The final day of Rock on the Range 2012 could be the heaviest of the three this year, this Sunday at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, OH. Essential thrashers Megadeth and Anthrax will shred amongst a field of rock giants that includes Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Down. As always, there is more to the day than just the top billed acts, so read on down the list to learn a little bit about all the bands you should expect to see on Sunday!
Sunday, May 20
Monster Energy Main Stage
Rob Zombie – A rock legend, master artist, and filmmaker, Zombie has proven over the years to be a force to be reckoned with. Lately, Zombie has been prepping for the release of The Lords of Salem, his latest film project set for a release this year. His last album Hellbilly Deluxe 2 contained a great collection of Zombie’s typical groove-metal style, including “Sick Bubblegum” and “Mars Needs Women”. Zombie on the big stage is bound to be a huge spectacle – and maybe they’ll play some new songs from the album set to be released next year – who knows, but worth checking out!
Marilyn Manson – Manson comes to Rock on the Range this year from from a strong performance as the main headliner at the 2012 Revolver Magazine Golden God Awards. Manson rocked out on stage with his friend Johnny Depp, who surprised many in attendance when he joined Manson to play guitar with his band – skills! If Depp joins Manson again in Columbus, that would be pretty awesome – but then again, a Manson performance in the States is a pretty awesome thing too. After all, Manson hasn’t spend much time touring the U.S. in the last several years, opting instead to traverse the more lucrative path of touring Europe. It’s safe to say fans of Manson have been waiting for this performance for a long time.
Megadeth – What can you say about Megadeth? They’re one of the bands that formed the foundation of thrash in the early 80s, the impetus of Dave Mustaine. Mustaine’s rage at having been given the boot from Metallica inspired him to create songs that rocked harder and faster than anything ‘Tallica made. Though viewers of the “Some Kind of Monster” documentary may have walked away feeling that Mustaine took the grudge a little too far, Mustaine seems to have finally mended the bridges with the Metallica guys, appearing on-stage with the band for the first time in nearly 30 years during Metallica’s 30th anniversary concert in California earlier this year. The the world seems to be conspiring to bring Mustaine down, he keeps bouncing back, rehabbing two separate injuries in recent years that forced him to relearn how to play the guitar each time. Megadeth is stronger than ever, and should continue to be so on Sunday.
Mastodon – Graduates of the school of Melvins, Mastodon’s intensity is a sight to behold live. Drummer Brann Dailor resembles an octopus on speed during their live sets, and they often turn their PA so loud that you will actually feel your face start to melt. Their most recent album The Hunter was a departure from their usual template of concept album, as the group opted instead to create a selection of songs held together more-so by their loudness and fun-ness than anything else. Mastodon will melt your face. In a good way.
Volbeat – Volbeat is a Danish metal band that sounds a bit like a rockabilly version of Metallica, albeit without all the haters. If you liked the musical explorations of Metallica’s Garage Days or their Load period, you’ll definitely dig Volbeat, and their punk/metal/rockabilly/country vibe.
The Darkness – Goofy falsetto, nimble guitar shredding and a retro 70s arena vibe are what make The Darkness unique. The band recently returned from a seven-year breakup to keep the world a bit more glam. The band doesn’t take themselves too seriously and don’t expect you to, either, so if that’s you, check it out!
Escape the Fate – Glammed up metalcore that mainly will appeal to the younger members of the audience. To the metalheads in the audience, the band may be a little hard to understand, between their sugary-sweet melodic vox and cookie-monster breakdown screams. But hey, to each their own, right? It’s safe to say that this is one band that appeals to the ladies.
Black Stone Cherry – Gritty southern-style metal that anybody can appreciate. The band has charted eight singles on the Billboard charts, with one of their biggest hit songs coming in the form of the above-linked “White Trash Millionaire”. BSC is on the rise, as their presence on the main stage suggests. Check em out, but make sure you get out of there before Escape the Fate starts! (Unless you are 13-years-old and female, in which case you will probably want to stay.)
f.y.e. Second Stage
Anthrax – With the release of Worship Music, Anthrax has definitely proven that they are definitely a band that will make you stand up and take notice. One of the forefathers of thrash, the East Coast shredders certainly made the right decision in choosing to reunite with original lead singer Joey Belladonna. Songs like “Fight ‘Em ‘Till You Can’t” and “The Devil You Know” are powerful thrashers that will renew your faith in metal once more. Seeing Anthrax should be at the top of your priority list if you are any kind of metal fan!
Down -The band began as a side project for the down-time between tours for singer Phil Anselmo (Pantera), guitarists Kurt Windstein (Crowbar) and Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity). It has since evolved into a full-time endeavor for Anselmo, as any hope for a Pantera reunion died tragically with Dimebag Darrell in 2004. Though Windstein and Keenan maintain their regular bands, Down is definitely a priority – which is a good thing, because their heavy, sludgy stoner rockin’ grooves are top-notch. Make it your top priority to join the group in “Nosferatu’s Lair” for their set at Rock on the Range!
Attack Attack! – Officially, the band is classified as metalcore, but a more accurate description would probably be “crabcore”. Attack Attack! pioneered the “crab-stance” for guitarists, and the splayed-leg technique is quite the sight to behold. The band is more of a filler than anything, and not worth seeing unless you don’t mind auto-tuned vox, keyboard guitar fills and…the crab stances. C’mon now, that ain’t metal.
Trivium – Shred and more shred. Trivium is heavier than ever, a fact evident when one has a listen to their latest album In Waves – metal, baby! Singer-guitarist Matt Heafy brings the shred and the vox, alternating at times between a pure screamer to a low-octaved Hetfieldian-type singer. Trivium should be checked out if you wish to have your face melted.
Redlight King – Here is a band that seems a bit out of place. Very mainstream, but more like a late-90s style mainstream than anything. Redlight King sounds like Crazy Town meets Uncle Kracker – not bad, but not really that great either. They seem like a band brought in as filler, not really anything worth getting excited about. But then again, if you like bands that sample legendary songs by Neil Young (“Old Man”) and/or hip-hop verses rhymed melodically to live instruments, you are definitely going to want to catch Redlight.
Aranda – Founded in in 2001, Aranda has been on a number of national tours and received additional exposure from a song they contributed to the WWE “Whyyawannabringmedown”. Another big publicity boost came when former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson decided to cover two of Aranda’s songs for her fourth studio album in 2009. Clarkson’s affinity for the band may have been more a result of the work of her producer Sam Watters, who had previously worked with Aranda on their 2008 debut album. Though Aranda is currently without a record label, they continue to work towards making it in music. The style they bring to the table is very high-energy rock, vaguely sounding a bit like Franz Ferdinand, except with way better vocals – think high range, two singers – not bad. The band has more of a Zeppelin/Hendrix influence than anything, though – check em out, they will be the first band to hit the second stage on Sunday!
Lacuna Coil – Though metal is big in Europe, there certainly are not many metal groups coming from Italy – Lacuna Coil is the exception to that expectation, and a great band to see live. With two lead singers (Christina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro), their music strikes an interesting balance between the heavy guitars and melodic vocals. Scabbie and Ferro’s vocal styles blend together well, and the male-female vocal contrast is intriguing to hear. They’ll have the Jäger stage rockin’ for sure!
12 Stones – Frontman Paul McCoy may be known best for his guest vocal on the hit single “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescense. His work with 12 Stones is worth checking out as well – the band, formed in 2000, has released three albums of material, with a new release set to drop next Tuesday. The band’s Rock on the Range performance will probably be supercharged as the group rocks out new jams to promote the new album. Most definitely a performance worth seeing!
James Durbin – Durbin initially made a name for himself as a contestant on American Idol last year. Though he only placed fourth, he was the only contestant to be asked to perform on the show after being eliminated who wasn’t a top-three finalist. His return performance was a special thing because he sang “Livin’ After Midnight” and “Breaking the Law” alongside the metal gods Judas Priest. American Idol may be a show of questionable merit, but anything that puts Judas Priest on prime-time television can’t be bad! Hopefully Durbin’s live performance brings the metal fire as well – because his debut album certainly doesn’t. Memories of a Beautiful Disaster is more pop-rock than anything, not that it is a bad thing, but still – bring the metal!
Soil – Originally formed in 2001, Soil brings a southern-style version of driving alt-metal that’s in your face and driven with a solid groove. The band was revitalized last fall by the return of original vocalist Ryan McCombs, and the addition of ex-Staind drummer Jon Wysocki. McCombs had spent the last seven years singing for Drowning Pool, while Wysocki brings a depth of drumming experience as one of the founding members of alt-rock stalwarts Staind. This is most definitely a band that you must see if you are at RoR on Sunday!
Eve to Adam – Hailing from New York City, Eve to Adam is driven by the Sassaris brothers, Taki and Alex. Taki provides the lead vox, while Alex serves as the drummer. Their music is strong, guitar-driven rock that is held strongly in place by the top-notch vocals provided by Taki Sassaris. Sassaris’ vocal style is very grunge, but he doesn’t fall into the trap that a lot of post-grunge singers have in trying to sound just like Eddie Vedder (Scott Stapp, anyone?) Eve to Adam rocks, definitely worth checking out!
Ghosts of August – Driving, chugging, melodic post-grunge rock is what Ghosts of August brings to the table. Hailing from gritty, post-apocalyptic Detroit, their music truly is a sight to behold. The band was founded in 2007 and is on a strong upward trajectory with the debut of their first nationally-played radio single “Disease”. They’re one of the bands looking to use Rock on the Range as a springboard to bigger and better things – check em out, and you can say you liked ’em before everybody did!