Amnesia Rockfest, the largest rock festival in Canada, will be celebrating their 11th edition on June 23-26, 2016, with an insane lineup. But Amnesia Rockfest is way more than simply bands. It’s a small town that gets completely taken over and becomes a giant party for one weekend. It’s a magical vibe where anything goes, the best weekend of your life every year.
Learn more about Amnesia Rockfest here, and check out 10 bands you need to watch this year below!
Deathcore fan favorites Despised Icon have officially reunited after six years of being broken up and it’s like they almost never left. Having played a handful of shows over the past couple years, they officially announced their reunion this past winter as well as a new album entitled Beast. With a brutal onslaught of vocals from dual vocalists Alex Erian and Steve Marois backed by the machine gun-esque drums of Alex Pelletier, this is a band whose technicality is not to be missed. Reigning during the era of when deathcore was king in the heavy music scene, they’ve come back to show us all just how it should be done.
This year’s lineup at Amnesia is no stranger to bands that have reunited within the last year and one of the most exciting for the metalcore scene is none other than Underoath. (Y’know that band that inspired probably at least 75% of today’s current crop of bands in the scene.) Having completed their “Rebirth” reunion tour, is making fans’ dreams everywhere come true with what seems to be continuing plans to tour and play festivals. Nearly no one can compare to the live show this sextet puts on having managed to perfect the art over their tenure as a band.
At The Drive In
Rounding out my favorite reunions for the year and this year’s festival, we’ve got At The Drive In. Another seminal band responsible for inspiring countless bands after them, this quintet reunited earlier this year after having disbanded fifteen years previous in 2001. With the bands Sparta and The Mara Volta spawning from the band’s demise, members of the band haven’t been strangers to the music scene since ATDI left us brokenhearted. But, now, they’re back together and it’s like the early 2000’s all over again
Obey the Brave
Obey the Brave, although a smaller band on this lineup, is not a band to be missed. Fronted by Despised Icon vocalist, Alex Erian, they put on a great live show that pulls you in even if you’ve never seen them before. Even though, as it says in their Facebook bio, that they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, they make sure what they perform is some of the heaviest metal/hardcore you’ve seen. If you’re not pitting during their set, you’re obviously doing something wrong. I saw them for the first time when I was shooting the Drop the Gloves tour and they were filling in at the Toronto date and was completely blown away. So when I heard that they were a part of the Amnesia lineup, I’m pretty sure I jumped just as high as bassist Cory Wilson’s posi jumps during their set.
Zao also went and jumped on the reunion bandwagon of sorts, with their first new record since 2009 set to be released this year as well playing their first shows in four years. With all these reunions or whatever you call them, I have to keep pinching myself to check that it’s still 2016 and I haven’t walked into a void of some sort transporting me back to early 2000’s. Zao was one of the bands that originally ruled the heavy Christian music scene back in the day and now they’re back to claim their throne.
Lionheart is here to balance out the reunion party as they just announced their breakup recently at the end of May after around twelve years of leading the hardcore scene in pit calls and heavy breakdowns. Coming out of Northern California, their songs spoke to the truth of their lives and what they dealt with on a regular basis. Having released what seems to be their final album Love Don’t Live Here in January, the hardcore stalwarts are doing their final US and world tours before the Lionheart era comes to an end. Nobody could do straight forward hardcore like Lionheart could.
But, don’t worry, there’s still a handful of bands that can work together to fill the gap Lionheart is leaving behind and Expire is one of those bands. Explosive both instrumentally and vocally, they burst onto stage with an explosive, heavy presence. Doing Midwest hardcore proud, you find yourself wondering how they can keep that level of energy as high as they do for their entire set. Their last full length release, Pretty Low, deals with a lot of personal topics but they’re still also topics that nearly everyone has dealt with at some point in time.
Borrowed Time is also there to fill the gap in the hardcore void. Having originally been around during the golden hardcore age, they took a bit of a break only to come back just as strong and as heavy as before. Vocalist, Jim Lyons, delivers the crushing vocals as guitarists, Brendan Porray and Chris Pallatto, deliver the metal tinged riffs that get the pit moving. Meanwhile, bassist Dave Palermo and drummer Dave Larson provide the brutal backbone needed.
The Used is one of those bands that essentially doesn’t need any sort of introduction. Pioneers of their scene from the very beginning, their name and vocalist Bert McCracken’s name are pretty much commonplace nowadays. This goes for their first two albums as well, their self titled and their sophomore release In Love and Death. The latter of these will be actually played in full at Amnesia this year with the band having just finished up an anniversary tour for both albums. Songs like “Take It Away and I Caught Fire” were the emo anthems of a generation and now a whole new generation gets to learn and fall in love with this band just like we all did years ago.
Embracing that new age punk feel, SWMRS burst onto the scene with their debut full length, Drive North. Despite their claim to fame being that their drummer is the son of Bille Joe Armstrong (y’know the singer of Green Day), they still manage to make a name for themselves with their garage-rock, punk tinged tunes. Angsty and oozing California punk, songs like “Uncool” and “Turn Up” bring the listener back to the era of the 80s and 90s when pop-tinged punk was a thing. They even pen an angst ridden ode to their “punk rock queen,” Miley Cyrus.