The Holy Metal Fires Spread at Knotfest

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images

It was day 2 for Matt and I on this rollercoaster of a weekend. Ozzfest was filled with metal wonder, and I could not wait to see what Knotfest had in store for us. Knotfest is a heavy metal festival, originally created by the band Slipknot. It started out as a 2 day, event that originated in Wisconsin, and Slipknot’s hometown of Iowa. Recently, it has combined with Ozzfest, and has become a west coast sensation for metalheads everywhere. The headliners this year included the funky horror god Rob Zombie, and the rock star Marilyn Manson, who wears controversy on his sleeve. It rained right after Ozzfest, and the dirt became mud, but our metal spirits could not be dampened. Dressed more warmly compared to the previous night, I was energized and ready to headbang.

The party got started on the main stage, with the electronica duo Prayers. A very fascinating group to open on the main stage, Prayers consists of Leafar Seyer on vocals and Dave Parley on the synthesizer/sampler. Their distinctive blend of dark-synth and electronic rock make for an interesting sound. They have indeed captured my attention, and I plan on learning more about what separates them from the rest.

Full Prayers slideshow below:

Another band I had no idea about was Eighteen Visions. This metalcore act from my hometown of Orange County had recently gotten back together, after a decade long hiatus. They were on top of the metalcore scene, back in the day, and they were looking to recapture the crown they had once worn. Vocalist James Hart is a vicious beast, when his voice hits the microphone. Smoke surrounded the stage, giving the band a sense of ambiance to go along with their fierce nature. Relentless guitar work and pulsating drumming shook the main amphitheater, as Eighteen Visions drove fists into the air.

Full Eighteen Visions slideshow below:

Slipknot was not performing at this year’s Knotfest, but Corey Taylor brought the next best thing in his arsenal: Stone Sour! Our 2nd time seeing them this year, Stone Sour brought some exciting alternative metal and hard rock to the scene. Coming off the heels of their highly successful new album, Hydrograd, I started dancing around the homemade fires while Taylor sang and yelled his soul out. From “Say You’ll Haunt Me,” to “Song #3” and “Absolute Zero,” we were having a rip-roaring good time, especially listening to the awesome dual guitar work of Josh Rand and Christian Martucci. When they finished the night with “Fabuless,” I started dancing around the fire, as if the spirit of Lemmy was guiding me throughout the set. Stone Sour is undoubtedly one of the best hard rock acts today.

Full Stone Sour slideshow below:

The king of controversy and shock rock in Marilyn Manson came out next. Having recently survived a freak accident with two large stage props falling on him and breaking his leg, Manson created a theatrical show where he put himself in positions where he can relieve pressure from his leg. Having just released Heaven Upside Down, it was a spectacle to watch him work his magic. The Anti-Christ Superstar performed some of his classic songs like “The Dope Show,” “Kill4Me,” and “The Beautiful People.” He was still able to bring his controversy “A” game when he brandished a machine gun mic, which he aimed at the fans while playing “We Know Where You Fucking Live.” Unfortunately, Matt was not allowed to shoot him in the pit, but we still enjoyed his company.

Saving the best for last, Rob Zombie danced on top of giant radio while performing “Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown.” He was truly a wizard on stage, with his devil tongue singing that made us go ape-shit for him. Zombie was a dancing machine up on the stage, making me dance along. He performed a good variety of material from both his solo stuff (“House of a 1000 Corpses,” “Scum of the Earth,” “Never Gonna Stop Me,” etc.) and his White Zombie days (“More Human Than Human,” and “Thunder Kiss ‘65”). His guitarist, the fabulous John 5, reached the pinnacle of perfection with his creative riffs and solos. He is a master at his craft, laying waste to all that stood before him. Zombie even got off stage during John 5’s solo to walk into the crowd. He actually ran past us, it was incredible to see. This man is 52 years old, and he performs like an 18 year old. For the grand finale, he performed on top of a huge skeleton while singing the iconic “Dragula.”

Full Rob Zombie slideshow below:

Back on the Nuclear Blast Extreme stage, more groups that thrive on the pleasures of extreme headbanging, thrashed on stage. Bands like Exhumed, Repulsion, and Warbringer kicked serious ass, with their ear-splitting riffs and beats. I was most impressed with Warbringer bringing the masses in, to create a huge circle of death, which I helped manifest. The last artist was an interesting choice, for it was Sid Wilson of Slipknot with his laptop and hip-hop flows. This was a unique pick to close out the Nuclear Stage Blast stage.

Full Warbringer slideshow below:

Full Repulsion slideshow below:

Full SID slideshow below:

I have to be honest; the festival lineup for Knotfest was much better compared to the one for Ozzfest. Do not get me wrong, Ozzfest’s lineup was exciting, but I felt I got more out of Knotfest’s roster of rockers. Groups from all walks of life brought life to us fans, who were still recovering from the other night. From the gothic kings of Stitched Up Heart, to the eclectic punk/hardcore styles of Code Orange, and the devilish spewing of Goatwhore, there was a band for everyone to enjoy. Newcomers Ded were very aggressive and stylish, showing fans that they are the future act to watch for. The Black Dahlia Murder, Upon a Burning Body, Oni, Death Angel and Testament gave us a jolt of thrash and death, while Life of Agony made us lose our minds with their stoner metal harmony. Every single group brought the volume to its most intense moment.

Full Ded slideshow below:

Full Oni slideshow below:

Full Death Angel slideshow below:

Full Upon A Burning Body slideshow below:

Full Life of Agony slideshow below:

Full Stitched Up Heart slideshow below:

Full Code Orange slideshow below:

Full Goatwhore slideshow below:

Full The Black Dahlia Murder slideshow below:

Full Testament slideshow below:

Matt and I did not want this night to end. Fire spread across the night sky, from the tall pyro machines, as the daylight savings had commenced. Beer cans, cigarette butts, and torn shirts laid in the mud, as the night drew to a close. It was seriously the best night of my weekend. Ozzfest Meets Knotfest was everything I thought it would be, and more. Now I am counting down the days til the next one rolls right into town. To Knotfest, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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