After Matt’s coverage of ProgPower, Progressive Music Planet takes on a new contender!
Unfortunately, Wacken and Tuska were not viable options. Both too far away, and too expensive for this reviewer to get to, festival-wise. (Maybe another time?)
But, North America does have one last bastion of European flavour: Montréal.
Both a mainstay for prog acts that often don’t play elsewhere on the continent, and officially declared a “heavy metal city” in April 2019, the city has a lot to offer in musical eclecticism.
The summer festival Heavy Montréal approaches its 10th edition over the weekend of July 27 and 28, and with a Montréal-based contributor (yours truly) now adding to the PMP oeuvre, a collaboration not only felt appropriate but inevitable.
I haven’t seen any of the acts playing the festival, so this coverage will be coming from a “beginner’s mind”. Not without a critical eye, but still open and encouraging to check out what’s there.
For the prog side of the 2019 roster, Ghost headlines the first night with their only North American summer show. I first discovered them through a Rush forum during the R40 tour, and between the initial rave reviews from other prog fans, the band’s penchant for intense theatricality, and the guest appearance of Mikael Åkerfeldt on their 2018 album Prequelle, Ghost’s credentials are solid while remaining accessible to less-intensive prog or metal fans. (For a band that does solid arena rock with clean vocals, their ghoulish revelry works wonders. Ave Satanas.)
Of Rob’s top picks from 2018, Rivers of Nihil are booked to perform, and Devin Townsend is choosing to once again surprise the hell out of people by playing an acoustic set.
Beyond that? More acts to be surprised by, from the satirical overdose of hair metal and hairspray that is Steel Panther, the Tex-Mex stylings of Metalachi, the Viking fury of Skálmöld, all the way through to the blood-soaked rituals of Watain.
It will be heavy in Montréal this weekend. Let’s see how heavy it can get.