Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

As the sun descended and the heat abated giving way to a more palatable if not comfortable evening, the lights of the main stage blared in a dazzling display, challenging the darkness of the coming night and drawing the gathered throngs, thus far aimed in different directions throughout the day, with a singular purpose. These final four acts bore the responsibility as headliners to make sure that the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival would end with memorable notes.

Editor’s Note – As is always the rule with Mayhem Fest, one man can’t see it all. Any words you see below pertain only to those acts I saw, and anyone not mentioned is not an omission or a slight – I simply didn’t get to see them amidst running around for interview opportunities, photo ops and the like. C’est la vie.

Often in literature, we see references to a person who has a piercing gaze, or is said to 'look right through you.' Never, until I sat down with Jill Janus of Huntress, did I fully understand what that meant. Her eyes are a pure, icy blue, and her gaze is somewhat magnetic. You lock eyes with her and get the impression like she's seeing inside you, watching your spirit. That said, she's also incredibly friendly, very gregarious and extra charming. We had a the following conversation about her band, her personal life including her Wiccan influences and, you know, Lemmy. Read on!

Children of Bodom has always been treated as a work solely of frontman Alexi Laiho. His vocals and guitar theatrics and songwriting dominate each of the band's releases, and "Halo of Blood" is no different. But behind Laiho stands one of the most talented bands working in metal today; adaptable, versatile, heavy, melodic, anything they need to be. Hidden in the shadows of CoB stands Henkka Seppälä, bassist and generally amiable guy. In search of his story, we sat down recently as Mayhem Fest.

Five Finger Death Punch has broken the curve for a band's acceleration, going from niche act to headlining phenomenon in fairly short order. Now standing aside Rob Zombie at Mayhem Fest and on the verge of a double release, I sat down with drummer Jeremy Spencer to talk about the band, how they got here, what it feels like, and what to expect from this album.

John 5 is one of those rare talents on guitar who manages to stand tall, outside the shadow of the hugely popular frontman of whatever band he's playing in. Much the same as Dave Navarro shines equally to Perry Farrell, Zakk Wylde was equal to Ozzy and Slash overcame the overbearing Axl Rose, John 5 has done the same in both Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. Disarmingly polite and soft-spoken in person, we sat down with John 5 to find out what makes him tick, what music he loves, and naturally, to talk about the new Rob Zombie record.

…And so we come to the main stage. Mayhem Fest, in a credit to its organizers, did a much better job this year of spacing the last second stage set (Children of Bodom) and the first main stage set. The crowd was settling in but present when Amon Amarth was revealed. For all that the Swedish band eschews the dramatic musical flair of their contemporaries, they swing a very large hammer when it comes to set design.

We discussed this last year, but the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival remains the preeminent mobile showcase of alternative music of any type. It has been so successful in six years that it has not only overshadowed the Warp Tour, but has spawned a second, smaller circuit, the Uproar Festival. Mayhem Fest is one of those special times of year when all the major and minor metal labels, from Universal and Atlantic to Century Media, Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast and including Victory and Sumerian, join forces to show off their product and give the fans the best possible experience.

Storming out of the country-dominated southern United States, Whitechapel has been on a mission to carve themselves a niche and a name in the greater heavy metal universe. Signed to Metal Blade Records and ready to take on all comers, the band is included with the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, supporting their new self-titled album. Guitarist Ben Savage took the time to answer some of our questions backstage after the band’s set.

Asking Alexandria was technically asked to open the main stage, but in reality, they were ex post facto to Anthrax, and began performing as soon as the veteran band had finished. As such, double A (not Arn Anderson,) was forced to deal with the nearly impossible task of playing to a transitory audience. They had completed “Welcome,” and were through a good portion of “Closure” before the bulk of the crowd moving from one stage to another had even had their tickets checked.