The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival came to the Riverbend Music Center in July. This tour is easily the biggest Metal festival of 2012, and the lineup this year is pretty incredible. You have two of the Big Four thrash bands, Anthrax and Slayer, as well as Motorhead, Slipknot, As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandra, The Devil Wears Prada, Whitechapel & more. Work commitments kept me from making it to the venue for the 2 P.M. start time, but I did manage to make in for the start of Anthrax’s blistering set.
This was the second time I have seen Anthrax in 2012, and much like the first time, the bodies started flying as soon as the music began. The security guys in the pit were having a time keeping up with all of the crowd surfers. Anthrax was incredible as always, but as good as they were, they weren’t the best band of the evening. I watched the conclusion of Anthrax’s set, and made my way to the main stage for As I Lay Dying.
This was a night of many firsts for me. I haven’t ever seen As I Lay Dying, Slayer or Motorhead, so I was excited to see these bands play for the first time. I have to admit, I am not much of a metalcore fan, but As I Lay Dying was very good at what they do. They hair was flying, and lead singer Tim Lambesis never stayed in place for a minute. My neck hurt just watching him perform. Lots of headbanging and hair flying fun!
Next up was the mighty Motorhead. I can’t believe that I haven’t seen the band play before now, but Lemmy Kilmister and company were excellent. Lemmy is still getting it done at the nice young age of 66. Of course, Motorhead closed out their set with the one and only “Ace of Spades” and it was as awesome as I expected it to be.
To my ears, the best band of the evening without question was Slayer. I readily admit that I haven’t been a big Slayer fan, but they blew me away. The band was on fire all night (as was their stage, with tons of pyro.) Kerry King might just be the most metal looking musician ever! I enjoyed watching him play.
I wasn’t able to photograph Slipknot, so I grabbed my seat for their set. I saw the band in the inaugural Mayhem festival back in 2008, so I already knew that they put on an in incredible show. They didn’t disappoint. Their is always something going on the stage during a Slipknot show. From Clown’s hydraulic drum kit, to the masks, random crowd surfing, and pyro you never know where to look during their set. I can’t remember Slipknot coming to Cincinnati before, but I am pretty sure this was their first time here. Judging from the people who raised their hand when Corey Taylor asked if it was their first time seeing Slipknot, there were thousands of people who have not seen them play before. They got their money’s worth at the 2012 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. This is a great festival for fans of metal music. I can’t wait until the next one.