RPM Fest brings metal to Montague

  • Salem-based band Carnivora plays on day two of RPM Fest on the Cherry Rail Farm stage. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Justin Brown, bassist of Carnivora, performs Saturday on day two of RPM Fest in Montague. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Revelers taking part in "Metal Yoga" put on by Daayani Yoga. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Iggy Passiglia, one of the students in Matt Kim’s Rock Shop camp, opened up the RPM music festival Friday at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Lich King performing on Friday, the first night of RPM Fest at the Cherry Rail Farm stage. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Gwell-O perform on Saturday at the Cherry Rail Farm stage. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Stage members of Gwell-O don giant robot suits and do battle in the middle of a mosh pit. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • Pittsfield-based thrash metal band Goblet play on the Ginger Libation Stage on day two of RPM Fest. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

  • The RPM music festival kicked off Friday at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The RPM music festival kicked off Friday at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The students in Matt Kim’s Rock Shop camp opened up the RPM music festival Friday at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Patrons take part in oversized beer pong. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/ALEX LINDSAY

Staff Writer
Published: 9/2/2019 2:00:13 AM

MONTAGUE — The normally tranquil woods of Montague just got a taste of death metal, thrash metal, progressive metal, groove metal, grindcore and many other subgenres included under the “metal” umbrella — and some punk too.

This past weekend was the fifth RPM Fest, a weekend of camping, games, food vendors, craft beers and — above all — fast, heavy music.

Put on by PDP Productions and Promotörhead Entertainment, RPM Fest has become one of the biggest metal shows in Western Massachusetts since starting in 2014. More than 50 bands played on either the Cherry Rail Farm, Ginger Libation or The Enthusiast stages at the Millers Falls Rod & Gun Club this Friday through Sunday. 

For fans who attended the festival, their love of the intense, adrenaline injection that is metal is a unifier. They’re all metalheads. 

“Metal shows are always like a family reunion,” said Miles Bryant, from New Hampshire, who said he has been a concert-going fan of heavy music for over a decade. “You go to enough of these and you start recognizing all the people from other shows. We’ve got a great metal scene in New England, beautifully brutal.”

Indeed, several of the bands that played over the weekend were local, like Athol band Necronomichrist, or Easthampton-based Kindling. 

“New England, and Massachusetts more specifically, has always been a big area for hardcore and metal,” Bryant said. “And then you’ve got smaller scenes within that, like Worcester… It gives a down-to-earthness to the scene that you wouldn’t get going to a big pop concert.”

Bryant traveled with a few friends from the southern New Hampshire to camp out and see some of the bands, particularly nationally known West Virginia prog-metal band Byzantine and the comedic metal band Psychostick.

But it wasn’t just for the music, and they quickly found other quirky excitements at RPM Fest, including metal yoga and metal karaoke — with screamed lyrics and “death growls” included. 

“I never thought I would see metal yoga,” said Jamie Reed. “That’s insane and awesome.”

This was the first year RPM Fest was pushed back a week, to Labor Day weekend, and music ended at 10 p.m. each night, an hour earlier than at previous RPM Fests. Both of these measures were taken due to concerns about noise. Concern and complaints about noise are things the festival organizers are used to — in 2017, RPM Fest took a year off, a hiatus after noise complaints in Greenfield, where the festival was previously held. 

But in between the raucous of bands like Swashbuckle or Mobile Deathcamp, the festival was relatively quiet, with people playing with Frisbees or resting by their tents, recuperating for the next moshpit. 

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 


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