Metal Tee piece on; check! Hot ticket for Knotfest; Check! Hours away from seeing Phil & what’s left of the boys, swig of the goose and I’m amped and out the door to knock down the Cemetery Gates at Flemington Racecourse.

It is a perfect sunny Melbourne afternoon to squash down some cans, extend my middle finger to the working man & get shoulder to shoulder with my metal comrades. My brothers and sisters cladded in heavy duty boots, battle jackets and the mainstream defiant alike, all psyched to latch onto the assault of double bass drums & distortion city.

That working man that scored the bird didn’t cut the leash until 3:30pm so I can only review from The Hu onwards. I made my way to the two stages and settled into The Hu.  Now I’ve never seen The Hu before and I was immediately sucked right in. Fuck me, I was not expecting see a jaw harp at this gig. A Fkn Jaw Harp!! Then counting them off, yep 8 members, ok, a drummer and a percussionist, ok both my balls are in.

This is Mongol rolled out first. A hypnotic march paced folk / metal infusion. At first I was like WTF!! In my head I’m like is that a fiddle?!! I’m looking at this 2 stringer with bright white strings, are they cat gut strings??  With my undivided attention The Hu blasted me with next few numbers like Black Thunder, Wolf Totem, Bil Biyelgee, Yuve Yuve Yu and finished a Metallica cover Through the Never. Could’ve done without the cover, lost me a bit there. I mean if you’re going to cover a Metallica cover at Knotfest maybe go a bit more old school metal but each to their own.

Overall I rate them and I am even  listening to them as I write this. They are a great stage spectacle, almost has that trance like spiritual Mongolian vibe to it except they bash you in the face with it. Prepare for Mongolian battle music.

The sun is still pounding us from above but it’s a good pounding exit stage left shuffle 50 paces off your right shoulder and look its stage 2. Nice! Didn’t have to bolt 1km to the next stage, oh look BEEER Tent!!

Halestorm are up next and jeeze has Lizzy got a set of lungs on her! I mean Lizzy Hale can wail!!

Kicking off with I Miss the Misery the four piece rock outfit were pretty keen to grab our attention. Didn’t matter whether you were sprawled out on the grass or on your feet, Halestorm had you mildly moving at least one body part. Not sure they fit into the whole Knotfest scenario though.

I’d say they’re borderline hard rock and the only thing metal is the hardware on their instruments. Not saying they’re bad, just probs better off touring with The Baby Animals.

Enter stage left, its 6:15, the last of the sun for the day but the first of Lamb of God!

It was getting pretty thick with the flesh of humans now as we got pummelled with Memento Mori.   And Ihave to admit and it was a discussion point with a couple of my fellow musician mates that the guitaring mix was hard to hear over drum & bass. At points my T-shirt was vibrating from double kick drum mayhem. Ahhh outside air gigs are tough to mix!! We found ourselves moving closer to the sound booth to catch the clearer sound.  However, the circle work from the mosh gave no indication of the mix as the punters slapped flesh with the best of them. It was a fierce pit from the opening song and there was no relenting for the duration of their set.

With Morton & Adler locking it away tight with filthy good riffing that is punishingly brilliant but can also pull back into melodic interludes when its time. While Lamb of God aren’t my go to, its songs like Hourglass especially towards the back end of that track that sucks me in.

Lamb Of God had a ripper set giving the patriots Walk With Me In Hell, Hourglass & Now You’ve Got Something To Die For finishing on Redneck. It was bloody epic and was pretty well received for those that got through the mix.

JD can in one hand JD can in the other. Oh, fuck me Bro look its Disturbed! Hey You……was the first song that Dan & John kicked off with followed by Mike and then Dave with his renowned vocal sound. Thankfully back to stage right for Disturbed the mix was clear again and all instruments could be distinguished.

The crowd was slightly thicker again and as this set got further along the I started to see more inverted body parts poking out of crowd in front me. Dave kept them moving with Stupify rolling into seeing Ten Thousand Fists. It’s hard to stand still when a full tom intro from Mike kicks that song off and that distinctive guitar sound from Dan delivers a solid blow to your ear pieces.

Another killer set inclusive of Bad Man, The Game, The Light, Unstoppable, of course Down With The Sickness & Inside of Fire. Yes dickheads, they played The Sound of Silence!! I’m not a fan of the revitalised classic but it did have an atmospheric aura about it as our Aussie sun was done and the crowd drank it in albeit on a patch of grass and only too far from the cobbled stones but no one dared Disturb the sound of silence.

Stage Left Mother Fuckers!!!!!!!

Full Choad moment, let me prefix this with when I was a wee pissant teenager, my alarm clock would go off to the sound of Mouth for War!! Out on the stage walks Phil, crowd goes nuts need I say anymore?? OK, as follows.

A New Level was the first biscuit from the Cowboys from Hell. Couldn’t tell you what anyone else was doing as I was fixated on what was unfolding. Again, slightly annoyed at the mix, maybe it was something to do with stage left, Fuck You stage left!! So I found myself moving around a bit.  But wasn’t going to let that get in the way.

Next song…….wait is that my alarm….am I dreaming, oh wait nup that’d be Mouth for War.

“REVENGE!!!!!” “My ears can’t hear what you say to me!!!” Fuck me, it’s sooooo good!

Honestly, I’ve always kicked myself for not seeing them when Dimebag & Vinnie were still with us but this was better than nothing and if you’re throwing in Zakk then if not like for like then you’re getting value right? Not to forget Charle Benante who walks amongst the innovators of blast beating (I’m not talking about rapid pounding of your flesh puppet), any drummers will know and he carries his own. 

The setlist was Strength Beyond Strength, Becoming, I’m Broken, Suicide Note Pt 2, This Love, Floods, Walk, Domination / Hollow, Cowboys from Hell, Fucking Hostile. A few little intros or outros with By Demons Be Driven and Throes of Rejection.

Overall I walked out of there slaughtered and Goddamn Electric!! There was plenty of noise about the lineup this year not stacking up and even though I wasn’t there for all of it what was good was fucking ace and the substandard parts were still rocking. I rate 2024 Knotfest a ripping success and Pantera well, even at 5am in the morning, I’ll always have a Mouth For War!!!