Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Day 2, San Manuel Amphitheater, September 25, 2016
It was the day after a bewitching performance by the legendary Black Sabbath – and now the winds and swirling storms of dust had been summoned within its tumultuous aftermath – all awaiting the arrival of the almighty Slipknot. The main stage would be cursed with a late start, and noted bands such as Anthrax, Amon Amarth, and Slayer would unleash abbreviated yet intensive sets of fury – clearly demonstrating that heavy music is very much alive and well on the worldwide metal scene. This dynamic trio has touring plans for us here in the States in the days ahead, so be on the lookout for future sonic invasions!
Slipknot would arrive on the stage, creating an absolute frenzy to the sold out San Manuel Amphitheater – and this would include the kid next to me who was losing his mind as the band burst into the opening refrains of People = Shit merging into the ferocious Disasterpiece. It rapidly become very clear that we were in the midst of witnesses Slipknot’s Iowa masterwork being performed in its entirety, with the band decked out in costumes from that time period. Rendering this performance just as memorable as the final Sabbath incantations the night before, Slipknot concluded Day 2 of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest with a mesmerizing performance destined to leave lingering impressions on all fortunate enough to be in attendance.
There were many highlights from the side stages to be witnessed in the early afternoon prior to the opening of the main amphitheater. Here is some of the devastation Highwire Daze was able to witness on the second day of the mighty Ozzfest Meets Knotfest…
Slipknot on Facebook
There was absolutely no better way to commence a hot and windy day than within the throes of the supremely heavy Westfield Massacre. Kicking off Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Day 2 with an all-out vengeance on the Nuclear Blast stage, this SoCal based band presented an explosive set of tunes for the early arrivals. Who needed coffee when you had the pumped up sounds of Westfield Massacre infusing your very soul and permeating throughout the entire grounds of San Manuel. Launching into battle with Darkness Divides, Westfield Massacre demonstrated why they are one of the most compelling new collective on the heavy music scene today.
Featuring rock solid musicianship (not to mention the kickass participation of Ira Black, who truly does have the best metal hair in the business), Westfield Massacre slaughtered the crowd with an artillery of songs such as Release The Cure, Time To Rise, and Underneath The Skin. In addition to the fiery axe work of the aforementioned Mr. Black, the dynamic Westfield Massacre lineup consists of Tommy Vext on vocals, Stephen Brewer on guitar, Erik Tisinger on bass, and Dio Britto on drums. Be on the lookout for the Westfield Massacre brigade, as their live shows could awaken even the long dead of music enthusiasts!
Westfield Massacre on Facebook
There was no reason at all to venture away from the Nuclear Blast stage, especially since the progressive metal mavericks Oni were about to take over and conquer. From Canada via the Cayman Islands, Oni presents their own exhilarating brand of high tech extreme metal, gaining the attention of the one and only Randy Blythe from the almighty Lamb of God. And as promised in the press releases, Blythe joined the up and coming Oni onstage for a raging rendition of The Only Cure, resulting in one of the most anticipated moments to be witnessed on a side stage at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest!
Even without the presence of the infamous Lamb Of God front man, Oni has the talent and conviction to stand out in their own right! Jake Oni is a dynamic front man exuding a good amount of passion and energy. And the musicianship found within this band is staggering, from the stellar guitar work, to the spectacular percussive meanderings, all the way to the wickedly pulsating bass solos! All this plus the placement of an xylophone into the proceedings, sending the Oni performance into the stratosphere. On tour this fall with Combichrist and The Black Dahlia Murder, Oni will soon be crushing venues all across the country!
Their debut recording Ironshore will be available November 25th via Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records.
Oni on Facebook
It was time for another band on the Nuclear Blast stage possessing only had three letters within their moniker, and what a good thing this reviewer decided to stay –as SIM (aka Silence iz Mine) turned out to be one of the grand and glorious highlight from Day 2 of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest. There have been pictures circulating of SIM performing with Corey Taylor of Slipknot at Knotfest in Japan. One would not normally expect a band like SIM performing with all these massively heavy bands – but even Corey Taylor can vouch for this wildly diverse, extraordinarily talented collective. SIM from Japan was making their first ever appearance in the States, displaying their own raging amalgamation of punk, metal and even reggae!
Opening with the inviting refrains of Get Up Get Up, the audience quickly submerged around the Nuclear Blast stage, clearly enraptured by the auditory magic SIM was presenting. Songs such as Make Me Dead, The King, and Faith were instantly memorable, clearly exhibiting a band ready to breakthrough in an epic way on the worldwide music arena.
Lead vocalist Mah is extremely charismatic, exuding a star quality, unveiling the tunes with a good deal of heated emotion. The entire SIM lineup was on fire, playing their hearts out while unleashing a good amount of sonic demons along the way. Here’s hoping we see a lot more return visits from SIM in the future, as their live shows will leave you thoroughly captivated by the sheer artistry and vibrant showmanship at hand.
SIM on Facebook
You could go from the magic of Japan to the frosty terrains of the UK without even leaving the Nuclear Blast stage, as the up and coming Loathe was about to unleash a set of seething tapestries upon the Ozzfest Meets Knotfest horde. Once the technical glitches were all taken care of, the mind blowing live experience that was Loathe transpired. Even within the light of the day, the darkness that is Loathe fully enveloped all those who ventured out to witness this amazing collective from Liverpool! Featuring a compelling vocalist whose oozed fervor and emotion well beyond the confines of his mask and a tremendous assault force of musicians, the entreaties unveiled by the imaginative Loathe were wondrous to behold.
Prepare Consume Proceed is the title of Loathe’s latest EP on Sharptone Records, and the compositions merged into a diabolical life of their own on the Nuclear Blast stage. Loathe envisions true beauty and art within the strains of all things bleak and desolate, and their live presentation is an intriguing adventure in sight and sound that is not to be missed! Even in the midst of the bleakness and insanity, there is a cathartic enlightenment to be found within the dire tapestries of Loathe.
Loathe on Facebook
Why on Earth Overkill is not on the mainstage at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest is the greatest mystery of all, but no worries as the long running thrash metal assault force from New Jersey tore apart the Rockstar Energy Drink Stage 2! With metal fans of all ages raising their fists in the air and singing along, Overkill amped the energy up to 11, opening with the one/two punch of Amorist and Rotten To The Core. By the name Electric Rattlesnake and Hello From The Gutter were spewed out from the Overkill tribe, the slam pit was sent into hypersonic gear, kicking up a mountain of dust amongst the rabid fan base hell-bent for the sights and sounds of the very best in thrash!
Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth exuded a diabolic amount of energy and passion in his live performance, spitting out the glorious Overkill anthems with a venomous amount of fiendish glee. Longtime bassist D.D. Verni supplied a thunderous low end, assisted by the pummeling performance of drummer extraordinaire Ron Lipnicki. The frenetic axe assault team is presented with skilled precision by Dave Linsk on lead guitar and Derek Tailer on rhythm guitar.
By the time Ironbound and Elimination were performed, band and audience was one big mass of sweat and dirt, all celebrating the spellbinding live show and powerhouse legacy of Overkill, their commitment to the fans, and the very fact that thrash will live on and ignite the bleeding ears and pumping fists of all for the ravishing metal ages ahead!
Overkill on Facebook
Ozzfest Meets Knotfest was a tremendous meeting of the minds that presented an event to be remembered for all time. Here is hoping we see this amalgamation of talent and terror next year and well beyond.
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)
Ozzfest Meets Knotfest on Facebook