Another year, another Hopscotch! Each September, downtown Raleigh becomes the center of music in the state of North Carolina as over 100 plus artists convene in the city’s many music venues to perform for an ever-growing number of music fans. Hopscotch easily features one of the most diverse line-ups in the North American festival circuit as it plays host to some of the biggest indie bands, rap stars, even country, and most definitely the heavier side of music. Hopscotch has really outdone itself this year featuring some of the biggest artists in every category as Beach House will take the City Plaza stage, Young Thug will bring his unique brand of hip-hop to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Erykah Badu will bring her soulful voice to Red Hat. While I am more than excited for all of these acts, Hopscotch, without a doubt needs to be commended for their excellent curation of bands that play a heavier band. Following will be a brief spotlight on some of the bands that excite me most.
This Swedish blackened death metal band will be taking the Kings’ stage on Saturday night as the clock strikes midnight and are for sure not a band to miss for fans of heavy music as their music strikes the perfect balance between brutally heavy, but maintaining a strong sense of melody. The band is sure to enter the stage with incense, creating a pleasant smelling environment, but don’t let this fool you as they are heavy and will be decked out in corpse paint. Their latest album, Children of the Night, was a huge success and brought many new fans to band, including myself. The album can be heard here.
This band is a pretty big deal as it features only two members, Erik Wunder and the newest member, Charlie Fell (of Lord Mantis fame), who was recently added in 2016 right before the release of their monumental album Slow Forever. Cobalt very rarely plays show and has only toured the United States once in 2013, so think of this as a pretty big treat for Raleigh. Cobalt plays a brand of smorgasbord metal that features a little bit of influence from everywhere in the metal world including black metal, death metal, even a little bit of hardcore, and definitely strong doses of avant-garde tendencies. The band will be taking the Pour House stage at 11:30 on Friday night. Their most recent album, Slow Forever, can be found here.
Not everything heavy has to be metal and this here local band, hailing from Durham, is definitely not metal as they lean much more towards the screamo genre associated with bands like Circle Takes the Square or another North Carolina band Weak Wrists. Expect hallowing guitars with piercing screams from this queer screamo/hardcore band as they take the Lincoln Theatre stage at 8:30 Saturday night, opening for the larger than life metal band, Baroness. Their most recent release can be found here.
There’s really not a whole lot new I can say about this band. They’re arguably the biggest heavy band to be gracing this festival’s lineup as they have been kicking it since 1990 and boy, are they heavy. When I first heard Jane Doe back as a young teenage, my mind was blown at how heavy this band was. Their sound is pummeling, it’s abrasive, and most importantly it’s destructive. Lincoln Theatre should be nothing short of a warzone when they take the stage Thursday night at 12:30. This is a not miss set for anybody who considers their self a fan of heavy music as they are definite pioneers of the genre in recent years. Some of their music can be found here.