unnamedThe 8TH annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival came through Mansfield, MA as Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, The Devil Wears Prada, and more stopped at the Xfinity Center. The only problem for Mayhem this year is the attendance numbers for all of the shows including a lackluster amount for the Mansfield stop. You knew it was troubling when the minute you walked in, the ticket takers told you to go to guest services to upgrade your tickets to better ones which is exactly what I did as I went from section 8 to section 3. The second sign that things were bad was when you walked to the second stage area which was usually held in a section of the parking lot, but due to numbers was held at the old second stage which hadn’t been used for a metal festival there since 1999. Unfortunately, I didn’t show up for most of the second stage acts, but I was able to catch Jungle Rot, Thy Art Is Murder, and one of my personal favorites in Whitechapel before I moved on to the main stage. While I was surprised that I enjoyed Jungle Rot and their style of death metal, I was a little discouraged at Thy Art Is Murder whose singer was more focused on the amount of “Hot Chicks” as he put it that were in attendance. Whitechapel came out firing with The Saw Is The Law and never looked back as they absolutely crushed it.

devil wearsAs far as the Main Stage was concerned, it was business as usual, but a sad site to see as there were thousands of empty seats all throughout the legendary amphitheater which could be the kiss of death. The Devil Wears Prada kicked things off for the main stage opening with Escape from their Zombie EP. The only problem for me for most of their set was that I couldn’t tell at times when a song finished and where a new one started. The one thing I can say for them is that they bring a hell of a lot of energy along with them. The band covered most of their bases as they touched upon almost every release giving you a history lesson on them and something to check out later on if you enjoyed the band. They also played a brand new track before they closed their set called Supernova which is off the bands upcoming Space EP. The Devil Wears Prada are definitely flying the flag for Metalcore as they made what I believe is their second appearance on Mayhem Fest.

hellyeahThe second band of the night to hit the stage was a very familiar one of the heavy metal scene as Hellyeah were in town. The band which boasted Vinnie Paul (Ex-Pantera), Chad Gray (Ex-Mudvayne), Tom Maxwell (who was playing injured as he was wearing a boot), Christian Brady (Magna-Fi), and Kyle Sanders (Bloodsimple). I believe that Chad Gray was trying to save heavy metal last night as he preached throughout their set that heavy metal was very important to them in their lives. It was almost like a plea that we need to keep the scene going and a notion that I welcomed with open arms. The band was crushing it as they went through almost every track off of Blood For Blood opening with Soul Killer, Sangre Por Sangre (Blood For Blood), and many more. The only criticism I have for the band is I wish they had played more from their first two records, but they under time constraints which I understand.

king diamondI was looking forward to seeing King Diamond as it was my first time seeing the master of the dark arts and music. The man and his high falsetto voice is legendary in the metals scene and we were about to be graced with his presence. King Diamond had the more elaborate set design than any other band on the tour and it came complete with all the theatrics that he could fit into his setlist which included a visit from grandma. King opened with crowd favorites The Candle and continued on with Sleepless Nights (a personal favorite of mine), Eye Of The Witch, and so many more. One of the biggest highlights from the set besides the backup singer, the actress on tour with them, was the appearence of Kerry King who came on to perform a blazing rendition of the Mercyful Fate classic Evil. It was evident through out the whole night that despite open heart surgery a couple of years back, the man did not lose a step whatsoever as he commanded the crowd in Mansfield. He closed the set with Black Horseman from the legendary Abigail album and it was definitely the perfect ending to his amazing set, but it meant one thing that the legendary Slayer was about to hit the stage.

slayerWhen the lights came down for Slayer, the crowd was pumped and ready to go on this cool evening, but Slayers pyro was about to heat the place up. The band crushed it immediately hitting the stage with the track Repentless which is off of the album of the same name. For the first half of their set the band went through the best of their later years like Hate Worldwide, Jihad, Disciple, God Send Death, and they even threw in new tracks When The Stillness Comes and Implode, The highlight for me is when the second half of the set arrived and the band went through classics like Mandatory Suicide, Chemical Warfare, Ghosts Of War, but it was during the intro to Dead Skin Mask that I enjoyed. Tom Araya known for finding chilling and interesting ways to intro various tracks told the crowd that it was a love song even though it’s about famous serial killer Ed Gein. The band closed out the rest of their set playing hellish classics like Hell Awaits, South Of Heaven, Raining Blood, and Angel Of Death. Overall, it was a great night, but this could be the end of Mayhem Fest as we know it. It’s  sad thing because Ozzfest is gone and now Mayhem could be joining the ranks. What will replace it if this is indeed true? Only time will tell my fellow Metalheads.

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