Pulp Summer Slam is undeniably the biggest heavy metal festival in Southeast Asia. Pulp Live World pulled off yet another successful music festival as hordes of metalheads lined up outside the venue on April 25. It’s simply the most anticipated gathering for those who like their music loud and heavy.
Since 1999, music fans from around the metro and the rest of the country go on an exciting pilgrimage to Amoranto Stadium, Quezon City to partake in an afternoon filled with headbanging, circle pits, and walls of death. It’s the most-awaited event for rock ‘n roll and heavy metal fans as Pulp never fails to present only the best performers from here and abroad. Rain or shine, nothing can stop Pinoy fans from attending this one-of-a-kind event. This year, Pulp Summer Slam XV: Angels Ascend, attracted a total of 25,000 fans – all revved up to party all afternoon up to the wee hours of the morning.
Contrary to popular belief, Pulp Summer Slam isn’t hell, but instead considered a haven for people whose only desires are to headbang freely and sing along to their favorite rock and metal tunes. Concertgoers share the love for hard rock and metal music, which makes Pulp Summer Slam a peaceful congregation of music fanatics since it first came out 15 years ago.
Pulp assemebled a monster lineup this year featuring some of the largest local Pinoy acts and legendary foreign metal bands. The event also witnessed the reunion of Pulp and Red Horse Beer – and with this partnership, expect nothing but one helluva musical extravaganza.
Pulp Summer Slam XV kicked off early this year as the first performers took over the stage shortly after lunch time. Red Horse bands with the likes of OPM rock giants Razorback, Kjwan, and WilaBaliW welcomed the sea of fans to the event with their energectic vibes and well-loved OPM songs. Despite the intense heat and humidity that afternoon, the Red Horse bands primed the audience as screams of excitement only grew louder into the evening.
Red Horse Muziklaban 2014 grand champion Nobela also performed and proved they are definitely one up and coming band to watch out for. Rock legends Pepe Smith and Ely Buendia also graced the event to show their undying support to this iconic gathering and to thank all those who have weathered through hellish traffic and unforgiving weather to make it to the show.
Aside from the four legendary headliners, Pulp Summer Slam also featured foreign acts that are slowly making a name for themselves in the metal realm.
Chthonic, considered forerunners of Taiwanese folk/black metal, were invited to perform. The local audience was enthralled not only with the apperance of the leather-clad band, but also enchanted with the unique tunes they presented that afternoon. The attendance of a Southeast Asian band solidified the positive influence and reputation of Pulp Summer Slam not only here in the Philippines, but in neighboring countries as well.
Other foreign acts that helped in prepping the audience for an evening of heavy metal loudness were Escape the Fate and The Word Alive. These post-hardcore bands have succeeded in their mission of keeping the energy levels of the audience at an optimum the entire afternoon. These bands already have their following in the Philippines – that which is not surprising, as their aggressive tunes perfectly suit the ears of the younger metal generation.
The big three of the Filipino metal scene also took over the stage and gave everybody the reason to sing, headbang, and jump along with them. Greyhoundz, Slapshock, and Queso performed with extreme levels of enthusiasm. The metal masses shouted for more as frontman Ian Tayao jumped off the stage and crowdsurfed midway into their set. Jamir Garcia of Slapshock opened their set with the crowd favorite, “Wake Up.” People from the VIP area’s Snake Pit and those situated along the stadium’s bleechers jumped for excitement as they sang along with three of the greatest Pinoy metal bands that has been performing in SummerSlam from the get go.
After almost nine hours of neck-breaking performances from local and foreign bands, you think the metalhordes would pack up and go home, but NO! About 25,000 metalheads flocked to Amoranto Stadium for this year’s surreal headliners: Carcass (UK), Cradle of Filth (UK), Killswitch Engage (US), and Suffocation (US).
Almost all death metal and grindcore Pinoy fanatics will tell you that Carcass is their dream band to watch live. This death metal band is not only the pioneers of the grindcore metal subgenre, but they’re also one of the more exceptional bands in the realm of symphonic death metal. Carcass frontman Jeff Walker, along with the rest of the band, felt the anticipation and adulation of the Filipinos as they hit the stage.
The set was short of amazing as the legendary band played some of their brutal songs from classic albums Heartwork and Necrotism. As expected throngs of people moshed as Carcass played songs from their latest album, Surgical Steel. In between, Jeff Walker entertained the fans with his humor – something that was foreign and dark, but still considered as one of the highlights of their set.
If there was one band that caught the attention and fascination of Pinoy metalheads during the concert, it would be Cradle of Filth. This iconic band not only displayed talent but also glorious, old-school theatrical performance like no other. The UK-based symphonic black metal band has always been at the top of their game since their formation in 1991.
A lot of effort and hardwork goes into staging a grand set as that of Cradle of Filth, and Pulp Live World exceeded our expectations. The stage and the platform that divided the general admission section and the VIP Snake Pit were outfitted with effects that spit flames, which only made the Cradle of Filth performance more awe-inspiring than it already is.
Dani Filth with the rest of the band, came out donning their usual leathery gothic outfits and corpse-painted faces, shocked the audience but later on made them want for more extreme metal heaviness. Shrieks were not only heard from frontman Dani Filth, but also from devoted fans that sang along COF favorites such as “Lilith Immaculate” and “Nymphetamine.” Despite the extreme heat of that evening, which we only assume is tedious for someone wearing heavy makeup to perform, Cradle of Filth remained both explosive and addictive. With their first-time performance here in the country, they have successfully introduced the Filipino audience into the world of extreme heavy metal.
The reception for Killswitch Engage during their second performance here in the Philippines was outrageously surreal. After watching Carcass and Cradle of Filth, you’d think energy levels would die out as the band performed past midnight. But for thousands of metalcore fans, KSE is the main highlight of Summer Slam XV.
Even old-school metalheads couldn’t help themselves from jumping and bobbing their heads as Jesse Leach ran all around the stage throughout their set. Metalheads sang with him as he dedicated one of their songs to the Fallen 44. Crowd favorites such as “My Curse” and “My Last Serenade” appealed not only to men but also to the ladies who screamed for more. It was truly a killer set from KSE, who also managed to keep the hype up for the last band to perform – the iconic band Suffocation.
In the world of death metal, the band Suffocation is synonymous to brutal guttural vocals and deafening blastbeats. Despite the fact that Suffocation was the last band to play in the wee hours of the morning, they were able to keep the audience engaged as they performed like a well-drilled musical machine.
Suffocation did all their best to break the necks and shake the nuts of those who decided to remain until the end of the concert with their badass pieces – “Thrones of Blood,” “Infecting the Crypts,” and “Effigy of the Forgotten” to name a few. Suffocation fed the people with what they desired – a brutal performance that will remain memorable to its Pinoy fan base for many years to come.
In all, the 15th year of Pulp Summer Slam was a success. Approximately 25,000 souls were united with a single goal in mind – bang their heads like there’s no tomorrow. Our very own local bands showcased talent and power that helped in influencing the growing rock and metal scene in the country today. The success of Pulp Live World inviting big names such as Carcass, Cradle of Filth, and Suffocation ultimately proves that the Philippines is increasingly becoming an important heavy metal hub in Asia. The best is yet to come.