Earlier this week, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival announced the dates and venues of its seventh annual tour. And although we know when and where the fest will be playing this Summer, they’re waiting until March 31st to unveil the actual lineup. And while Korn, Avenged Sevenfold and Body Count appear to have let the proverbial cat out of the bag about their involvement this year, with a month left, we’ll jump into the fray and recklessly speculate who else might be getting involved.
Bram: I’ll state first and foremost that Mayhem isn’t nearly as exciting as it was the first few years. In 2008 and 2009, it seemed like it was almost a wild card in the touring scene. Having Slipknot, Mastodon, Machine Head, and Suicide Silence (to name a few) its first year was pretty exciting, while Slayer, Behemoth, and Cannibal Corpse the second year ruled as well. By the time the third year rolled around, the lineup started repeating bands and getting more commercial. That being said, it’s still the next logical evolution of Ozzfest, and the only real successor of big metal touring festivals. Sure, Summer Slaughter exists, but that’s on a much smaller scale.
It’s only been a few years since they headlined Mayhem, but it’d definitely be a big move to have Slipknot come back and play. They’ve got a lot riding on their fifth album, and by playing out with a new drummer and previewing the album, it would excite the maggots. If they hadn’t done it last year, Mastodon would be a logical choice to play, since they’ll have an album out around then. Another band that was supposed to perform last year was Behemoth. They weren’t able to do it, but now that they have a new album out, it might make sense to have them make good on their promise from last year. Sumerian has had their own stage for the last few years, and with Body Count playing, it can be assumed they’ll be having their own stage again. So dream list for that – Animals as Leaders, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Crosses †††. Not that that’ll happen, but it would rule if it did.
Zach: I at first assumed that Meshuggah playing Bonnaroo in June greatened their chances to play Mayhem Fest as well. Then I realized that Meshuggah are heading right back to Europe following Bonnaroo for a few other festivals (including Graspop on June 29). Sure, there’s a chance they could still come right back to the U.S. in time for Mayhem’s kick off on July 5, but I wouldn’t call them a sure thing (as awesome as them playing would be for both the band and tour).
I think Suicide Silence is a solid bet for being on Mayhem Fest this year. They’ve finally started to move on with a new singer following the death of Mitch Lucker, and they may even have a new album ready in time for Mayhem Fest. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re Mayhem veterans (having played on the very first tour, as well as the 2011 edition). And while I have no proof of this, something makes me think Every Time I Die could be playing Mayhem Fest given they too might have a new album ready in time for the tour (or maybe this is just wishful thinking). While we’re at wishful thinking, can we please get Kvelertak onto Mayhem Fest?! They’re the type of band that would absolutely destroy on one of the side stages, and would definitely benefit from playing in front of Mayhem Fest’s crowd.
One band we definitely can sadly cross off the list is DevilDriver. While Wolverinekills heard a rumor that they might be on this year’s lineup, frontman Dez Fafara shot that down with a single tweet. And that’s certainly a shame, cause they would’ve been a nice addition to one of the side stages. I’d also like to say that Hellyeah is probably not going to be on the festival as well since they’ll be touring with a band that’ll almost certainly be headlining Mayhem just a few months before. Then again, that tour isn’t exactly playing major markets (or at least the same ones Mayhem will be hitting).
Chip: I have to be brutally honest and say that every year with this fest there are only one or maybe two bands that have truly excited me. Last year was Amon Amarth and Scorpion Child. Previous years I could probably take all of the bands I liked and make one fest out of them. The three bands announced so far? They make me want to avoid this fest, not attend it.
That said there’s bound to be that one or two bands that make me want to attend. Ghost (B.C.) seems a logical choice this year. They are blowing up, have a fairly new album out and put on a killer, costumed live show. Red Fang seems like a logical choice too to make it back this year. New record and fancy videos always up your chances for these things. ASG would be a great addition to one of the smaller stages. They have a new album, label backing by an established player and an accessible sound.
My dream would be to see a band like Carcass on this fest. They’d rip Poseurs and Falses to shreds. The Mayhem Fest also isn’t afraid to troll out some older acts (i.e. Anthrax) so I’d love to see Testament get a shot at it this year if they go that route again.
Matt: I’m with Bram on Behemoth. It was a bummer they had to pull out last year, but with a new album, it’s perfect timing. Mastodon just played on it last year but hey, if Five Finger Death Punch can play every other damn year then Mastodon can certainly play two years in a row. I also agree with Zach that putting Suicide Silence would be a good fit for the bill and a good way to get people acquainted with Eddie Hermida as the new frontman.
Some of my own predictions include In Flames, Lacuna Coil, and Job For A Cowboy all pretty much on the basis that a) they all have new albums coming, and b) they all fit the bill for what Mayhem Fest usually goes for. Not that I necessarily want all of these bands to be playing, but it just seems likely that with new material coming they would want to hop on board for a summer tour. For my dream picks, I’ll pick Agalloch and Cynic. Agalloch has a new album coming in May and I’m dying to see them live, but considering their song lengths, they’ll probably only play 4 songs unless they get a spot with more playing time. Cynic would stick out quite a bit from the other bands especially since Kindly Bent To Free Us is basically full on prog metal/rock, but maybe the fest could use an odd man out in their lineup.