The 8th annual Rockstar Mayhem Festival Made its second stop at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California on June 27, 2015. On this surprisingly not-so-hot and cloudy day, metal music fanatics gathered to mosh to the bands on stage, gather together for drinks and fun, or both. I was given the opportunity to photograph the Victory Records stage which was the only side stage for this year. The Victory Records stage featured primarily deathcore and metalcore bands which, depending on your music taste, you’ll either be happy to see the bands or would rather show up later for the main stage bands as you could tell from the plenty of empty seats and lawn area even halfway through the day. For this review, I will focus on the last four bands on the Victory Records stage.
The first band I got to see was the deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder and they come all the way from Sydney, Australia. They were out starting to support the release of their third album Holy War which was released on June 30th, 2015. Thy art Is Murder came out on stage to be greeted by a huge crowd that had gathered to either see them or were just there to check them out. Thy Art Is Murder knows how to get the crowd going as even when they opened with the first song Reign of Darkness, the crowd went into a frenzy and mosh pits broke out and crowd surfers followed soon after. By the third song, frontman Chris “CJ” McMahon noted that he counted a total of six mosh pits going on at once. There were so many mosh pits that a cloud of dust was hovering over the area and you could see people covering their faces or walking out covered with dust. CJ let the crowd know about the new alum being available at their merch stand ahead of its release date so fans could pick up their copy and meet up with the band for signings. Thy Art Is Murder finished their five song set with the track Holy War from the new album of the same name and took their leave and fans got a chance to catch their breath for the next live act.
The next band up was Whitechapel, a deathcore band from Knoxville, Tennessee. This marks the third time that Whitechapel has played at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival so they are no strangers to the event. Whitechapel released their newest album Our Endless War on April 2014 and were still actively out on support for it. There were lots of their fans in attendance because as soon as they started their set with The Saw Is the Law, the crowd once again went completely insane with people shoving every which way and a huge mosh pit broke out in the middle of the crowd. Whitechapel’s music consists of very aggressive guitar playing which would get anyone that’s calm or standing around suddenly let out whatever frustration they’re holding in and let loose letting you know that they have a very intense stage presence. Frontman Phil Bozeman’s vocals are traditional deathcore vocals in that it’s very deep growling to match the guitar playing and you could tell he puts a lot of work into his singing as his face would turn red and you could see veins popping out of his head. As Whitechapel prepared to play This Is Exile, Phil told the crowd “I want to see a Southern California wall of death!” and ordered the floor to be split in half. The song reached a point in the intro and the wall of death closed as fans clashed against one another and eventually the mosh pit turned into a huge circle pit that went around the sound check tent in the middle of the floor. Whitechapel finished their set with I, Dementia and kept the crowd going with the circle pit as well as having crowd surfers making appearances while they still could. Once their show finished, it seemed almost everyone left the Victory Records stage in order to see the first Main Stage act, The Devil Wears Prada.
Up next was the masked goremetal band Kissing Candice from Long Island, New York. They released their newest album Blind Until We Burn on June 29, 2015. They wore outfits and masks on stage depicting horror characters. They came on stage to a much empty area, but once their set started, people started to gather back to the stage as a bare-footed frontman Joey told the crowd to come to the stage and get crazy with them. Much of the floor was empty, but a good sized crowd still gathered so they could form a small mosh pit and still have fun. The band had a very energetic stage presence as Joey sang and ran around on stage like a maniac which fit his butcher-like outfit while the other members of the band all ran around too to be sure they could keep their energy alive. Kissing Candice finished their show and made their way backstage as fans once again left the Victory Records stage to see the next main stage act, Hellyeah which features Vinne Paul (ex-Pantera, Damageplan) and Chad Gray (Mudvayne).
The final band on the Victory Records stage was the melodic metalcore band, Feed Her to the Sharks from Melbourne, Australia. This is a special occasion for this band because this is their very first time touring in the USA. Signing with Victory Records allowed the band to release their third album Fortitude which was released on February 15, 2015. There were quite a few of their fans in attendance as they wore their shirts and had their signed CD’s on hand. Feed Her to the Sharks came out on stage and were greeted by the medium-sized crowd that had been waiting for them. A mosh pit quickly broke out and I’m sure the band felt welcomed by it. Frontman Andrew Vanderzalm sang using traditional metalcore vocals while the rest of the band played their instruments with passion as you could tell they were very happy to be playing in the USA. The mosh seemed to calm down in the middle of the band’s set, but still energetic enough to be noticed by anyone on the floor. Feed Her to the Sharks finished their set, thanked everyone for coming out and told them about their merch stand and to come out and say hi to them. Afterwards, the remaining crowd headed over to the main stage to witness the Danish heavy metal legend King Diamond followed by the headliners and kings of thrash metal, Slayer!
Thy Art Is Murder
Feed Her to the Sharks