Megadeth, Unearth, Kingdom of Sorrow Crush Boston
Band Photo: Megadeth (?)
The heatwave scorching the U.S. has been following the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival from shed to shed and leaned on Boston hard as the mercury hit 105 on the Comcast Center tarmac in Mansfield, Mass.
But that didn't stop me and 15,000 or so fellow headbangers from slipping on our black T-shirts and standing in the blistering sun for 10 hours to get our fill of the biggest metal tour of the summer.
Most people in Boston were in the shade, a pool, the beach or some sort of air conditioned locale, but legions of soaked fans stood on the red-hot concrete for hours watching their favorite bands pay them back in spades.
As if it weren't painful enough to just be outside, the Boston crowd didn't disappoint the bands as pit after massive pit opened up across the venue. By the time Jamey Jasta, Kirk Windstein and the rest of Kingdom of Sorrow ripped into "Enlightened to Extinction," the outdoor stage area was a sea of sweaty, swirling, sunburned bodies. With security hosing down the masses, Windstein was a riff machine and Jasta - one of the hardest working dudes in metal - was on point, as usual.
Hatebreed is playing some West Coast dates on Mayhem but don't miss KOS. Definitely one of the best performances of the day. "Begging for the Truth" and "Monuments of Ash" had that signature east coast hardcore swagger and beefy groove that Jasta's come to be known for.
The only thing flowing more freely than the icy cold Rockstar water being handed out was the Jagermeister as bands and hangers-on huddled under tents for some alcohol-fueled relief from the oppressive heat. One of my friends said to me at one point: "Doesn't matter how much you drink today. You sweat it out before you can even get drunk."
Possibly somewhat true, but there was plenty of evidence to the contrary. And lest there be any doubt, heatwave drinking leaves you extra sunburned and way worn out.
Heat aside, hometown boys Unearth, riding high on their acclaimed new disc, "Darkness in the Light," did Boston proud. The new disc has only been out for two weeks but tons of kids already knew the words to "Watch It Burn" and "Eyes of Black." With Killswitch Engage's Justin Foley providing the thunderous backbeat, they tossed in some older material too, including "My Will Be Done" and "Sanctity of Brothers."
All Shall Perish frontman Hernan "Eddie" Hermida, speaking backstage after his band blasted through a half-hour of neck-snapping deathcore, described the crowd as "out of their minds."
"It's exhilarating," he said, exhausted from the blitz.
Lots of metal heads like to write off Trivium as Metallica wannabes. But I don't subscribe. These dudes can shred in their own right. New songs "In Waves" and "Dusk Dismantled" thrashed and burned with reckless abandon, as did "Throes of Perdition" and the anthemic "Down from the Sky."
With apologies to Godsmack and Disturbed, the real headliner here was Megadeth and they too didn't disappoint.
Godsmack and Disturbed bring in the modern rock crowd but the true headbangers were there to witness Dave Mustaine, Dave Ellefson and company's old school speed metal pummel. "Public Enemy No. 1," off the band's forthcoming disc, "TH1RT3EN" was vintage Megadeth with demonic riffs, a low-end rumble and Mustaine's creaky wail. And of course, his mind-blowing fretboard-assaults.
By the time they got around to the classics "Peace Sells" and "Holy Wars . . . The Punishment Due," they were rolling like a squadron of tanks into battle. Too bad they didn't have another 45 minutes.
Guess we'll have to wait for the Big 4 shows in the states to get our full 'Deth dose. By this time, my ears were ringing, my skin was torched, I was hungry and exhausted. A stop at the local Mickey D's solved one of the problems and my bed back in Boston solved the other.
Can't wait to do it all over again next year.
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