Slayer and King Diamond unite proving their title as the godfathers of metal after more than 30 years of head-banging and making ears bleed.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival rolled into the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA on its final leg of the 25 date tour. The tour has been scaled back from past years going from four stages down to two stages as well as altered lineups for the headlining acts. However, that did not stop the bands from putting on one great performance after another.
There is a reason the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts is formerly known as “Great Woods” as the Victory Records Stage was set up among a clearing in the trees giving shade to concert goers. The Victory Records Stage hosted 10 up and coming bands with a few more established alternative acts while the main stage hosted the four more traditional rock and metal acts.
The day kicked off with Dead By Wednesday, the Cold Whiskey Band WinnerÂ from Connecticut. The crowd slowly began to enter the side stage area checking out the merchandise booths and planning their day for artist signings and meet and greets.
The first pit of the day was brought on by the metal band from Texas,Â Shattered Sun followed by a straight up angry and aggressive hardcore band from PA,Â Code Orange.
Sworn In, an emo bandÂ from IL, brought on a wall of death where the crowd split in two and charged at each other like something out of the movie Braveheart. Sworn In singer, Tyler Dennen, instructed the crowd to “find a buddy.” Tyler asked anyone who had previously been to a Sworn In to raise their hand and find a “buddy” who did not have their hands raised and mosh with them.
Sister Sin from Sweden, Jungle Rot from Wisconsin, and Thy Art is Murder from Australia were a poker hand winning three of a kind playing old-school metal and death metal in the same vein as Motorhead. The highlight of this trio was when the singer for Thy Art Is Murder,Â CJ McMahon, jumped off the stage and over the barrier to crowd surf, making the crowd a part of the show.
Whitechapel, a metal band from Tennesse that formed in 2006, was the Victory Record Stage crowd favorite with side mosh pits interacting with, and feeding the main mosh pit like the gears in a meat grindingÂ machine.
The next four bands dividedÂ the crowd at points with alternating start times from the side stage to the main stage. A portion of the crowd began to jockey for position at the main stage in preparation for the main stage and headlining acts.
The Devil Wears Prada opened the mainÂ stage with its version of christian metal-core supporting their latest full length 8:18 released in 2013 and their upcoming EP, Space, scheduled for release August 21, 2015. The crowd favored Sailor’s Prayer swaying to the grooving syncopated rhythm and screaming chorus.
Kissing Candice,Â a metal and electronic band from New York, was definitely the wildcard of the Mayhem Festival this year. Kissing Candice rose from the ashes of Dr. Acula and is heavily influenced by Slipknot from the musical styling to the horror themed costumes and stage acts. Kissing Candice is supporting their latest album,Â Blind Until We Burn, released June 30, 2015.
Hellyeah is supporting their latest album, Blood For Blood, released on June 2014. Singer, Chad Gray, was constantly on the move from one side of the stage to the other and crawling across the speakers at the front of the stage giving high fives to the crowd while pressing against the barrier. The crowd reacted in unified emphatic cheers when he stated the reason he was on stage was because of the metal crowd coming together to support each other and the bands.
Feed Her To The Sharks, a metalcore band from Australia, closed the Victory Records Stage to a smaller but enthusiastic and dedicated crowd. Feed Her To The Sharks is touring in support of their album, Fortitude, released on February 2015. Feed Her To The Sharks were given one of the most difficult slots of the day, but their on stage energy gave the crowd a much needed second wind to finish off the night.
King DiamondÂ celebrated 30 years as an act and was one of the most anticipated showÂ of the day according toÂ concert goers and the social media buzz leading up to their performance. King Diamond’s falsetto gave listeners goosebumps while singing above the driving and crunching guitar riffs played by Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead. The highlight of King Diamond’s set was when Kerry King from SlayerÂ jumped on stage to play “Evil” and “Come To The Sabbath” by Mercyful Fate.
Slayer is considered to be one of the “Big Four” when the headbanging massesÂ talk about a Mount Rushmore of thrash metal. Slayer took the stage to 20 foot high balls of flame draped in bright red light with screens behind the band, showing images that matched the theme and lyrics to each song.
Slayer took a bold approach opening their set with the title track off their upcoming release, Repentless, due out September 11, 2015. Slayer followed withÂ “Hate Worldwide,” “Jihad,” “Disciple,” “God Send Death,”Â “War Ensemble,” “When the Stillness Comes,” “Implode,” “Mandatory Suicide,” “Chemical Warfare,” “Ghosts of War,” andÂ “Dead Skin Mask.”
Slayer saved what many consider their best for last, uniting old school and new school metal heads together with devil horns in the air and heads banging as they playedÂ “Hell Awaits,” “South of Heaven,” “Raining Blood,” and “Angel of Death.”
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival wraps up the tour this year on August 2 in Dallas, Texas.