November 21, 2014 Knotfest closes out with a bang San Bernardino, CA 10-26-14
After a day filled with thirteen hours of non-stop Metal, fans gathered once again for a final twelve hours of Knotfest on Sunday October 26th. Adding diversity to the farewell of 2014’s gathering, a mix of Metalcore, Grindcore, and even some Hip Hop was sprinkled over five stages guaranteed to have something for every type of extreme music lover. With twenty-six bands scheduled, including an encore performance of Slipknot, it was going to be a day to remember for everyone involved at San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds in San Bernardino, California .
At Stage 005 around 12:45 PM, Exmortus was preparing to dig into the crowd. Started in 2002, from Whittier, California, this quartet is comprised of Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez (Guitar/Vocals), David Rivera (Guitar), Aldo Bibiano (Bass), and Mario Moreno (Drums). Signed to Prosthetic Records, Exmortus offer up complex and hook-laden Metal music with Death/Thrash riffage and precise drumming along with a dual lead guitar attack. Opening with “Slave to the Sword,” they barreled through “Immortality Made Flesh,” “Foe Hammer,” and “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3),” and fittingly finished off with”Metal is King.” Their album Slave to The Sword is out now and worth picking up.
Veil of Maya:
Approximately 12:50 PM at Stage 002, the audience bared witness to Chicago, Illinois band Veil of Maya. Founded in November of 2004, They offer their brand of Metal with mixed elements of Progressive Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Thrash and Hardcore brutality. Currently on Sumerian Records, Veil of Maya is comprised of Sam Applebaum (drums), Marc Okubo (guitars), and Danny Hauser (bass guitar). Opening with “Subject Zero,” the setlist followed with “Punisher,” “Winter Is Coming Soon,” “[id],” “Unbreakable,” “We Bow in Its Aura,” “Mark the Lines,” “Crawl Back,” “20/200,” and finished off with “It’s Not Safe to Swim Today.” With their last full-length album Eclipse (2012) still ringing in the ears of fans, the band has a new album in the works with new single “Subject Zero” out now. Veil of Maya will also be embarking on their Ashes to Ashes European Tour 2015 with Chelsea Grin beginning in February.
I, of Helix:
Founded in 2009 in Orange County, California, unsigned Experimental Metal band I,of Helix found their way to Stage 004 at 1:20 PM. Consisting of Isaiah Pritchard (Guitar), Ramone Valerio (Bass), James Strang (Drums), Mason Brammer (Guitar), and Nathan Mead (Vocals), the band was nominated for ‘Best Metal’ in the OC Music Awards. Putting on an impressive performance at Knotfest proves to be another step in the right direction for this young band. Their breakthrough EP Isolations is out now.
Founded in 2006 and currently a member of Metal Blade Records family, Knoxville, Tennessee Deathcore’s Whitechapel commanded Stage 003, beginning at 1:25 PM. Ben Savage (lead guitar), Alex Wade (rhythm guitar), Gabe Crisp (bass), Zach Householder (rhythm/lead guitar), and Ben Harclerode (drums) started before Phil Bozeman took the stage with the very first instrumental track “Rise”. Proving an instrumental intro is always the best to wrangle in a crowd, this led directly to “Our Endless War” from the band’s impressive new album Our Endless War, released in April.. Proud to support and represent their newest material, they mixed in older pieces like “The Saw Is The Law” and “Let Me Burn.” Putting on a blistering display of passionately release, they played on with “Section 8”, “I Dementia”, “Faces” and “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence,” allowing new spectators, as well as faithful fans, to see the progression in this talented band.
Founded in 2010, from Los Angeles, California, the supergroup known as Attika 7 took Stage 005 at about 1:40 PM. Made up of vocalist Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard), guitarist Ira Black (Lizzy Borden, Metal Church, Vicious Rumors), drummer Tommy Holt (U.P.O.), and guitarist Rusty Coones (Sons of Anarchy series), this band are true American outlaw Heavy Metal Rock. Playing a no-holds-barred set including tracks “Waiting For the Darkness” and “Devil’s Daughter,” Attika 7 grabbed a lot of positive attention from the crowd. To the delight of fans, the band have a new album titled Blood of My Enemies coming soon.
Meanwhile, at 2 PM on Stage 002, powerful Metal veterans Devildriver were about to begin. Originating in 2002 from Santa Barbara, California, the band is made up of Dez Fafara (vocals), John Boecklin (drums), Jeff Kendrick (guitar), Mike Spreitzer (guitar) and Chris Towning (bass). A bittersweet performance for Devildriver, this would be their final show for their Winter Kills tour. In fact, it turned out to be the last performance for the band before they would announce they are going on hiatus for a bit. Despite the sad news, a passionate Fafara will be working on new material, as well as performing, with Coal Chamber. Fafara also assures followers that this is not the end of Devildriver and they will be back in 2016 recording new material. With that being said, they put on a great last hurrah show opening up with their earlier works such as “End Of The Line” and “Head on To Heartache (Let Them Rot).” Other songs showcased were “Not All Who Wander Are Lost,” “Before the Hangman’s Noose,” “I Could Care Less,” “Hold Back the Day,” “Clouds Over California,” “Ruthless,” and “Meet the Wretched.” No doubt one most memorable and greatest performances for day two, Devildriver were outstanding from start to finish and now fans patiently wait for their return.
At 2:35PM on Stage 005, the audience found the theatrics of Göteborg, Sweden’s Avatar. Founded in 2003, their line-up is made up of Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström (Vocals), John Alfredsson (Drums), Kungen (Guitars), Tim Öhrström (Guitars), and Henrik Sandelin (Bass). The Dark carnival, atmospheric “Metal-N-Roll” had all in attendance awe-struck. Playing songs like “Let it Burn,” “Bloody Angel,” and “Hail the Apocalypse,” Avatar had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Their latest album Hail the Apocalypse is out now and a competitor for one of the best of 2014. Avatar return back across the sea after some steady North American love to Europe into the new year.
Almost clashing times with Avatar, at 2:40 PM on Stage 003, Killswitch Engage summoned a massive crowd. Formed in 1999 in Westfield, Massachusetts, the metalcore leaders erupted on stage with a tremendous reception from the audience. Adam Dutkiewicz (lead guitar, backing vocals), Joel Stroetzel (rhythm guitar), Mike D’Antonio (bass guitar), and Justin Foley (drums) came out with original frontman Jesse Leach singing “Fixation on the Darkness.” Making sure nothing would get in their way, they trampled through their eleven song set including “Beyond The Flames” and “In Due Time,” from their recent release, Disarm the Descent. While Leach had a ten year absence from the band, fans have welcomed him back with open arms and it was never more evident than this performance. Mixing in other favorites like “Always,” “My Last Serenade,” and “My Curse,” Killswitch Engage never seem to disappoint in a live setting.
At 3:10 PM on Stage 004, the audience was treated to a reunited Motograter. As a nu-metal band formed in Santa Barbara, California in 1995, they are best known for their homemade bass guitar (also the moniker of the group) – the” Motograter” as well as black and white body paint for live performances. Originally the home of Five Finger Death Punch’s Ivan Moody, the band is currently comprised of Matt “Nuke” Nunes (guitars), Kery “Venom” Glennon (guitars), Michael “Angel” Woodruff (vocals), Mylon Guy (bass),and Noah “Shark” Robertson (drums), as well as Mark Nosler playing the Motograter itself. Clearly amped up to be a part of Knotfest, Motograter powered through an intense set of music including their song “Suffocate”. As Angel jumped off the drum kit on a few occasions and the rest of the band head-banged with fury, Motorgrater’s reunion is something to look forward to. Hopefully, to the delight of dedicated fans, a new full-length album will follow soon.
The UK grindcore band from Birmingham, Napalm Death, exploded onto Stage 005 at 3:30 PM. Originating in 1981, the band has been at the mercy of many lineup changes over the years but have sustained the same core musicians of Shane Embury (bass), Mark “Barney” Greenway (vocals), and Danny Herrera (drums) for over two decades (1991–present). Along with touring guitarist John Cooke, they put on a great set including “Unchallenged Hate,” “Suffer The Children,” and “You Suffer.” Pulverizing and rattling the bones of listeners with “Silence Is Deafening,” “Everyday Pox,” “The Wolf I Feed,” “When All Is Said and Done,” and “Scum,” they wrapped up their set with The Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. North America will be treated to a return of Napalm Death in earlier 2015 with a full-blown tour featuring Exhumed and Voivod.
Dead For Denver:
At 4:05PM, Stage 004 hosted Dead For Denver. From Denver, Colorado, this five-piece unsigned Rock/Metal/Alternative band is comprised of Jason Lebaron (vocals, guitars), Matt (drums), Jobe Kim (guitars, vocals), Tristan Lucerne (keys, sequencing, backing vocals), and Isaac Archuleta (bass). Their guitar grooves were thick, and the mix of growls and clean vocals from Lebaron was spectacular. Fans of technical metal with diverse vocals should check this band out. Their new album Naked Singularity and self titled debut album are available.
Originating in Dallas, Texas in 2006, heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah, consisting of vocalist Chad Gray(Mudvayne), guitarist Tom Maxwell (Nothingface), and drummer Vinnie Paul (Pantera /Damageplan) along with bassist Kyle Sanders and current live guitarist Christian Brady charged onto Stage 001 at 4:20 PM. Signed to Eleven Seven Music and having released their fourth studio album Blood for Blood earlier this year, Hellyeah had a refreshing armory of songs. Opening the set with “Hellyeah!” , and followed by “Matter of Time,” the band rifled off some newer material from the Blood for Blood album, including the first single “Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood),” “Demons in the Dirt,” “War in Me,” newer single “Moth,” “Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones),” and ended with “You Wouldn’t Know.” Hellyeah have made a statement with Blood for Blood and they are bringing that to life each and every time they attack stages on tour. They will be ringing in 2015 with a performance on December 31st at South Side Ballroom in Dallas, Texas.
Orange County, California’s Atreyu took to Stage 001 about 5:15 PM. This Metalcore band formed in 1999 officially reunited this year after a three year hiatus to the delight and surprise of fans. With already five studio albums to their name, the reunion will also bring a new album in 2015. Currently comprised of Alex Varkatzas (unclean vocals, clean vocals), Brandon Saller (drums, clean vocals), Dan Jacobs (lead guitar, backing vocals), Travis Miguel (rhythm guitar), and Marc McKnight (bass, backing vocals), they opened with “Bleeding Mascara,” then tore through the audience with “Becoming the Bull,” “Right Side of the Bed,” “So Others May Live,” “Ex’s and Oh’s,” “Blow”, a cover of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” before ending with “Lip Gloss and Black.” Appearing enthusiastic and revitalized on stage, Atreyu’s reformation is something that is building a strong buzz.
Typically at music festival worth its weight always has one act comes from a different genre. Knofest’s came with Kansas City Missouri’s, Co-founder of Strange Music Records and infamous rapper, Tech N9ne, at 6:10 Pm on Stage 001. Part of the main stage, being one of the artists closing the night from two full days of pure Metal, Tech N9ne had a great pace that grabbed whole of the audience. Rocking out songs like “Public School,” followed by “Straight Out the Gate,” “Spaz,” “Riot Maker,” “E.B.A.H.,” “Einstein,” “Am I a Psycho?,” “Head Now,” “Midwest Choppers 2,” “Worldwide Choppers,” “So Dope (They Wanna),” and a four song encore consisting of “URALYA,” “Blackened the Sun,” “I’m a Playa,” and “Stamina,” this was a pleasant surprise. Tech N9ne, with the benefit of live backing band, knew exactly how to engage the crowd with his brand of Horrocore no one could resist. Do not miss a change to see him as he winds up 2014 with a string of dates through the Midwest portion of the USA.
With only three bands left standing, Denmark’s Volbeat came to Stage 001 at 7:10 PM. Formed in 2001 in the city of Copenhagen, this band fuses rock n’ roll, heavy metal and rockabilly for a brand of music that has become massively popular in recent years. Opening up with “Hallelujah Goat” and it was non-stop momentum for their eleven-song set list. Continuing with “The Hangman’s Body Count,” “Sad Man’s Tongue,” “Heaven nor Hell/A Warrior’s Call,” “16 Dollars,” “Lola Montez,” “Dead but Rising,” and “The Lonesome Rider,” it was fitting that they saved “The Mirror and the Ripper” for the end. The band had a surprise in store before their encore – Napalm Death’s Mark “Barney” Greenway joined them on-stage to perform “Evelyn.” The ever-vibrant frontman Michael Poulsen’s voice shined through the set as he connected with the audience, ending their performance with the encore of “Still Counting.” Volbeat put on a performance not to be missed and will return to North America in Spring 2015 alongside Anthrax.
Five Finger Death Punch:
Holding down the supporting slot at 8:30 PM(right before Slipknot), modern metal’s elite Five Finger Death Punch was definitely the perfect choice. Formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2005, Ivan Moody (lead vocals), Zoltan Bathory (rhythm guitar), Jeremy Spencer (drums), Jason Hook (lead guitar, backing vocals), and Chris Kael (bass guitar, backing vocals) have risen to the top of the food chain with album after album of hit singles. Possessing so much energy, they know exactly how to entertain, wake up the audience, and absolutely destroyed Stage 001. Moody even invited a father and daughter up to head-bang during their performance. Playing eleven songs including “Under and Over It,” “Burn It Down,” “Hard To See”, “Lift Me Up,” their cover of “Bad Company,” “Burn MF,” “Never Enough,” and “Coming Down,” fans were screaming along with each word as well as moshing at heightened levels. Before saying good night, the band brought Tech N9ne out to reprise his role in their cover of LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” and ended their set with the track that started it all, “The Bleeding.” Despite the naysayers, there is a reason Five Finger Death Punch are one of the biggest metal bands in the world right now: not only do they write quality songs, but they also know how to deliver live. After heavy touring across North America in 2014, the band will be overseas in the latter part of 2015.
The best and only way to end Stage 001 at Knotfest was of course with festival masterminds, Slipknot. After a Saturday night showcasing a mix of new and old songs, they still had enough great material to close out the weekend on Sunday. One of the strongest attributes of Slipknot has always been their ability to balance a set and cover a lot of ground in the time they are given. Even though there was only a day’s time between performances, the adrenaline was still flowing throughout the festival grounds of San Manuel Amphitheater as concert-goers wondered what the band had in store for them later that night.
Opening up at 10 PM with “XIX” filling the night air, they immediately premiered new song “Sarcastrophe.” Going back through their catalog, they played songs from the 2001 release Iowa, including “The Herectic Anthem” followed by “My Plague” , which had not been heard live since 2002. Hearing the two songs back to back made everyone’s heart race, yet that was just the beginning. Premiering another new track titled “The Devil in I,” Slipknot kept the crowd completely off kilter, having no clue what to expect next. That being said, it’s quite an amazing feat to achieve in the modern world of the social media, where everything leaks to everyone. The element of surprise was preserved this time around.
Continuing with “Psychosocial” and “Liberate”, it was moment after moment of explosiveness, and the biggest bombshell came with only the second live performance ever of “Opium of the People.” Slipknot knew exactly what they were doing on this last night; they were creating history and defying to be different. They went on to beat the audience with “Left Behind,” “Vermilion,” “Custer,” “The Blister Exists,” “Before I Forget,” and finally “Duality.” Providing one last gift to those who pledged allegiance to the band upon their major label debut thirteen years prior, they put on an encore which featured “742617000027” which lead directly into the classic tracks of “(Sic)” and Surfacing,” as well as “Til We Die.” A nightmarish story-book ending for Knotfest, the crowd all agreed it was worth traveling from far and wide to witness in person. With Knotfest making its Japan debut on November 15th-16th, Slipknot carry on their touring with support from Korn and King 810 through December 7th. Knotfest could be argued as a challenger to other mainstay Metal festivals developed over the last decade, and one can only hope it continues for years to come.