Editor’s Note: In the wacky world of publishing, some stories don’t see the light of day. Whether they sit on the back burner until they become irrelevant, positions change hands or they just plain get cut, it’s just one of those things. Today, one of those unpublished articles will finally get its due as we traverse the archives of “The Vault.”
Rockstar Energy’s Mayhem Fest, the annual touring metal festival with a more mainstream lineup than others. Due to the festival being a haven for nu-metal and metalcore artists, I usually never bother to go.
However,in 2012 I planned on going to see Motorhead, get a second round with Slayer and Anthrax and in 2013 Amon Amarth and Mastodon; but car repairs and work schedules made it impossible. When King Diamond was announced for 2015 I knew I had to go.
I went down to the PNC Bank Arts Center with my friend Drew as well as my middle-aged metalhead friend Jay for our chance to see the King. Due to the amount of crappy bands on the bill, we decided to get there in time for Jungle Rot, skipping the first three hours of the fest. Due to the PNC Bank Arts Center being 90 minutes away and New Jersey being traffic land, we left with an extra hour in between (just in case we got stuck).
We got there around 3:20. Drew and I had free tickets while Jay still had to buy his. After waiting for Jay at the box office we then walked over to the Victory Records stage, where Sister Sin was playing. Drew and I watched them while Jay looked at merch. Sister Sin were a hair metal throwback band from Sweden and while Drew and I both agreed that though not our thing, they still performed well.
Jay came back just in time for us to catch these death metal legends. Both Jay and I have seen these guys before but its been years for both of us. Drew had yet to ever see them and was very curious. As they always had been for us, the band’s hardcore influenced death metal delivered. Due to having a short set they didn’t get to play a lot of their classics like “Fractured” and “Victim of Violence.” This aside, the set was still good and the pit was pretty violent.
Thy Art is Murder
I had already sat through this terrible deathcore band about a year ago at Summer Slaughter and they were the worst band on the bill (although neither them or Within The Ruins stopped it from being one of the best shows of 2014). During their set we just got some disgusting overpriced dinner and came back to hear their last 2 songs (which sucked).
Drew is a big fan of the first two albums (2007’s “The Somatic Defilement” and 2008’s “This Is Exile”) by deathcore pioneers Whitechapel. He’s also had five chances to see them and missed them every time. Though the setlist only had two songs from that era, Drew still wanted to see them because he missed them so many times before.
Jay and I on the other hand are not fans of them at all. During this time I noticed Jungle Rot were at their merch booth. I waited in line to meet vocalist Dave Matrise in person, whom I’ve also interviewed. Matrise was a really nice guy. I then watched the rest of Whitechapel’s set. Neither Jay or I were impressed while Drew was only impressed when they played the two older songs.
The Devil Wears Prada
Around 6:30 p.m. I was scheduled to interview Slayer’s Paul Bostaph behind the main stage. This left me with about 20 minutes with The Devil Wears Prada. We all walked to the main stage where they were playing. Drew and I had close seats while Jay sat a little higher up. None of us wanted to see them. They played very boring and very generic metalcore. When I was finally called to go back stage I was very happy to not be watching them anymore while Drew and Jay were stuck.
After that awesome interview with Bostaph, it was time for the show to shift from generic metalcore to generic groove metal. Drew and I KNEW this was going to be bad. Jay on the other hand was curious simply because Pantera’s Vinnie Paul was in the band and had never heard them before (he ended up hating them).
The band looked straight out of Oniontown (a hick part of Dutchess County, NY) and the vocalist Chad Gray of Mudvayne always annoyingly chanted about metal brotherhood. Four days before this show I saw Superjoint Ritual play live. Seeing these two in within a week reminded me why I respect Phil Anselmo more.
The time finally came for the main reason why I was here. Drew and I were huge King Diamond fans for many years and never thought we would ever see him. Jay had not seen him since he played The Chance ten years ago with Behemoth, Nile and The Black Dahlia Murder (where are these tour packages now?). Jay realized that the seating area was pretty empty and that security was pretty bad.
King opened the set with “The Candle,” getting Jay really hyped. The stage was very theatrical with coffins, grave stones and a woman who would play characters from King’s songs. The set contained classics like “Tea,””Welcome Home,””Eye of the Witch” and “Sleepless Nights.” It got even better midway through the set. Slayer’s Kerry King got on guitar and they played the Mercyful fate songs “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath.” King then ended the set with THREE songs from his 1987 masterpiece “Abigail.”
The final act of the night was Slayer (or as people like to call this lineup, “Slayodus”).
I saw Slayer once five years ago with Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer had the original lineup and played all of 1990’s “Seasons in the Abyss” and some other random songs. Megadeth played all of their greatest album (which also came out in 1990) “Rust in Peace,” plus some random songs as well. Rather than keep tradition and play all of their 1990 classic “Persistence of Time,” Anthrax met the others halfway and just played seven random songs.
Jay has seen Slayer many times with the last time at this point being Mayhem Fest 2012. For Drew this was his first time. They started the set with mostly newer songs. If you had read my ranking on Slayer albums you know I mostly like the older Slayer albums other then a few songs (which some of those were played). The band then shifted into a set of older songs. I was really glad they played “Hell Awaits,” ”Postmortem,” ”Chemical Warfare” and “Ghosts of War”- which were all songs they didn’t play last time. While it wasn’t the original lineup, it still was a great set and all three of us were glad we went (which is all that matters anyway).