Sonisphere UK 2009 review
Festival king ... Metallica frontman James HetfieldBy ROB LEWIS
....THE sun truly shone for METALLICA, setting over the silhouette of Knebworth House at the inaugural Sonisphere festival in Hertfordshire.The world's finest touring metal festival has romped through the Netherlands, Spain, Finland, Germany and Sweden before laying waste to the UK for its two-day climax with a bill including no less than 62 acts.Bringing back the concept of having the two main stages facing each other and alternating the sets meant that you didn't have to face that old festival dilemma of choosing which bands you'd be prepared to miss... you got them all.The weekend saw a clutch of top-flight comebacks, farewells and debuts which included the reformed (love 'em or hate 'em) LIMP BIZKIT, SLIPKNOT'S COREY TAYLOR in solo mode, THUNDER - back from the grave for one last blast - and NINE INCH NAILS, who dished out their inimitable noise to the UK for the final time.Sunday's line-up may well have had the big guns, but Saturday still had the quality to captivate withANTHRAX, THE USED and old boys HEAVEN & HELL standing out from the rest.
Fresh from an acrimonious split with singer DAN NELSON just weeks before releasing their new opus, everybody's favourite old-school thrashers Anthrax hooked up with old pal JOHN BUSHreplicating their heady line-up of the '90s.With a set including classics like Caught In A Mosh, I Am The Law and Bring The Noise they whipped up their eager crowd to mosh like it was '88 again.PARADISE LOST were charged with waking the dead and the dozing on Sunday morning with their epic gothic metal. And in true form, just one song in and singer NICK HOLMES had already complained about the price of doughnuts. Inspired axeman AARON AEDY on the other hand was bouncing around the stage with a grin on his face like the last 21 years of relentless touring had never really happened.The all-too-brief set that included doomy masterpiece Pity The Sadness and Hallowed Land was predictably awesome but tragically far too early in the day.Another surprisingly early billing was the New Wave of American Heavy Metal superstarsLAMB OF GOD. Although with a main Apollo Stage slot they did seem a little dwarfed by the event, especially in broad daylight - their brand of extreme metal being much better suited to a dark and smokey indoor stage.Gloriously opening with recent belters The Passing, In Your Words and Set To Fail, singerRANDY BLYTHE was hell bent on getting the biggest circle pit of the day going... and did just that.Two more bands that really rose to the occasion were MASTODON and AVENGED SEVENFOLD - both letting rip with their contrasting takes on modern metal.
Mastodon, billed earlier on the smaller Saturn Stage, stirred-up their uniquely trippy atmosphere and triumphed despite the daylight with a powerful set that hit its sweet spot with 2009's best metal track, so far, The Czar.Avenged Sevenfold easily won the weekends 'Band With Most Crazed Fans Award' and surely pulled in a new batch of followers with their riotus performance of balls-out rock. Whilst vocalist M. SHADOWSscreamed until his veins nearly burst, his partner in banter, guitaristSYNYSTER GATES, couldn't have looked more relaxed in front of the frenzied thousands sporting his mirrored aviators and creaseless leather strides.This was Nine Inch Nails' big farewell to the UK following a recent storming show at London's O2 Arena, so you couldn't help but expect something really quite special from TRENT REZNOR and his current crew. What was delivered though was a bizarrely low-key affair that had not one song from their genre-defining industrial debut Pretty Hate Machine. Although achingly beautiful at times, airing Something I Can Never Have and closing with Hurt, we were left with the overriding impression that Nine Inch Nails could well have finally lost that innate rage that made them what they are. Has Trent left us with a whimper and not a bang? Let's hope not.Metallica were made for the big stage, and Knebworth's main Apollo Stage was certainly a whopper. Sonisphere, on the other hand, was made for Metallica. You couldn't wish to have a more metal, more on-form headliner to close a new festival.With every gig, Metallica sound more and more legendary. Newest songs The Day That Never Comes and All Nightmare Long - now firm live favourites - stood proudly back-to-back with classics including One, Creeping Death and Blackened, producing two solid hours of aggressive perfection. Hardcore fans were also treated to a first UK live performance of 1988's emotionally charged Dyers Eve.Closing the event with a sing-song round of Happy Birthday for frontman JAMES HETFIELD, Metallica rounded up a spectacular weekend of non-stop rock.Sonisphere is set to firmly feature in every metalhead's summer plans - bring on 2010!
Avenged Sevenfold (220) Jimmy (15) The Rev (15) Team (13) Matt Shadows (8) Zacky Vengeance (8) Slash (6) Tour (6) Vengeance University (6) Nothing To Say (5) A7X México (3) DCMA (3) Johnny Christ (2) Mercancia (2) Synyster Gates (2) Tal Cooperman (2) VU (2) BARRY KERCH (1) BFMV (1) BOBBY ALT (1) BUCKCHERRY (1) BURN HALO (1) Brian Fair (1) Brian Haner Sr. (1) CHRIS JERICHO (1) Chris Sorenson (1) Cove Reber (1) DCMA México (1) EIGHTEEN VISIONS (1) Facebook (1) HELLYEAH (1) JAMES HART (1) Jason Bittner (1) Joel Madden (1) MICK MORRIS (1) Matt Tuck (1) PANTERA (1) SHINEDOWN (1) STREET DRUM CORPS (1) Saosin (1) Shadows Fall (1) St Patricks Day (1) Trivium México (1) VINNIE PAUL (1) Val (1) XAVIER MURIEL (1)