Review: Heavy Mountain fest in Asheville

The Heavy Mountain Music and Beer fest is relevant to my interests.


I think I read the name Heavy Mountain Music and Beer fest first, since it was going to be at the smaller (but awesome) venue the Orange Peel I didn’t expect a lot from the lineup. Then I clicked the link, High On Fire and Obituary, sold! Plus several other bands, sounds good. I ordered a ticket for this Sunday show and didn’t realize it was Labor Day weekend until a week or so before the show. I don’t even have to work the next day, perfect!

I thought I was familiar with four of the bands, the first set to play Exmortus was one of them. So I headed to Asheville in time for the 5PM start. And I made it, except I had to circle the area a few times in search of parking. I missed about half of Exmortus’s set but the songs I caught were as I’ve heard on XM radio, fast, loud, guitar solos, probably goofy lyrics. I don’t know why I’m trying to describe them, their new album cover should tell you everything you need to know:


Except that’s a lie, you should also know they cover some Beethoven on that album.

They seemed like a good start but having missed half the set I didn’t even feel settled in before they were done.

After what seemed like a lengthy wait Young Widows was up next. They play the slower variety of metal sometimes called doom metal, sometime stoner metal. I really don’t know the difference, and don’t have the energy to care. Google says they are indie rock, post rock, and post hardcore though, so now you definitely know what they sound like.

Moving along, next on the bill was Inter Arma who I saw open for Meshuggah in 2013 except about 30 seconds into their first song I realized they were not the band I saw open for Meshuggah in 2013. Upon further review that was Intronaut. So with a newly fresh slate Inter Arma impressed me. Clearly I’d never heard them before since I had them mixed up with another “I” band but I liked what I heard. They sounded like a mix of death, black, and progressive metal. I have no musical talent but the drummer seemed really good to me.  The crowd also seemed impressed, as they got the biggest cheers of the night to that point. By the way, google just says they are metal, which is both way less specific and somehow way more accurate. I picked up their cd, yeah cd, I’m a thousand years old.


Next up was Black Tusk, they proclaimed “we’re hear to play some punk songs” or something like that, I’m not going to take notes until you pay me, They ripped through fast, short, not quite punk, heavy rock and roll songs featuring vocals from every remember of the band.


Now we’re really getting going. Obituary has been around about as long as I’ve been alive. Before they came out some people in the crowd were joking that they probably released their demo on 8-track. Now Obituary are death metal through and through except they have songs that totally sound like Madball with a different (way different) vocalist. Personally I have zero problem with that. The first time I saw Obituary at the Exit/In in Nashville I texted a friend and told him they were they heaviest band I’d ever seen. This time I was very near the stage so maybe I missed a bit of volume but I got a closer look at these old metal dudes still going at it. Metal is different than other genres in that it’s no big deal for older bands to still be the big draws. This one has been going for 35 years and still has tons of energy.


Last on the night was the always reliable High On Fire. This was my fourth time seeing them, the first being all the way back in 2005. You could call them Motorhead on speed except I’m fairly certain Motorhead was Motorhead on speed. Just imagine that sound and up everything a notch. This is as powerful as a power trio gets. It’s amazing the sound just three people can produce. High On Fire frontman Matt Pike, who has literally never worn a shirt*citation needed* shredded guitar solos and growled through every energetic song. The recently released song Electric Messiah fit right in with tracks from the last album Luminiferious and older headbangers. No one was dumb enough to leave after Obituary and the crowd was still happy to move around after a long night.






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