The inaugural Pulse of the Maggots Festival ensured an especially memorable Friday the 13th. The digital gathering pooled an international collection of 20 different artists from various subgenre of aggressive music. The dynamic, diverse daylong patchwork of programming ran the gamut from hardcore, alternative hip hop, nu-metal, prog, thrash, tech, death and more.
Underscoring Knotfest's emphasis on discovery, the free festival provided a unique platform for the roster of talent that merits the spotlight. The three digital stages offered entertaining segments of sets throughout the day.
The MusiCares Stage opened with Norway's Once Awake, followed by the searing shred of the LA-based Thrown Into Exile, Finland's I Revolt, and a pummeling from 156/Silence.The genre-blurring of Death Tour dared to make heavy music feel dangerous again, while Death Blooms, VCTMS, Aussie exports Diamond Construct offered a dynamic drubbing that translated with the kind of energy that felt like the early afternoon of a proper festival.
The Rock Against Racism Stage featured Wargasm's masterful brand of apocalyptic-pop alongside the death metal decimation of Mexico's Introtyl. Scarlet debuted her Obey The Queen project with Sweden's dEMOTIONAL provided sweeping, melodic hooks combined with doses of heaviness. Iowa's Vended proved potently volatile, Orbit Culture absolutely crushed, and UK's Hacktivist seamlessly transitioned from sleek verses to gut-checking growls.
The ESP Guitars Stage punctuated the day's festivities with five performances from some of aggressive music's meteorically rising stars. Year of the Knife were thoroughly obliterating in delivering live versions of cuts from their album of the year candidate, Internal Incarceration. Newcastle metalcore prospects October Ends came through will a pulverizing set that was equal parts punchy and precise. The enigmatic PRXJEK proved emphasized the versatility of modern era of aggressive music.
Closing out the festival's programming included a brilliantly unhinged set from modern nu-metal innovators, Tallah. The performance was captured by punk, metal, and hardcore documentarian Hate5Six and showcased the band's unfiltered combustion. The festival's finale concluded with Mexico City's very own, Cerberus. The band's raucous rock-driven anthems were the audio fireworks that functioned like the victory lap the day deserved.