July 31, 2013 Mayhem Festival 2013 At PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel NJ 7-23-13 (Exclusive Coverage)
The Mayhem Festival is North America’s premier metal festival. With the festivals inaugural year in 2008 there have been quite a few amazing line-ups of metal bands on the bill since then. With appearances by Slipknot, Disturbed, Marilyn Manson, Killswitch Engage, Slayer, Bullet For My Valentine, Korn, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Megadeth, Motorhead, Mastodon, and many many more. 2013 marks 6th annual Mayhem festival with many familiar faces returning and some fresh new faces on the bill. PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel NJ hosted it’s 3rd Mayhem Festival on July 23rd. As usually like years past it was a hot, humid, sun filled day. The heat couldn’t keep these metal fans down though with energy and adrenaline riding high. Cryptic Rock arrived bright and early for the day’s events to check out all the bands and provide some of the most comprehensive visual and literal coverage of Mayhem Festival.
Thrown Into Exile- Hitting the stage first at 1:15 PM was Los Angeles California based band Thrown Into Exile. A relatively new band to many metal heads the 5 piece started the day strong. With thrash type riffs, high energy vocal delivery, mixing growls with singing and high energy performance the guys drew attention fast. As fans piled into the festival they were drawn to the band’s performance and by the end of their set they earned themselves a bunch of new fans.
Huntress- Holding the torch of metal for females Huntress was 1 of 2 female fronted bands at Mayhem Festival. Hitting the stage at 1:35 PM vocalist Jill Janus and her band light the stage on fire with their performance. With a more traditional approach to heavy metal with classic style metal riffs in vain of 80’s thrash and NWOB style. Jill Janus vocal performance was top notch to go along with her theatrical stage presents. The crowd held their metal horns high and the metal gods smiled down on Huntress.
Attika 7- Attika 7 is band of veteran metal musicians. With Evan Seinfeld (Biohazard) on vocals, Ira Black (Lizzy Borden) on guitar, Zach Broderick (Nonpoint) on bass, Tommy Holt (U.P.O.) on drums, and Rusty Coones (Sons Of Anarchy tv series) on guitar. A late replacement for the festival after Behemoth had to drop out due to medical issues. The band hit the stage at 1:55 PM. Seinfeld rode onto stage with his motorcycle to a much anticipated crowd of metal heads. With a groove metal style and Seinfield signature vocal approach the guys won over some new fans here.
Battlecross- Hailing from Warren, Michigan Battlecross have been making a name for themselves in the metal scene. Hitting the stage at 2:20 PM the crowd was large and ready. Taking influence from melodic death metal and thrash metal the band provided an intense performance. Head bangers rejoiced as Battlecross blazed their way through the sound system. It’s evident that the band’s blue collar approach has earned them a sea of fans.
Motionless In White- From Scranton PA Motionless In White stock is rising and rising fast. Fresh off Warped Tour last year the band released their new album Infamous in late 2012. Shedding their skin and daring to try something new the band created a masterpiece which won a new fan base and is slowly starting to win over their original fans. At 3:10 PM the crowd was at it’s largest point for any band. When Chris Motionless and company hit the stage the crowd erupted. With a dynamic mix of heaviness, melody, and synthesizers Motionless In White provided they belong among the metal elite. Unique and eye catching with their appearance even the hardest of metal fans had to take notice. Chris Motionless has the intangible qualities only an excellent vocalist and front man possesses. Many fans would say that Motionless In White was a bright highlight early in the day of metal.
Butcher Babies- From Los Angeles California Butcher Babies have drawn much attention. Being the 2nd metal band fronted by a female vocalists the band hit the stage at 3:40 PM. Recently releasing their debut album Goliath frontwomen Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd were ready to rock Mayhem festival. With heavy loud metal guitars, drums, and bass the sound was dense and intense. With screaming and singing balanced throughout each song the crowd was definitely attentive to what Butcher Babies had to offer. At this point in the festival Butcher Babies stimulated some of the best crowd response with crowd surfing and moshing.
Scorpion Child- Spreading our wings we explored what the Sumerian Records Stage had to offer. At 4:25 PM Austin Texas own Scorpion Child hit the stage. A decent size crowd gathered to watch this 5 piece rock band . Paying tribute to classic rock Scorpion Child possess a sound unlike any on Mayhem Festival. Raw, atmospheric, and kick ass classic rock n roll! In a rock and metal scene in 2013 with so much of the same it’s refreshing to see a band like Scorpion Child laughing in the face of trends and playing straight head rock. If you haven’t heard these guys yet and appreciate classic rock Cryptic Rock highly recommends them.
Machine Head- On their 3rd tour of duty on Mayhem Festival Machine Head is obviously doing something right to be invited back again. With a strong fan base since 1991 and 7 studio albums these guys are no joke. Rob Flynn and the band took the stage at 5:10 PM. With a stellar blood pumping performance Machine Head rocked a capacity crowd hard. You could feel the sound rattle your very soul through the band’s entire set.
Children Of Bodom- All the way from Finland Children Of Bodom closed out the side stages at 5:45 PM. Known for their virtuoso guitar and keyboard playing many fans have subscribed to these Finns brand of metal. Fresh off the release of their 8th studio album Halo of Blood the energy level was high for the band and fans a like. Performing a balanced set of their classic material from the early days of Bodom to their new material the crowd chanted loud. Alexi Laiho put on his standard jaw dropping guitar performance we’ve all come accustom to. It’s just amazing it took this many years for Mayhem Festival to get this juggernaut to play on the tour.
Amon Amarth- Keeping the European flavor going Sweden’s viking metal heroes Amon Amarth lead the main stage at 6:25 PM. It’s quite impressive to see these guys go from playing small clubs when they first came across the sea to the USA a decade ago to the main stage of Mayhem Festival. With their largest stage show to date Amon Amarth impressed the crowd with a beautiful back drop of sea and a Viking ship. Making a name for themselves in the underground melodic death metal scene it’s clear this is a large step for the Swedes. Ready to conquer Mayhem festival Johan Hegg and his warriors performed a great set of metal. Giving their die hard fans the classics they want with a mix of their newer material as well. There is no doubt Amon Amarth gained themselves many new fans by the time their sent was done.
Mastodon- Returning to Mayhem Festival for the first time since 2008 Mastodon were ready to rock at 7:15 PM. Building themselves as one of the biggest forces in modern metal nearly every seat was filled by the time their set started. Providing the crowd with a unique progressive blend of instrumentation Mastodon proved they are still king of their craft.
Five Finger Death Punch- Returning for the 3rd time to Mayhem Festival Five Finger Death Punch have becoming a leader in metal. A week prior to the release of their high anticipated album The Wrong Side Of Heaven and the Righteous Side Of Hell, Volume 1 Knuckleheads were ready to rock. The band took the stage at 8:20 PM. to a loud intense group of fans. With their typical high energy performance 2 songs into their set Five Finger Death Punch blew the speakers in the stadium. Being professionals the band played on and Ivan even turned around his monitors for the crowd for them to hear the music. Without skipping a beat the problem was resolved shortly and Five Finger Death Punch torched the stage. Love or hate these guys you have to respect their passionate and intense live performance.
Rob Zombie- Back for his 2nd Mayhem Festival Rob Zombie closed out the festival at 9:50 PM. Known for his larger than life stage setup and performance Zombie out did himself this time around. Many would argue this was possibly his largest and most impressive stage show ever. Fire blazed high, massive video screens with horror clips ran, and Zombie stood high on a massive tower. John 5 and Piggy D started the show with some of the best costumes you’ll ever see on stage. The crowd roared loud during the entire set and couldn’t get enough. Rob Zombie is without a doubt the king of theatrics in 2013 and provided an excellent end to a long plentiful day of metal.
Mayhem 2013 was another year of a balanced mix of different metal bands from all walks of life. It was a day in which metal fans got a taste of all types of metal and possibly walk away with a new favorite band.