Sean Harris: “I Will Fucking Kill You!”

Sean Harris

One thing I have not experienced as a longtime metal head is a metal festival.

I’ve heard so many epic stories about Wacken, Bloodstock and even Download Festival. In western Canada, unfortunately, the cupboard is pretty bare for full-on festivals. That was until I was informed I would be attending and covering British Columbia’s best fest, Armstrong Metalfest. 

Armstrong, British Columbia, was the scene for some seriously ridiculous and amazing things this past weekend. More than 30 metal bands played on two stages over three days, and it was probably the most insane time I’ll ever have…at least until I go again next year.

The fest boasted some of the absolute best in unsigned metal across British Columbia and Alberta and even featured some rather large signed bands from North America.

My buddies in Expain were sixth to play on day one and I was lucky enough to broker a deal with guitarist Pat Peeve, where I would not only write their set list but perform one of their songs on stage with them.

“Taco Song” is a hilarious little ditty where the subject matter includes a man who cherishes his guitar more than his girlfriend. Myself and fellow Broken Neck Radio DJ Sabrina Manning were the show-stoppers, in my humble opinion. We owned the lyrics and poured tequila down our loving fans’ throats. We never saw that bottle again. 

Slagduster was up next and if you’ve never heard them, I suggest you seek them out. Excellent stuff from Grand Forks, and me and their singer and guitarist Shane Sherman really hit it off. Maybe we did because I thought he was Max Cavalera for half the weekend. Seriously, he’s a doppelgänger. 

Nylithia and Bison B.C. ended the first day with two great sets. Nylithia’s stage show is amazing with appearances from their Eddie-esque mascot; The Vein Of Creation and the Trainsaw. Don’t ask what that is, you won’t understand. Bison was excellent as well, even though James Farwell cut his finger after the first song. Seven layers of super glue wasn’t enough to patch it up. 

The second day was the craziest day of my life. West of Hell from Vancouver particularly killed it with their cool stage props, like grinders and fire extinguishers, not to mention how great their music is.

Terrifier showed that Vancouver’s metal scene is so stupidly deep and talented. The shenanigans really began when the headliner showed up. Yes my friends, we managed to land death metal legends Suffocation for the main event, but the real party began hours before their set. 

I was informed on short notice that I would be interviewing Suffocation. Little did I know, every member would be piss drunk by the time I hit their camp. I went up to lead singer Frank Mullen and said the only thing that could come to my mind. 

“Hey Frank, I’ve been a huge fan for years. Whats up buddy?”

His retort was spine tingling.

“Hey, thanks man. You’re lucky I don’t fucking kill you and your whole fucking family!”

I followed Frank around as he did more interviews and my fears were laid to rest. He didn’t single me out at all. He served death threats to everyone there and regaled us with how he killed his ex-wife. Pat Peeve picked him up, dropped him on the gravel hard and proceeded to run when Frank gave him a rather deathly stare. I seriously cannot make this shit up. 

Holy Grail was the last band to perform on the small stage and man did they ever have the crowd in the palm of their hands. More on them later. 

Archspire, Vancouver’s most gay technical death metal band, pulled out all the stops in the most brutal set of the night, sans Suffocation. Lead screamer Oli even whipped his junk out and had a broom tossed at him like a javelin. The broom didn’t stand a chance. Stay Tech.

Suffo’s set was exactly what you would imagine. Pure unadulterated death metal followed by constant death threats in between songs. They killed it, literally and figuratively. 

The last night of the fest and I managed to get no sleep. Zero. Why? Damn those boys in Holy Grail! Guitarist Eli Santana was so hammered he constantly repeated the phrase “It do what it do.” Co-guitarist Alex Lee couldn’t put his mad yo-yo skills to bed and drummer Tyler Meahl insisted on giving me a mustache ride with his facial dick tickler. Not to mention Expain guitarist Eric Morrison’s spot on impressions of Phil Anselmo.

Jesus, I got seven hours of sleep in three nights, saw 32 metal bands, drank my ass off, then hallucinated on the drive home. 

How was your weekend?

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