Sounds Of The Underground @ Starland Ballroom

Every Time I DIeSAYREVILLE, NJ—For a metal festival, this year’s Sound Of The Underground wasn’t half bad (that being said with a pinch of salt because it was about five billion degrees, and the one band I went to see, Heavy Heavy Low Low, didn’t perform; more on that later). With a band lineup that looks interchangeable with Ozzfest, it was a bit uncomfortable to see the clash of genres stewing in the same sun-baked parking lot.

It’s unfortunate that the first band, 2 Cents, wasn’t well received by the audience; they were booed off stage with a couple thousand one-finger salutes. To the band, my apologies, and better luck next year.

This Is Hell’s set sounded amazing, even though I was about a mile away waiting for the shuttle bus for transport from the parking lot to the Starland Ballroom. I’m just a touch peeved that I missed that set, seeing as how This Is Hell is one of the only hardcore bands with an old school punk edge that I actually enjoy.

As usual, The Devil Wears Prada were fun and one of the only nonmetal bands to actually get a positive crowd response. The crowd’s reaction to these new kids on the block is definitely promising; if you can win the hearts of Goatwhore fans, your band must be doing something right.

It just wouldn’t be a metal festival without talking about how intense the pits were during the sets of Every Time I Die and Shadows Fall. I counted at least a dozen kids coming from the pits with blood-stained shirts and busted lips; what good clean fun, eh?

I refuse to write about SOTU and not talk about Necro, the only rap act on this year’s lineup. They refer to themselves as “death rap” (I assume it’s due to their fusion of rap and death metal). Though this act wasn’t my cup of tea, some people in the crowd seemed to dig it. That being said, there was also an open bar, and the air was thick with the stench of cannabis.

Heavy Heavy Low Low did not play, and for that I am still pissed. There were several inquiries on why the California grindcore band did not grace the stage and responses spanning from they weren’t playing that day of the tour to they were too high to pick up their instruments were given. After further research (and by that I mean checking the HHLL MySpace account), I came to discover the band did in fact show up in Sayreville, NJ, but because they came late, they were cut them from the day’s lineup.

The band that everyone came to see, Gwar, took the stage last. The blazing sun finally began to set, and there was enough “social lubricant” flowing through the crowd to open a speakeasy. Being the seasoned emo kid that I am, I was entirely too afraid to even watch the set, but it’s safe to say there were gallons of stage blood and other fun fluids covering the crowd by the set’s end.

Sounds Of The Underground 2007 was the most metal thing to happen to Jersey so far all summer. I pity any hardcore or metal fan from the area that missed the festivities.