Obscene Extreme 2015: Hey, that kind of rhymes!

"Montreal needed this, and it needed it sorely."

Obscene Extreme was a four-day smorgasbord of grindcore and death metal with over fifty bands for a headbanger to see. The very first instalment of the North American version of this hit European grind festival was a punishing delight for moshers and thrashers alike, bringing all together with the fury of pulsating blast-beats, distorted riffs, and growled lyrics. The mosh pit was active throughout the night, and was full of people in all kinds of costume - there was the classic guy in a banana suit from previous European iterations, as well as multiple kinds of masks, full body costumes, and more. People threw beach balls, toilet paper, and various inflatable objects around the pit as participants engaged in circle-pitting all throughout the festival. It was madness, and the kind of madness that I would like to see more often. Now, here are the groups that blew me away:

Jig-Ai took me (and a number of others) by surprise. This Czech group entered the show as relative unknowns, but left if with a legion of new fans. Their energetic take on goregrind inspired some of the more inspired moshing that I've seen in recent times, and their stage presence is as lively as their music. Their guitarist made good use of Theatre Telus' ample stage room as he darted from one side to another, jumped in the air, and swung his hair around. Agathocles reminded us all that "grind is protest," and blitzed through songs from their career spanning 30 years and countless releases. Frontman Jan AG interjected between songs with great one-liners, such as "nihilism and alcoholism are the only isms that I support." Gruesome entertained us with their painstaking re-creation of the sound of Death's first couple of albums. This was the very first show ever for this group of death metal and grindcore veterans, which isn't too bad considering that they already have an album out on Relapse Records. They played their entire album, plus "Born Dead" and "Baptized in Blood" by Death. Great stuff.

Putrescence were an early favourite of day number three, despite a sound issue that left everyone hearing a low-pitched hum throughout two thirds of their set. They didn't let this deter their orgy of grinding violence, as Soiled Mike led the crowd from song to song. Malignancy particularly blew me away, as their technical riffs and turn-on-a-dime drumming showed me the true extent of what tech-death can do. Danny Nelson's deadpan stage banter was hilarious to behold, and his unique approach to growling over the music was inspiring. Magrudergrind were bleeding amazing, and their vocalist impressed us with his ability in frontman jumps. The TP throwing reached its peak during this set, and the moshing was most intense. I'd go see them again. Broken Hope impressed us all with a set of old and new songs, with a healthy selection of tunes from Bowels of Repugnance and Swamped In Gore. Damian Leski provided sick, barfingly low growls that complimented the chugging riffs, and more than rocked the tunes once sang by now-deceased Joe Ptacek. Trap Them reigned on stage with a fervor not seen since the sacking of Rome, and each song from them was like getting kicked in the groin by a horse (but in a good way). Dropdead grinded though a set of socially-conscious tunes, as frontman Bob Otis peppered their time on stage with speeches concerning the welfare of animals, among other topics. He took the time to remind the audience that change begins with us, and they we need to change ourselves in order to change the world.

The real centerpiece of the whole festival for me, however, was Immolation. Having long been a fan of Immolation's body of work, this was the group to which I was most looking forward. I was not disappointed in the least. While they played a number of songs from their newest album, Kingdom of Conspiracy (an admirable album, to be sure), they lit a fire under the crowd with blazing renditions of classic songs. I had goosebumps when they played "Of Martyrs and Men", as well as "Higher Coward". The most enjoyable moment for me, though, was when they closed with their classic song "Close to a World Below". It was nothing short of epic. All of us in the crowd raised the horns in hails of this wonderful song. It was exhilarating. 

Obscene Extreme 2015 was an amazing time, and I only hope that it returns for another round in Montreal next year. Grindcore is protest, and grindcore is art. Let us all come together in the pit with funny costumes and mosh until we cannot mosh anymore. If not, then this earth is nothing but a world of shit.


--Sean Z. hosts the Sublime State Of Doom, only the heaviest and most brutal metal every Monday from 8 to 9 PM on CJLO.