Ozzfest and Knotfest felt like we had the shoes on the wrong feet this year. We kicked off Ozzfest on Saturday, November 4th with cold, chilly weather, but that did not stop fans from coming out in waves. Followed up by Knotfest on Sunday, November 5th the audience skipped church to come out and join an annual ritual of attending Knotfest. Although it was still very cold on day two we also had prior rain from the morning. So instead of having your typical dust field mosh pit as we had on Saturday, we had damp grass and muddy circle pits on Sunday.
Now it’s time for the breakdown!
Ozzfest kicked off the event with Thrown Into Exile on Stage B followed by Night Demon on Stage A. Both groups brought unique sounds respective to their own bands while still keeping the sound true to the traditional metal roots throughout their set. Next came Rings Of Saturn opening up the Nuclear Blast stage. The group is out with their fourth studio album titled Ultu Ulla. The audience had no problem opening up the pit in the afternoon as Rings hammered through each song with passion and precise execution. Tombs was a killer band to see live as Mike Hill completely destroyed the vocals and guitar on each song and the rest of the group did just as equally amazing. Kyng and Fallujah brought in more of the audience to their sets and had a few fans talking after about how great each set was.
I recently started getting into the group Havok. This Colorado thrash metal band are no strangers to the stage as they have been around since 2004. Their most recent release is Conformicide which is where they took most of their setlist from. Songs such as FPC, Hang ‘Em High, and Intention to Deceive were all solid tracks and got the pit moving more and more quickly. Suffocation played Thrones Of Blood, Funeral Inception, Entrails Of You as well as Infecting The Crypts which had fans beating each other up in the pit while lead singer Frank Mullen brought the heavy vocals the rest of the band followed up with a fast and melodic sound which really drove the audience throughout the set. Norway’s own black metal band 1349 was quite the sight to see and hear. Dressed in corpse paint and traditional black metal outfits the band received the respect of the Ozzfest audience by the end of their set.
Iron Reagan brought the thrash to the audience with one of their popular songs being A Dying World from their 2016 album Crossover Ministry. With the perfect mixture of riffs and vocals this song had the crowd howling for more. The group also played Cycles of Violence, Paycheck, and Miserable Failure. Possessed came out to a strong audience approval as the band has been gaining fans by the hundreds since 1983. Kicking off their set with Seance it was very clear who was the hardcore day one fans and who were checking them out for the first time at Ozzfest. Lead singer, Jeff Becerra brought the death metal vocals while his backing band members took over the smooth riffs, and heavy beating of the drums. The best song they played live that set was Satans Curse off of their album Seven Churches. High On Fire and Baroness, both drew sizeable crowds for their respective sets. Baroness was another popular artist as far as being the talk of the festival as they brought heavy metal with If I Have To Wake Up (Would You Stop The Rain?), Shock Me, as well as Chlorine & Wine. If you haven’t seen this band yet check out one of five of their studio albums and then you’ll want to listen to more! As the night grew darker so did the metal. The next band up was Kreator who really darkened things up with Gods Of Violence, Violent Revolution, and Pleasure to Kill.
The main stage for Saturday night began with none other than Orange Goblin. The group formed back in 95 and has been destroying the scene effortlessly ever since. Playing what is defined as stoner/doom metal the group slayed their set and sounded awesome! Saruman’s Wish had everyone on their feet and raising their fists at the request of lead singer Ben Ward. As the set began more and more people started leaving the smaller stages and began packing into the main stage arena. The last album Orange Goblin released (Back From The Abyss) was in 2014; therefore, we look forward to a new album if that is in the works as well as many more tours from these legends! Children of Bodom received a larger audience and in return put on one hell of a show. Vocalist and guitarist Alexi Laiho screamed and played some gnarly riffs on Red Light In My Eyes while keyboardist Janne Wirman blasted through the keyboard. Daniel Freyberg, Henkka Seppälä, and Jaska Raatikainen backed the rest of the group with guitar, bass, and drums and obliterated the set.
Deftones are one of those groups that when you hear the name you already know what to expect. And that’s not in a negative way either. When the name Deftones runs across someone who has seen them live we know to expect an ecstatic show filled with energy, passion, and a great backlight show. Ozzfest for the Deftones was no different. Opening with Headup the crowd came prepared as they sung every word and put a smile on lead vocalists Chino Moreno’s face. Following up with My Own Summer (Shove It) from the group’s album Around The Fur (where most of the set came from) released back in 97 Moreno jumped down from the stage to be with his friends (the audience) on the barrier and sing for most of the song. The other popular album the group chose to focus on for their set at Ozzfest was White Pony which was released seventeen years ago. Overall each member did a swell job and got the crowd hyped for the next act, Prophets of Rage.
Prophets of Rage was formed just last year in 2016 and has been creating headlines all across the scene. With an all-star line up consisting of members from Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave (bassist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk), members of Public Enemy (DJ Lord and rapper Chuck D), and rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill this band has been taking on the world like no other. They just released their first self-titled album in September and have continued blazing a trail ever since. At Ozzfest, the group played Testify, Take The Power Back, Living On The 110, Unfuck The World and much more. But most importantly during their set, they played Like A Stone for a fallen comrade Chris Cornell. The group ended their set with the famous Rage Against The Machine song Killing In The Name which had the audience truly going nuts.
Ozzy Osbourne wrapped up his own night wonderfully and the crowd was ecstatic. Opening his set by asking how the fuck are you doing out there? Followed by are you ready to go fucking crazy? And lastly, let the madness begin! Ozzy began with Bark At The Moon and then continued on through Mr. Crowley, I Don’t Know, Fairies Wear Boots, Suicide Solution, War Pigs, Iron Man, Shot In The Dark, No More Tears, I Don’t Want To Change The World, Crazy Train, Mama, I’m Coming Home, and lastly Paranoid to conclude the night. Fans were a little skeptical on Ozzy’s vocals, but Zakk Wylde made sure to keep the show on fire with his multiple solos and riffs that melted everyone’s faces all the way up to the lawn. Ozzy did apologize for his vocals blaming the weather as it was too cold for him. Tommy Clufetos (who has played for both Sabbath and Cooper) had a very nice solo during the set to showcase his abilities. Overall it was a good set by the legend and friends from the light show to the instrumentals, and of course the setlist, but next time we would like to hear Ozzy’s voice in full force!
Photos © Dane Burns