver their sound live. I had a lot of respect for their one and only guitar player as he was able to carry most of the weight of the guitar parts, but all synth parts and some guitars were played entirely through the speakers.
This was a bit of a buzzkill for me personally but I do understand the necessity. The band’s presence onstage was good as I especially enjoyed the fact that they didn’t talk too much in between songs. Many of the bands at the festival repeated the same generic crowd-addressing lines and it was nice to see a band get straight to the music!
The next band I saw was Sworn In down at the theater stage. I have to say that I had seen videos of their live show but it was still very…unique. As far as the quality of their performance goes, when the vocalist screamed, he was very good and was able to match what was on the recordings. He did unfortunately speak a lot of his parts and cut corners a bit. The drums were spot on but the guitars seemed a bit sloppy. Even through the unbearable sound quality, it seemed they were off a bit. Nonetheless, Sworn In put on an amazing live act, sucking the audience into their dark and awe inspiring atmosphere.
Each member was a part of the entertainment and the band really has created something new and original with their stage presence. It completely matches their music and their style of wearing their own matching merch live only adds more to the effect. If you haven’t seen this band yet, you are really missing out on something very creative. See them.
After Sworn In I was back upstairs to the ballroom stage to see Born of Osiris. Everything about this band’s live show was great except that they had a backing track guitar in the right speaker during the entire show. Samples I understand but it was just a bit too obvious at how perfect the other guitar was and it didn’t really match the whole style of playing that the band was showing. Other than that aspect, this was definitely one of the better shows of the day. They played a wide range of their material dating back to early tracks as well as staying current with songs off of their newest release. Each instrument was tight and the band packed the floor within minutes of them starting.
Following up Born of Osiris was what I thought, the best band of the day: Periphery. This band sets the bar extremely high with their recorded material but the fact that they met that expectation was astounding to me. The band has many busy parts on each instrument and I was worried that the sounds would clash too much only leaving a confusing muddy sound but the band pulled through. Keeping each note perfect and staying true to the tracks, the band had the samples through the speakers which gave the songs the identity they needed.
Although it was disappointing at times to see how much was actually being put through on a recorded track, the band more than made up for it with their perfect playing abilities. The highlight of the day was watching Spencer (vocalist) hit every note onstage. One of the most talented vocalists in the genre, he absolutely amazed the crowd live with his ability to recreate his parts onstage. He blew away every other vocalist and the bands humor and relaxing vibes made everyone like them.
Last but most certainly not least was Structures. I had heard amazing things about their album “Divided By” and was told I was in for a treat to see them live. I had heard some of their music before but never got around to really focusing on listening to it. Despite that, I headed back downstairs to catch their set. Structures is definitely near the top for the day as they had one of the most energetic performances I had seen all day. With a smaller group they were able to work the stage and the crowd with their music throughout the whole set. Each member was entertaining and even though I didn’t know any of the songs I very much enjoyed them.
Metalfest was a show to remember and even though I did catch more than the bands above, I wasn’t able to watch their entire sets so I didn’t feel I could write accurately about their performances. My experience was great and it was a dream come true to see so many of my favorite bands in one day as well as delve into some newer ones! If you ever get a chance to go to a festival like this one, I highly recommend it as they are easy to navigate and you can save a ton of money seeing your favorite bands all in one night!