Returning from the gates of hell after 20 years for one day full of Heavy Metal, beer and ink, Tattoo The Earth festival is back at the Palladium Outdoors in Worcester, MA. Headlined by Anthrax, the lineup included many hardcore pioneers as well as a few kick-ass old-school Heavy/Thrash Metal bands.
And as the name implies, the event drew the best of the best tattoo artists in the Northeast for this historic festival.
Tattoo The Earth festival – 27 August 2022
Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk
Over on the main stage, Within The Ruins brought the heat. The band is a 4-piece with half of the founding members remaining. This set was their first show of the year and their heroic return to the Palladium after their previous show in 2021 opening for Shadows Fall. The first circle pit of the day ensued, and it was epic! A great start.
Next on the second stage was Spirit Adrift, an old-school Heavy Metal band founded in Mesa, Arizona and now based in Austin, Texas. The Tattoo The Earth festival was the last stop on their month-long tour as direct support for Crowbar, who would be taking the stage later that evening.
Due to their genre difference from most of the bands on the bill, they stood out in a good way. Just like the big Metal festivals in Europe, the audience didn’t seem to care that Spirit Adrift brought a different style than the rest of the bands.
Taking the main stage next were Bleeding Through. Coming all the way from Orange County, California, they were taking no prisoners. After the band called it quits in 2014, fans weren’t sure whether they would hear from their beloved Metalcore band again.
But like many bands, this group couldn’t resist getting back to the stage again and reformed in 2018. This band was a perfect fit for the festival boasting 15+ years of total Metalcore mayhem, and the show they brought to the Tattoo The Earth main stage was insane.
Now it was time to head over to the second stage for Metalcore pioneers Overcast. The band features local legends Brian Fair of Shadows Fall on vocals and bassist Mike D’Antonio of Killswitch Engage as well as two stellar guitarists Scott McCooe and Pete Cortese as well as the thunder himself – Jay Fitzgerald on drums.
If there’s one thing this group knows how to do, it’s getting the crowd moving. Bringing heavy riffs and lots of energy in their performance, it’s impossible to stand still.
A little bit of Swedish Death Metal never hurt anyone! Back over at the main stage, At The Gates were kicking ass. This U.S. tour they’ve been on is the first with the band for touring guitarist Daniel Martinez, and he’s doing a mighty fine job. Their set featured, entirely in the original order, the band’s fourth studio album, Slaughter of the Soul.
This next band has been kicking it since 1990 on the streets of New Orleans, but here in 2022, they were kicking it on the second stage at the Tattoo The Earth festival in Worcester. I’m talking about Sludge Metal pioneers, Crowbar.
In the history of the band, there has only been one constant, and that is their beast of a frontman Kirk Windstein. This show was the last stop on the band’s Riff Beast U.S. summer tour, but they showed no signs of exhaustion and performed like it was the opening night.
Taking the main stage were local metallers The Red Chord. Their set at the festival featured many firsts and unique moments. From the band’s first-ever performance of Mouthful Of Precious Stones, first time in eight years playing Demoralizer and Tread On The Necks Of Kings, and first time in 13 years playing Send The Death Storm.
The band brought up a special guest vocalist, Candace Kucsulain of Walls of Jericho, for the performance of their song Antman.
Next was one of the most legendary hardcore bands, coming from Los Angeles, California. Turning Pain Into Power at the top of the hour over on the second stage, it was time to rage with Terror.
The band has two remaining original members, vocalist Scott Vogel and drummer Nick Jett. The band set the tone from the jump. “No standing still,” says Vogel as the crowd amps up their moshing and crowd-surfing.
Terror are regarded as one of the most influential hardcore bands of modern times, and based on their influence on the Tattoo The Earth audience alone, they are most certainly deserving of that title.
My home town band, hailing from Bridgeport, CT, Metalcore icons Hatebreed, had, by far, the most intense moshing and crowd-surfing of the night. The energy in the air was fierce.
The band is currently touring the U.S. in support of their 2020 studio album Weight Of The False Self and will continue the tour through November. These guys have been through hell and back together, and you can see the connection they have when they perform.
Jamey, Chris, Matt, Wayne and Frank are all monsters on their respective instruments, and they know what it means to be hardcore through and through.
Headlining the second stage was Municipal Waste, the ultimate crossover thrashers from down south in Richmond, Virginia. These five guys were definitely one of the best bands of the festival.
They brought energy, technicality, style, beefy riffage, and chaos in all the right ways. The band finished their North American tour in support of their latest album, Electrified Brain. Municipal Waste have been dubbed “party thrash”, and boy, did they throw a party at the Tattoo The Earth festival, throwing beers and a garbage can into the crowd – all in the name of Metal.
From Breathe Grease to a new release, Grave Dive, to Wave Of Death and Born To Party, this group put on an absolutely killer set.
Next up, the man, the myth, the legend himself Mr Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. The current lineup features John DeServio on bass, Dario Lorina on guitar, Jeff Fabb on drums and Zakk Wylde taking on a 6-string and a mic.
Something a lot of bands don’t have today is that element of mystique, but this is something that Black Label Society has in abundance. With Zakk’s kilt, the guitar god style behind the head shred duel in Fire It Up, gritty but mystical piano ballads, the tone is set.
Closing out the night, one of the iconic big four of Thrash Metal from the Big Apple, Anthrax! These guys have not lost a single ounce of fire since their days playing clubs in NYC.
The passion, the energy, the excitement, and the songs are all still alive in the band. They took the stage after a lengthy video compilation of celebrities talking about their love for Anthrax, starting out strong right out of the gate with Among The Living, Caught In A Mosh, Madhouse and Metal Thrashing Mad.
Guitarist Scott Ian takes ownership of the stage, jumping and running all around like a madman, and bassist Frank Bello headbangs and stomps around and joins drummer Charlie Benante up on the risers for a rhythm section party.
Guitarist Jon Donais shreds while windmill spinning his hair, and frontman Joey Belladonna runs around throwing up the horns and egging on the crowd to get louder.
These five guys are true performers in every sense of the word, and their show is not one to miss.
A great festival, well organised with a superb lineup, let’s hope there is not another 20 year wait for the next edition of Tattoo The Earth.