Live Sounds: Mayhem Festival 2013 Review

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On July 20th, 2013, the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival rolled into the gorgeous SPAC venue in Saratoga Springs, NY. This year’s festival lineup included Thrown Into Exile, Motionless In White, Attika 7, Born of Osiris, Emmure, Children of Bodom, Huntress, Battlecross, Butcher Babies, Job For A Cowboy, Machinehead, and on the main stage, Amon Amarth, Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch and Rob Zombie. The festival got underway June 29th in San Bernardino, CA and closes August 4th in Dallas, TX with many stops along the way.

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The first band we were able to catch was Huntress, a band led by frontwoman, Jill Janus. I have to admit, the first time I had heard of them was about a week or two before the show when one of our writers reviewed their new album ‘Starbound Beast’. I was quite impressed with Janus’ voice. She can go from sounding like an angel with her harmonies, to possessed by a demon with her growls. The band sounded good and the fans definitely seemed to be really into them. A great way to start off the day.

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Next up was a band I had been looking forward to seeing in person, and that band was Butcher Babies. I’m a big fan of their EP and new album ‘Goliath’. Fronted by Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, don’t let these vixens fool you, they’re all business on stage. I really think these ladies are a perfect combination to lead a metal band. Their charisma, voices and love of metal really shows when they’re on stage. The guys supporting them (Henry Flury (guitar), Jason Klein (bass), and Chrissy Warner (drums)) do an amazing job. It’s really nice to see some ladies breaking into the metal scene and kicking some ass, not just trying to be cute.

Unfortunately, we were interviewing some bands when the next band that I wanted to catch, Motionless In White, performed. I had their album ‘Infamous’ on repeat for a couple of weeks and really got into them. Their current single, ‘America’, really grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s the type of song that when you listen to it once, you’ve just got to hear it again and again.

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That brings us to the main stage and Amon Amarth. A band that hails from Sweden and one that I knew nothing about before this day. Their stage props were amazing. They had a huge viking ship with a dragon head on the bow of the ship that even blew smoke out of its nose. Most of their songs dealt with Vikings and mythology, something I don’t know much about. For some reason I just couldn’t get into this band. I guess it could be because I couldn’t relate to their songs, they just weren’t my ‘cup of tea’.

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Mastodon hit the stage next and they’re another band that I’ll admit I didn’t know much about before this day. But this one turned out different. I actually liked their sound, which to me sounded somewhat like psychedelic and metal fused together. Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds’ voices compliment each other nicely. I was also impressed with Brann Dailor’s ability to bang on the skins. The band finished up their set with a musical interlude. I’d definitely check these guys out again.

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Now for one of the highlights of my day, Five Finger Death Punch. Frontman Ivan Moody is so intense on stage, and probably one of the best in the business. Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory absolutely shred their guitars from the start of their set all the way to the end. Jeremy Spencer, 2012 Golden God Drummer of the Year, gives us an amazing drum solo while wearing a devil mask and some lit up motocross pads. Bassist Chris Kael shares vocal duties with Moody on their new single ‘Lift Me Up’. Their stage set up looked pretty bad ass as it was all made out of metal. I’d have to say, these guys are the new kings of metal. If you ever get a chance to catch these guys live, do not miss it, you will regret it!

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And the other highlight of the night was Rob motherfuckin’ Zombie! The most theatrical entertainer I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of shows! His amazing stage props, costumes and what he has playing on his screens is just mind blowing! A giant robot, a giant Satan, a huge radio, and a tank are just a couple of props in Mr. Zombie’s arsenal on this tour. He always has a great setlist and this time was no different. ‘Superbeast’, ‘Living Dead Girl’, ‘Dragula’, ‘Thunder Kiss ’65’, and ‘More Human Than Human’ are a few of the classics he played, along with a mix of his new hits like ‘We’re An American Band’, ‘Dead City Radio’ and the ‘New Gods of Supertown’. Overall, there was 14 songs on the setlist on this night. Now for his band, an all-star group of amazingly talented musicians. Piggy D on bass, Ginger Fish on drums, and of course, one of the most all-around talented guitarists out there today, John 5. John 5’s guitar solo of the Star-Spangled Banner was pretty amazing while Ginger Fish’s drum solo was pretty intense as well. Rob Zombie’s show is definitely a must see!

This year’s edition of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival gets two thumbs up from me! I thoroughly enjoyed the bands on the bill this year and the tour has really made itself a staple of any metalhead’s summer tour to-do list. Click here to find out when and where the Festival will be coming near you!

For more photos from the Mayhem Festival, check out our collection below!

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