New England Metal and Hardcore Fest Returns to Worcester – September 15, 2023
The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival was an honored tradition in Worcester, Massachusetts from 1999-2018. After some setbacks, followed by the pandemic, fans were not sure if they would ever get to see their beloved festival again. New England music fans were overjoyed to hear the festival that was held for over two decades would finally make its triumphant return. This would also be the first time the festival would be held outdoors at the Palladium. Thankfully, the weather cooperated in Worcester, which was initially a concern with Hurricane Lee hitting northern parts of New England.
Make Them Suffer
The festival started off with the Australian metalcore band Make Them Suffer. They came out heavy and wanted to make their mark on this festival which they absolutely did with tracks like “Ghost of Me”, “Doomswitch”, and “Erase Me”. Lead vocalist, Sean Harmanis and guitarist, Nick McLernon have been with the band since its inception in 2008. From that time to now have gone from self-releasing their music, to recording tracks with Courtney LaPlante of Spiritbox, and being nominated for an Australian Independent Record Award.
Next up to perform was another heavy metal from Australia. Northlane has also been around since the late 2000’s, and they have recently been nominated, and won, Australian Independent Record Awards. In fact, their last two album releases both won for Best Independent Heavy Album. No small feat when you’re up against heavy hitters and festival headliners in your country, such as Parkway Drive. They started their set with “Plenty” from that award winning album, Obsidian. It was no surprise that they selected additional tracks from that album, “Echo Chamber” and “Carbonized”. They wanted to make sure this audience was able to experience these fast-paced metal melodies.
The Amity Affliction
The trend of Australian hardcore bands continued with The Amity Affliction. Their insanely heavy song, “Death’s Hand” got their set kicked off. Strobe lights were flashing bright, the band was covered in fog and the crowd surfers were in full force at this point of the festival. They played their most popular track “Pittsburgh” that deals with the sensitive subject of suicide. Many of The Amity Affliction songs have reoccurring themes with topics like suicide, depression, and addiction. This subject matter can be seen resonating with the fans. The band finished off their set as heavy as they started it off with the songs, “It’s Hell Down Here” and “Soak Me In Bleach”.
Day 1 of The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival would not be complete without a specular headliner. Australia’s Parkway Drive consistently delivers passionate performances, and when they can bring their full pyrotechnics to town it is truly an amazing sight to see. Parkway Drive wasted no time and lead off with their banger “Glitch,” along with striking flames right out of the gate. Lead singer, Winston McCall, brings entirely enough energy to captivate his audience without the use of pyrotechnics, but who doesn’t love to see blazing fire added in when you’re enjoying some metal music? Concert goers could be seen getting caught up in the moment, while enjoying the successful revival of this festival during “Carrion” and “The Void”. Little did they know they would be treated to three additional songs of blasting pyro throughout the night.
The drum solo, performed by Ben Gordon, was wild. Not only was it musically captivating, but he was able to perform while spinning upside down and then continuing to complete multiple 360-degree revolutions. Next, he goes in for more while the outline of his spinning drum contraption is on fire. I’m not sure there are very many individuals that could handle all of that while playing the drums, but Ben Gordon did it flawlessly. The band still had two additional encores to perform after the incredible drum solo. Every person at the Worcester Palladium Outdoors could see the smiles on each one of the band member’s faces, and their positive energy was absolutely infectious.
There could not have been a better way to bring back the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. There were art galleries, delicious food trucks, and lots of unique vendors on site as well. This looks like the start of the next few decades of this celebrated festival.