The hangover and blistering headache must have been intense on day two of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest, and the banjos and pianos started playing. Wait, wait never mind who are we kidding, banjos? No, no, guitars, drums, basses and roaring vocals kicked off the day.
The sounds of DED were imminent as they opened stage B warming the cold day for all fans and lovers of Nu Metal. This band has been touring intensely from Chicago Open Air to now a true metal festival and their sound was welcomed and admired by headbangers. Their set kicked off strong and their debut at an extreme metal festival lived up to expectations. Their vocalist Joe Cotela sings with power and the rest of the band, Mathew Reinhard (Percussionist), David Ludlow (guitarist) and Bassist Kyle Koelsch projected a heavy sound filled with energy and skills. DED has been placed on the #1 alternative new album and #4 on the top new album charts, while remaining on Sirius XM roster for 19 weeks and counting; this band is sweeping the nation. The Knotfest was no exception for them.
Thrashers gathered at the Nuclear Blast Extreme stage, where the new found kings of thrash metal; Warbringer, unleashed their fury. Now, remember all fans were tired from day two, and some had a hangover etc… but the loud explosions by Carlos Cruz drew the crowd in. Fans chanted as the track titled “Silhouettes” played, and John Kevil reached out to the crowd with a craze look on his eyes, portraying the evil within this world with his vocals. Jessie Sanchez, on bass has been brutal on all live performances and this day he killed again. The energy he delivers is contagious as fans explode in the crowd, their moshing and headbanging are a sign of love for his sound. Both guitarist Adam Carool and Chase Becker strike with force and versatility, their skills are brutal in each song, as guitar solos are perfected on stage and heavy riffs decapitate fans, Warbringer destroyed this festival with fast furious metal.
The stage warmed up the fans, as the energy by bands like Exhumed, Repulsion and Oni delivered some deadly arsenal. Rapid fire, that is how things are burnt down, but in the metal world, Exhumed will incinerate you with their old school death metal sound. Straight from Northern California, Exhumed brought their gory sound, with Matt Harvey on guitars and vocals they brought to fans the true sound of old school death metal. Their latest record is out now titled Death Revenge, and it is brutal and morbid. Their brutality on stage packed the Nuclear Blast Stage, with Ross Sewage shredding away on guitars, while Mike Hamilton killed those drums. Bud Burke on bass and back up vocals added the depth this band needs to make each song a gore delight. Exhumed played ravenous songs, and the infected fans crowd surfed and moshed relentlessly. The underground metal scene is strong with this one. Repulsion, also brought their internal demons, and unleashed them on stage, with Scott Carlson on bass, the trio exhumed the dead from their graves. Chris Moor on drums is energetic and does not miss a beat, he hammers away with ease. Matt Olive on guitars gives you punishing solos, and heavy grind core riffs. This band has speed, and their impact is imminent on stage, if you want some brutal grim death metal check them out live.
The Canadian, progressive death metal, Oni, went on stage delivering a sonic beat down. With their original sound provided by the xylozynthesizer of Johnny DeAngelis, this band had fans raging. Brandon White and Martin Andres on guitars can tap a guitar with magnificent skill. They give their sound a fluid sound wave, one that pierces your ears and allows your brain to transcend in to the black hole. It is a time warp, that which these two guitarist create as they provide such striking solos. Jake Oni, on vocal made sure he delivered some clean singing first, then followed his performance with some brutalizing roars. As Chase Bryant delivered intricate bass solos, yes solos, the fans lost their shit. This bassist spew some mesmerizing bass tapping and created his own vortex, this band has the audience talking about their meticulous skills and power.
Fans walked in awe, as the first few bands performed their souls out on stage, however the day was not over yet. For some lovers of the classic thrash metal, their minds were blown away by a stellar performance by the bay area thrashers Death Angel. With their classic tunes like “The Moth”, and “Ultra Violence”, they strike with force on stage. Death Angel’s vocalist Mark Osegueda’s voice is incomparable and powerful, “The Dream Calls For Blood” is a song where he pushed his vocals, and he succeeded with his majestic voice. The fans loved each guitar solo by Rob Cavestany and thrashy rhythm guitars by Ted Aguilar. Will Carroll is a beast on drums with double pedals, no triggers, pure mayhem. While Damien Sisson rocks hard on bass, he also headbands to the tunes of Death Angel. The crowd was immense, mud splattered as fans moshed, and during this “Brutal Brunch” metal heads rampaged the venue. It is impressive how fans unleash their fury tirelessly, specially on a set by Death Angel, where each song has power, speed and impact.
The power of metal united all these headbangers, and bands like Goatwhore, The Black Dahlia Murder, Testament, Rob Zombie and Stone Sour uncoiled their piercing melodies for those devoted to the art. Goatwhore, from New Orleans has been ravaging stages, since Metal Blades 35th anniversary to the Knotfest, these fun characters are delivering pure evil. Ben Falgoust II unleashes raw vocals, diabolical if I may, and headbanged. Sammy Pierre Duet on guitars stands like a metal god, shredding will skill and ease, as you hear those striking riffs you will know damn well it’s this man. Zack Simmons on drums delivers punishing bombs, his speed intensifies with each song, a ruthless display of power. James Harvey is the most intense headbanger of the bunch, he executes his bass tones with magnitude, as his blonde strands of hair move as if music made it become alive. This bassist has to be one of my all time favorites, a powerful stand, and perfected musicianship, two elements needed to play Goatwhore’s potent jams. The Black Dahlia Murder, ravaged the stage, with their newly release album titled “Nightbringers”, the band devastated the Knotfest. This ensemble is the perfect example of a band which will be immortalized with time by their music. Not to mention, their energy on stage, as Trevor Strnad exhumes the demons from his body, Brian Eschbach shreds your soul with keen solos. The agility to slap the bass with fast limbs by Max Lavelle is uncanny, he adds darkness to this band’s sound. Brandon Ellis, flies high on stage, conveying his energy levels at a maximum, still destroying with powerful riffs, and solos alike Brian. The fast pace is set by heavy drumming, and the versatility and perfected sound executed by Alan Cassidy. This band rapes your ear, and there is only one thing fans did, and that was a total rampage. The Black Dahlia Murder has been destroying stages since 2001, and the Knotfest is yet another victim of their powerful melodic death metal.
Legends are respected, hailed and as metal heads gathered for Testament to perform, that respect was present. Fans of all ages crowded and pushed as Testament’s guitarist Alex Skoldnick shredded in tune with Eric Peterson. Both guitarist are a treat to watch, as their metal purveyed across the range, metalheads raised their horns and bowed to the legends. Gene Holgan can play drums like a god, and his sound was loud and powerful. Meanwhile, Steve Digiorgio slapped the bass, he added yet another big festival with Testament. Of course, the man himself, Chuck “Fucking” Billy, mesmerized fans with his perfect pitch, giving goodies to the fans like shirts and some jello shots. It was a festive night and Testament lit the candles on the cake, the legends of thrash metal crushed their fans with songs they worship. A heavy band like this on the bill only means one thing, whiplash for sure! Darkness descended upon the San Manuel Amphitheater as Testament concluded their set, and the main stage was ready for Rob Zombie and Stone Sour.
The fans love a good hard rock band, and Stone Sour is that band they adore. With Corey Taylor as the frontman, this band has gathered fans left and right. During the Knotfest, it was no surprise they would have a huge following. Corey Taylor sings exceptionally good, too good I must admit, while Josh Rad on guitar and Johny Chow on bass, deliver heavy songs the fans set fires and kept themselves warm in a 50 degree desert weather night. Roy Mayorga has brutal skills on drums and the fans enjoyed each blast. Stone Sour played a far from short set, and each song was chanted and made fans rage that Sunday night. The lord of the macabre, closed the night, Rob Zombie, brought the party with his caravan. Rob Zombie is no gimmick, he is the real deal, rock and roll star. Their set included a giant stereo, where Rob Zombie ran back and forth, filled with energy singing for the masses. Matt Montgomery “Piggy D”, on bass opened his wings and executed a phenomenal bass sound. While John 5, did what he knows best, awe the audience with his guitar skills, wearing a creepy mask, rocking out with his lit guitar.
Rob Zombie’s theatrics are mind blowing, they are the party, the band your grandma warned you about. With songs like “Everybody is Fucking In A UFO” to “Dragula” this band makes fans be possessed with the musical energy they conjure. Ginger Fish, ex Manson drummer rocks hard behind his thrown. He is filled with energy gives an exhilarating performance. This band kept the fans warm, as their bodies dances, jumped up and down and rejoiced to the sound of rock n roll.
A festival for lovers of metal, was blended with sound of hard rock, rock n roll and the blood of a brotherhood, that which no outsider will ever break. Metalheads, united to celebrate a sound, one which takes them back in time to their high school years, where no one judges you for your looks, taste in music or hair color. This festival is for the outsiders, who openly digest lyrics of war, zombies, gore, politics, and live in the reality which other genres tend to numb you to. Metal will always live in the Ozzfest Meets Knottiest, and to the organizer of this perfect line up thank you for giving metal a home.
Reported by: Hostile Jo
Photos By : Jose Barrientos and Victor Barrientos
Interview with John Kevil- Warbringer
Interview with Ted Aguilar- Death Angel
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