I love that I've written so much about avant-garde music lately that I don't have to once again start with an intro about how weird of a genre it is. The Lychgate review I recently wrote is a pretty good summary of how I feel about the moniker. Actually, referring to that review is a statement about avant-garde in and of itself since there's little in common between that album and the band we have in mind today, Ghostbound. The first has more black metal on it and a lot more abrasiveness, whereas Ghostbound's All is Phantom draws more on the epic nature of progressive rock and the dramatic thrill of bands like Marillion. But it also layers those ideas on top of frequent blast beats, prominent strings, thick guitars and much more that comes from metal and its approach to the avant-garde. In short, it's a wild ride of an album which leaves us beggared for an exact definition.
The purpose of this post is not to give you a play by play description of the festival; this isn't a show review first and foremost. The idea instead is to give you a feeling for what attending the festival is like, whether by describing the location, some of the shows, the overall air or even the food on offer. The purpose of this post is to see as many of you as possible at the next year's festival. This institution is well needed in the metal scene and it's a pleasure to be able to support it in my own way. There's only one condition: you have to say hello next year if you do come. I'll buy you a beer, promise. Let's get to it, shall we?
Likely one of the most enjoyable albums of the year, The Mute Gods' Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth is brimming with melody from front to back, with outstanding keyboard arrangements and gorgeous bass licks. This album pays more direct tribute to 80s prog, an era that is maligned but provided some of the giants of the genre (Yes, Rush and Genesis) with some of their biggest hits and served to introduce the MTV generation to some of the most talented musicians on the planet. Tonally, Tardigrades is most like Yes’s 90125 and even has a sort of synthesized new age feel that marked the band’s collaboration with later soundtrack wunderkind Trevor Rabin.
How to navigate the sheer number of festivals now available for the metal fan? With the aim of helping you sort through this vast variety, we've compiled the following primer. It's by no means extensive; it's simply impossible to write about all of the festivals we would have liked to mention. We focused on those we'll be attending and on those who have the most attractive setlists in our eyes. That being said, do feel free to share more great festivals with us in the comments and please enjoy this, our selection of festivals for 2017.