August 26, 2014 Mayhem Festival takes over The Pavilion at Montage Mountain Scranton, PA 8-2-14
Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2014 has bulldozed through twenty seven cities in North America since it kicked off right after Independence Day out in California. Causing chatter around the hard rock and metal community since the line-up was announced back in February, this year’s line-up is led by Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Miss May I, Mushroomhead, Texas Hippie Coalition, King 810, Body Count, Upon a Burning Body, Veil of Maya, Darkest Hour, Emmure, Ill Niño, Wretched, Islander, and Erimha. Expanded to four stages in 2013, the festival continues to show dominance in the heat of the summer, and on Saturday August 2nd the tour of chaos arrived in Scranton, PA to play the beautiful The Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
Starting things bright and early on the Victory Stage was French Canadian band Erimha. Founded in 2009, the band hails from Montreal, QC and were the only symphonic black metal act to grace the stages of this year’s festival; doing a fine job of representing the dark arts. Consisting of Gore (vocals), Kthien (guitar), Leather King (bass), and Ksaos (drums), the band came out in traditional corpse make-up starting a fire with opening track “Enlightened”. Bringing their own flair and personality to the stage, Erimha were fast, fierce, and opened many spectators’ eyes. Their four song set concluded with “Metempsychosis” as they kick started the day of metal. Their latest album Reign Through Immortality (2013) is out now.
Over at Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage, Flint, MI’s King 810 was ready to go. Recently signed to Roadrunner Records, the band has created quite a buzz with the release of their debut album, Memoirs of a Murderer, and it was clear to see much excitement was stirring around the stage awaiting their arrival. Led by vocalist David Gunn, the band exploded with songs like “Killem All”, “War Outside”, and “Fat Around the Heart”. Their abstract style mixes nu-metal breakdowns with vicious vocals and a unique stage show which featured multiple people standing still as statues holding rifles around them. It is easy to see why this band is garnishing so much attention as they could be one of the hottest new bands to hit the metal scene this year.
Veil of Maya
Launching the Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Stage, Chicagoans Veil of Maya summoned a large crowd. Combining metalcore with progressive elements, the band has been a force on the scene for a decade now. Playing songs like “Subject Zero”, “Punisher”, “20/200”, and “Unbreakable”, the band sent shock waves through the pavement getting the crowd hyped up. Enjoying themselves on stage and interacting with the audience, their set was complete with “It’s Not Safe to Swim Today”. Keep a look out for the band’s fifth studio album due out in the near future.
Texas Hippie Coalition
Back at Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage it was time for Southern rockers Texas Hippie Coalition. Led by Big Dad Ritch on vocals, John Exall on bass, Cord Pool on guitar, and Timmy Braun on drums, these guys do not mess around as they pumped out raunchy grooves such as “Hands Up”, “8 Seconds”, and “Turn It Up”. Telling stories within the lyrics of their songs, this band is all metal with Texas style that is bigger than life. Closing out with “Pissed Off and Mad About It”, the hippies had everyone cheering for more. Their newest album Ride On is due out October 7th.
Upon A Burning Body
Returning to Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Stage, the next band was another Texas grown act by the name of Upon A Burning Body. Returning to Mayhem Festival for the first time since 2012 after spending the summer of 2013 on Vans Warped Tour, the band came back stronger than ever. Dressed in their signature mafia style attire, lead vocalist Danny came out bearing only his inked skin as fans roared and “Red Razor Wrists” began. Other mosh pit favorites like “Intermission”, “Texas Blood Money”, and “Sin City” followed with Upon A Burning Body’s intensity feeling like battery acid was pumping out of their veins. Danny expressed his desire for fans to crowd surf and they did in droves until the end with “El Mariachi”. The band head out on tour with Whitechapel this October as they support their new album The World Is My Enemy Now.
Bringing on a theatrical performance over at Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage was Ohio’s own Mushroomhead. Together now for over two decades, this band has carved their name in the metal scene with unconventional mixtures of style, dark elements, and irresistible imagery. Configured as a nine piece band with vocalist J Mann, vocalist Jeffrey Nothing, vocalist Waylon, keyboardist Shmotz, drums Skinny, drums Roberto Diablo, drums/turntables Stitch, guitarist Church, and bassist Dr. F, the stage appeared entirely too small for this army as they played songs like “Our Apologies”, hit “Sun Don’t Rise”, and “The Dream is Over” among others. With the ever so mesmerizing water drums matched with their killer masks, the band gave Mayhem Festival one hell of a output no one will soon forget. Proving to be friendly and appreciative of the support after their set, they were seen around the grounds meeting fans. Their newest album The Righteous & the Butterfly is out now.
Walking back over to the Victory Records Stage, another veteran from the earlier part of the millennium, Ill Niño was ready to begin. Hailing from New Jersey, this band has been at the forefront of Latino infused alternative metal since 1998. Recently releasing their seventh studio album Til Death, La Familia, the band show no signs of fading away as fans still yearn for their emotional and powerful music. Playing a good mix of newer and older tracks like “La Epidemia”, “This Is War”, “God Save Us”, and “Liar”, the band shined bright with enthusiastic playing that had the audience pumped up. Clearly earning the respect of fans and their peers in the scene, Brian “Head” Welch of Korn and Jose Mangin from SiriusXM were even spotted checking out the performance. Unquestionably, Ill Niño is a band worth checking out on Mayhem Festival.
The time arrived for Darkest Hour over at Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Stage. Together for nearly two decades now, the band has seen their sound progress and is quite possibly one of the most underrated metal acts out there. Recently completing a successful run with All That Remains, the band now support their eighth studio album simply titled Darkest Hour while on Mayhem Festival. Showcasing new material with songs like “Wasteland” and “Rapture in Exile”, the band also unleashed older melodic storms in “Demon (s)” and “With a Thousand Words to Say but One”. Darkest Hour’s technique combined with their passion on stage made for a great midday experience.
Miss May I
Arousing interest over at Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage was Troy, OH’s Miss May I. Formed in 2007, the band has been native to the Vans Warped Tour scene, but made their first appearance on Mayhem Festival in 2014. Signed to Rise Records, their line-up consists of Levi Benton (vocals), Justin Aufdemkampe (guitar), BJ Stead (guitar), Ryan Neff (bass), and Jerod Boyd (drums). With Benton’s amazing broad vocal range, the band rattled out an impressive set of songs such as “Relentless Chaos”, “Day by Day”, “You Want Me”, and “Hey Mister”. Letting out high levels of energy, moving about the stage, Benton even invited the motocross bikers on hand up to show them appreciation for their skills as well. Miss May I made one hell of an impression on Mayhem Festival and many will be checking out their new album Rise of the Lion.
Wrapping up the Victory Records Stage was Queens, NY band Emmure. Now veterans to Mayhem Festival, making several appearances in recent years, the band led by Frankie Palmeri on vocals, Jesse Ketive on guitar, Mike Mulholland on guitar, Mark Davis on bass, and Mark Castillo on drums has built a family with the audience. Going right for the throat, they blasted into tracks like “Bring a Gun to School” and “N.I.A. (News in Arizona)”. Palmeri, with daggers in his eyes, captivated the audience with his long drawn out screams through other songs such as “E” and “Children of Cybertron”. Their new album Eternal Enemies is out now and they will continue to startle audiences this fall with The Acacia Strain.
Co-headlining the Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage adored Californian band Suicide Silence had everyone’s heart racing. After a hiatus following the tragic passing of lead vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012, the band return in 2014 with a new vocalist in Hernan “Eddie” Hermida and new album titled You Can’t Stop Me. Launching into madness right away, “Unanswered”, “No Pity for a Coward”, and “Cease to Exist” had the pit swirling. Hernan kept the band’s iconic style sincere with emotional high pitched bellows and inspiring body movement having everyone accept him with open arms. Showing his appreciation for the warm welcome, he reached into the audience for as many hands as he could grab a hold of. The set concluded with “Fuck Everything”, “Wake Up”, and “You Only Live Once” and it is safe to say Suicide Silence is back. Check them on tour with Chelsea Grin and Black Dahlia Murder this fall.
As the final band of Sumerian Records/Headbang For The Highway Stage legendary Southern Californian band Body Count came with plenty of fanfare. Formed back in 1990 and fronted by hip hop icon Ice-T, the band mesh hip hop and thrash metal together like no one else. Recently releasing their fifth studio album Manslaughter, the band was ready to show the audience exactly what they are made of. Coming out guns blazing with “There Goes the Neighborhood”, “Bowels of the Devil”, along with newbies “Manslaughter” and “Take Shit, Get Shot”, Body Count had everyone bouncing. Charismatic on the microphone, Ice-T was right on point through the entire set as they concluded with crowd pleaser “Cop Killer”.
Closing out the side stages for the day at Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage was death metal leaders Cannibal Corpse. Considered one of the most well respected names in extreme metal, Cannibal Corpse has been pulverizing the stages for twenty six years. Comprised of Paul Mazurkiewicz (drums), Alex Webster (bass), Rob Barrett (guitar), Patrick O’brien (guitar), and George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (vocals) the band took on Mayhem Festival with a raging fire. Releasing fury on all their neck breaking songs including “Demented Aggression”, “Evisceration Plague”, and “Make Them Suffer”, the band had the mosh pit rapidly moving. The deep growls of Corpsegrinder matched by the breath stealing speedy thrashing exhibited why this band are kings of underground metal. Their thirteenth studio album A Skeletal Domain is out September 16th.
With the main stage open for the evening and everyone spread about the ground gathering together, the first band up was Florida’s Trivium. Veterans to the metal scene now, Trivium bring with them clout as a highly skilled and powerful metal band with excellent guitar and vocal work. Ramping up the audience with hands in the air, vocalist Matt Heafy led the way, opening with “Black”. Burning through a set of their classics and new tracks off 2013’s Vengeance Falls, the band had everyone’s blood flowing with dazzling guitar solos, hard hitting drums, and much more. With the lightening flash of energy their tunes exert, they ended with “In Waves” only to be surprised moments later when Korn came out on stage and handed them a special Korn anniversary guitar as a token of love and appreciation for the band. Completely surprised, Heafy and the band were utterly speechless and grateful for the gesture, making this quite a high point to start the main stage.
Following next was British band Asking Alexandria. Considered one of the fastest rising bands on the scene today, Asking Alexandria has grown exponentially since their formation back in 2008. With the release of their third studio album From Death To Destiny in 2013, the band shatter any notions some critics make and further their reach in utter domination. Coming out and staring into the crowd, vocalist Danny Worsnop exploded with a gut-wrenching vocal performance on tracks like “Don’t Pray For Me”, “To the Stage”, and “The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel)”. Matching the intensity, the mosh pit and crowd surfers were at peak levels throughout the performance. Interacting with the fans, Worsnop came across relaxed, showing the poise and confidence of a seasoned frontman. Guitarist Ben Bruce and Cameron Liddell’s expressions of emotion came clear into the sights of the audience each time they moved, revealing their face from behind their hair. The set winded down with “Killing You” and “The Death of Me”. Continuing along the road to the top, Asking Alexandria received enormous praise, confirming they certainly belong.
With the night in full effect, the bright lights glared from the stage as powerhouse Korn were ready to begin. With guitarist Brian “Head” Welch back in the fold with vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and drummer Ray Luzier, Korn have fans clamoring to see them live any chance they can get. Releasing their critically acclaimed new album The Paradigm Shift last year, their return to Mayhem Festival could not come at a better time as cheers were mounting before the first note even hit.
Taking off into high gear with “Falling Away from Me”, “Twist”, and “Got the Life”, the adrenaline flowed from the stage, having everyone singing along at the top of their lungs. Showing his voice is still as extraordinary as ever, Davis reached deep down and unleashed every ounce of emotion he had through the performance. Playing on with “Did My Time”, “Spike in My Veins”, and new single “Hater”, the balance of high octane guitar chunk of Munky and Head was ear tingling as the two stood on each side of the stage respectfully. Paying homage to the past, “Shoots and Ladders” mixed in with “Coming Undone”, and “Here to Stay”. Fieldy, as colorful as ever, moved around with such rhythm to match his pounding bass playing that the ground actually vibrated. Their set came to an end with “Freak on a Leash” and “Blind”. Surprising to most following the performance, while Korn still stood on stage, a man came and proposed to his girlfriend in front of thousands which had the everyone going absolutely nuts. Certainly a dramatic way to conclude Korn’s time on stage and one no will soon forget.
Finalizing the day of metal was Avenged Sevenfold. Always a band with deep roots in traditional metal, Avenged Sevenfold has become a monstrous force of nature in recent years with a following that was eager for their return to Mayhem Festival for the first time since their brief stint in 2010. Making the most of headlining the tour, the band had a glorious backdrop of a castle with the skeleton king at the throne above. Chanting for the set to begin, fans feasted their eyes on the stage as the curtains opened.
With a flash of pyrotechnics and razor sharp guitar sound of Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengeance, they began with “Shepherd of Fire”, “Nightmare”, and “Bat Country”. M. Shadows pulled no punches and leaned into his microphone, bringing each song to life exactly like the records. With all killer and no filler, they went into “Hail to the King”, “Almost Easy”, before an emotional turning point with “Buried Alive”, “So Far Away”, and “Afterlife”. Dueling guitars with such class, Avenged Sevenfold’s sound was so crisp to match the bright illuminated stage showed there was no down time as they jammed out “This Means War” and closed with an encore of “A Little Piece of Heaven” and “Unholy Confessions”.
Those who came to Rockstar Mayhem Festival were treated to a line-up of different bands from all corners of the metal and hard rock genre. Combining bright young talents with beloved metal heroes, the day at Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain was one for the books.