Sun, Seagulls and Soreness: Resurrection Fest 2016
A couple of weeks ago I attended Resurrection Fest, Spain’s biggest metal and hardcore festival. And before you ask, no, people aren’t forced to dance flamenco in the pit (just strongly encouraged).
Since my beloved Hellfest seems to be going the way of Wacken in many aspects, I’ve turned to Galicia’s finest headbanger bash for my second consecutive year. This time I took the trip with my brother, up to the quaint coastal town of Viveiro, which for one week out of the year gets overrun by smelly people who greatly boost the local economy. Since we’re still relatively young, we chose to set up our tent in a free campsite located in a forest-ish park about 40 minutes on foot from the fest grounds, and just a short walk from the beach.
Before the actual fest started there was something like a warmup party, if you will, featuring bands like Hyde Abbey, Skindred and… Eskimo Callboy. I will only say that that last set traumatized me for years to come. It also started to pour mid-evening, so tired and wet as we were we decided to call it a day and rest up before the main event.
After as good a night’s sleep as you can get in a muggy tent surrounded by drunk hardcore kids playing loud music, we spent the morning hunting for a few supplies that we’d forgotten and laying out the game plan for the evening.
A few Spanish bands I didn’t really know played first, and were pretty good (particularly Viva Belgrado) before Implore took the middle stage to make everyone wonder if their guitarist was having a bad sound day (hint: it was just the sound of everyone’s collective dicks being crushed). Norma Jean were tight, sounded very solid and left a really good impression on me (even though I don’t think I had heard a single of their songs at that point); sadly I can’t really say the same for Tesseract, who sounded muddy (an unfortunately common problem at the main stage) and just underwhelming in general.
But the relative sadness didn’t last long because when Wormed took the stage I completely forgot about my earthly form for a good forty minutes. Their set was the highlight of my Thursday for sure; they sounded full and nasty in a weird way, despite the fact that they’ve been down one guitarist for some weeks. Really, if you miss Wormed live (especially if it’s outside of Europe) I feel like it should be legal to parade you around with a dunce hat or something. Even if you aren’t a fan of the subgenre, if you like metal you should be able to appreciate their set to some degree.
After such a vulgar display of space-time, the rest of the night was good if not truly amazing: Bad Religion surprised me by sounding really on point and playing both of their songs I’m familiar with, and Rotting Christ also sounded great but, again, I recognized virtually none of the material they played. Fleshgod Apocalypse had an unfortunate issue with the sound of the drums that wasn’t resolved until halfway through their set, but they sounded overbearing enough (opera lady included). And then there was the whole Bring Me the Chorizo credentials drama which has been talked about to death, and I guess their set was OK, they had a good light show. But the real asses here were Volbeat, who pulled the same rockstar crap about the IDs AND ran 10 minutes over their set time forcing Brujeria to start playing over them (on the stage directly opposing VB’s) to not have to cut their own set short, all with the corresponding facebook name-calling as well. Brujeria were good; I’m pretty sure Nick Barker was behind the kit which made for a more precise show.
Thursday Verdict: Pigsqueals in a Wormhole/10
People who talk within inches of your head at night <<<<<<.
Anyways, Spañards Thirteen Bled Promises (of TDT infamy) immediately wiped away any semblance of sleepytime I still had lingering on my eyelids with their alien-themed black/deathcore. These guys are heavy and not at all generic; if you’re looking for something to get you out of bed with a punch to the face, check them out (trigger warning: they use breakdowns quite a bit). And then came a pleasant surprise: Battlecross played a really, really good set. I had heard a lot about them but never game them much of a chance, and they’re stupid tight live; bassist Don Slater in particular was amazing to watch.
And now this is the paragraph where I try to be objective while writing about Protest the Hero, who pla- GUYS THEY PLAYED “NAUTICAL” AND “NO STARS OVER BETHLEHEM” IT WAS A VERY VARIED SET AND AAAAAAH. Sorry… it was a really fun show. I will say this: PTH are far from the best live band; in fact, if you aren’t a pretty big fan of their music you might think their shows are kinda eh. But Rody Walker‘s stage banter was very entertaining, and I just about tore both my throat and neck during the nine-song set that covered all four of their albums, so I can’t say that I didn’t have a blast.
Then it was time to get really ignorant with French weeaboos Rise of the Northstar (which was packed to the brim) and to if-someone-falls-pick-them-up-we’re-here-to-have-a-good-time with Hatebreed, who are always entertaining. To close the evening (for me anyways, we decided to skip a few bands we didn’t really care for), Gojira tore up the main stage despite some slightly muddy sound, playing material covering most of their career (new radio-ish songs included) with surgeon-like precision.
Friday Verdict: Flying Ales/10
Last day of the fest and the last of my patience with my neighbors, who spent over an hour and a half between 3 and 4 AM playing Babymetal and various truly awful Spanish punk bands at top volume. Here’s to you, you blithering jabronis.
Saturday was marked by the looming performance of some band called Iron Maiden, and the whole day the festival was littered with middle-aged men donning their merch. It was truly a sight to behold, tons of people who paid the price of admission to see one band and sat around confused as other bands slayed their respective stages the rest of the time. But I digress. Nationals Cannibal Grandpa started the day off with dust and breakdowns, followed by grinders Nashgul and the weirdos in Obsidian Kingdom. I reeeeally wanted to like OK’s set (their new album is very interesting), but unfortunately I don’t think their sound translated too well to a festival setting. After that we checked out Thy Art Is Murder for a bit, but then…
Then we witnessed what in my opinion was, hands way down, the best set of the entire festival. Norway’s Shining came out and blasted the crowd with their signature Nine Inch Nails-meets-Free Jazz extravaganza, and I have to say it was truly electrifying. The previous time I saw them (also at a festival) was not nearly as cathartic as this show: perfect, heavy mix and spot-on, precise performances from astonishing musicians that flew by in the blink of an eye. Echoing what I said before, if you miss Wormed I might still talk to you afterwards, but if you miss Shining there is nothing you can do to rectify it. Even if you think sax and jazz have no place in metal, this band is unfairly good live and you’d be doing yourself a massive disservice by not seeing them if you get the chance.
Municipal Waste played an extremely tight set (with the addition of a new, second guitarist whom I was unaware of until then) with lots of Trump bashing to boot, followed by Enslaved playing an energetic show spanning a lot of their career. And then Iron Maiden played. I’m not the biggest Maiden fan on the planet. I have no fond memories of listening to their albums. Keep this in mind (and try not to murder me) when I say that they sounded very tired and underwhelming, especially Bruce Dickinson. And yeah, he’s a certain age, but that doesn’t change the fact that it sounded pretty forced. Just my two cents.
To finish the night off, we saw Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats who are very, very good (and slow) live; Entombed (A.D.), who surprised me by sounding much better than the previous time I saw them (maybe losing all other original members gave Petrov renewed energy?); and Abbath, who crab-walked like the best.
Saturday Verdict: Sex Sax/10
So that wraps up my experience at Resurrection Fest 2016. The next morning we woke up, packed up our crap from our spot in the beach-forest and hit the road for a six hour journey home. This festival is going to keep growing, and I only hope that the organization grows at the same pace or there could be some annoying problems down the line.
Thanks for reading folks, Mosh Out.
(Note, a lot of bands played this fest. If I didn’t mention your favorite band, it’s either because I didn’t see them, they were unremarkable or just flat-out bad. So there’s that.)