I see lots of bands and shows throughout the year, but Heavy MTL, Montreal’s annual heavy-metal music festival, was worth the price, time and the rain that poured down this year. Oh, it was wet, humid, sticky and muddy, but our spirits were hardly dampened. How could they be when the likes of In Flames, Slipknot, System Of A Down, Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch, Trivium, Voivod and Marilyn Manson were playing over a two-day period at Parc Jean-Drapeau August 11-12.

The amazing thing about Heavy MTL is that every year the line-up changes. This year was no exception. It offers local, national and international bands the opportunity to play to the level they deserve, and connect with new audiences.

It seems that every year, the organizers want to top what they did the previous year. So it would be wise of you to start saving for next year’s event. If you have not been, believe me, spending two days at an outdoor metal fest is a lifetime experience.

Now ask yourself: Are you a true headbanger? I must confess, I laughed when I saw a wannabe emerging from the crowd, dressed as a punk with blue spiked hair. And after the rain, he had plenty of blue dye streaking down his face and onto his shirt. It was a priceless moment!

Who stole the show?

For me, it was Emmure. Playing on the smallest of the three stages, the area was packed to the max. Their performance was awesome as usual. The fact the stage and area were smaller made it just that more intense. They get my gold medal.

Silver goes to Overkill. The intensity they imposed on the crowd was amazing. None of the bands that played after them were able to match them. The speedy and flawless drums just made my day.

Five Finger Death Punch picked up the bronze. They were able to beat the rain with their performance. They were as colourful as always, with their lyrics, bright clothes and groovy hardcore music. They write melodic metal with lots of hooks. They aren’t afraid to show their sensitive side either, with songs like Coming Down.

I must acknowledge the performances of Killswitch Engage, Goatwhore, In Flames, Voivod, Exhumed, Bookakee and Between The Buried And Me. And I want to remind you how good In Flames are.

I don’t know if it’s me, but this year I felt the music wasn’t loud enough. This was one of the reasons I preferred the performances on the small stage. Slipknot was the only band – with all their explosions – that made the sound roar. And it was amazing to see DJ Sid Wilson crowd-surfed among the headbanging fans.

My expectation for next year is something more brutal, more aggressive, more vicious. I hope to see Putamen Insula, Rage Against The Machine, Terror, Obey The Brave, Gorilla Biscuit or H2O. May my wishes come true!