Festival season kicks into gear early this year in the form of Edinburgh based Heavy Scotland, which has no plans of being tentative with its debut line-up jammed full of bands on the top of their game and is looking likely to be up there with the strongest festival offerings of 2017. VIP tickets sold out in record time and festival director Caitlin Elliot is determined to put Scotland on the map with “a great big celebration of metal”. We caught up with her earlier in the year (read our interview here) to get her motivation behind initiating this festival and a little behind the scenes insight of the efforts to pull off an event such as Heavy Scotland. Now, here we breakdown the lineup in our full preview of Heavy Scotland!
BEHEMOTH – SATURDAY HEADLINER
It goes without saying that BEHEMOTH have cemented themselves as one of the most incendiary live bands on the circuit especially with their incredible full length performances of their latest album The Satanist. They are synonymous for their unrelenting aggression, frightening stage presence and unmistakable technical excellence and with this being an exclusive UK headlining show it is certainly one which cannot be missed!
ARCH ENEMY – SUNDAY HEADLINER
You would have been forgiven to expect the worst when long time vocalist Angela Gossow left the fold in 2014 leaving a gaping chasm in what was a staple of their signature sound but since the introduction of the monstrous vocal prowess of Alissa White-Gluz and renowned technical guitar wizard Jeff Loomis, ARCH ENEMY have managed to reinvent themselves and come out with a reinforced sense of purpose which makes them one of the main contenders to bring the Corn Exchange to its knees. With a plethora of anthems in their arsenal they are guaranteed to bring the house down.
They are without doubt one of the most inventive bands to grace the metal world in a long time fusing their own blend of ferocious operatic death metal which creates an intensity that is very rarely matched. Certainly not a band for the faint of heart as they harness such an unrelenting fire which is always projected in their live performances and they could potentially leave the rest of the line up in their wake.
The quartet hailing from Colorado have come a long way since their debut full length release in 2009 developing their sound and utilising the tools at their disposal to display a pure unbridled vibrancy which has been a breath of fresh air for the thrash metal scene. Combining their rapidly precise riffing with a touch of progressive death metal thrown in for good measure they have crafted a powerful sound which is too infectious to resist and is certain to get your head banging!
This Californian outfit have had their fair share of lineup changes in their decade spanning career including the departure of long standing guitarist John Laux but it has by no means dampened their spirits as they have continued to produce material stacked with hypnotic guitar riffs which were built to incite circle pits and create a whirlwind of devastation. Despite a brief period of inactivity they are scheduled to release their new album Woe To The Vanquished at the end of March and are determined to reclaim their stake in the thrash metal elite.
In 2012 the three piece released a thundering slab of tantalising death metal in the form of And So It Came To Pass and seemingly had the world at their feet but it all came to a screeching halt when bassist Henry Bates, who was a key contributor to the massive sound the band had crafted in their short lifespan, took a leave of absence in 2015 and since then the band have been in hibernation with a lot of people wondering if this signalled the end. Hope was found in the form of ARCEYE vocalist Al Llewellyn who has joined the fold and with the band currently recording their new album it will be intriguing to see whether they can maintain the same intensity that they were notorious for.
Wherever a metal party is afoot Finnish folk metallers FINNTROLL are a must! Bringing their own unique brand of crazy infectious mythically themed metal to the mix they are the perfect addition to a festival lineup guaranteed to liven up any venue. Don’t let their rather eclectic stage attire fool you, they have six albums to their name and are highly regarded in most metal circles. If you are not educated in the bizarre world of FINNTROLL now is the perfect time to get acquainted.
Still alive and kicking with as much energy as they did in their infancy after a career amassing almost 30 years Swedish pioneers GRAVE are still revered as one of the big players in the death metal game which is a true testament to their accomplishments. Despite their many lineup changes with founder and vocalist/guitarist Ola Lindgren being the sole remaining original member their pummelling display of doom laden death metal grooves brings a more sadistic level of aggression to Heavy Scotland and are sure to get the crowd fired up with their back catalogue spanning over 11 full length albums plus many more.
With the inclusion of the new breed of thrash metaller’s on the lineup it is only fair that one of the ‘old guard’ that put thrash metal on the map are thrown in the mix. Dubbed as one of Germany’s esteemed ‘Big three’ alongside KREATOR and SODOM and still harbouring two of their original members which formed DESTRUCTION a staggering 35 years ago, they are an inspiration to the metal world who are still crafting consistently punishing albums so what better reason than to witness them shred your face off!
For a three piece, Welsh death metal outfit SODOMIZED CADAVER possess a scarily powerful sound in their arsenal and they are not afraid to unleash it in a live setting. They are currently in the middle of recording their third release entitled Morbid Tales Of Mutilation and having already shared the stage with such legends as BRUTAL TRUTH and CATTLE DECAPITATION as well as gracing the stage of Bloodstock Festival 2016 they will be determined to make their mark in Scotland!
Heavy Scotland will be the first date of 2017 to witness British brutal death metal enthusiasts INGESTED so you can expect plenty of skull crushing riffs and unrelenting blast beats coming your way as the band will be determined to make a lasting impression. If their latest album The Architect Of Extinction is anything to go by the ground will be shook to its very foundations and your ears may be ringing for the remainder of the year!
A man who needs very little introduction and who is regularly a staple of the festival circuit BLAZE BAYLEY will make a welcome addition to the lineup, having just released his latest album entitled Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement III) and with the abundance of material at his disposal it is guaranteed to be a showcase and master class in heavy metal.
Belgian speed metallers EVIL INVADERS are a brilliant blend of old school and new thrash metal with their ferocious riffing, screeching/snarling vocals and flamboyant solo work. Influenced by Mercyful Fate, Kreator and Death amongst others they are currently working on a new album due for release sometime in 2017 so keep your eyes peeled and your necks warmed up!
Finnish hard rockers SHIRAZ LANE bring a little respite from the downtuned metal brutality with their own blend of falsetto dowsed punchy glam rock. The band are no strangers to foreign shores as they have played a variety of shows in Tokyo and Canada as well as performing at Wacken Open Air Festival 2015. They are currently touring in support of their 2016 full length release For Crying Out Loud and will certainly get the crowd singing/dancing along.
Edinburgh thrash metal outfit DISPOSABLE will be focused and poised to make an impact on their home soil which could make them one of the bands to keep your eye on at Heavy Scotland. Equipped with vicious vocals very reminiscent of the late great Dave Brockie/Oderus Urungus and hammer blow like riffs aplenty the quarter will most definitely make a last impression.
Scotland’s own unsigned metalcore quartet CENTRILIA add another dimension of intensity to Heavy Scotland with their hard hitting, high energy riffs and their blend of brutal growls mixed with soaring melodic vocal verses. They have already attained a considerable following in their home city of Glasgow so they will be looking to convert the attendees of the Corn Exchange come April.
Last but certainly not least the winners of the M.I.N.D battle of the bands LUCIFER’S CORPUS complete the lineup! The sludge metallers will be out to put the heavy in Heavy Scotland with their bludgeoning slab of dark matter. The Edinburgh outfit recently released their latest EP entitled Burdened which is available for streaming (and can be found below) so get yourselves acquainted with the tracks!
“Come and enjoy our amazing, beautiful city and party with 2,500 other metalheads. Some of our bands are releasing new albums early next year, some of the bands are only doing a handful of shows in 2017, and all of our bands deliver insane live shows, so don’t miss out. And I will see you in the pit because I want to go nuts too!” – Caitlin Elliot, Heavy Scotland Director
Heavy Scotland takes place on April 1st and 2nd 2017 at The Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Scotland. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.
For more information on Heavy Scotland like their official page on Facebook.