When preparing for a recent podcasting episode I happened to come across a folder created during Armstrong Metalfest. This was sometime during day one I made my way back to camp and copied over a bunch of AMF live videos to make room on my phone for more. Which actually never happened. Anyways, below is a collection of songs
The Vth Circle live video
I don’t know much about The Vth Circle but I did enjoy their set at AMF. I contacted the band to let them know I had this footage which they were very appreciative of and told me the song is actually called The Storm and Rotter. Two songs back to back. So bam. Two for the prize of zero!
They also have a ton of material on their Bandcamp. The vocal style is very a very evil style of raspy growls while the music is full on melodic death metal. That’s quite different from what normally comes out of this part of the world for metal. It easily has this Scandinavian styled sound not too different from the likes of say early Soilwork or Dark Tranquillity.
Liberatia live video
Thrashy death metal. Fast and intense stuff which reminds me a little of Dead Asylum or West of Hell (though different but sometimes similar style of vocals). I spent some time with these releases as well and quite enjoyed what I heard.
This video was already provided in a recent blog post I did about their cross Canada tour that is currently happening. So just to repost something (hey, I can do that from time to time) here is Widow’s Peak “Pillars of Failure”. Matt has a great intro to the song explaining what it is about:
“This song is about getting trapped inside your own fucking head. And building up an empire for anyone who ever fucking told you you couldn’t do what you wanted to do. … If anyone ever told you you couldn’t do something. If anyone ever told you you weren’t fucking good enough. Now’s the time fucking shine.”
I really like these dudes. They are good understanding people who provide a very positive message with their music. Did I ever mention their tech death is crazy good? I highly recommend people to give their Graceless EP a chance and get out there to see them play on their cross Canada tour!
This guys slap so hard! They recently played in Kelowna and I got a shit ton of footage for these dudes. We got together to do a written interview recently and one of these days I’ll get together with them to record a podcast episode. That is when the stars align.
These dudes also have a fantastic style of tech death that is quite literally out of this world. Being Warhammer 4K inspired. Check out their Bandcamp and our YouTube channel for more kick ass metal.
Armstrong Metalfest 2019 has come and gone for another year AND IT WAS AMAZING! Shamefully this was my first time out to AMF. I had considered it in the past especially with bands like Cattle Decapitation, Suffocation, Kataklysm, Archspire, and Cryptopsy on the pill in past years.
Actually holy fuck. Looking at that short list of bands along with the amazing local acts we have… what have I been thinking all this time?! Being caught up in the European scene (In the 90’s and 00’s that is arguably where the best metal was) I had been to Tuska festival three times and others in Finland. The bands I had spent my time listening to didn’t make their way to the Okanagan so there wasn’t much interest for me to attend.
Now though equipped with my dialed-in blogging skills and attempt to bring the Okanagan scene to a wider audience I just knew I had to see AMF for myself.
The first day
Friday morning I arrived without trouble getting to the band camp area and scoping out an area to set up my equipment for podcasting with some of the bands I had lined up to meet with throughout the weekend. After identifying a prime location with access to electricity (where would we be without that?!) I took to the general camp area to find anyone I might know.
Unsurprisingly I had discovered mostly everyone to be hungover from the night before. See Thursday is generally a huge party for the people who arrive early to setup, prepare, drink, or whatever reason they have for showing up early. You most likely don’t need one.
After getting familiar with my surroundings, finding my dude Matt Depper of Apollyon and saying hi to all the familiar and friendly faces I made my way back to the arena.
Things go a little sour
See, I had my media pass with me and was told I would have access to the backstage and camp area. This wasn’t a problem the fist go around when I staked out the area at 1000 but an hour or so later and it’s a huge deal. Now having said that I should have already set up my shit when I first got there but being ten in the morning I didn’t want to have my stuff out in the open all day long while I am cruising around visiting and seeing the bands play.
The second time I try to get to the band camp area to claim my place this jacked security guard wasn’t allowing it. No media. I explain that it has already been approved and that I kinda need to setup my podcasting equipment for my interviews I had lined up. That didn’t matter. This guy wasn’t budging.
I tried again from the side of the stage inside Hassen Arena. No go. No media. That wouldn’t have worked anyways because I needed my car back there and security wouldn’t allow it.
So I decided, fuck it. We are setting up the podcast in the general camp and we will capture what it is like to be at the festival from a peasant standpoint. Because you know? Fuck internet radio, fuck trying to spread our amazing community and fuck media.
Oh yeah, bands are playing too
Armstrong Metalfest 2019 is truly about the bands and showcasing what they can do and offer. It gives a chance for metalheads to come together and experience the amazing talent we have here.
Conniver was up first followed and was one I had never listened to before but was informed to check out. With that I was damn glad that I did. They surprised me with their djent Meshuggah like sound. Still of its own and not a rip off. Damn it was fine and now at the time of writing this I really wish I got some footage of them. From Kamloops! Insane. I didn’t even know about this. It’s always a great surprise to find something like this.
Liberatia from Courtenay, BC slapped hard with their thrashy melodeath sound. It was a great pleasure to see these guys on stage and meet up with them later on.
AFAIR Conniver began late and set back the times by about 20-30 mins. Eventually they did catch up.
After this I spent some time outside in the camp area where I recorded the first of two podcast episodes related to Armstrong Metalfest 2019. There were tons of great guests on both episodes and they turned out much better than I had expected. It really captured the atmosphere of being at a metal festival.
So we did. It was not what I expected but it was fun as hell and I had a great time there. The first day podcast is available to listen here.
Tech death metal just because
Two bands I had been looking forward to seeing took stage one after the other. Exterminatus and Widow’s Peak. Both destroy on their recorded material but did they ever show us what they got on stage!
I met up with the boys of Widow’s Peak on Sunday. Actually one of them was in on the day 1 podcast and I don’t think I even realized it. We had drawn a small crowd of people and it’s quite hard to jump into a scene and learn who everyone is let alone get a ton of them in one group!
Both bands were absolutely fitting back to back. The stage intensity and blasting sound made for a great experience and it’s like the two acts go hand in hand.
I didn’t get a chance to podcast with Exterminatus but they were kind enough to do a written interview with me which can be read here.
Power Metal Rangers
ArkenFire always puts on a sweet set. They are about the only power metal band in the area so that gives them a lot of room to do pretty much what they like. I’ll always say about because you never know what will spring up out of the bowels of a region. There could be more power metal out there that I just haven’t found yet!
These guys rock. Totally dedicated to metal and bringing that much needed super nerdy aspect it. Believe me, us metalheads are huge nerds too. Frodo Baggins would totally be a metalhead. Funny enough every time I see these guys play I always end up recording the same damn song.
I think two and almost three times I have recorded their new song Night Sister. So FINALLY I got some different footage of them. I made sure to get a couple songs this time though the other will be kept for later!
Bang your head Armstrong
Ahh yes, Apollyon. Kelowna’s blackened death metal act with stellar atmosphere and banging tracks. These guys are working hard on bringing fresh new material even if their album False Light was released not even a year ago. The album is a banger and has stellar atmosphere and brings together elements and ideas from a range of influences.
They’re slowly bringing more new songs to the stage including this new one called Night Maker.
This one feels like a natural progression from the material on their debut album. Very atmospheric riffs (especially that intro) but super intense too. Much similar to their other new track Wretched Grandiose.
BTW Matt is one crazy ass motherfucker.
Evening of Goblins
Terence joined me some time around 5-6pm and I do believe during the Apollyon set. See, during a festival things become a blur as you meet new people, have beers, get sun, watch bands. Time doesn’t exist at a festival.
He wanted to see Nekrogoblikon because, much like others may have been, he was surprised they were on the bill and willing to come up and do this show. It was definitely a great set! The crowd was large, the music was intense but very melodic, and the night ended on a very high note.
A few songs into the set and after a few videos I decided to take Mjolnir with me into the pit. Survival was a must and that it was. Not without a few bumps, no bruising and always lifting people up as they lose balance and fall.
This is a staple in the metal community. We love to get rowdy and mosh in the put but never do we attempt to put any person into risk of harm. If someone falls over we put out a helping hand and lift them back up, make sure they are okay and continue moshing.
Day 2: Hangovers and Farmer’s Market
I couldn’t stay the night on Saturday. I did have to work at 0630. What a damper to the festival mood. So I laid low on this day, got to connect with a lot of new people I hadn’t had the chance to yet.
Yes, I had a bit of a hangover. No it didn’t kill me nor last as long as I thought it would. Breakfast at The Brown Derby Cafe was cheap and actually really good. So good that I went back for lunch with some friends! It really must be the busiest weekend of the year for them. The staff were super friendly and loved the fact that we were in town. It is commonly known that the small town of Armstrong has embraced the metal festival and love that it draws so many unique and amazing people to the area.
On the way back to the festival grounds I took a stroll through the farmer’s market that was open at the time. There was some great folk music being played by song young people. Which sounded amazing and I am kicking myself now for not taking any footage. I was, in fact, on a mission for fresh coffee. Which I found though I still don’t know if it was local. It probably was. Or at least I believe it was!
The people of the market offered fresh fruit and vegetables along with arts and crafts made by locals. There was a great mix of metalheads roaming the market along with the locals who come out and pick up their local produce.
Beer Helmet March
at 1000 the annual Beer Helmet March took place. Basically hungover metalheads either construct a helmet from beer cases (or just simply wear an empty beer case on their heads) and march through camp and the farmer’s market.
The entire time through the market people took photos, clapped and cheered the metalheads on. It’s really an amazing scene to watch play out. We are truly the friendliest people in the world!
This video I put together follows the beer helmet march to Hassen Arena where the top three helmets were selected for prizes. Top prize was tickets to next year’s festival and the winner of the Vinny Cup. Of course that went to the fire breathing helmet which unfortunately broke part way through the march.
No stage just friends
Wow, I must say I kinda dropped the ball here. More time was spent by me out in the camp grounds meeting new people and bands instead of actually watching the performances. Aside from the fact that I should have been getting footage for the bands there is nothing wrong with being outside with friends and band members!
For example, we were recording a second podcast episode to help capture the essence of the festival and low and behold we were dropped in by Sentinels‘ guitarist Thomas Cardone. Yes, the band from New Jersey. They were just chilling at the tent when we came back and after setting up the podcast equipment and talking for a bit Thomas just jumped in and joined.
It was a great experience having him jump in and discuss local beer, metal and hockey. You never know where a podcast is ever going to go! Widow’s Peak found us as well and jumped in to talk a little about the band and festival. Thanks to both groups for joining us! We are hard working to spread our amazing community and every little bit helps!
Missing some of the bands
It really hurts my whole heart to have missed some of the bands I really wanted to see on the second day. Arctos, Truent, Roadrash, Apprentice, Sentinels, Gross Misconduct, Origin, and Odinfist. They all played sets either around the podcasting time or after I had left. So much love to all those bands they are amazing and one day they’ll all be on the podcast!
Betraying the Martyrs were to play Armstrong Metalfest 2019 but unfortunately their bus caught fire and were forced to cancel their tour. It’s such as tragic event. The band has a GoFundMe running to help replace their equipment. They lost practically everything. So please consider donating some money to help them out! Every little bit helps.
Roundup and final thoughts
Not having a background in any kind of production (besides what I dabble with at home) or putting on a live experience that leaves me with very little knowledge as to what happens in the background. As a lifelong fan of metal it was a great time watching the bands even if there was the odd hiccup.
The sound seemed to get better as the night went on and even if there was a little trouble here and there nothing took away from the spirit of the metal festival.
The festival grounds were fantastic. The people amazing, set up was great and easy to navigate and the events going on were a lot of fun. Metal as Medicine will definitely be back next year and hopefully with a bigger and better setup to help broadcast the event through podcasting and more!
Support the artists
There were many bands present (both performing and not) and they need our support! Please consider coming out to the shows and purchasing merchandise as well as their releases. Take pics and videos, share it on social media and lets help get these bands more exposure!
During the recording of Armstrong Metalfest podcast day 2 we are joined by Thomas Cardone of Sentinels, Widow’s Peak, Greggins Greg of Myopia Condition and fellow metalheads in round two of capturing the atmosphere and essence of Armstrong Metalfest.
WARNING: There is explicit content during this episode. Explicit language, discussion of cannabis, prostitution and sexual material. The opinions of metalheads on this Armstrong Metalfest podcast do not reflect the opinions of Metal as Medicine.
We spend more time discussing the camp area and pointers on how to properly camp at AMF. Scoping out the perfect camp location. There are a lot of different types of people that get together to party and have a good time. This gave me a chance to discuss more about what a festival looks like from an outsider’s point of view. Thomas comes from New Jersey and had never been to this part of Canada (or Canada all together) before. He has some really interesting takes on it.
Unfortunately I did not get photos of Tit Mountain but just believe us when we say it does exist.
Take responsibility while having a good time in the Okanagan. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen and stay in the shade.
Canadian beer and Viking horns
Ragnar the Trader makes his way to Armstrong Metalfest to sell his goods. Devan explains what Ragnar offers and his own experience using the products. AMF streamline drinking! Check out Ragnar’s awesome products at the Etsy store. They have lots of great Viking jewelry and accessories.
Thomas Cardone crashed the podcast unexpectedly. The members of Sentinels were chilling at the camp so it wasn’t completely unexpected. They had just arrived at the festival while on their tour with Betraying the Martyrs and were welcomed with open arms to the camp and podcast.
We do not condone the consuming of moose piss outside of festival grounds. Please drink with caution.
It turned out that Thomas quite enjoyed the Molson Canadian. We spent some time joking around about it and discussing some of the more local craft beers in the area. We sure hope the band got a chance to check out some of the great local breweries!
And Mead Too!
Meadow Vista was another one that he tasted. It came out of no where but I do believe it was supplied by Nathan, Jen and Devan. Devan explains about the honey wines offered by Meadow Vista.
Sad News: The van burned to the ground
This is no laughing matter. As much as we try to make the podcast and metal experience as fun as possible for people seriousness does get in the way once and awhile.
The band currently has a GoFundMe up that is just short of their goal. Please take some time to donate even $5 to the band. Even if it isn’t your style of metal there are a lot of fans out there and it is the band’s livelihood that was completely lost.
Some of these photos are devastating to look at. This isn’t something that any of us would wish upon even our worst of enemies.
We hope the band recovers all their equipment and merchandise! Good luck my dudes!
Yes Canada has legalized cannabis. This happened last October. Phoenix Tears is one of the first oils available for treatment. We are discussing legalization of cannabis, it’s use in medical care and cancer treatment. Please do your own research and discuss the use of medical cannabis with your health care professional before usage.
If you suffer from any mental disorders please consult mental health professionals before using cannabis for treatment. While it is beneficial for treating depression and PTSD
Found by Widow’s Peak
Scott Cressman, Chris McCrimmon, and Pat Paulson of Widow’s Peak showed up for a little discussion. They didn’t stick around for long but we will have them on the show next time. They put on a sick set that did have some tech issues. But all in all it was a sick set bro.
Greggins Glen is in the house
Greggins Glenn of The Myopia Condition comes and describes his new band Dead Lifted.
In an episode capturing the live experience of Armstrong metalfest podcast shenanigans we are joined by Conniver member Sean Bouchard, Nomad vocalist Dylan Heska and Matt Depper of Apollyon . Later on Randy Peterson and Jacob LeBlanc of ArkenFire show up for a quick plug of the album they’re working on.
Warning this episode includes explicit content.
Armstrong Metalfest podcast
This was a great experience. I had a lot of fun recording this episode along with the many guests coming to say hi and/or plug their music. All the bands that have been mentioned are linked at the bottom of this page. Please check them out, listen to their music and if you enjoy it consider coming out to a show or buy their music. FUCK IT. Donate some money! Someone mentioned that one of the bands was tipped $30 at the merch table. THAT’S HOW WE DO IT.
The discussion starts off about the bands on the show and some of the past shows they had been involved in. This includes mixed bills and a lack of venue. Things start to get rowdy when JRod shows up in his short shorts.
Armstrong Metalfest Stories
This looks like Matt is interviewing Axel but he is actually telling the story of his first Armstrong Metalfest experience.
I managed to capture a number of stories onthe Armstrong Metalfest podcast to give a bit of light of how some of the shenanigans that can take place at AMF.
AMF’s new stage
Dylan discusses how he helped construct the new stage and a little about what goes on with it. Actually quite a little bit. The topics switch very quickly in this episode.
It was almost overwhelming with all the people around talking and listening to our discussion. There was a lot of fun being had by everyone and as intense and hectic the conversation gets (especially during the short shorts) it turned out really well. I feel as though this really helped get an idea of what it is like to let loose at a festival and just have a good time.
Being responsible at Armstrong Metalfest
Naturally be responsible. Please don’t do anything you will later regret, think about your decisions before you make them. It is not smart to drink a drink you didn’t open yourself or see be opened. Also please don’t do drugs if you are unprepared to do them!
The members of Armstrong Metalfest (Bretton, Andrew, Jesse and Heather) gives a run down on the history of the annual festival and how it came to begin. The tenth Armstrong Metalfest will take place July 12-13 in Armstrong, BC.
The Armstrong Metalfest is inspired by the European metal festival scene. Born to mimic the idea behind a festival held in Kamloops called Metalokaloops (spelling?). I tried digging up information about the festival from the Internet but couldn’t find anything relevant.
Armstrong Metalfest Guests
Bretton Melanson (Founding member, President of West Metal Society, drummer of Nomad) Andrew Kutzner (Volunteer Coordinator, Vice President of West Metal Society) Jesse Valstar (Founding member, Treasurer of West Metal Society, bassist of Odinfist) (Odinfist release party for their new album) Heather Lemon (Health and Safety coordinator of AMF, Secretary of West Metal Society)
The festival takes up two days and has bands playing from 11:00am through till midnight both days. Metalheads are welcome to camp over night in the designated area or at one of the local hotel/motels.
The team got together to build a billboard along the highway to help advertise the festival.
During the episode Jesse and Bretton go over some of the factors they take into consideration when taking band submissions. If you are interested in submitting your band to play at Armstrong Metalfest please see this website.