Last year I had the pleasure hitting my first Smash Fest down in Gisborne, New Zealand - and this year I was back again for another round of some of New Zealand's best underground and upcoming metal acts, along with a healthy dose of Medieval fighting between acts.

While Friday's opening "camp stage" hit unforeseen consent issues with the council, last-minute reparation's found Smash Palace coming to the party to host us on the indoor stage - much to the amusement of several Rhythm and Vines overstayers and local patrons.

As Wellington's Opium Eater had to cancel at the last minute last year, they more than made up for it with this years closing set, along with Christchurch's Vixen Execution featuring Liam Hand (Silent Torture) on vocals; standing in for Dan Birrel because of last-minute issues preventing his attendance - this alone show cases the "family" nature of the local metal scene and I love it.

Catching Wellington's Dark Divinity and both Auckland's Extinction Campaign and Exordium Mors were even more highlights of the weekend - altho, let's face it - every act was awesome and anyone who missed the weekend missed out on something special.