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Concert Reviews:
Mayhem rules, loudly and proudly, at DTE

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell looked at the DTE Energy Music Theatre crowd at Sunday's, July 22, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and commanded, "If you want us to play even louder, put both your arms in the air!"

Needless to say, the moment made a strong case for extra-strength deodorant.

Loud, of course, was the order of the day at Mayhem. For nine and a half hours, fierce heavy metal pounded through the parking lots and pavilion at DTE, from icons such as Motorhead, Slipknot, Slayer and Anthrax to Michigan contest winners Transcending Fate and Bless The Child. The Metal Mulisha motorcycle stunt team revved it up, too, and with Sunday's sun baking the DTE grounds all day long, it was nothing less than headbanging nirvana.

This year's Mayhem moment is the return of Slipknot, touring North America for the first time since bassist Paul Gray's death in May of 2010. Frontman Corey Taylor declared it a celebration rather than a wake, and the masked, costumed octet from Iowa delivered an inspired and ferocious 75 minutes that felt like something of a rebirth. The group's set was typically tricked-out with fire, pyrotechnics and percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan's rotating hydraulic lift, and offerings such as "(sic)," "Wait and Bleed," "Disasterpiece," "People = S***" and an epic "Vermillion" certainly gave the maggots, as Slipknot calls its fans, what they feared they may no longer get in the wake of Gray's passing. (The bassist was memorialized with a banner sporting his No. 2 designation behind the stage, while original Slipknot guitarist Donnie Steele played Gray's parts out of sight of the audience.)

Crahan, meanwhile, waded into the crowd during "The Heretic Anthem," walking up one aisle before crossing over mid-pavilion to come down another. DJ Sid Wilson did even better than that during "Spit It Out," heading all the way up to the walkway between the pavilion and the lawn -- though both men were accompanied by a formidable phalanx of security guards. Taylor and the rest of the group kept things cooking on stage in the meantime, and the maggots were surely heartened that Slipknot did not look or sound like a band that was going away any time soon.

Slipknot's opulent theatrics ran counter to most of the rest of the Mayhem day, however. Slayer was its straightforward, thrashing self, though a backdrop of amplifiers stacked in the shape of two crosses and an abundance of fire gave a bit of visual oomph to an hour-long set of favorites like "Disciple," "Die By the Sword," "Seasons in the Abyss," "Hell Awaits," "Angel of Death" and "South of Heaven." Motorhead -- fronted by the iconic, sandpaper-throated Lemmy Kilmister -- roared through the likes of "Bomber," "Damage Case," "Going to Brazil," "Ace of Spades" and "Overkill" -- while San Diego's As I Lay Dying previewed its upcoming album "Awakened" with a performance of the track "Cauterize."

Anthrax, meanwhile, gave the DTE parking lot -- which frontman Joey Belladonna dubbed "the blacktop of...metal" -- a dose of main stage caliber potency, with a too-short set that spanned the group's 31-years and kept the Mayhemers moshing to "Fight 'Em Till You Can't," "Antisocial," "Indians," "Madhouse" and "I Am the Law."

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