Thousands of head-banging, fist-raising heavy metal fans came out in droves to participate in the insanity that was the Mayhem Festival, last weekend.

The event, sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drinks, was held at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino and featured 13 bands, headlined by old-school heavy metal rockers Slayer and Marilyn Manson.

Just in its sophomore season, Mayhem Fest upped the anti with a top-notch lineup of highly energized groups, with stand-out performances by All That Remains, God Forbid, Trivium, Job For a Cowboy, Bullet For My Valentine and Killswitch Engage.

In addition to the talent, the directors of the festival also came up with a stage setup that allowed fans the chance to see every band throughout the day. With two outside stages standing side-by-side, fans were easily able to move from one side to the other to witness the nine bands who performed during the afternoon before heading over to the main stage to see the final four.

Tennessee band White Chapel immediately whipped the crowd into a non-stop frenzy as they kicked off the day-long event. Through each band, the fans never slowed, creating countless mosh pits, throwing up thousands of fists and crowd-surfers galore.

During the first half of Mayhem Fest, performances were split up between the Hot Topic stage, which held the heavier groups, and the Jagermeister stage, occupied by the slightly softer groups. Each of the nine groups were given 30-minute sets, while the main stage got either 45 minutes or a full hour.

While the Hot Topic Stage featured the more intense, heavier groups, the bands did not provide as much energy. After White Chapel and Job For A Cowboy began by getting the crowd riled up, Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse lacked excitement.

Headlining the Jagermeister Stage was Trivium, who, along with All That Remains and God Forbid, put on a great set and got the crowd involved almost instantaneously.

Because each stage had a different style of metal, the bands all sounded similar, but the Rockstar-sponsored event decided to alternate between stages, which kept the crowd from having to hear the same style and sound for hours.

After Cannibal Corpse ended the activities outside the amphitheater, British band Bullet For My Valentine and East Coast rockers Killswitch Engage stepped up the intensity on the main stage, warming the fans up for the two big acts.

Of course, after the sun went down, Slayer and Manson stole the show to the delight of the nearly sold-out venue, the majority of which were wearing Slayer t-shirts and other merchandise.

Whether it was the crazy face-paint and outfits of Behemoth, the amazing stage presence of All That Remains, the pyrotechnics of Killswitch Engage or just the sheer talent of Slayer, metal lovers had something to like about every talent along with a great atmosphere to absorb all the Mayhem.

Although the festival has no more tour dates in Southern California, the tour continues throughout the U.S. until Aug. 15.

All Photos by Paul A. Hebert

Marilyn Manson


Killswitch Engage

Bullet For My Valentine

Cannibal Corpse


The Black Dahlia Murder

All That Remains


God Forbid

Job For A Cowboy


White Chapel