The 2015 RockStar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival made it’s way to the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on July 21st, 2015. The show began at 1pm over at the Victory Stage with Stagger, winner of the Coldcock Battle of The Bands. Other bands that performed on that stage were Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sister Sin, Sworn In, Shattered Sun, Feed Her To The Sharks, Code Orange, and Kissing Candice. Each band brought their own style and hard-hitting music to the stage. It was awesome to see all the bands perform, and bring out the intense emotions from the crowd. The moshing was serious, as it almost looked like martial arts. Crowd surfing was non-stop. Bodies kept coming forward towards the stage. Security bouncers were getting a workout as they lifted the crowd surfers up and over the barrier.
As the day went on, the sun came out, making it hotter and humid. However, the fans didn’t care one bit and they were ready for the main stage bands. The first band to hit the main stage was The Devil Wears Prada opening with “Escape” and then followed with “Sailor’s Prayer”, probably my favorite overall from their entire set. Check out the video for “Sailor’s Prayer”, it’s pretty comical using puppets as the main characters. “Outnumbered” their third song of the set is about a zombie apocalypse. I’m happy I finally had the chance to see The Devil Wears Prada perform, since I always hear their songs on Octane/Sirius XM and was curious to see and hear what their live show would be like.
Hellyeah was up next ready to put the show into high gear with their energetic performance. They opened their set with “Sangre por Sangre”(Blood for Blood). Lead singer Chad Gray was darting around stage with blood dripping from his face, bringing out the theatrical aspect of the show. Chad tells the crowd “Heavy Metal saved my life!” He then said he would “bleed for this F***ing music!” He was passionate in delivering his message to the audience stating: “We are all in this S**t together!!!” Hellyeah continued their set with the current album favorites “Moth” and “Demons in the Dirt”. Vinnie Paul was killing it on the drums and at the end of the set he threw out drumsticks to the crowd, demanding to hear more cheering.
Kind Diamond would soon be performing and I could hardly wait! The stage grew dark, as you began to hear the organ playing. The Gothic church stage set up had lit upside down crosses, gargoyles, two stair cases on each side of the stage, stained glass windows, and a pentagram on the back wall. It was horrific and gothic, which is what the King is all about. King Diamond’s high-pitched voice echoed throughout the pavilion as he sang “Candle”, and then the band joined in as they ripped right into the song. Other songs performed were “Sleepless Nights”, “Eye of The Witch”, “Come to the Sabbath’, and my favorite, “Grandma”. During the “Grandma” song a person in a wheel chair came out with a horrible looking mask that was supposed to look like an old lady. It was freaky and scary. It was a perfect fit to the song and added to the theatrics of the whole set. King invited Kerry King to perform “Evil” along with the band, and the crowd loved every minute of it.
King Diamond, Andy La Rocque, Mike Wead, Pontus Egberg, and Matt Thompson put on a stellar performance giving the fans a most involved stage production. The horror concepts from the multiple albums used in the decor were impressive. King Diamond is by far one of the most recognizable and prolific personalities in heavy metal. His voice has not changed in over 30 years it truly is amazing.
Finally, Slayer came up on stage to start their set. The heavy metal thrash, punk pioneers and one of the most revered metal bands on the planet. They were hard, fast and heavy. Their lighting was blood red and pulses of fire shot up in the background giving off more heat then needed. It almost felt like a scene from hell. Kerry King was magnetic on guitar drawing in the crowd who was screaming for more. Araya’s vocals were steady and better then ever. Slayer performed for an hour and fifteen minutes with brutal fierce riffs, giving it their all to the fans. Wrapping up the set with fan favorites like “South of Heaven”, “Reign in Blood”, and “Angel of Death” Although, they have received some back lash after drummer Dave Lombardo left the band and while so much has changed over the last six years, they didn’t let that affect their performance. After all these years, they are still one of the most recognized metal bands; they have influenced other successful bands such as Slipknot, and Deftones. That being said, I felt like all the seats in the pavilion should have been filled. This will be the last year for Mayhem Festival as it has announced it will not be continuing next year; however there are plenty of other heavy metal and rock festivals out there. We must continue supporting the bands we love!
Thy Art Is Murder:
The Devil Wears Prada: