The 2017 edition of the Blackest of the Black Festival was held in the mountain area of Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, California. The festival is the brain child of Misfits’ legendary frontman Danzig and always proves to have a variety of metal bands to suit everyone’s needs. This festival was two days of pure madness from every corner and was a great way to start Memorial Day weekend.
Day one featured some of the more popular metal bands today and was started by industrial metal band 3Teeth that got the audience started on this Friday night. Los Angeles natives Butcher Babies were the second band to perform and by now, the venue had started to fill up to a nice amount to where it didn’t feel so empty. With female vocalist’s Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd taking control of the show, it was nice to see the festival getting started with a bang and more was still to come. Deathcore giants Suicide Silence have recently released their newest self-titled album so it was no surprise to see them as part of the lineup. Vocalist Eddie Hermida would alternate between clean vocals and the band’s signature high-pitch screams depending on the song. Hermida would also come out to the audience to sing to them so the fans got a more personal experience. Austrian blackened death metal band Belphegor were set to play this festival as well, but were forced to cancel their appearance due to flight issues coming to the USA. Instead, post-rock/black metal band Deafheaven took their place. Deafheaven has a very atmospheric feel to their music as if even without vocals, the music alone would be music to anyone’s ears. Frontman George Clarke had a very energetic stage presence as he would head bang and move his hands around almost in a dance-like motion. Discharge is perhaps one of the first bands to play hardcore punk since their formation in 1977. With fast and thrashy guitars and shouting vocals, it was hard to just stand around and so of course the crowd was moshing throughout the show to keep the energy of the show going. Corrosion of Conformity is a hardocre punk/sludge metal/heavy metal band that have been around since the 1980’s. Their music offers a wide variety of sound from slow-paced bluesy music, to a more faster and aggressive heavy metal and hardcore punk sound. Fans enjoyed their set and were happily headbanging the night away and moshing when it came to it.
Headlining day 1 of the festival was the legendary hardcore punk/crossover thrash metal band, Suicidal Tendencies. Plenty of fans were seen wearing merch so they were obviously one of the main attractions of the night. Suicidal Tendencies came out and started the show with their usual opener, You Can’t Bring Me Down. Legendary frontman Mike Muir was very energetic throughout the night as he ran around and in between songs he would give quick motivational speeches saying that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall down in life as long as you get back up and to believe in your dreams. Suicidal Tendencies played many classics in their setlist which included: I Shot Reagan, War Inside My Head, Subliminal, and Trip at the Brain. The band’s performance was only made better with the addition of legendary metal drummer Dave Lombardo formerly of thrash metal legends, Slayer. During Possessed to Skate, Suicidal Tendencies invited female fans on stage and quickly turned into and all-female mosh pit and even a young boy joined in on all the fun. Suicidal Tendencies finished their set with Pledge Your Allegiance and so day of the Blackest of the Black festival came to and end. The music was over, but the night was still young. Those not ready to leave yet were treated to Danzig‘s new Black Laden Crown being premiered for the first time. Other fans were hanging around the movie screen and were watching classic movie monster movies. Many fans left the venue simply to rest up for the next day.
For fans not interested in certain bands, other entertainment at the festival included Castle Danzig which was filled with freakshow performers. Fire-breathers, fire dancers, half-naked women bathing in fake blood, sword-eaters, a man putting hooks in his eyes and wires into his nose and out of his mouth, a large man putting mouse traps on his nipples, and jugglers. A variety of carnival rides were also available for some fun. Plenty of clothing vendors and food trucks were also available.
Day two of the festival featured more more metal bands that fans were more familiar with and had the superior lineup. It was set to be a long day of festivities. The first band that played was the black metal band, Ritual. Most fans still hadn’t arrived or were being let in so if they choose to, they had to listen to the band while in line. Still, a small amount of people showed up in time to enjoy the band.
The next band up was the metal macabre band only known to mankind as Ghoul. They brought disgusting and putrid thrash metal with them and plenty of fans showed up early for them and were prepared to be bathed in the blood and juices that Ghoul squirts out. A man in a costume came out to insult the fans, but his speech was cut short when another man came out and cut off his arm and started spraying fake blood onto the audience. Ghoul started their show with Ghoulunatics from their newest Dungeon Bastards album. Nothing but pure thrash metal with deep growls to get the festival and mosh pit going. Ghoul had a variety of cast members come out which included a witch doctor biting the head off a fake chicken and dumping blood on fans, a future soldier with a water gun shooting water at fans, and even two mecha robots battling it out on stage. They are truly a spectacle to witness. Other songs played included: Shred the Dead, Off With their Heads , and Wall of Death. Combichrist was next and was another industrial metal band. They started with What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? and showed their industrial metal fans how it’s done. Fans loved hearing songs such as Throat Full of Glass and the ever-satisfying Shut Up and Swallow. American groove metal band DevilDriver also had plenty of fans in attendance and were very energetic on stage as fans headbanged and moshed the whole time. Swedish black metal legion Marduk made this festival a special appearance for the band. They were one of the main attractions of the night as they played black metal goodness like The Blond Beast, Of Hells Fire, and Panzer Division Marduk. The band was often cloaked with fog machines which gave the band a proper black metal appearance. Venom Inc also made a special appearance for this festival and had a surprise in store for fans. Venom Inc is a reincarnation of legendary British thrash metal legends, Venom. It involves original Venom members Jeffrey “Mantas” Dunn and Anthony “Abaddon” Bray. On vocals was Tony “Demolition Man” Dolan who replaced original Venom singer Conrad “Cronos” Lant when he left the band at one point. Venom Inc brought old school thrash metal and played lots of Venom classics like: Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil), Don’t Burn the Witch, and Leave Me in Hell. Venom Inc made a special announcement about signing to the Nuclear Blast record label and were working on their first album Avé due out on August 11, 2017. As a special treat, the band played a new song from the album titled, Avé Satanas. Mantas made a small speech on his on how thirty years ago, he wrote a song that apparently started its own genre of music. Fans of the band knew what song it was and so Venom Inc started playing one of the most popular songs in the metal scene, Black Metal.
Atreyu is an American metalcore band and were most definitely the oddball of the lineup. Regardless, the band put lots of energy into their performance. To no surprise, vocalist Alex Varkatzas had to often tell the audience to jump, get crazy, etc because they seemed uninterested in a band like this. Oddly enough, the band seemed to get the biggest response when they played a cover of Bon Jovi‘s You Give Love a Bad Name. Vamps are a rock band from Tokyo, Japan that have reached stardom in Japan and were looking to gain stardom in the USA as well. Their most noticeable fans were the female Japanese fans up front who were going wild for the fans and even made flags and banners for the band to see. To no surprise, a lot of the band’s song titles and themes involve blood. One of the final bands of the night were the industrial metal pioneers and legends, Ministry. The band was led by Al Jourgensen and is one of metal’s most recognized faces. Ministry came out and started with one of their most popular songs, Psalm 69. The band was often covered with fog from fog machines and along with the flashing lights gave the band a proper industrial metal feeling. Jourgensen had a mic stand with skulls and a pentagram and would often jerk it around while he sang. Jourgensen made note that the band was getting ready to release a new album titled AmeriKKKant out in the fall of 2017 and treated the audience to the live debut of a new song titled, Antifa. Nighttime was approaching and all the fog and lights during Ministry‘s performing gave the band a great look. The energy was off the hook with fast-paced industrial metal being played.
Other songs performed were: LiesLiesLies, N.W.O, and Just One Fix. Jourgensen thanked the audience for coming out and to end the show, played one of the band’s most popular songs, Thieves. The main highlight of the night was obviously the man himself, Danzig. Everyone had gathered around to see the legendary Misfits frontman. Danzig came out and started the show with SkinCarver. Danzig had the best stage setup with lots of lights, fog, gargoyles, and different backdrops. Danzig fans were seen moshing and singing along to the music. It was the 25th anniversary of Danzig‘s third solo album titled Danzig III: How the Gods Kill so Danzig made sure to play several tracks from the album including How the Gods Kill, Godless, Left Hand Black, and Dirty Black Summer. The fans went wild for Danzig. Since Danzig had released his new album Black Laden Crown, it was mandatory for him to play new songs. the only two new songs performed were Devil on Hwy 9 and Last Ride. The show seemed to come to an end when he played his most famous song, Mother. Danzig left the stage and fans started to exit the venue. Danzig came out after a few minutes to perform two encores for those that chose to stay. Those encores were She Rides and Am I Demon. Danzig once again left the stage. Fans were clearly tired after hours of being at the festival, but wore nothing but smiles and walked out with new friends memories that would surely last a lifetime.
Corrosion of Conformity