The 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival kicked off its 26 date trek across the USA on Friday June 26 and making the second stop of the tour in San Bernardino on Saturday June 27 at The San Manuel Amphitheater. Although the quantity of bands in this year’s lineup may be less than years past, the appeal to attend the event was made up in quality as thrash titans Slayer headlined the Rockstar Energy Drink main stage along with King Diamond, Hellyeah and The Devil Wears Prada. The Victory Records stage (second stage) is a melting pot of bands young and old that features a bit of melodic metal, straight up old school death metal and everything in between with performances by Code Orange, Shattered Sun, Sworn In, Sister Sin, Jungle Rot, Thy Art is Murder, Whitechapel, Kissing Candice and Feed Her to the Sharks.
The mayhem kicked off at 1:00pm and the second stage kicked San Bernardino’s ass until 8:00pm. The second stage located in a different place than in years passed (in the lawn area of the mainstage) kept the fans busy all day as the sun peeked in and out of the overcast skies. In addition to the music, many of the artists did signings throughout the day giving the fans an opportunity to get up close and personal with their favorite band including Kerry King from Slayer who made an appearance at the Coldcock Whiskey tent to sign autographs and take photos.
All the bands on the second stage were given 25 minute sets except Whitechapel who played for 40 minutes. Although the sets were short there was no shortage of brutality as outlined below.
For FULL coverage of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival main Stage click HERE
Without a doubt the band with the most theatrical presentation of the day was Long Island’s Kissing Candice. Combining metal, hardcore, industrial and electronic music in a unique delivery, Kissing Candice would be the result of Slipknot and Mushroomhead conceiving a child. Their music is as vile as their image in the best way possible. https://www.facebook.com/Kissingcandice
The current kings of Deathcore Whitechapel took the stage and slaughtered the hot sweaty mass of metalheads with the most ferocious performance on the Victory Records stage. The band started their set with “The Saw is the Law” as vocalist Phil Bozeman belted out the most intense guttural vocals humanly possible. The set ended as brutally as it began as the band layed waste with “I, Dementia”. https://www.facebook.com/whitechapelmetal
Thy Art Is Murder
Thy Art is Murder kept the brutality going as they force-fed some in your face Deathcore Australian style. Vocalist “CJ” McMahon steered the band through a furious set that had some of the biggest circle pits of the day. https://www.facebook.com/thyartismurder
American death metal veterans Jungle Rot raised the bar for the afternoon with their set of old school death metal. Singer Dave Matrise challenged the crowd to get crazy put some bodies in the air and those in attendance obliged and kept the security busy as bodies were tumbling through the air. To the amazement of everyone, even a disabled fan in a wheelchair was passed over the crowd – now that’s metal! It was great to finally see Jungle Rot on Mayhem Fest and they certainly left a trail of carnage behind. https://www.facebook.com/igotjunglerot
What’s a metal festival without a bit of old school Swedish metal . . . well that’s exactly what Sister Sin delivered. All the way from Gothenburg, this four-piece led by female vocalist Liv Jagrell had all heads banging and hair whips in full effect. Jagrell is about as energetic of a front woman as there is and she also jumped off the stage and stood up on the crowd barrier and sang right in the faces of the intense crowd. It sounded like a lot of people walked away as new fans of Sister Sin at the end of their set. https://www.facebook.com/SisterSin
Formed in 2011, young metalcore crushers Sworn In fed off the momentum of the earlier bands and gave the crowd some added fuel to bring up the moshing and crowd surfing a notch. Towards the end of their set, singer Tyler Dennen hopped down onto the crowd barrier and leaned into the crazed crowd of metalheads and as he belted out his vocals. https://www.facebook.com/swornin
Victory Records Shattered Sun left San Bernardino a bit bruised and battered as they slayed the daytime crowd with a blistering set that had a giant circle pit flowing violently. Fresh off their first big tour with Testament and Exodus this past spring, these thrashers proved that everything is indeed bigger in Texas as these Longhorn state natives brought their flavor of melodic thrash metal and executed flawlessly. Vocalist Marcos Leal had the crowd in the palm of his hands as this six piece proved they are here to stay. https://www.facebook.com/ShatteredSunBand
It’s always a bit difficult being the first couple of bands playing a festival early in the day as fans are still trickling into the venue and getting situated. Hardcore thrashers Code Orange successfully faced the early-bird challenge and got the thin crowd primed with their lively set. Bass player Joe Goldman kept the energy level high throughout with his leaps and jumps across the stage. Be sure to check out Code Orange when they return to Southern California in September. https://www.facebook.com/codeorangekids