Article and Photos by: Wendy Podmenik Darugar
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: Wikipedia has no less than 27 different metal genres listed, not to mention sub-genres ad infinitum. The “Knotfest Roadshow” North American tour line up features four bands that cut across a healthy spread of metal. Leading the evening is Polish “extreme metal” band Behemoth, and Europeans take their metal very seriously. “Extreme metal” is a catch all title for metal that goes to the limit- and while Behemoth eschews labels, their music is definitely influenced by occult, satanic themes and does more than pushes the envelope- it stands firmly and assertively in the darkness. Endlessly followed by controversy in their native Poland, Behemoth preaches freedom of thought in many different cultural aspects. Dressed in black robes, with faces painted in thick makeup and utilizing fake blood and flames in their show, it doesn’t get much blacker than this.
France’s Gojira raises metal to an art form- environmentally conscious, intelligent, re-working the genre in an at-times almost symphonic, dreamy manner that still grinds hard amidst the moodiness of the compositions. Vocalist Joe Duplantier performs with a scowl written across his face, the setlist included “Stranded,” “The Cell,” “Flying Whales” and “The Gift of Guilt”. The stage set featured dramatic plumes of fog that curled around the band as the intensity of the performance increased and the audience started moshing in the front pit area.
Volbeat‘s vocal style is unconventional in the metal genre. A cleaner, almost pop-sounding beat in the music makes the Denmark band relatable to a larger audience and an easier pick for radio airplay. Their seventh studio album Rewind, Replay, Rebound was released earlier this month, with positive reviews. Two selections from the album were on the set list, along with “Black Rose” and ending with a Rob Zombie cover, “Sawdust in the Blood”.
The headliners of the night put on an amazing show. When the curtain dropped, hell broke loose on the stage, as all nine members of Slipknot, each with individually chosen masks and various jumpsuits, went to work. The stage was divided into levels, with towers on either end. Layers of colored lights, stage props galore, rolling runways and chaos ruled the night, a multilayered show scene nearly impossible to capture in a single photograph, or even three songs. The audience went wild at the spectacle, with crowd surfing beginning nearly immediately.
A download of newest album We Are Not Your Kind was included with purchase of any pair of tickets to the show, an offer that helped pull the album to number one on the Billboard 200 charts, and knocked off Ed Sheeran from the top stop on the UK charts. The album has been forefront in recent news, generating critical acclaim from many reviewers. “Solway Firth” and “Unsainted” from the album were included on the set list.
Currently in the midst of the grand Knotfest tour, check this website for upcoming North American tour dates: