Metal's in the Eye of the Stoned Goat.
Admittedly, anything called "The Eye of the Stoned Goat'' is going to attract a certain amount of attention. But upon deeper inspection, it appears the two-day festival being held May 3-4 at Ralph's Rock Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester, is full of surprises and unfamiliar gems.
Here's a look at a few songs by some of the bands performing.
*"Antithesis,'' by Second Grave: This band is a familiar face around Worcester, and always brings a storm cloud with it. Every hard-hit note in this song is laden with a sense of foreboding, and as always, Krista Van Guilder's vocals are simply gorgeous.
*"Vanishing Point,'' by Cortez: This Boston-based band offers straight-up metal at its finest, fast-paced and unpretentious. Everything in the song is propulsion, barreling forward frenetically. There's something electric in that breakneck ride, as well as in the delightful guitar hooks that grab you by the neck just as you've adjusted to the velocity.
*"Huckleberry,'' by Ichabod: OK. This Lowell band already won points from me by starting a song with a sample of Val Kilmer in "Tombstone,'' which is among my favorite moments. Just putting it out there. But even putting that aside, this "stoner/psychedelic/doom-rock'' band is the sort of song you can just let go and drift along into.
*"Easy Come, Easy Go,'' by Foghound: This Baltimore-based band gets right down to business on this gritty little rocker. It's the sort of rock you expect to stumble upon in some bar you've been vaguely assured is a safe place to drink. And frankly, it's a lot of fun ... everything moves at a great clip, and the distortion gives it that "something's gonna break'' feel that keeps the blood-pulsing. Naturally, it all lands fine.
*"Holy Days Aren't Here Again,'' by Birch Hill Dam: Birch Hill Dam is another band with a strong local following, and when you listen to the sidewinder Southern-rock influenced guitar on this song, it's easy to understand why. The track rolls on like a river for about two minutes before an eruption of vocals breaks through, a crack of reality in a pleasant dream. The effect is both jarring and surprisingly restrained.
And that's just a sampling. Other bands scheduled to appear include Sixty Watt Shaman, Beelzefuzz, The Scimitar, Kings Destroy, Geezer, Ogre, Volume IV, Curse the Son, John Wilkes Booth, Skrogg, Neon Warship, Set, Rozamov, Lord Fowl and Order of the Owl. The shows begin at 4:30 p.m. May 3 and at 3:30 p.m. May 4. Admission is $20 for both days.
Email Victor D. Infante at Victor.Infante@Telegram.com, or follow him on Twitter @ocvictor.