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A Beginners Guide to This Year's Ozzfest & Knotfest Lineup

Ozzfest + Knotfest = Knozzfest!

As the event quickly approaches, we have decided to break down all 36 groups of the lineup that are performing…

Ozzfest + Knotfest = Knozzfest!As the event quickly approaches, we have decided to break down all 36 groups of the lineup that are performing...

Ozzfest, an international travelling festival that was created in 1996 by Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, helped push acts such as Drowning Pool, Coal Chamber, Marilyn Manson, and other alternative rock, nu, industrial, and metalcore groups to the masses. Knotfest, developed by Slipknot in 2012 in the US, later expanded to Japan and Mexico with a broad inclusion of metal genres featured in the dark-carnival themed event. For the first time in forever, these two festivals met up late at night in a motel and birthed a two-day extravaganza!

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As the event quickly approaches, we have decided to break down all 36 groups of the lineup that are performing. For more info on the fest you can click here. Comment below if you're headed to San Bernardino to attend and which bands you're most excited to see.

OZZFEST:

BLACK SABBATH

Black Sabbath live

Festival History: Ozzfest 1997, Ozzfest 1998 (UK), Ozzfest 1999, Ozzfest 2001, Ozzfest 2001 (UK), Ozzfest 2004, Ozzfest 2005, Ozzfest 2013 (Japan)

What to Expect Live: A lil’ heavy blues, doom, and psychedelic all combined to spawn the beginning of metal. Be prepared for a sweaty Ozzy hanging tightly onto a mic stand for a solid two hours. I have serious doubts their setlist will differ from what they’ve been playing on The End tour for the past year or so, which means the hits from self-titled to Vol. 4 and one track off Technical Ecstasy.

Should You See Them? Of fucking course you should. Even if you hate the band, see Black Sabbath. Even if Tommy Iommi killed your mom, see Black Sabbath. This will be the last time you get to see the founders of metal live. Don’t you want to shove that in your grandkids' faces?


DISTURBED

Disturbed-David-Draiman1-630x420

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Festival History: Ozzfest 2000, Ozzfest 2001, Ozzfest 2001 (UK), Ozzfest 2003, Ozzfest 2006

What to Expect Live: Some say nu metal. Some say radio-friendly angst. I'd say it's a lil' bit of both. Let the fist-pumping 12-year olds and bro dads assemble. I'll give these guys props for their constant amount of touring lately. It must be difficult to have a strong "ooh wa ah ah ah" every night, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if their energy is a bit worn down. Fortunately, their recent setlists have been decent in terms of album diversity, thus you can expect tracks from all six of their chart-topping albums.

Should You See Them? Personally, I’m not a huge fan, but I’ve found that these radio metal bands can be pretty entertaining and engaging in the live sense. If you’re on the fence, just stop by for a couple hits and a Draiman rant.


MEGADETH

Megadeth live

Festival History: Ozzfest 1998, Knotfest 2015 (Mexico)

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What to Expect Live: Like the two bands listed above, I'm pretty sure everyone has heard at least a few of their songs, but for those who haven't, I would describe Megadeth as a more cheesy version of Metallica (you know I'm right). Nonetheless, Dave Mustaine and his buddies still have their epic musical moments full of vocal-driven speedy thrash. Assuming they'll be given about an hour of performance time, there surely will be enough room for all the hits, fan favorites, new songs, and maybe even a couple deep cuts like "Poison was the Cure" or "Rattlehead." Lastly, their new drummer is Dirk Verbeuren from Soilwork, which is radical.

Should You See Them? Considering they are a part of the 'Big Four,' I think it would be a slight dishonor not to be there. However, as a person born ten years after their debut came out, I feel like their music can sound a bit dated. All in all, if this is a band you're not too keen of (or if you were a mere sperm when Rust in Peace came out like me), don't be absolutely obliged to watch em'.


OPETH

Opeth, Mikael Åkerfeldt © Christer Lorichs

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Don't be fooled by the acoustics and clean vocals. These Swedish legends can transition from 70's prog to Satan-spawning death metal faster than you can say "Blackwater Park."  While perhaps a majority of the crowd will be scratching their heads, these guys will melt your faces if you look them in the eye. The group’s sets from this year have been relatively varied with material ranging from their recent two clean-vocal releases back to 1998’s My Arms, Your Hearse, but we might hear something from the new album if we're lucky.

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Should You See Them? Do you like prog? If you answered, “yes,” then go. If you answered, “nah, that kind of music is too complex and showy,” skip this performance and go watch Hatebreed or something instead.


BLACK LABEL SOCIETY

Black Label Society

Festival History: Ozzfest 2000, Ozzfest 2001, Ozzfest 2001 (UK), Ozzfest 2002, Ozzfest 2002 (Germany/Belgium), Ozzfest 2002 (England), Ozzfest 2002 (Ireland), Ozzfest 2002 (Poland/Czech Republic), Ozzfest 2004, Ozzfest 2005, Ozzfest 2006, Ozzfest 2010, Knotfest 2014, Ozzfest 2015 (Japan)

What to Expect Live: Pump yourself up for some leather jacket debauchery and groovy southern rock. If you enjoyed their latest LP, Catacombs of the Black Vatican, you're in luck as they'll be playing a good chunk of that. I'm just hoping for an Ozzy guest appearance on "Stillborn" considering he'll be there.

Should You See Them? Although I haven't been too much into their releases since 2003's The Blessed Hellride, Zakk Wylde's sassy masculine personality can be worth a chuckle. For those still uncertain, I'd recommend only for metal fans with an appreciation for the classics.


RIVAL SONS

rival sons live

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: These guys are a bit more old school rock n' roll. Their most recent record, Great Western Valkyrie, is a good showcase of modern Led Zeppelin and I can predict their live show being quite lively, yet simple.

Should You See Them? Being the opener for Black Sabbath's final tour, we can assume they've got it down tight. If you have that one friend who is only somewhat metal and gets dragged along with you to the fest, shove him to main stage for this band.


SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

Suicidal-Tendencies-Mike-Muir

Festival History: Knotfest 2015

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What to Expect Live: Get your anarchistic mindsets ready for this hardcore crossover thrash rock experience. Admittedly, it's a bit humorous to see fifty year olds energetically delivering skate punk, but they sure still got it. Aaaaand Dave Lombardo on drums!

Should You See Them? I might get some heated glares for this one, but I always viewed them as a one-hit wonder with "Institutionalized." And unfortunately during some of their festival performances this year they dropped that track from their set. On the bright side though, when I saw them at Aftershock Festival last year, they had easily one of the biggest circle pits, so that's a pretty solid selling point.


MUNICIPAL WASTE

municipal waste live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: A large illustration of Donald Trump's brain being blown out creates for quite a fitting backdrop for their alcohol-fueled punk.

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Should You See Them? Although the speed and style won't be everyone's cup of tea, I'd suggest stopping by. Their sense of humor and youthful approach to Suicidal Tendencies' crossover thrash (ironically enough will be playing at the same time) will very likely allow for a memorable show. After all, Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up!


HATEBREED

DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 11: Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed performs on stage during day 2 of Bloodstock Open Air 2012 at Catton Hall on August 11, 2012 in Derby, United Kingdom. (Photo by Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns via Getty Images)

Festival History: Ozzfest 2001, Ozzfest 2002, Ozzfest 2004, Ozzfest 2006, Ozzfest 2007, Knotfest 2014, Ozzfest 2015 (Japan)

What to Expect Live: Their fanbase and demographic is a tad try hard machismo, so be prepared for a semi-intimidating crowd. Musically, there's plenty of fast-paced grooves and chants to get you pushin', shovin', and lovin' (scratch that last one). 

Should You See Them? Originally, I judged these guys by their Tapout shirts and camo shorts, but the straight-to-the-point riffs and grooves make for a redeemable live performance. For me, I think this band is worth checking out live and have prime mosh material.


BRUJERIA

brujeria

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Plenty of Español, Trump hate, and raw groovy n' grindy death metal. What's that Donald, you want to build a wall? How about a wall of death!

Should You See Them? They replaced Nails in the lineup, which was a pretty big bummer for me personally. While the increasing hype for a band like Nails scored major points, Brujeria's ethnic-political driven agenda will create quite the riot in SoCal's crowd. As a white guy, I can't fully connect to their lyrical content, yet I still have respect enough for their message to support the group and if you're vibing on their energy, you should too.


DEVILDRIVER

DevilDriver live

Festival History: Ozzfest 2004, Ozzfest 2007, Ozzfest 2008, Ozzfest 2010, Knotfest 2014

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What to Expect Live: Coal Chamber's groovy accessibility, but in a more melodic death mindset. I heard they might play a cover of Awolnation's "Sail," which is like kinda ballsy but respectable in my opinion.

Should You See Them? To be blunt, I don't particularly view DevilDriver as a must see. Granted, their latest LP, Trust No One, has some equally catchy to heavy tunes on it so that may change my mind with more listens.


KATAKLYSM

KATAKLYSM live

Festival History: Ozzfest 2010, Knotfest 2015

What to Expect Live: These guys have an interesting mesh of thrash, progressive, and melodic death metal. I assumed their style wouldn't fit on an outdoor stage, but they killed it when I saw them last year. And "As I Slither" always sounds freakin' huge as the crowd chants the chorus.

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Should You See Them? Similar to Allegaeon, this is easily a must-see for anyone fond of melodic death metal. With one of my favorite albums from 2015 and a really tight set at last year's Knotfest, I'll highly recommend being at the Nuclear Blast stage for them.


GOATWHORE

Goatwhore live

Festival History: Ozzfest 2008, Ozzfest 2010, Knotfest 2015

What to Expect Live: Funnily enough, the only black metal act on the lineup. To be fair, their death and thrash elements are quite prominent in their material as well. Regardless of genre placement, guitarist Sammy Duet rocks some pretty extreme outfits up on stage.

Should You See Them? Based off seeing them at last year's Knotfest, their sound fits better in a club venue than an outdoor stage. If their live mix is less muddy than their 2015 performance, I'd say you should definitely check em' out.


HUNTRESS

Huntress-live-2014-fp

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Straight-forward heavy metal with classic vocals coming from one powerful frontwoman.

Should You See Them? Being that they are performing relatively early in the day, I assumed there wouldn't be any major overlapping conflicts with other bands and as the set times now stand, they'll be performing same time as The Shrine. And honestly, I could go either way. While, The Shrine is still getting their foot in the door, I view Huntress as an early side stage act for a reason.


THE SHRINE

the shrine live

Festival History: n/a

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What to Expect Live: Take a trip back to the 70's and experience some good old fashioned heavy metal and hard rock. Their music can range from psychedelic and punk to stoner and blues rock.

Should You See Them? I think it's pretty smart to have these rock-based groups early in the day. Performing right after Allegaeon and Still Rebel, this act has the perfect sound and energy to keep your day going strong and warm up those eardrums.


ALLEGAEON

Allegaeon live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: With a relatively new vocalist and fourth studio album on the way, this tech-death outfit is inching its way back into the spotlight. I can assume they'll debut some material from Proponent For Sentience considering it will be officially released the day before. Their live performances have been known to include their band mascot, Myles the Crab, so keep your eye out for some red meaty claws!

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Should You See Them? It's truly a shame they are placed so early in the day. Taking the spot in the lineup for Dave Lombardo’s latest project, Dead Cross, I’d say this is a damn good replacement. No hate to Dead Cross, but I think Allegaeon is much easier to get excited over. Anyways, these guys are ones you definitely won’t want to miss if you’re a technical or melodic death metal fan. For those who enjoy a bit more complexity in their metal, come early for this performance.


STILL REBEL

still rebel live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Just three rockers doing their sweet rocker thing. These guys just recently opened for Tracii Guns. You know, the guitarist from the glam metal group LA Guns? Well, if that's your thing, then this sure will be too.

Should You See Them? It's difficult to get excited for a hard rock group at a metal festival, but I'm certain a good chunk of the crowd may favor some old school grooves over polyrhythmic blast beats.

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KNOTFEST:

SLIPKNOT

Slipknot corey taylor

Festival History: Ozzfest 1999, Ozzfest 2001, Ozzfest 2001 (UK), Ozzfest 2004, Ozzfest 2005, Knotfest 2012, Ozzfest 2013 (Japan), Knotfest 2014, Knotfest 2014 (Japan), Knotfest 2015, Knotfest 2015 (Mexico)

What to Expect Live: In past Knotfest years, the band's stage has been quite grandeur with pyrotechnics galore. If you've never seen the nine-piece live before, it's sometimes a bit of a stimuli overload. Plenty of fire, visuals, escalating percussion, and moving maggots will keep you occupied.

Should You See Them? Most definitely! Whether you like their music or not, their show lives up to the hype. Even with neck surgery recovery, Corey Taylor brought his A game during their recent tour with Marilyn Manson and you can expect the band to be even more pumped for a full festival dedicated to them. As for performing Iowa in its entirety, I would say at least two-thirds of those songs are decent with a remaining few being not so memorable. Regardless, it'll be pretty interesting to see tracks that are hardly ever (or never) performed like "Skin Ticket" and "The Shape" beside their hit singles "Left Behind" and "My Plague."


SLAYER

slayer tom araya

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Festival History: Ozzfest 1996, Ozzfest 1998 (UK), Ozzfest 1999, Ozzfest 2002 (England), Ozzfest 2002 (Ireland), Ozzfest 2002 (Poland/Czech Republic), Ozzfest 2002 (Netherlands), Ozzfest 2002 (Portugal), Ozzfest 2004

What to Expect Live: As you can tell above, Slayer knows what's up with metal festivals. What the band lacks in production value, they make up for in volume and attitude. From Tom Araya's scowl to Kerry King's shiny head, these guys still ooze of thrash metal.

Should You See Them? Not to be that guy, but Slayer won't ever be the same since the unfortunate departure of guitarist Jeff Hanneman. All in all though, their set's usual closing tracks "South of Heaven," "Raining Blood," "Black Magic," and "Angel of Death" packs a mean and memorable punch.


AMON AMARTH

Amon Amarth-22

Festival History: Knotfest 2014 (Japan)

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What to Expect Live: While it's difficult to assume what crosses over from their recent touring to their festival sets, their drum kit has been hoisted up by a giant horned helmet lately. And nothing says metal more than long hair and beards on muscly, sweaty men. But most of all, I'm crossing my fingers for some vikings in the pit.

Should You See Them? It seems the momentum from their last album, Jomsviking, has had the band on a roll and back in the spotlight they deserve. Their style of music isn't extremely accessible, but the Viking metal style has a very niche following and will likely catch your curiosities whether you're into the tunes or not.


ANTHRAX

Anthrax-23

Festival History: Knotfest 2014

What to Expect Live: There should be a few tracks from the new album, For All Kings, along with live staples the like Joe Jackson and Trust covers and of course "Indians." A good amount of their songs possess a sing-along quality as well, so if that's your forte, this could be a good time.

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Should You See Them? Similar to what I said for Megadeth, their sound comes off as a bit dated when pared up to other acts on the lineup. Vocalist Joey Belladonna can still hit all the high notes, which is pretty damn stunning for a 55-year old.


TRIVIUM

TRIVIUM live at Saint Vitus Bar, Sep. 24, 2015 (FULL SET)

Festival History: Ozzfest 2005, Knotfest 2014 (Japan), Knotfest 2015, Knotfest 2015 (Mexico)

What to Expect Live: Their large medieval skull stage gives off an an Avenged Sevenfold vibe, which musically is quite similar as well. And "In Waves" always ends the set nicely.

Should You See Them? As their last album was leaning heavily on the radio rock side of the spectrum, I've since lost most interest in the band. Luckily, Heafy's screams are back so they can properly perform the harder songs off Ascendancy. Their appeal seems to be hit-or-miss, so flip a coin to decide between them or Whitechapel's set.


WHITECHAPEL

WHITECHAPEL Full Set from Knotfest 2014

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Festival History: Knotfest 2014

What to Expect Live: Of the deathcore bands being represented on the lineup, I would say Whitechapel is the most musical. Similar to their Warped Tour setlists from this summer, they'll likely play a couple songs off their new record, Mark of the Blade, followed by the classic This is Exile songs.

Should You See Them? I'm really hoping for a live debut of some Phil Bozeman cleans for "Bring Me Home," but perhaps I'm being too hopeful. At the very least bring back "Tremors" to the set. Their performance time lasts through both Motionless in White and Trivium, but I think Whitechapel are worth missing a couple main stage acts.


MOTIONLESS IN WHITE

Motionless-In-White-6574-2-Medium

Festival History: n/a

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What to Expect Live: With powder white foundation and black mascara, frontman Chris Cerulli mixes metalcore vocals with alternative and industrial music. But to me, I'd say he's a watered down Marilyn Manson with a modern twist.

Should You See Them? They just were on Warped Tour, so that may be somewhat of an indication of what their demographic and style is. I've noticed that the band has a large female following as well. Their set times overlap with Whitechapel, so if you prefer catchy choruses over death growls, then see Motionless in White at the main stage.


SABATON

sabaton live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Plenty of epic guitar solos and harmonized vocals. What else more do you want?! While these guys certainly have a larger audience in Europe, I'm quite positive they'll amp up their American fans too.

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Should You See Them? I can never take power metal seriously, but who cares? If you ask for extra cheese on your meat, you will have fun with this one. Combichrist will be performing at the same time, which is also a great act to see live.


COMBICHRIST

combichrist live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Listening to their studio recordings and seeing them live are two different experiences. Their appearances and setups have changed over the years, but what has stayed consistent is plenty of percussion, commotion, and crowd engagement.

Should You See Them? These guys are one of the few outliers of the lineup. If you don’t mind some electronic and industrial fusion in your metal, get your ass to the Nuclear Blast stage. Their shows are usually pretty visual and wild, so don’t go expecting DJ dullness.


CARNIFEX

carnifex live

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Vocalist Scott Lewis may get up close and personal as he growls the singles off their new album, Slow Death.

Should You See Them? I'm a bit on the fence on how these guys replaced Death Angel in the lineup. While this band is talented in their own right, I feel like their was enough quality deathcore on this festival day with Suicide Silence and Whitechapel. If you're a blast beat and breakdown kinda guy indulge, but if not, wait for the more established groups.


OVERKILL

OVERKILL-PPUSA-VX-21

Festival History: n/a

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What to Expect Live: Total old-school thrash. Grinding Wheel, their upcoming eighteenth (seriously?!) album will be coming out later this year in November, so I would guess they'd play at least one new song off that album.

Should You See Them? If you're looking forward to Megadeth and Anthrax at this fest, Overkill will also be a band to hit up.


SUICIDE SILENCE

suicide silence live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: As the photo shows, these guys pack a lot of energy. Although the loss of vocalist Mitch Lucker was truly heartbreaking, Eddie Hermida is doing an amazing job up there.

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Should You See Them? Their songs never quite stuck with me, but I don't think that's exactly the point of this genre. They debatably may just be one of the most extreme acts of the day.


LOATHE

loathe live

Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: Not a clue, but I suppose that's part of the fun. Being a fresh new group, the only thing I can base an opinion off is their new debut EP, Prepare Consume Proceed, which sounds a bit like Sworn In and Emmure.

Should You See Them? You got to start somewhere and Knotfest ain't a bad start. I'm unsure how tight their live set is this early in their career, however they might be one of those underdog bands that blow you away.


EMMURE

Emmure frankie palmeri

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: As comes with this style with music, these guys put on one energetic show. I understand that Frankie Palmeri gets a lot of flak for representing the Fred Durst of the metalcore community, but I'll give him kudos for not selling out.

Should You See Them? As I stated, these guys may be frowned upon due to their frontman's persona and rap/nu metal fusion, however the new backing band featuring the majority of Glass Cloud/The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza is an impressive addition. If you have a hint of nu-metal guilty pleasure, this will be up your alley.


SIM

sim live

Festival History: Knotfest 2014 (Japan), Ozzfest 2015 (Japan)

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What to Expect Live: Their social media lists reggae, ska, dub, and punk as their genre. After listening to a few of their songs, I'm hesitant to label these guys as metal, but rather high-energy reggae punk.

Should You See Them? Just like Man with a Mission, they are coming all the way from Japan, which should be a large enough reason to check them out. If you're still uncertain, I would recommend anyone with an open mind or wide musical taste to watch SiM's eccentric performance.


BUTCHER BABIES

3 - Butcher Babies

Festival History: Knotfest 2014

What to Expect Live: Sorry guys, no more duct taped nipples. But for those who are still into it, dual female vocalists Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey will be doing their thing in tight leather clothing.

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Should You See Them? I’ll flat out say it, I’m not a fan. But I can understand why they get booked for so many tour packages and festivals. Two words: Boo Bees. And fine fine, they do have some heavy, catchy songs too.


MAN WITH A MISSION

man with a mission live

Festival History: Ozzfest 2013 (Japan), Knotfest 2014, Knotfest 2014 (Japan)

What to Expect Live: Wolf masks! Unfortunately, I hardly doubt their live production will be as high as the attached photo being early in the day, however they pulled in a pretty big draw during 2014's Knotfest.

Should You See Them? Just go peek at the wolf masks at the very least. San Bernardino heat in late September has got to make it tough to stay in furry costumes.


ONI

oni live

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Festival History: n/a

What to Expect Live: As far as I can tell, they only have one single released, which is an impressive melodic progressive piece. It's probably tough being the last band on the lineup admat, yet these guys have tours set up with The Black Dahlia Murder, Children of Bodom, Abbath, Max & Iggor Cavalera, and more so I'd say they're well on their way.

Should You See Them? I say heck yeah. Like the other smaller acts on here, I encourage all to support the small guys and this band deserves it.


WESTFIELD MASSACRE

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Festival History: n/a

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What to Expect Live: Ok, these guys just got added last minute so I'm not fully familiar with them. But here's the catch! The group features frontman Tommy Vext (Divine Heresy, Snot), lead guitarist Ira Black (Metal Church, Lizzy Borden), and bassist Erik Tisinger (Otep) along with guitarist Stephen Brewer and brazillian drummer Dio Britto. From my first impression, their developing style has a bit of modern heavy metal and melodic metalcore.

Should You See Them? Just like a few of the groups above, I am a firm believer in supporting the small and new bands. And while some of these members have done their fair share of performing in previous bands, Westfield Massacre is likely still getting their sea legs. Fun fact, their recently released debut LP features guest vocals by Lamb of God's Randy Blythe on a track, so that's hella cool.

In conclusion, holy fuck. Both days have a crazy amount of righteous bands ranging from classic heavy and progressive to alternative and metalcore. For the three years that Knotfest has been hosted in California, this lineup takes the cake (although past inclusions like Korn, The Faceless, Red Fang, King 810, and Nothing More would've been currently relevant additions with upcoming albums on the way). I'm unsure of the future of Ozzfest and Knotfest, but I hope they continue quality and diverse lineups instead of fading out and dying like Mayhem Fest.

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