July 23, 2010 at Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ
by Steve Trager
The recent third annual Mayhem Festival certainly outshined previous lineups with a much more diverse metal genre, even if most of these bands could easily headline on their own. It was the best day for a fist full of mayhem and metal hands down. Despite the extreme weather making the day seem to be a “sweat fest “nothing stops music other then some unforeseen disaster. Mayhem seems to become an annual event showcasing some of the best talent around, some garnering measureless popularity on their own as individuals, but for the most part, this festival gives the immediate fan the opportunity to be right up front in the “ pit “ as they say in music terms. The popularity of Mayhem Festival has become a staple in metal and could very well continue to become a new home in a traveling metal festival since Ozzfest is slowly diminishing.
With three stages filled with some of the best bands this year, Mayhem Festival Tour certainly captivates all the spectacles of greatness in music. However, short sets don’t really cut it when each band gets going but, one gets the ideal of such performance as the “meat and potatoes“ of certain key songs that have become a staple in bands like Hatebreed who closed out the ever popular sponsored Jagermeister music stage, cranking out songs like “To the Threshold,” “I Will be Heard” and “This is Now” have truly been the bullet in their sets over the years.
While we all enjoy our dose of metal at Mayhem this year it was nice to also see some bands that have graced headlining slots on other tours like Shadows Fall, Chimaira, and In this Moment rounding out sets on the two outside stages. Even if this seem to be the hottest day weather wise you could just look around and see endless fans with Atreyu shirts spanning generations of metal heads as they waited in the heat for them to finish out the silver star stage at Mayhem festival this year. One thing I would like to see is longer sets by some of these bands but I think it’s all about cramming in as much music in several hours as possible, and that makes it worthwhile no matter how sweaty one can get next to you. If you live for music like most of us, then nothing stops you from having the greatest day while watching your favorite bands tear it up on separate stages.
The Mayhem Festival main stage showcased four great bands this year, including Five Finger Death Punch who graduated from playing a side stage to opening the main stage to a packed house, performing songs from both efforts that included the Bad Company cover of “Bad Company,” a nice twist of a classic rock anthem turned pure metal. A quick set change that brings us to Lamb of God, a notable band with history of a fearless live performances that kill it time and time again. Lamb of God reminds me of a wrecking ball that swings to the hardest degree and can knock everything over in its path as a band.
Perhaps the nicer elements in the Mayhem Festival is that we get a double dose of headlining slots and this year is no exception with Rob Zombie as one and Korn as the second. Rob Zombie well known for his stage antics with pyrotechnics and flame bombs rounding out his stage production. Yet it is still all about the music covering his years with White Zombie and all his amazing solo work as a musician that including “More Human Than Human,“ “Thunderkiss ‘69,” “Living Dead Girl“ and “Dragula.“
Mayhem Festival wouldn’t be complete without a great set by Korn. Although it’s quite sad to see this band with just three original members as a whole, we come to expect greatness when it comes to music and that Korn still does as a live band. Seem to be more then ever out of the public eye for this band has they still can kill it with a sixty minute set covering all their hits that made them quite popular. Even if Korn hasn’t toured in some time, they still bring the energy and the passion as front man Jonathan Davis demonstrates his head banging force during songs like “Here to Stay,“ “Right Now,“ “Falling Away From Me,“ “Freak On a Leash“ and “Got the Life.“
If the last three years of this mayhem festival hasn’t shown that metal still reigns in the blood of fans everywhere, we all hope that this can be a sacred home summer after summer if Ozzfest can’t hold out any longer. Sure bands can headline on their own but what better way to cram more then a dozen bands on three different stages and call it Mayhem Festival, which is basically a nice term that centers around most heavy weighted bands these days. So we once again raise our fists and salute this entire day in metal with “Horns up“ as this years’ Mayhem Festival was the best ever for metal events of the summer. Mayhem has taken over the reigns as the new home of extreme metal.