Heavy-Vinyl Presents: Heavy Mountain Festival 2 Live Coverage
Words and Photos:
The Heavy Mountain Festival has blessed us again with slabs of dirty rock and heavy, rib-cracking heavy metal.
It began last year in Asheville, NC and the fan response was overwhelmingly supportive and positive. The lineup consisted featured Toke, High on Fire and Obituary, demonstrating to everyone that this festival meant business when it comes to heavy music. This year's lineup also proved to be a thick beast of pure rock fury with Texas rockers, Mothership, along with The Skull, Torche, Virginia's Windhand, Pallbearer and legendary NC rockers, Corrosion of Conformity, playing the 25th anniversary (!) of their legendary album, Deliverance.
Mothership blasted off the day's noise with their infectious blend of 70's sex rock and slabs of thick Sabbath riffs giving the crowd the proper beginning to what would be a stellar festival.
Anticipation was high for The Skull as they confidently took to the stage. Featuring a lineup that consists of former members of the Doom forefathers, Trouble, they were an obvious choice to perform at a ball-rattling doom concert called Heavy Mountain.
They played many familiar tunes, opening with fan-favorite "Trapped Inside My Mind". The crowd's enthusiasm was wildly infectious and about halfway through their set, vocalist Eric Wagner said: "You know what? We're going to break out a couple of Trouble tunes, you guys fucking earned it." The roar of joy that shot through the air from the crowd was almost tangible as they ripped into the classics, ---------------- and ------------.
Later, Torche ascended the stage and began belting out their brand of what can be best described as "speedy doom". The sound has the distinct vibe of slow doom riffage, but when it is blended with drummer Rick Smith's relentless onslaught of rapid fire skin snapping, you can't help but feel as if you're being crushed to death while running at full speed on massive amounts of cocaine. Consider your ass smashed...
The guys and gal in Windhand had to tend to their merch booth for a large part of the festival. Their regular merch guy was knocked out of commission by a cold, but this gave many of the fans a chance to come by and talk to this wonderfully friendly and engaging band.
Windhand slithered their way through a pounding set, with songs like "Grey Garden" and "Old Evil" casting a spell over the audience, leaving them speechless, as if they had just finished listening to disturbing horror film. It could be argued that Windhand's songs are the aural equivalent of a ghost story.
Arkansas natives, Pallbearer, took to the stage and performed their songs with a surprising amount of energetic precision. Most of the audience seemed to be well versed in the band's library of gloomy sounds, with many at the front of the stage singing every song word for word. Pallbearer gave the audience a healthy sampling of their entire discography, including "Devoid of Redemption" and "Fear and Fury", sending most in attendance into a cosmic nod of approval.
Finally, headliners Corrosion of Conformity would bring the longest set of this fantastic festival to a close. 2019 is the 25th anniversary of their album, "Deliverance", which many argue is the Mona Lisa of their extensive catalogue. However, COC didn't do the cliched thing and play the album in its entirety, but instead gave us a healthy dose of its greatest hits, opening with "Mano a Mano" before plowing into "Seven Days" and later, "Albatross". They also gave us a sampling from their latter day classic, "In the Arms of God", with "Stonebreaker" and "Paranoid Opioid".
As the midnight hour began closing in, COC ended their set with "Pearls Before Swine"and left the stage, acting as if they weren't going to play their biggest hit, "Clean My Wounds." No one was fooled. The audience stayed right where they stood, tethered to the ground by the gravity of rock and roll. The band popped back out after a brief respite, and of course delivered a rousing and faithful rendition of "Clean My Wounds".
After the last notes of Heavy Mountain rang out and everyone began to disappear into the night, smiles seemed to shine brightly in everyone's souls. The Heavy Mountain Festival delivered the goods for a second rousing year and it looks to like it will have an awesome and heavy future for all of us to enjoy. \m/