Heavy MTL Festival featuring Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Korn, Rob Zombie Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, July 24-25

Heavy MTL Festival featuring Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Korn, Rob Zombie Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, July 24-25
Heavy MTL debuted in 2008 with two days of (mostly) metal bands playing outdoors on Montreal's Île Ste-Hélène. Now, two years later, the fest returned at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Yes, corporate sponsorship meant food, drink and merchandise options were limited, and the reliance on pre-packaged tours sapped away some diversity and uniqueness that this kind of show might otherwise represent. But neither was enough to sabotage the energy and festive atmosphere, or the aura of success surrounding the event.

The action started with an opening set by 36 Crazyfists on Saturday, but it was Skeletonwitch who really wound the early crowd into action. Melissa Auf der Maur suffered the worst of frequent sound problems unphased, as she wooed her metal audience with a Type O Negative/Black Sabbath tribute to Peter Steele and other recently fallen metal "pirates." The music motored on for a solid ten hours through Kataklysm, Mastodon and Slayer, climaxing with Megadeth's performance of Rust in Peace in full.

Other highlights ran from the earnestly endearing Anvil to a thrashingly tight Testament, to screaming metal god Halford, to the horror theatrics of Alice Cooper and the fireworks bursting off site late in the night. The grounds looked like a small environmental disaster by the time the Saturday exodus started, but things looked surprisingly refreshed by Sunday afternoon, complete with a third stage.

Day two featured the only Canadian stop of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival with a few other bands tossed in to round out the schedule. Stage three was nearly crushed by the sound carrying over from the two main stages and the lineup on the whole was less was strong than the previous day's. But the attendance and enthusiasm remained high.

After a solid set by Alexisonfire (an interlude from the onslaught of breakdowns) and the intensity of Lamb of God, Sunday peaked with Rob Zombie's overtly Alice Cooper-esque stage show, complete with fire, robots, skeletons, costumes and a multi-screen multimedia backdrop. Korn followed up with an elaborate oil rig setup, but though they gave it a good go - mirrored by a huge sing-along sea of bouncing fans - their more straightforward performance felt anti-climactic, leading some in the crowd to call it an early night - at least until the after party.