Mayhem Festival promises mix of metal musical styles

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Concert > All-day event in Albuquerque offers up diverse lineup on four stages

By Gina Velasquez

Summer is the time for the excitement of outdoor concerts. This year, the Isleta Amphitheater in Albuquerque is host to several shows that will place all walks of life into the throes of a wild night of fun. There is Motley Crue’s final tour, Monumentour Tour and the 20th anniversary of Edgefest to name a few. On Saturday, the amphitheater is host to the seventh annual Mayhem Festival, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink.
A slew of heavy metal performers will converge upon the Isleta Amphitheater for a day’s full of rowdiness and um… “mayhem.” The fun begins 1 p.m. for an all day event.
The Mayhem Festival is scheduled to have four stages that will have the audience consumed with the sounds of metal in many forms.
The lineup consists of some of the biggest bands in the world of heavy metal, including headliners on the Rockstar Energy Drink main stage, Korn, Avenged Sevenfold, Asking Alexandra and Trivium.
Performing on a second stage, sponsored by the Coldcock American Herbal Flavored Whiskey, will be Cannibal Corpse, as the headliner, Miss May I, Suicide Silence, Mushroomhead, Texas Hippie Coalition and King 810.
On the stage sponsored by Sumerian Records, the headliner will be Body Count, featuring Ice-T. Other bands sharing this stage is Upon a Burning Body, Veil of Maya, Darkest Hour and an Albuquerque Battle of the Bands (Headbang for the Highway) winner.
The final stage sponsored by Victory Records will have Emmure, Ill Niño, Wretched, Islander and Erimha.
While TV’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is on hiatus, Ice-T is back touring with Body Count. It has been five years since the last tour and the band just released the new album, “Manslaughter,” which Ice-T says has received much fanfare.
“I’ve never had an album with this much response before,” he said.
Ice-T, whose real name is Tracy Lauren Marrow, is known for being a rapper, metal artist and television actor. Body Count became under scrutiny in the early 1990s, with the song “Cop Killer.” Ice-T said he never lets controversy affect the music. “I just say what is on my mind and I pick topics that people can relate to or are going through,” he said.
Body Count is a thrash metal band formed in 1990. Ice-T said he has many different influences from different types of music. “I am a huge Slayer fan and speed metal is great.” He also credits the works of George Clinton, James Brown as his favorites, as well as Public Enemy for their social commentary.
“We are out there playing with all youngsters, so it should be an intense show,” he said.
“This tour is like a summer vacation for me,” he said. “I’ll be back on the show (Law & Order) once the tour is over.”
Korn will be performing as one of the headliners on the main stage. “This music is good for the soul,” said Korn drummer Ray Luzier. “It takes people away from their normal lives. You have to listen to it with an open mind.”
The heavy lyrical content from Jonathan Davis is according to Luzier, “all over the gamut of lyrics with it’s own style.”
The alternative metal band was formed in the early 1990s and has played to fans in Albuquerque several times. The group’s influences include 1970s rock such as Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne and Rush and other bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath.
Death metal band Cannibal Corpse has played in Albuquerque in the past and according to drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz, the Southwest is a hotbed for death metal. He said they have played at the Sunshine Theater and hope the devoted fans will come to the festival. “Our music is fictional gore, like a horror movie set to music,” he said. “It is a way to escape from reality and that’s the way it should be.”
“There will be a mix of different metal fans.” Mazurkiewicz hopes to attract attention from new or different fans and is happy to be promoting the latest album, scheduled for release in September. “We are seeing this tour as a vehicle to push the album,” Mazurkiewicz said.
The group began in the 1990s, while riding the wave of progressive metal after listening to Slayer. “Our goal was to take metal to another level.”
Mazurkiewicz said Cannibal Corpse had the “honor” of touring with Slayer at the Mayhem Festival in 2009.
Another theatrical band taking the stage is Mushroomhead — a nine-member industrial metal group. Their album “The Righteous and the Butterfly” was release in May. One of three lead vocalists, JMann (real name is Jason Popson) said the band has a wide variety of influences including Faith No More and jazz greats such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis. “We are trying to bring cinema to music,” JMann said.
Most of the musicians I interviewed for this tour agreed on one thing — that the band Slayer was one of the major influences in their music, most grew up listening the artists’ such as Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.
Latin metal band, Ill Niño will also be taking the stage. Vocalist Christian Machado describes the six-member group as “culture metal.” Born in Brazil, Machado and his family found refuges in the United States when he was young. “I am a proud American Latino and carry the American flag all over the world when we tour,” Machado said.
Classic band like Santana and others are part of the band’s influences. “Iron Maiden and Metallica had a lot to do with turning us into metal heads,” he said. “Cool cultural albums like Sepultura’s ‘Roots’ helped mold what we sought to find within our creative selves.”
They are a band with a message of love, freedom and family. Their latest album, “Till Death, La Familia” will be released later this month. “Be proud of your family and your freedom, stand by your loved ones because ‘blood is thicker than water’ and everything else is just a past time,” Machado said.
To all types of metal fans in attendance … Happy Moshing!