Mayhem Festival’s mainstage tears up Jones Beach, NY 7-30-14 w/ Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium

Mayhem Festival’s mainstage tears up Jones Beach, NY 7-30-14 w/ Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium

Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival has taken the throne as North America’s premier heavy metal festival over the past decade.  Where other festivals having their time to shine in the past including Ozzfest and Taste Of Chaos, Mayhem has now dominates the summer of metal fans with its unique mix of bands from all corners of the genre.  Now celebrating the seventh annual Mayhem Festival in 2014 the line-up challenges for the most diverse and strong to date with 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.  Beginning on July 5th the five week trek pillages through twenty eight cities along the way.  On Wednesday, July 30th, three fourths of the traveling tour got a day off and main stage bands Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, and Trivium made the trip out to Nikon at Jones Beach Theater to perform a special show.

Beginning in the later part of the afternoon the weather was just right, with a breeze coming off the bay and the sun mid-sky as fans of all ages entered the gates wearing their allegiance to their favorite bands on their chest in the form of t-shirts.  Kicking things off was Floridan band Trivium. Together for over a decade now, Trivium are veterans of the trade releasing six full-length albums and collecting a fan base that salivates each time they come around.

Lighting the fire with rocket fuel,  they started with “Black” and “Built to Fall.” Lead vocalist/ guitarist Matt Heafy, sporting patches of his favorite underground metal bands, sang strongly as he signaled the audience to join in the excitement.  Lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu’s melodic finger work was unbelievable, killing each solo with precision on tracks like “Through Blood and Dirt and Bone” and “Strife.” Getting the crowd’s blood flowing even more, Heafy stated the best audience on the entire festival was up in Canada which inspired everyone to let loose and move about the pit to older thrasher “Dying In Your Arms.”  Their strong opening set concluded with an encore of “Anthem (We Are the Fire)” and “In Waves” before taking a bow and thanking everyone for their support.  Trivium are no doubt one powerful metal band everyone should see live.

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Next up was one of modern metal’s hottest commodities, UK band Asking Alexandria.  Founded seven years ago by teenage friends Ben Bruce (guitar), Danny Worsnop (vocals), Cameron Liddell (guitar), James Cassells (drums), and later adding Sam Bettley (bass), it has been a roller coaster ride to the top for the band.  Now three records deep into their career, including the dominating From Death To Destiny (2013), the band are ready to challenge themselves and win over more fans as part of Mayhem Festival.

Starting off with the tension-building “Don’t Pray For Me,” Worsnop let loose a raunchy mix of screams and clean vocals that immediately grabbed everyone’s attention.  Worsnop leaned into the crowd with his microphone grasped firmly as dedicated fans reached for him in excitement while  the band played “Run Free” before breaking out into older track “To The Stage.” Showing their maturity as musicians they displayed strong stage presence and proved they are ready to take the next step in their careers.  Worsnop and the band also kept the mood light with plenty of friendly humor on stage that had many smiling.  Determined to give a good sample size of all they are to Mayhem Festival, they took the audience back to the beginning with “The Final Episode (Let’s Change the Channel).”  The chugging of Bruce and Liddell’s guitars matched by the animalistic voice of Worsnop had a mosh pit swirling and fans surfing toward the front.  Concluding with three newer tracks “Moving On,” “Killing You,” and “The Death of Me,” Asking Alexandria made the most of their time on stage and are guaranteed to have expanded their already immense fan base.

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Bringing on the night was iconic Californians Korn.  For over two decades now their unique blend of dark lyrical content, hip hop influences, and irresistible breakdowns has dominated music with an extensive discography that includes seven platinum records.  Experimenting with their sound in recent years the 2013 album The Paradigm Shift saw the return of co-founding guitarist Brian “Head” Welch for the first time in over a decade.  Already exciting and relevant in the eyes of fans, the reunion with Head has given the band an extra shot of adrenaline which everyone has clamored to see.

Drenching the stage with uber amounts of smoke, the mood was set with a spectrum of lights beaming down as vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer, guitarist Head,  bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and drummer Ray Luzier all made their entrance to a roaring ovation.  Going right for the throat, the eerie riff of “Falling Away From Me” echoed in the air and anarchy ensued on and off the stage.  Giving everything he had Davis leaned back from his opposing microphone stand and put on a sensational vocal performance through new and old songs like “Twist,” “Got The Life,” and “Love and Meth.” Dominating each side of their stage respectively, Head was in locked in the moment, Fieldy aroused the pit craftily jamming on his bass, and Munky unleashed on guitar.

Playing on with more new heavy hitters like “Spike In My Veins” and “Hater, ” everyone was singing along and bouncing around within the pit.  It was like a therapy session for both the audience and the band, releasing anxiety and tension through the fury of the music.  It was at this point that Davis walked onto the stage with bagpipes during “Shoots and Ladders.” With fans screaming at the top of their lungs from the back of the theater,  it was pandemonium as the party peaked during “Come Undone,” “Here To Stay,” and “Freak on a Leash.” Gracious to all, Davis expressed enthusiasm and performed “Blind,” the song that started it all for Korn. The band’s children made an appearance, rocking out on stage alongside their dads.  This was a performance for the ages and shows Korn are still one of the most energizing bands out there.

Wrapping up the night was fellow California band Avenged Sevenfold.  Staying true to their melodic metal roots,  Avenged Sevenfold has risen to super-stardom over years of hard work and dedication.  Overcoming the tragic death of original drummer The Rev in 2009,  they blew away audiences with their 2010 effort Nightmare and proved they are still on top their game with 2013’s Hail to the King.  No stranger to headlining massive festivals, including Uproar Festival, their stage show has become more grand with each passing year.  With the curtain drawn thoughts ran wild among the crowd wondering exactly what the band had in store for them.

Exposing the stage, a massive castle with a skeleton king above the drum kit dressed the backdrop and with a blaze of pyrotechnics it began with “Shepard of Fire.” Making use of the entire stage vocalist M. Shadows, guitarist Zacky Vengeance, guitarist Synyster Gates, and bassist Johnny Christ bounced around pumping up the crowd and inciting plenty of participation.  Keeping the melodic guitar driven attack flowing “Nightmare,” “Bat Country” and “Hail to the King” followed. Vengeance, Gates, and Christ fed off one another, meeting at the right points during the solos dazzling everyone with their skills.  M. Shadows voice filled the air forcefully and shined brilliantly on songs like “Buried Alive.”

Remaining personal with the audience, M. Shadows thanked everyone for the well wishes on the eve of his 35th birthday.  Conveying a message to live in the moment and enjoy life as it comes he dedicated “So Far Away” to fallen bandmate and friend The Rev.  The song provoked a somber but touching emotion felt by the band and the crowd.  Things picked up immediately thereafter with the speedy “After Life” and “This Means War” that had everyone pumping their fist and screaming along.  That energy flowed into the encore where Avenged Sevenfold performed two older fan favorites “A Little Piece of Heaven” and “Unholy Confessions.”  Mixing theatricals with a storm of great metal anthems, Avenged Sevenfold put on one hell of a performance.  Assuming most will be going to Mayhem Festival for the entire day it is absolutely essential to stay until the very end to witness all four of these juggernaut acts in all their glory.

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