On this date in history, 7/15/2012, the 5th installment of the Mayhem Festival made its annual visit to Deer Creek, and my friends and I were part of the metal masses in attendance.
This show featured Slipknot, Slayer, Motörhead, As I Lay Dying, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, Whitechapel, Upon A Burning Body, I The Breather, Dirtfedd, Betraying The Martyrs, Hemlock, and our hometown heroes, the mighty Threat Level.
I am unable to comment on each band, but will do my best to spotlight the bands I enjoyed the most and welcome comments from anyone in attendance who may wish to fill in the blanks and give a review on any of their favorites.
The first band to attract my interest was Upon A Burning Body, but as good as they were, they were absolutely obliterated by Whitechapel, who played a singularly vicious set, raising the brutality bar to the highest echelons of intensity.
Anthrax have long been a favorite of mine, and they appeared to be in fine form on this day, but I was only able to catch 2 or 3 songs before I had to make my way to the stage where my friends in Threat Level were set to detonate the crowd gathered for their crushing performance. The band; comprised of Frank Rapacki on vocals, Troy Welch on guitar, Jason Weaver on bass, and Chad Smith (not THAT Chad Smith) on drums, had won a regional battle of the bands to secure their spot on this show and they made the most of it, impressing the large and boisterous assembly awaiting the band’s powerful blend of groove and thrash metal, topped by Rapacki’s roaring voice. Some fierce pit action accompanied favorites from their Leading The Vicious and A World Beyond Devastation albums.
After a much needed break following Threat Level’s set, I was ready for the trinity of terror comprised of Motörhead, Slayer, and Slipknot. Lemmy and company were a band on my bucket list and they were every bit as wonderful as I expected them to be. Mickey Dee drummed like a man possessed, Phil Campbell provided the guitar carnage, and the immortal Lemmy played the superhuman, jet propulsion bass and rasped out his one of a kind and singularly irreplaceable vocals on a set full of thunderous Motörhead majesty, including “Ace Of Spades”, and “Overkill”, with its 2 false endings and the furious finale with nothing but truth.
Slayer followed with their diabolical majesty, continuing the onslaught that wouldn’t abate until the concert ended. Dave Lombardo was still in the drum throne at this time, and for my money he is the undisputed king of metal drumming. Jeff Hanneman was absent by this time and Gary Holt from the band Exodus did an admirable job of filling some nearly impossible shoes to fill. Kerry King and Tom Araya did what they have always done, with King hammering the riffs with beastly intent and causing sonic disturbances and eardrum lacerations with his punishing leads, and Araya summoning up that VOICE, the mouthpiece for the Slaytanic war ensemble.
A crushing performance it was…and this left the 9, the masked minions of Mayhem, the circus of the damned known as Slipknot to take us to the finish line as only they can. Joey Jordison was the 3rd and final superpowered drummer I had the joy to witness back to back to back in this amazing display of ferocious multi limb dexterity. Corey Taylor added his voice to the hall of fame duo of Lemmy and Araya, and the rest of the Iowa based madmen did what they do, delivering visual thrills and chills and a whole lot of metallic bombast.
This one may not have been the strongest lineup overall, but it definitely was the one with the strongest 1-2-3 punch to end the show of any of the Mayhem Festivals.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA The Concert Critic