Metallica – Knebworth

By Tom Aylott

It’s a strange feeling when a fistful of bands on the bill were formed before many of us were even a twinkle in our folk’s pants. Silvered and slightly weathered they may be but the grandfathers of thrash metal, THE BIG 4, have Friday at Sonisphere 2011 in their clutches with elongated sets and trademark unrelenting riffs that changed the world and influenced so many.

One of those in line to the metal throne is bright eyed and bushy tailed Red Bull Bedroom Jam finalists ACODA who make no mistake destroying the stage with an energetic wall of screamy hardcore. You wouldn’t guess it from the way they look, but they brought the noise and wasted no time tearing up the then unharmed tent.

Long before they even started on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage, PROTEST THE HERO (left)had the tent overfilled, and that didn’t change for their entire set.

The band were easily one of the greatest metal bands of the weekend, and the rows and rows of people struggling to get in points ever so slightly to a misbilling, but everyone inside certainly wasn’t complaining.

SLAYER (Pronounced: m/ SLLAYYYERRRRRR!!! m/) take on the 40,000 pierced faces in front of Apollo with a dominant performance.

Despite the prophecies of hatred from higher powers filling the overcast sky, ‘Disciple’, ‘Hate Worldwide’ and ‘Mandatory Suicide’ lifted spirits of day-trippers and weekend revellers.

Exodus’ Gary Holt stepped up to fill the hole left by Jeff Hanneman. and fused together something quite wrathful and altogether exciting.

Slipping away from the main stage briefly, those smart enough to catch ROLO TOMASSI’s appearance on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam found them well worth missing the boys for.

The band’s takeover of the UK is as erratic as the music itself, and the fairly rammed tent watches smugly at their good choice despite one of the nastiest clashes of the weekend.

The Big One of The Big Four: METALLICA, with fans veiled in leathery hysteria, brought a towering set of speed-metal with intentions to take Knebworth by the balls. And that they nearly did.

Unfortunately someone hadn’t told the sound guy they were supposed to turn it up to eleven in a half arsed bid to save a few precious ears. The big hits were just that, but the sound left it feeling a little flat, and all the pyro and fireworks ended up stealing most of their thunder.

Overall, Friday’s “almost a full day, kinda” at Sonisphere was a great warm up for the rest of the weekend, and PROTEST THE HERO really stole the show. It was a bit of a wet and damp one, which didn’t change much for the rest of the weekend, but plenty of beer and pyro kept us going! Keep an eye out for Saturday and Sunday’s review coming up soon!

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Words: Jessica Acreman / Tom Aylott