Medusa in Wellington has been a proud supporter of local metal since day one, continuing a long tradition of bars in that site. 2012 saw the third year of their Capital Punishment festivals, featuring 12 hours of the best of New Zealand (and Australian) metal.
Organising 12 bands, getting them to play on schedule and managing everything else that goes with a live music venue and bar is no easy task, but the team at Medusa had it running like clockwork; this was the first gig, let alone festival, that I can recall sticking so tightly to the advertised times.
The show kicked off at 3 in the afternoon and by the time I arrived a couple of hours later (unfortunately missing Rising Force and Scaphist) there was already a healthy crowd in attendance, lapping up the raw intensity of Elephant of the Ocean. From there on the crowd just kept growing, with a steady stream of metal fans from all over the country turning up to witness the best display of metal we've seen in a long time.
The next few hours seemed to pass in a blur of exceptional metal, friendly faces and general good times. Bulletbelt smashed out a brutal set of harsh black metal with a punk twist; Molest the Episcopate enthralled with their anti-religion fuelled hardcore; Shakahn played a particularly tight set, that featured a more relaxed sound, yet were still heavy enough to please the old fans; New Way Home impressed with their melodic sound; Subtract blew the crowd away with their huge sound.
As midnight approached Australian crew Fear The Setting Sun lifted the energy levels further, setting the scene for the final bands, In Dread Response, Machete Justice, and closing the night veterans of the local metal scene, Human.
It's hard to pick the highlights from such a strong showing, but the crowd favourites were definitely Shakahn, who were performing with their original lineup for the first time in years. During their short and intense set it was easy to see why they've always had such a strong following in Wellington, with the band seeming to enjoy playing for the audience as much as we enjoyed listening to it. Their set had the crowd slamming into each other, jumping about like crazy and up on stage. Itís been a long time since these lads last played together and they showed that they havenít been mucking about during their time off.
Only a hardy few made it through the full 12 hours, but everyone who turned up to pack out the bar seemed to have a great time. Old friends were found, new friends made, and an awesome night of metal was had by all. Thanks to Medusa for supporting the local metal scene, and hopefully we'll get to see Capital Punishment back next year, bigger and louder than ever.