This weekend, Frank Golda of Metal Injection is putting on a heavy metal music festival, Slay at Home, to raise the spirits of music lovers in quarantine as well as raise funds for charity. The live stream festival features music artists who, from their own homes, perform a wide range of original music, cover song collaborations, commissions and debuts. Fans are anxiously awaiting appearances from special guests and what Golda describes as “never before seen performances of some of the best heavy metal artists in the world.”
This Friday, the lineup was stacked with bands and artists that rendered a plethora of diverse moods and styles. A unique metal highlight, Spylacopa, entered the scene with “Lovely One,” a tune that was reminiscent of a track on a western revenge flick. The bass player had his hair slickly greased back to fit the part and our host, Frank Golda, appeared playing drums. Sabrina Ellie’s pitches perfectly harmonized John LaMacchia’s tenor voice. Their second song showed the harder side of their sound with meatier bass riffs and the aggressive electric guitar.
Spotlights, a husband and wife rock duo, were among the many artists who emphasized the importance of thanking healthcare workers and essential workers that are fighting on through the pandemic. Accompanied by their drummer, they maintained a peaceful, ethereal sound while still delivering the harshness that was craved by their viewers. Sarah Quintero laid her bass lines on thick and looked like she was having so much fun doing it.
A refreshing come down from blazing guitar, A A Williams’ melancholic piano playing chaperoned by her soothing, sweeping voice gave perhaps the most tranquil performance of the day. She displayed a sorrowful play on indie rock with her powerful, yearning melodies and demeanor. When she played “All I Asked For,” it was apparent that she expressed an equated amount of passion and darkness as her fellow metal performers, yet in the opposite style.
PanaMama, a Van Halen cover band, performed a 4 song set that was honest and full of energy. The confidence of vocalist Shawna Potter shined through as she hit every note spot on with a big grin, keeping close to the style of the original songs. Guitar shredder and vocalist Gwarsenio Hall sported a face of black and white paint as he positioned himself around the room in various shots with his pink guitar, and a photo of Van Halen was propped up to pay tribute.
Silvertomb, the mashup doom metal band, is composed of Type O Negative members Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly, as well as Hank Hell of Inhuman, Joseph James of Agnostic Front and Aaron Joos of Empyreon. Starting out with “Insomnia,” it’s heavy-hearted message was mirrored in the vocals and guitar solos. They displayed a picture of the cover of their newest album, Edge of Existence, which came out last year before playing “Love You Without No Lies.”
From the second their set started Spirit Adrift stormed into our view with their atmospherically heavy sound akin to a form of dark wizardry. During the breakdown of “Divided by Darkness,” their fingers moved with an impressive quickness as they fingerpicked each note creating their complex sound. With a new album coming out this year they hope to be back on live stages as soon as possible.
Gavin Rossdale of Bush set a soft grunge mood as he was introspective and reflective during his set. His first song was a solo version of “Everything Zen,” the first song by Bush that kick-started their career and put them on the map. He then provided the audience with a comforting cover of “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper, which felt like a wholesome lullaby. It was a moment when we would pull our lighters out and sway side to side together.
Throughout the entirety of the event, fans were crying out for TesseracT in all caps in the comments, as one might shout during a live show. When the screen finally displayed their name, the comment section was bursting with excitement. Dan Tompkins opened up with a light falsetto that built up to the essence of their progressive metal sound as he stared with intensity. As they only played one song, the fans were fairly disappointed to already be moving on to the next performance and wanted more.
Another eagerly anticipated band was the closer, Suicide Silence, an influential deathcore band from Riverside, California. Each member was headbanging during their entire set as the breakdowns were skillful, high volume, and fast-paced combined with the coarse growl of Eddie Hermida. Tatiana Shmailyuk of Jinjer joined the group for a cover of “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains, which was very well received.
Donations were encouraged throughout the day by fans and musicians alike. MusiCares aims to provide financial relief for those in the music industry and Global Giving focuses on helping frontline workers. Programming pioneer of SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Jose Mangin, echoed the message of Slay at Home fest’s charity partners; When someone falls down in a mosh pit, we pick them back up. During the strange times of this pandemic, we must find the strength to support those who are struggling, even if it’s from a distance.