Our guide to Sonisphere 2014

By Tom Aylott

Metallica are a band that we photographed at Sonisphere. Because we’ve been big shots for years now.

So, we’re in full swing this summer. The return of Sonisphere is more than welcome (we had an absolute blast last time it was in town), and with some big headliners and massive names across the bill, you can consider us rather excited. Punktastic are going to be there in force again this year, and here’s our pick of this weekend’s bands to get you excited.


1. The Prodigy. Who else could we pick? Friday night. Massive field. Beer in hand. Fucking loud crossover EDM post-Limp Bizkit. It’s going to go off.

2. Anti Flag are one of the most enduring punk bands on the planet, and their set at Sonisphere sees them in full swing on this trip to Europe. Cheesey, perhaps, but one of the best live punk bands around.

3. Because their new album is ace. Because they are an amazing live hardcore band. Because there probably isn’t any point watching HIM. Comeback Kid.

4. Bless those boyos. Straight Lines are back this year with a new EP, and what better time to get reacquainted than at Sonisphere? We’ve conga lined to the lads enough times to think this will be unmissable, so get yourself to the front.

5. Max Raptor sound quite a bit like Billy Talent. That’s good for us because we absolutely fucking love Billy Talent. They’re on mid way through the day, which means you should be in a prime position for an afternoon jager. Tasty.

6. We’re going to recommend Brutality Will Prevail solely based on the fact that they are one of the greatest hardcore bands that are currently allowed to play gigs. Their set on Jagermeister comes at a time where you can choose between some monsters of rock or just watch something fantastic that you may not quite have heard before, and you could do far, far worse than this.

7. The Canterbury lads have been plugging away it at for a long time, and we’re hoping that Sonisphere will be a launchpad for them to finally break through into the wider spectrum with some of their excellent new material. They’ll be an absolute treat on Bohemia on Friday afternoon, so don’t miss out.


1. Deftones are basically one of the great bands on the planet. You know it. I know it. Everyone that will be at Sonisphere on the Saturday will know it. So once Hundred Reasons have done their thing (see below), get yourself as close as possible to Chino and the boys – you will not regret it.

2. As we were saying, Hundred Reasons are playing the Saturday of Sonisphere. Not only that, they’ll be playing their classic ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ album in full. Personally we think it’s a shame that they kinda have to do it these days, but fuck it – it’s an album full of bangers. Colour us stoked.

3. Slayer. Just becayse, y’know Sllllayyyyerrrr. As part of the big four a few years back, Slayer “smashed it” whilst “having a lovely time” and we’re hoping for more of the same at Sonisphere 2014. Don’t listen to all the “it’s not really Slayer” metalheads – enjoy yourself.

4. Dog Eat Dog are playing ‘All Boro Kings’ in full at Sonisphere (making them one of four bands doing an album at the festival), and after seeing them at Hellfest a few years back, we’re excited to see them again in Bohemia. Great stuff.

5. Blitz Kids have been enjoying a fine year this year. Their new album has landed them a stack of new fans, and their live show has been winning a lot of people over. They’ve got a good slot on Bohemia (post slow morning wakeup time and pre MASSIVE BAND THAT SUCKS ALL THE PEOPLE UP o’clock), and will be a nice introduction to the afternoon.

6. Hang The Bastard are another fucking amazing UK hardcore band that you can’t afford to miss at Sonisphere. We’ll leave it to you to investigate, but they’re going to be one of the best bands of the weekend – mark our words.

7. It seems mad that The Safety Fire and Protest The Hero aren’t playing the same day but fuck it. Math metal when done right is brilliant, and The Safety Fire have been one of the UK’s best purveyors of it for a while. They’ve got a Slayer clashing slot on Jagermeister to content with (we think), so it’s a tough decision. We’ll probably find the equidistant point between the two stages and tag team it for full effect.


1. Fresh with a top 10 album (really), Mastodon have a lot to prove at Sonisphere this year on the main stage. Their live show is usually awesome to watch though, so we’re just going to go in with an open mind and enjoy the shit out of it.

2. Dropkick Murphys are THE quintessential festival punk band. Noisey, brash, shouty and fun, the celtic punk zillion piece playing before Dream Theatre and after Reel Big Fish is as bonkers as it is awesome, and we just can’t wait.

3. Ska. Still a thing. Still loads of fun. Reel Big Fish have a busy summer this year in the UK, and we’re hoping that they’ve been practicing their Metallica covers – not least because it’ll wind up some tetchy metalheads with hangovers. Rejoice!

4. Arguably one of the greatest metal bands in the world right now (went there), Protest The Hero are one of our favourite live bands. It also amuses us that Rody looks like PT Forum legend Murta. Look it up.

5. Last time we saw Gallows at Sonisphere, Frank Carter was on his way out kicking and screaming. Now, the band find themselves in a more intimate environment with a few years under their belt with Wade MacNeil. They’re still a force to be reckoned with live, and with new material to promote this should be a fine way to spend your Sunday evening.

6. If you’re still reading, you’ll realise that we’ve been picking seven bands a day so far. On Sunday, we’re at a bit of an impasse about which bands to pick – and we’re also pretty sure that no one wants to read much more than 1000 words on it all anyway, so here’s all the rest of the bands we’re excited about on Sunday: The Bronx, Trash Talk, Silverstein, Only Crime, Palm Reader, Boy Jumps Ship and The One Hundred.

We’ll probably watch some of Metallica too. But only if they do St Anger in full.

See you at Knebworth.