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Gilead Media Music Festival - Oshkosh, WI

On Sunday, I drove 90 miles north of Milwaukee to the Electric Lounge in Oshkosh for day two of the inaugural Gilead Media Music Festival.  Based in Oshkosh, Gilead Media ( run by Adam Bartlett, is a label that specializes in heavy, heavy music and the fest featured many of the bands the label has released.  The first thing one observes when entering the hall was the abundance of merchandise available for sale.  Vinyl is definitely the medium of choice when it comes to extreme or black metal.  The first band I saw went on at 1:30pm.  I’ve got high-lights: (Detroit Bernie fans will understand the reference).  Baby Boy, from New Orleans, featured heavy hooky rhythms, in the AmRep style of crunching guitars but with screaming vocals added.  These were 3 minute metal attacks, get in/get out.  Twenty ear-shattering minutes later, they were done.  One band in, I’m already exhausted.  Sleepwalker plays dark, slow, plodding black metal.  Their set included big riffs, insane screaming, and the heaviest drummer I have ever seen.  This is scary stuff, indeed.  From Milwaukee, Northless play a slow, pounding, methodical kick to the head, but with understandable vocals and a heavy as hell melody.  Featuring songs from their latest release, Clandestine Abuse, Northless whipped the crowds into a frenzy, the entire crowd head bobbing in unison.  The Body, a two piece, use found sound samples, sludgy, low guttural riffs and an ungodly high pitched scream that shook the entire room and probably scared every dog within ten miles of the venue.  False, featuring perhaps the scariest singer of all black metal bands, playing the most intense, abrasive, and relentless hell ride I have heard.  This was bone crushing and quite honestly scared me a little.  I’m not sure how they can keep up that intensity for thirty minutes.  Leaving with my new vinyl and t-shirts, I thought of what Erik Stenglein of Northless said about the festival, “there were no shitty bands at this festival”.  Thanks to Adam and Gilead Media for putting it on and possibly to another next year.