Mayhem Fest @ Susquehanna Bank Center

CAMDEN, NJ—I spent a day at heavy metal summer camp recently. No, not Ozzfest, but rather Ozzfest’s replacement. The tour that is what Ozzfest used to be, full of amazing metal bands that people love with a small dose of bands that are new to the scene. No surprises like, “Why is this shitty major label band playing Ozzfest second stage?” The only question about the line-up for the Rockstar Mayhem Fest was, “Why is Marilyn Manson going on after Slayer?”

I got there a while after doors opened, so my day started off with some Polish Black Metal by Behemoth. I say this every year: These bands that wear white and black makeup at these festivals, how the fuck do they keep that makeup on without smearing? They should share their secrets with Cosmopolitan Magazine, I’m sure plenty of chicks would want to know! Jersey-ites God Forbid played to a welcoming NJ/Philly crowd and All That Remains rounded out my favorites of the early afternoon. I gotta say, the show has a “Hot Topic” metal line-up, but then the bands like Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth thrown in there make this show a real authentic metal fest. A bit of well-known mixed with underground is my personal favorite blend of a metal fest.

I saw Trivium earlier this year open for Slipknot, so I was pretty happy to see Matt Heafy of Trivium still keeping his long locks (yummy). While the lines for drinks were long, luckily the venue had many places to wait on these long lines, making the lines not as long as they could have been. But of course, you gotta sacrifice missing one or two songs of a band while waiting for those drinks, which I got stuck in during All That Remains, but shit, in that heat, sister’s gotta get her drink on.

I was mostly looking forward to seeing Killswitch for the first time on their new album. They came out dressed in these tuxedo t-shirts that are actually available for sale on their merch site. Killswitch’s stage setup was as though they were the headliners fully equipped with fireworks. They performed a few new songs including one I really love, “The Reckoning,” and they had three massive mosh pits going on the lawn section. Philly isn’t my favorite place to see a show, usually because I don’t feel like the crowd seems as into metal shows as New York and Jersey crowds and it’s hard to get into the music when everyone else around you isn’t banging their head or throwing fists in the air, but Killswitch were able to make it happen with this crowd. Adam D. yelled at some girl who was on a guy’s shoulder. He said she’s blocking people’s view of the band and if she’s going to be up there, she should lift her top. I’m not sure if she did it, but I couldn’t help but have a flashback of Motley Crue’s video for “Home Sweet Home” of where the girl’s top is lifted. I guess that image will always be embedded in my head when that opportunity arises at metal shows. Adam D. called the city “Tittiedelphia.” Ha! They finished off their set with “Holy Diver.”

I felt like the last band of the night was next (Slayer) but in reality, Manson was the last of the night. Slayer certainly stole the show. The stage got black and all the Slayer logos that were ever used just spun around in slow circles to demonic sounding background music. Tom Araya’s not big on talking too much outside of a short greeting and introducing each song name. I did have a problem though with a few people who were sitting during Slayer in the Amphitheater portion. They were dressed in black with chains and those black straps hanging from their pants, which led me to believe they were there to see Marilyn Manson (yep, I just stereotyped). They were sitting! How could they? The last time Manson and Slayer came around together everyone was talking about what a strange combination it was, like Coheed and Cambria opening for Slipknot earlier this year. At least that one wasn’t as poo poo’d as Slayer and Manson. I’m just hoping this is the last time Manson (who in my opinion is the freakshow of the metal scene, and I’m not talking in an Alice Cooper way) and Slayer play together.