Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mayhem Festival, 14 AUG 2009

San Antonio, TX, USA

Fuck me sideways!!! This would have to be one of the most intense, insane and energetic gigs I have ever experienced. People of all shapes, sizes, dress sense, or lack thereof witnessing 9 hours of -insert genre/sub-genre-

Overall highlight; (LA) Slayer, without any doubt. These guys were relentless from start to finish. I'm sure I also witnessed the fastest drum set ever! Obviously I have no quantitative measure of the BPM generated by Dave Lombardo, but the way his double bass kick drum sent vibrations through my body I knew it was fucken' quick! An additional check mark which puts this performance above all others of the day/night was what I experienced down on the floor in front of the stage. I was pretty much a bee's dick away from an insanely aggressive pit of moshing, slamming and 'circle work'. From what I saw there was one major casualty but I'm sure there were others who either managed to drag their sorry arses out themselves or were dragged/carried out by others that I did not see. Towards the end of Slayer's set a second pit erupted and in quick succession joined 'forces' with the original pit to create one hell of a bash and barge for all those involved. A ferocious spectacle to say the least. In any sense I'm glad I was clear of it otherwise I'm sure I would not of been able to garner together my thoughts/opinions of this one hell of a metal music festival of carnage and mayhem.

Best theatrics; Contrary to popular belief, for me it was not Marilyn Manson but Behemoth, a Polish blackened death metal outfit. In addition to their gut wrenching vocals and pure stage aggression, their application of corpse paint, the customary 15 cm metal spikes incorporated into the shoulders of their (The) Matrix-like outfits and the blood capsules did it for me personally. Manson on the other hand seemed a little off his game. Perhaps 10 too many lines of blow done before his set. I think his poor musical performance distracted his overall stage performance and to me he was too pre-occupied with making his roadies run all over the stage tending to his every need. I'll take another beer, have a sip, spray that back out over the crowd, throw the bottle away, wipe my face with a towel, throw towel into crowd...I'll take another beer, have a sip,...well you get the picture. I guess it was no surprise then at the amount of metal fan faithfuls who left immediately after Slayer, before Manson even came on stage or the metal heads who left during Manson's set itself.

Most indecipherable vocals; Without question, Cannibal Corpse, a death metal quintet born out Buffalo, NY and raised in Tampa, FL. I had heard of these guys before and with particular reference to their unique, to say the least, album cover art work, their song titles and lyrics. When they dedicate their "Fucked With A Knife" track to all the "ladies" in the crowd then you start to get a picture of what this band is all about. Something you don't forget in a hurry. How their vocalist George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher can speak after a set, let alone perform like this day in, day out on such a tour I will never know. His vocals are truly incomprehensible but never the less, it was an experience (in a good way) I must say. I can also see why Corpsegrinder literally has no neck. He would be a perfect rugby prop forward as his continued head banging and 360 degree head rotations during a Cannibal Corpse set are obvious neck building and strengthening exercises. It's like this part of his anatomy has fused with his shoulders in a manner akin to geographical formations attributed to plate tectonic theory.

Surprise packets; The Black Dahlia Murder, a melodic death metal ensemble from Waterford, MI, and Whitechapel, a deathcore metal group from Knoxville, TN. I don't have much to write about these outfits except to say their aggressiveness and willingness to get the crowd, well moshers and slammers, fired up was very impressive. I guess you could however contest the melodic aspect of The Black Dahlia Murder as their vocalist, Trevor Strnad, will alternate between death metal growls and high pitched shrieking.

Very brief comments on the other acts (that I could remember).
Job For A Cowboy; death metal from Glendale, AZ. If that is what they're advertising then perhaps they should go back to Arizona and raise cows, rope some horses or some shit like that.

Negative 263; the local area winners of the battle of the bands. No Wiki entry for these 'kids' of the metal scene that describes their genre or no doubt sub-genre of metal and somehow I don't see a Wiki entry happening too soon.

God Forbid; just your plain old heavy metal band from East Brunswick, NJ. It is just that, "God Forbid" and "plain".

All That Remains; melodic metalcore from Springfield, MA. All that remains, well fuck all really.

Trivium; just another plain heavy metal band. No metal sub-genre to affiliate these Orlando, FL head bangers with, well that I could find anyway. Trivium were, in my opinion, trivial.

Bullet For My Valentine; I'm afraid that these Welsh metalcore lads missed the not so glam rock days by a good 20 years. Best they be traveling back in time.

Killswitch Engage; melodic metalcore band from Westfield, MA. These boys started with a lot of promise but I must of missed reading or hearing about the part where the Mayhem Festival had a spoken word component. If these cunts spent more time playing music and less time talking and giving the metal head fans a hard time about not being responsive enough then this set would of got my thumbs up. Also, I swear the dickhead doing all the ranting and raving was trying to do an Angus Young impersonation with his shorts, cape, playing the guitar in an above waist high position and his overall stage mannerisms. Leave that shit to the real Angus, 'mate'.

Well by now you're probably thinking that I had a shit time of it and wasted my money. Absolutely not! The highs far outweighed the not so highs and I will no doubt do another Mayhem Festival (or perhaps I should say, it do me) when it rolls into town next time. This was an experience that I will always remember.

A shout out must go to my metal brothers Canada and Brazil who shared the 9 or so hours of metal mayhem and my little pseudo-metal sister CB who rocked up to see Manson but also got to experience Slayer. A memory I'm sure she will not forget in a hurry. A huge thanks to Brazil too, who if it weren't for him and his extra supply of ear plugs I would no doubt be clinically deaf!

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