Heavy Montreal Wrap-up 2019

Once again, the CJLO metal crew took to Parc Jean Drapeau for another incredible edition of Heavy Montreal. Here's a recap of the team's highlights.


Chris The Frog from Sewer Spewer - Mondays 12:00 to 1:00 PM

I arrived on the first day of Heavy Montreal completely drained from 77 Montreal the day before. Somehow, I didn’t think to pace myself for three days of loud music in the blazing hot sun. Luckily, my first interview of the day, Jaye of Cancer Bats, was very laid-back and approachable. From there, I ran from stage to stage, trying to catch at least 10 minutes of music from Galactic Empire, Harm’s Way, Nekrogoblikon, Hatebreed, and Cattle Decapitation. I believe the only band I saw play in its entirety was Municipal Waste, for obvious reasons. But the biggest highlight of the day was seeing Evanescence, fronted by the biggest crush of my preteens, Amy Lee. Dying Fetus was pretty brutal too, I guess.

My legs were weak and my head was pounding on the final day. But that didn’t discourage me from seeing locals like Mountain Dust, Junkowl, Dopethrone, and The Great Sabatini. Even if I’ve seen them in more intimate venues across the island, watching them out in the open performing to close to a thousand people was a whole different experience. But soon after, it was time to get to work and earn my press pass. The metal DJs of CJLO were preparing to do a live broadcast, but it required setting up camp at Artist’s World, light-years away from the action. My plans to run back-and-forth from the board to the stages during ad breaks were now impossible. However, I feel I need to give a shout-out to the golf-cart drivers who gave me rides both ways, and got me back in time to see the closing songs of Clutch. After getting my death metal fix with Demolition Hammer, I decided I needed to give my legs a rest, sit on a grassy hill and see Slayer for the second and last time, on a jumbotron screen from far away.


Phil from Sin After Sin - Wednesdays 10:00 to 11:00 PM

Here are my Heavy MTL highlights:

- I got to see Galactic Empire perform metal renditions of my favourite Star Wars music, dressed in some hilarious knock-off Vader, Kylo & co. suits. And I got to punch a Death Star (fancy way of saying beach ball among us metal folk).

- I got see Fever 333 tear the stage up. I didn’t care much for their Rage Against the… (Linkin) Park tunes, but seeing these guys run around, strip to their underwear, hop down to the crowd, and start climbing the festival setups made up for any lack of interest.

- I got to see Devin Townsend struggle to finish a song without cracking a dozen jokes, proclaim he was pissing on us while the sprinklers were relieving us from the summer heat, and a hilarious interpretation of the Strapping Young Lad’s ”Love?”

- I meme’d the night away to Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” with friends old and new. I sang along to my favourite Ghost anthems. I tore up the pit to Demolition Hammer.

- I got to see a ridiculous variety of bands pull off killer sets: Stoner (Fu Manchu), sludge (Dopethrone), thrash (Demolition Hammer), hardcore (Cancer Bats), power metal (Gamma Ray), etc.

And those are just some of the reasons why Heavy this year was a freakin’ blast.


Brittany from Something Wicked - Mondays 10:00 to 11:00 PM

Between the sweltering heat and the hellish riffs that scorched Parc Jean Drapeau, the first day of Heavy MTL was a baptism by fire. Always careful to travel with SPF 30 in my bag, I spent the day running back and forth from the various stages to see bands I either knew well or only encountered that day. One of the latter was Galactic Empire, whose covers of Star Wars themes and Deathstar-shaped beach balls entertained even in the almost 40 degree sunshine. The denizens of the festival were granted some measure of relief when the sun set, and after angering a gaggle of Evanescence fans with our rendition of “Bring Me to Life”, my friends and I watched in awe and excitement as the headliner, Ghost, performed on the main stage. I know my dear companions will forgive me for screaming the lyrics of every song into their ears; I was simply overjoyed to receive Cardinal Copia’s diabolic benediction.

The second day was just as hot and just as heavy. Dopethrone was a particular highlight for me and my friend-slash-interview partner, who really enjoyed the sludgy metal band from Hochelaga. Beast in Black was also an aural experience, as I wasn’t as familiar with them as some of the other bands. Needless to say, a few Beast in Black songs ended up in my radio playlists in the following weeks. Overall, Heavy MTL 2019 was an amazing experience, and I’m eagerly counting down the days until Heavy MTL 2020.


J-P from the The Iron Club - Sundays 10:00 to 11:00 PM

It was my first Heavy Montreal experience this year and boy, what a weekend! Once we got our passes, we got to the media tent, which I will be forever thankful for as it helped the gang during the whole weekend. 

The CJLO gang went to see what was left of the set of Galactic Empire. I gotta give props to those guys who were in Star Wars themed costumes and armors, rocking the scene, while it was probably around 40 degrees outside. In that heat, I saw people getting showered by highly powered sprinklers, which I thought was a nice touch by the Heavy Montreal management team to keep the crowd fresh and cool in that torrid climate but I later realized that it was to keep the dusty soil in front of the scenes wet so the moshpit wouldn’t create a toxic cloud that could ruin some people’s day at Parc Jean Drapeau.

I had the chance to see the lead singer of Fever 333 go absolutely nuts on stage (picking up a speaker to shake it and then to throw it away, picking up a fan to impale it onto the crash cymbal of his drummer, throwing his mic ten feet into the air, etc). It was entertaining to say the least before I had to run back to the media tent to have my first interview with Joel Stroetzel, the guitarist for Killswitch Engage, which went pretty smoothly. 

I rushed back to find my brother and his friend along with Brittany (Something Wicked), Phil (Sin after Sins) and Hunter to see Kataklysm, which probably was the biggest discovery of the weekend for me. After that, I had the chance to see my brother geek out as Beartooth, his favorite band, rocked the main stage. After moshing for the first two songs, I had my first crowd-surfing experience as it was my only way out to get to my second interview, making me feel like the guy in the Temple Run mobile game as I had to dodge all sorts of stuff as I ran to the media tent. 

Sadly, I had to watch Hatebreed and Killswitch Engage’s set from the media tent as I didn’t drink enough water. It’s probably the best solution I made that day as I was planning to do some Fortnite dances in the Hatebreed pit. 

I rushed back just in time to witness Steel Panther’s lead singer Micheal Starr, owner of a PhD in English Literature, scream “Boobies!” at the top of his lungs repeatedly while I was grabbing something to eat. My day ended with Brittany singing, screaming and geeking out behind me as Ghost was playing in front of us (I did the same when I saw Parkway Drive). Ghost really took me out of my comfort zone performance-wise and I really liked it!

I woke up late Sunday after my busy Saturday, which I think is understandable. But I still got there in time to see a bit of Dopethrone, which was pretty sick, before I took off in the direction of the media tent for my interview with John Cooper, the lead singer of Skillet and one of the nicest guys I’ve met. It was the last interview he had and he took more time than he should have to answer my questions before making sure he had talked to everyone present in the tent while a PR person was trying to drag him out for his set (which was freaking awesome BTW!) 

I took a break in the media tent until Fu Manchu’s set, which was pretty interesting one, stoner rock/punk is really out of my comfort zone but I dug the set, to then rush to meet my brother and my co-worker for Skillet’s set, where I had a good time jumping up and down while losing what was left of my voice from Saturday. 

Once again, I ran back to the media tent, catching the end of Metalachi which did an awesome mariachi cover of Iron Maiden’ “The Trooper”, before getting a little golf cart ride to the CJLO Live booth near Artist World. I didn’t do much there but the rest of the metal gang crushed the live show. But I went to the bathroom in Artist World and later realised, as I rode the little golf cart again to get back to the Scène du Jardin to see the end of Demolition Hammer’s set, that I took a leak beside their lead guitarist Derek Sykes, with the great help of my favorite Thrash metal expert, Hunter Walwaski.

Planning to end our night with two of the Big Four thrash metal bands, Hunter and I grabbed another tasty burger before saying bye to a few members of a metal gang and meeting my brother and my friend who had us at a pretty good spot to see the headlining Slayer while Anthrax played their final songs. Slayer was amazing to see, the crowd going nuts, as probably most of them were sad that they were seeing the last show in Quebec of these metal legends. At the end of their set, each member took time to profusely thank the crowd, Tom Araya taking even more time than the others, in tears as he said farewell to the fans. 

It was probably the best weekend of my young life; I kinda wish it had lasted a week. But I will be there next year for more awesome music, awesome times and awesome interviews!


Hunter from The Iron Club - Sundays 10:00 to 11:00 PM

This year’s rendition of Heavy Montreal kicked off with a motley of masked goons playing orchestrated Star Wars covers - and it couldn’t have been more fitting. You wouldn’t be able to tell by the guy’s looks, but Boba Fett sure can play a mean guitar solo. Despite being the opening act, Darth Vader and his ragtag group of space mercenaries - known as Galactic Empire - managed to rile up a sizeable crowd considering the early hour. Fortunately, this momentum continued for the remainder of the day. From Beartooth’s uncanny ability to get groups of French kids running around in a muddy circle, to Steel Panther’s lewd demonstration of free speech’s limitations, Saturday sure was a day to remember. First-day highlights include Cattle Decapitation’s maniacal ear-grinding performance, Municipal Waste and their retrograde crossover thrashing madness, and of course, the culminating sensual serenade from Ghost’s Cardinal Copia himself. Man, those were some delightfully tight pants. Although, while it somewhat pains me to conclude day one remarks with such a ludicrous affair, Fever 333’s energetic, in-your-face, and blatantly rebellious performance - which included lead singer Jason Butler’s in-depth tutorial on how to utterly destroy a drum set - was ultimately the day’s most memorable performance.

Day two followed with a slightly less eclectic string of events, ultimately appealing to the old-school thrash-head that I am. Demolition Hammer, Anthrax, and Slayer - all within the span of a few hours? Count me in! Other acts did certainly offer some appeal, most notably Montreal’s very own Dopethrone, who delivered an excellent performance; albeit it was odd seeing the band’s sludgy sickness-infused style juxtaposed with a beautiful blue sky above. Regardless, our hometown heroes successfully solidified Montreal’s current reign as the heavy metal capital of Canada. Although, I’m sure I can speak for all attendees when saying that Slayer delivered the best and most hard-hitting performance of the weekend. From pyrotechnics to the band’s flawless stage presence, Slayer concluded Heavy Montreal with a proper bang. At the end of a long day, seeing lead singer Tom Araya’s somber and emotional goodbye to thousands of Quebec fans definitely made the weekend ticket price worthwhile!


Andrew from Grade A Explosives - Sundays from 4:00 to 6:00 PM

Heavy came to Montreal once again in July this year and the CJLO crew made the most of the hot days. 

Starting off on Saturday, Galactic Empire set a pretty good tone of the sheer ridiculousness of metal by playing a bunch of metal infused Star Wars themes. I do so love when a band is able to combine the heaviness of metal with the goofiest possible aspects. This was then followed by the wanton destruction and punk rock vibes given off by Fever 333, who graciously at least left their underpants on during their set, which is apparently not something they’ve been doing on the current tour. Seriously though, if you haven’t checked these guys out, you should do so because they put on quite a bangin’ show, even if it is just “Linkin Park Against the Machine”.

Kataklysm put on a solid set, as always and I managed to catch a single song from the madness that is Nekrogoblikon as I ran to do interviews with people, which I managed to get out of just long enough to see some good ole fashioned Canadian know how from the Cancer Bats followed by a good chunk of Killswitch Engage’s set. Just in case you were wondering, I’m more of a Howard guy myself.

I took a break to stop by the YUL Eat section of the site, which I find people don’t really talk about as much as they should. The food is pretty great, particularly from Street Monkeys and especially Agrikol. They had a jerk chicken that made me want to peel my face off it was so good. The idea of giving people more than just a standard poutine and hamburger combo is something that I don’t think Evenko gets enough credit for supplying to festival goers, not just for Heavy, but also for Osheaga and Ile Soniq. Hats off to you fine food people.

I then headed off to the see the, in the words of the lead singer, “never fun” Watain, who… did black metal. I mean, they play great music that I enjoy, and I guess it's great that a band takes themselves seriously, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have some fun with it? But what do I know?

Speaking of evil things, I then went to see fellow Swedes, Ghost who put on a solid stage show. It was actually way more fun and good natured than I thought it would be with some excellent musicianship on display. I don’t want to say that if you don’t find Ghost fun you might be dead inside, but…

Then came Sunday, where I got to catch a chunk of Mountain Dust, Dopethrone, and Dirty Honey before my day got severely interrupted. 

The thing some people don’t realize when you cover a festival like this in the semi-“professional” way that we at CJLO do, is that a good chunk of the day is spent doing interviews and generally not be able to see things. I mean, sure it comes with the benefit of being able to talk to these people who are supplying us with the gift of their songs, but it still doesn’t allow for a lot of band watching.

Such was Sunday, when CJLO spent most of the day doing a live broadcast from near “Artist World”, which was basically on the race track on the other island. So, though I didn’t see too many bands, we did get to get up close and personal with Mountain Dust, Junkowl, The Great Sabatini, 3Teeth, Metalachi, Gamma Ray, and Dirty Honey.

I managed to get back after packing up in time to see two of the big four, Anthrax and Slayer who never disappoint. I did become a bit sentimental thinking of how bands like Slayer are soon going to be retiring, and when they do the largest touchstones of metal will no longer be bringing us all together in one stadium place the way they used to. I often consider if metal will ever be able to have that mainstream pull again in a world which is so segmented. I suppose in some ways, Heavy Montreal is the new answer to what the “stadium tour” used to be, just with way more genres and bands competing for attention, and if that’s the case, then none of us can really complain.

So, conclusion: Heavy was great as it usually is. I’m looking forward to see what kind of stuff they deliver for next year’s edition and with the edition of shows under the Heavy banner happening throughout the year, it’s good to see that the festival can stay fresh in people’s minds. Long live metal, and CJLO will see you in the pit.


Angelica from BVST - Wednesdays from 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Heavy Montreal 2019 has come and gone, and what another incredible year it has been!

Saturday started off for me with an 80s throwback, as Quiet Riot took the main stage. Heavy Montreal is known for bringing in a fair amount of hair and glam metal, and though this year that was down to Quiet Riot and parody bangers Steel Panther, I did appreciate my chance to hear a couple of party classics in their Slade covers and "Metal Health". 

Speaking of party music, another Saturday highlight was Municipal Waste, who did what they do best, which is thrash thrash thrash thrash thrash. I followed that up with some ferocity from Cattle Decapitation, and then headed back to the Forest stage for Watain

There is no substitute for seeing certain types of metal surrounded by trees. One of my most memorable Heavy Montreal experiences was seeing Neurosis in 2015, on the stage that was then named Apocalypse, but was sited where this year's Forest stage was located. The combination of the natural environment and slowly setting sun with Neurosis' performance was indescribable. Cut to this year, and seeing Watain's satanic stomp encircled by trunks and leaves was an absolute delight. The fire, the corpse paint, the inverted crosses... it all felt like stumbling on a forbidden ritual in a Scandinavian forest, and I enjoyed every minute.

The cherry on Saturday's sundae was, of course, Ghost. This was my first time seeing them, and I was not disappointed. While I am more of a Papa Emeritus, and not Cardinal Copia, kind of girl, I did really enjoy the performance, including the ridiculous stage banter and saxophone solo. If anything, it made me want to see them again, and god only knows what the next iteration of this band's hilarious lore will entail.

Sunday was a stacked day. On site early to help set up for CJLO's live broadcast, I did manage to catch the psychedelic stoner stylings of locals Mountain Dust, followed by another amazing Montreal band, the punishingly heavy Dopethrone

An incredible surprise was Dirty Honey, a brand new band out of LA with the soaring rock attitude of '70s Aerosmith served up with a side of Guns N' Roses realness. They joined us for an impromptu interview, and it was interesting to see how their beginnings as a Santa Monica bar band influenced what will likely be their impending big radio rock popularity.

While the weather stayed mostly hot all weekend long, the heavens chose to sprinkle tiny raindrops and heavy sunbeams simultaneously on the eager crowd for the vicious The Great Sabatini. It was an incredible moment, one of those that only Heavy Montreal can deliver.

Sunday also took me on a musical time travelling journey to the early/mid-90s, with the one-two punch of Fu Manchu and Corrosion of Conformity. Fu was especially trippy, as singer Scott Hill looks pretty much exactly how he did 25 years ago. The party kept rolling with Clutch on the big stage. The setlist was mostly focused on the last few albums, which is understandable, but I can't help but wish for a speedy return to Montreal and a few more throwback tracks!

SlashAnthrax and Slayer closed out the night for me, and it was nice to hear so many familiar tunes to round out the weekend. As always, huge thanks to the folks at Heavy Montreal for taking such good care of us, and allowing us to share one of the best festival experiences in North America with our listeners and fellow fans!


Phil from Turn on the Darkness - Wednesdays from 1:00 to 2:00 PM

Alas another year is almost over, and so has another Edition of Heavy Montreal. This year, there was a tonne of magic that was happening throughout the entire grounds of Parc Jean Drapeau. 

This year proved marvelously that us Montrealers like our metal festivals and Evenko keep on bringing it back even harder than ever with the inclusion of Ghost and Slayer as headliners.

Saturday was STACKED with bands back to back, beginning with Galactic Empire whom started off the show with a bang and I was impressed how they were not dying in the dreaded 37 degree heat with their costumes on. What?! Djent, blistering metal in my Star Wars songs you say? Why yes, yes indeed. This was a good starting point of the day, to just embrace Heavy Montreal as to what the madness would bring.

After attending Bring Me The Horizon back in February, I was really wondering, if or when Fever 333 would be coming back. Opening the set with “Burn It!” from their debut album Strength in Numb33rs, I was really pumped up to see what they would do on stage. With the freedom of being on the main stage at Heavy, lead singer Jason Butler, was wailing out on stage, literally breaking everything he saw, and the crowd was in for it. At one point, like at the Bring Me the Horizon show, he got off stage and started to go into the crowd, trying to crowd surf. I was thinking to myself, “Man, this guy is nuts. He's literally using the whole stage to his advantage.” 

Overall, I do see Fever333 having a bright future, their cool rap/nu metal vibes bringing the style to a new generation, and they can be like, “Oh yeah, I like Fever333! They're like the best band ever!” In my case, I agree they are amazing and y'all should check em out.

After cooling down from Fever333, I was eagerly excited to see Devin Townsend’s acoustic set. The show started with “Let It Roll” from Synchestra, which was unexpected for me as I have seen Devin Townsend 3 times, and I didn’t think he would play it. Throughout his set he played such classics like “Love” from Strapping Young Lad, “Why”, “Deadhead” and a bunch of others, which was a real treat. 

After seeing them back in October, my girlfriend and I went to see Rivers of Nihil again at Heavy and it was a delight to see them in a festival setting. All in all their performance was pretty tight, and opening with “Death is Real”, which was totally unexpected, the crowd went nuts. I am happy to see Rivers of Nihil do what they do, and bring even more heaviness to Heavy

I wanted to check out The Faceless to see what has been hip and new with them as of late since their last album 'In Becoming a Ghost' came out a bit ago. This was my fourth time seeing them and I was pleased with what I saw, but no “Xenochrist” which made me disappointed. Darn you Micheal Keen! *Shakes fist into the air furiously*

While waiting for Evanescence, I wanted to get a good spot in the front row for the show, but nevertheless stumbled upon Steel Panther playing mainly their “best of” songs, and doing silly banter throughout the show. This was what I expected a Steel Panther show would be: crazy, goofy, unexpected, and all over the wall. It was a good time. 

Being front row for this for me was kinda special, especially considering the fact that Evanescence has not been here since 2011. Starting off the set with “What You Want” was a choice to get everyone rolling. Amy Lee's performance was breathtaking, and she was really engaged with the audience. The band’s performance was exactly what you'd hear on their records and it was pretty impressive, especially with the older songs like “Going Under” and “Bring Me To Life” which were amazing to hear after all these years. Overall, this performance was memorable and enjoyable from beginning to end, and I really want them to come back soon. 

Ghost was the headliner for Saturday, and I was extremely excited for them. I was one of those people who discovered them online trying to get into metal when I was in grade 10, so I was like maybe 16 at the time. After stumbled upon them, I was like, “Hmm… this is not very doomy at all, it's more like Blue Oyster Cult meets metal, but in a very good and unique way.”

This was my 5th time seeing Ghost, was I impressed? 


They played a lot from Prequelle and I was very pleased as to how fun it was to see. Opening with “Rats”, which was stuck in my head the week of Heavy, being able to see it live made me pleased. 

They played a few older songs like “Absolution”, “Ritual”, and “Year Zero” which was a highlight for me because its so evil and so menacing. Cardinal Copia was very chatty throughout the whole show, with his banter and that his favorite new word: 'Oui!', and that made the show a ton of fun to watch. 

Ghost has proven that they can do anything, with this show alone and I know that they'll grow even more into a bigger band than they are currently.

Mountain Dust is a band from Montreal, who opened up Sunday's show, and that I was easily impressed by the amount of people and their set alone, combined a lot of stoner rock blues metal, with some sludge metal as well, which was a nice touch, also dug the keyboardists guitar slider on his rig, all in all they were a fun band to watch to start off the day, and that they really knocked our socks off.

After hearing the most horrendous, cringiest set ever from Knocked Loose, I was eager to see Beast In Black. I have been waiting for this band for a very long time to come to Canada, ever since I heard their first album, and it was very special that Heavy Montreal was the first debut North American performance EVER. I was floored by their performance. This band was so good live I was smiling with glee that this band was in front of a big crowd. What I also love about festivals sometimes is that it's like a test to see like 'Hey we are popular here' sort of thing, and that the test did prove that Beast In Black have an audience here in Canada/North America.

Yannis Papadopoulos's voice was super incredible and he hit all those high notes, and, with Anton Kabanen doing his 3 Inches of Blood style of vocals during the bad ass choruses they have, the show was just a marvel. So please Beast In Black, please come back to Canada very soon. 

My girlfriend wanted me to come with her to check out Skillet. I wanted to see what they sounded like, so I listened to a hand few songs before going to see their show which I did not like. But, I was very shocked on how heavy they were. Skillet sounded very similar to your go-to emo bands such as a Day To Remember. Some earlier songs reminded me like James Labrie's album Impermanent Resonance, and I was like “Oh this is very groovy”. I did like it and I was shocked to find a new band that I like now. 

By the way their new album Victorious is out now and you should totally listen to it. 

After just watching a bit ofb, my legs started to hurt and I needed a rest, so I went on the hill to go sit down for a while and as well grab something to eat for my break. 

I watched the weirdest stage show you could possibly ever imagine, think like over the top Cirque du Soleil but mixed with metal music. That's what b is going for. It was one of the most interesting stage shows I've seen in awhile, even though it's very much like a Lady Gaga show. I could see them opening for her, because it definitely fits. 

So, I saw Slash yes, but it was very underwhelming. Slash was only hanging out on the right side, only coming once to the left side, which I was by. The music was pretty dull and you could not necessarily hear anything in the mix. It was pretty funny to see him sweat profusely; he looked like he was going to faint. 

The closure to Heavy Montreal was none other than thrash legends Slayer. This being their last show ever in Quebec, people were hyping it up to be a grand finale, but... I was a little disappointed. It was mostly near the end that they played their classics. 

Their performance was very repetitive with the same drum beats, solos, and guitar riffs, and Tom Arya's disappointing vocals.  They've seem to have lost their energy in some sorts. However, I did get pumped during “Raining Blood“ and “Dead Skin Mask” since they are my favorite Slayer songs.

Overall, Slayer's final show in Quebec, was okay. I was not “WOW, oh my god that was the best show ever” type of thing for them, since I have seen them prior to Heavy and liked other performances.

Still, Heavy was a blast and I enjoyed every minute of it.