Mayhem Festival Main Stage @ San Manuel Amphitheater – 06/27/2015
Now in its 8th year, The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival has become the summer’s premier traveling extreme music festival in the continental United States. With an impressive heavy metal pedigree from years past featuring some of the biggest bands in the world, the 2015 edition is without a doubt the most EVIL lineup to date as the main stage features headliners Slayer along with King Diamond in addition to Hellyeah and The Devil Wear Prada. After a long afternoon of bands on the Victory Records side stage the Rockstar Energy Drink main stage kicked off at 6:00pm for a night of epic heavy music.
The Devil Wears Prada got things started with a dynamic 35 minute set of metalcore craziness. Vocalist Mike Hranica put on a great display of showmanship as he barked out his vocals with an intense passion as the remainder of the band pounded out their musical parts. The band crushed through “Mammoth” from their 2013 release Dead Throne to end their time on stage.
Up next Hellyeah took the stage as legendary Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul greeted the crowd and led the band through 40 minutes of balls-to-the-wall heavy metal. Vocalist Chad Gray paced across the stage like a caged animal as he delivered his powerful, angst driven vocals. Just prior to the second song “Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)”, bass player Kyle Sanders spit a mouthful of blood onto the face of Gray making him look like a crazed wounded creature. Guitarist Tom Maxwell who recently suffered a leg injury was confined to a chair and ripped through his magic while sitting down. Hellyeah provided the perfect soundtrack to get the blood flowing in anticipation for King Diamond.
Spawned after the breakup of Mercyful Fate, King Diamond was one of if not THE original Satanic Metal pioneer. With his unique face makeup and unforgettable falsetto vocals King Diamond is easy to identify but difficult to forget. The band took to the elaborate stage made of staircases on each side connected by a bridge that had gargoyles and inverted crosses and resembled some type of anti-religious worship establishment. King Diamond made his appearance atop the stage and slowly walked down the stairs onto the main platform as the band wailed into the opening of “The Candle”.
King Diamond sounded spot on as he hit all the high notes and falsetto parts with perfection. His continuous snarls and evil face gestures made his stage presence that much more ominous as he sang into his microphone mounted to a femur bone and tibia bone in the shape of a cross. Original guitarist, with King Diamond since the beginning of the band, Andy LaRocque displayed some amazing soloing as he traded licks with fellow guitarist Mike Wead.
As magnificent as all the King Diamond songs are, one of the highlights of his set was the back to back Mercyful fate songs “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath” which were well received by the crazed King Diamond fans in the audience. This epic 60 minute performance ended with the song “Black Horsemen” from the 1987 concept album Abigail. An extremely impressive show by King Diamond, one can only hope for a Mercyful Fate reunion tour in the near future.
Thrash masters and Mayhem Festival headliner Slayer took the stage to a now fully primed mass of metalheads. The band struck fast and struck early as they opened the 75 minute set with the title track from their forthcoming album Repentless due out September 11. The song “Repentless” sounds like classic Slayer and this song will certainly be in the setlist for years to come. Center stage, Tom Araya led the onslaught with his stellar vocal delivery as Kerry King was all business as he slayed his guitar with riff after riff trading blistering solos with fellow guitarist Gary Holt.
The band played two additional new songs, “Implode” and “When the Stillness Comes” both fitting in nicely with the Slayer back catalog. Drummer Paul Bostaph is beyond human behind the drumkit as he seems to push the pace of the songs beyond their established pace on record. The band made the most of their time onstage with little banter and letting the music do the talking. Classics such as “Hell Awaits” and the standout all-time coolest thrash anthem “Raining Blood” were played as blasts of fire erupted at the back of the stage making the performance look like a scene from the bowels of Hell.
The set ended with “Angel of Death”, now a tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman (RIP) as the extremely large circle pit moved with the most intensity of the night. An epic day of Metal music, The 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival proved once again it is the premier extreme music tour in the USA.
For FULL coverage of Rockstar Energy Drink Victory Records side stage click HERE
Repentless | Hate Worldwide | Jihad | Disciple | God Send Death | War Ensemble | When the Stillness Comes | Implode | Mandatory Suicide | Chemical Warfare | Ghosts of War | Dead Skin Mask | Hell Awaits | South of Heaven | Raining Blood | Angel of Death
King Diamond Setlist
The Candle | Sleepless Nights | Eye of the Witch | Welcome Home | Medley – Tea / Digging Graves / A Visit from the Dead | Evil (Mercyful Fate cover) | Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover) | The Family Ghost | The 7th Day of July 1777 | Black Horsemen
The Devil Wears Prada