Armstrong Metalfest Day One July 19th, 2013
After spending a few days visiting with my dad in Penticton, I headed North towards the wee town of Armstrong, BC. Not knowing much about the festival other than it was supposed to be a lot of fun and was in its fifth year, I was surprised to see how big the festival grounds were.
A rather large compound had plenty of space for parking, camping and eating and had facilities typical of provincial campgrounds such as showers and washrooms. There were some buildings on the ground that contained shops for things the local farmers might need to stock up on as well.
I stepped into Hassen Arena to pick up my photo pass and was pleasantly surprised I wouldn’t need to slather on a bunch of sunblock as the 2 stages for the event were inside this building. Actually, it was just one stage that was divided in the middle by one of those blue modu-loc fences. The set up was designed to be efficient with 1 band setting up while the other played. Efficient it was, and play they did.
Gomorrah, The New Arcadia and Finishymn pounded out solid sets, followed by the barbarian painted slayers from Trollband. Then came Cast Into Ashes, changing the direction back to the standard metal stylings and joined by Mike (one of the organizers) bringing his dry humping antics onto the stage. Next up was Expain (formerly The Almighty Excruciating Pain), a band I’ve shot a couple times before. Near the end of their set, a large number of friends and musicians joined them for one last performance of “The Taco Song”. Then came the heavy groove of Grand Forks’ Slagduster, whose frontman is full of character and has dreads that have a life of their own. Another barbarian band rounded out the night: Scimitar! Then another couple Vancouver favorites, Over the Coals and Xul performed near flawless sets for the growing masses. Another band that was a first for me was Edmonton’s Death Toll Rising, a melodic thrash group that has elements of death. Another Vancouver Thrash group, Terrifier, brought their classic style of the genre and their unique stage presence to the stage. Another long time Vancouver group Tyrant’s blood brought forth terror and doom as the final act before the full stage was set up.
While said stage was being set up, back in the campground area the crowd was getting wild with the 100 Man Shotgun. Many a beer can was pierced and beer spewed forth through the air to the cheers and delight of all the participipants and onlookers.
Nylithia was the first headliner of the night and the first time the little arena had pretty much filled up for the day. They brought more energy to their set than I’d ever seen from them before, playing destructive hyperthrash to the massive sea of sweaty, smelly, somewhat tired onlookers. The Vein of Creation graced the stage at one point and fired t-shirts into the crowd from a menacing looking cannon and the Trainsaw was driven into the crowd and promptly obliterated by the violent masses.
Bison (B.C.) rounded out the night with their incredible stage presence and heavy sound that droned the crowd into a daze. Though they played a solid set, it was much more calming than their predecessors set and a great way to soothe us for some sleep to prepare for day 2.
I had only brought 4 32GB cards with me and by the end of the day I was a little ways into my 3rd card. I was going to need to drive to Vernon in the morning and get another card so I wouldn’t run out. I retired to my car to get some well deserved sleep and retired to the soothing sounds of an all night party in the distance.