Picture a legion of heavy metal enthusiasts converging upon our Forum, each adorned in the battle armour of their favourite bands. The air spewing with anticipation as they assemble, a sea of black shirts emblazoned with all the metal bands you could think of and their logos. Some shirts are worn with the pride of a veteran, faded and worn from countless gigs, while others are brand new, freshly acquired for this sacred occasion. Me in my Killers Tee, charged and ready to go.
Opening with an electrifying surge of energy, In Flames and Kreator brought an unforgettable night of metal mastery to an eager Forum packed crowd, awaiting the eruption of metal madness to consume them in a frenzy of sonic ecstasy on a steamy Valentine’s day. With a blend of melodic finesse and raw aggression, these two iconic bands left the audience in awe with their relentless performance.
In Flames, known for their innovative fusion of melodic death metal and modern metalcore, took the stage with an explosive presence. From the moment the first riff resonated through the venue, it was evident that this was going to be a night. A night due to how cranked the bass mix was that my wobbly bits were going to wobble. Lead vocalist Anders Fridén commanded the stage with ferocious intensity, his vocals soaring over the intricate guitar melodies and thunderous drumming. Tracks like Deliver Us and The Quiet Place captivated the crowd with a frenzy of screaming guitars and a sea of fans screaming into the night.
As the stage was bathed in an eerie red glow, Kreator emerged with a sonic assault that was nothing short of relentless. With their blistering thrash metal sound, the German titans delivered a performance that commanded your attention. Frontman Mille Petrozza’s guttural vocals cut through the air like a razor, while the precision of Sami Yli-Sirniö’s guitar solos left jaws dropping in amazement. From tracks like Hate Uber Alles to tracks like Enemy of God, Kreator’s set was a masterclass in thrash metal excellence.
In Flames and Kreator proved once again why they are two of the most revered bands in the metal scene. With their unparalleled musicianship, commanding stage presence, and unwavering dedication to their craft, they delivered a performance that will be remembered for years to come. As the final notes faded into the night, it was awesome to be amidst the sea of raised devil horns, there’s a sense of camaraderie, a shared bond forged through a mutual love for the music. Strangers become friends in the pit, united by the primal energy coursing through the air.
Review by Cassandra Hale
It has been a long time coming, we have been waiting patiently, and now the inaugural Knotfest was upon us. The Maggots were festering and ready to burst, the excitement was palpable, the hoards were bouncing on the balls of their feet waiting for those magical gates to swing open and let them the hell in. The colour of the day was black, it came in every possible version with only the odd orange boiler suit thrown in for good measure. Masks were plentiful strapped on with precision in various arrays which were laboriously removed for the id checks on arrival. I bet the owners weren’t quite expecting that! Eager to go hunting for all the hidden gems and scope the lay of the land before Malevolence kicked off the proceedings I set off, and man oh man what a huge area to explore. The trek to the Slipknot Museum and other offerings such as flash tattoos and a cheeky haircut felt like walking between suburbs, the area was vast but did not take long to fill. With plenty to keep you entertained and a massive amount of food options it was a great place to come and chill for those seeking some down time. There was even a tent complete with a wrestling ring which held some pretty feisty matches over the course of the day if you were that way inclined. But for now it was time to get the party started.
Hailing from South Yorkshire, Malevolence hit the stage running, wowing the masses from the first song. I was blown away by these guys. They were super tight and extremely entertaining to watch, and I did not seem to be alone as they amassed people as far as the eye could see. The circle pit made its first appearance and it was rabid, punters so happy to get amongst it. From the outside it looked to be moving at warp speed with people riding on shoulders while making the crazy annulus. A few that caught my attention were Still Waters Run Deep and Self Supremacy, and I will be looking into their back catalogue pronto, these guys were worthy of a spot much higher up the order and set the bar very, very high for the rest of the day.
Melbourne’s Void Of Vision took their place on Stage 2 and I could not believe the early turn out of people, no one wanting to miss one band. They had thousands in front of them as they blasted out their thirty minute set with, singer Jack Bergin pulling out all the stops. With blackened eyes and studded collar, he led the boys as they opened with Into The Dark and I pondered how far they had come since I last saw them. They crammed a lot into their set including HELL HELL HELL and DOMINATRIX and closing out with THE LONELY PEOPLE.
The weather remained favourable after a brief shower early on, but it did not deter a single person as they flowed back to stage one for Melbourne based superstars Alpha Wolf. Opening the pit up instantaneously the boys flew through their set with Hotel Underground being a standout. I could see how overcome they were with the turn out and they seemed humbled on many occasions during their time on stage. Sabian Lynch even taking to the speaker tower to get a bird’s eye view of the crowd. Nearing the end of their stage time they punched orange and white Alpha Wolf beach balls into the pit which were happily pounded around for the duration of the set. I was left well impressed by these guys and if you are yet to check them out get on it stat!
Making a dash to try and find a shortened line at any of the four merch counters proved impossible, they were one hundred deep at every one, disheartened I vowed to try again later and headed back to catch the end of Knocked Loose. This Kentucky based five-piece had a huge crowd in front of them as they ploughed through their set including Dead Ringer and Counting Worms. After being around for ten years they have certainly earned their spot and were eager to entertain, singer Bryan Garris bringing his energy to the forefront. One that definitely took me by surprise was Spiritbox, this Canadian outfit instantly grabbed your attention and held it for the duration of their set. Singer and founding member Courtney LePlante engaging with fans as they powered through with a set of eight including Yellowjacket, Rule of Nines and Hysteria. I can see why their sideshows sold out in minutes; these guys kicked serious arse.
Story Of The Year were earning their spot on stage 2 as the sets grew slightly longer and they threw in a quickfire 9 songs. The mosh was piping up and fans were surfing across the top with vigour. Hailing from Missouri these guys have been around a while and knew how to entertain the swelling masses treating us to We Don’t Care Anymore, Tear Me To Pieces and In The Shadows to name a few. Closing out he set with Until The Day I Die leaving the fans fully satisfied and ready to mix it up with InFlames. Hot off their sideshow with Megadeth these Swedish megastars had the punters in a frenzy, the mosh circling like their life depended on it. With a terrific span of songs on their setlist the fans were awash with happiness and had their heads banging in approval as Cloud Connected, Only For The Weak and State of Slow Decay were among the treats provided. The punters more like the walking wounded as they slammed over the barrier, many hobbling for help as they were dragged and dumped. But that is the nature of the beast and if you can’t handle the heat get out of the damn kitchen. It was at this point that a wheelchair was raised in the crowd much to singer Anders surprise, but hell, this is Knotfest so anything goes! It would be a sin not to mention Chris Broderick who was shredding up a storm, it was so awesome to see him having so much fun onstage and engaging with the fans, and while I may have been distracted briefly by his bulging biceps I tried to stay focused as they closed out with Take This Life.
Viking heavyweights Amon Amarth have a following like no other and it would be a sin to miss their set for the spectacle alone. It takes you on a historical journey, their songs forged in time, flying Thor’s flag as they navigated through passages of history with vigour and conviction. Guardians Of Asgaard, Deceiver Of The Gods and The Pursuit Of Vikings turning up the heat. As expected, Put You Back Into The Oar saw the heathen army take a seat and ‘row, row, row’ if you are yet to see this in action please add it to your bucket list it is quite the spectacle. The masses raised cardboard swords and shields which did not go unnoticed by singer Johan Hegg, their dedication unwavering. I did see one man in full Viking regalia complete with fur and I was impressed by his enthusiasm.
Northlane really did bring the heat as they turned it up to 11, our own Aussie bands stacking up with the international superstars with ease. The mania had well and truly descended as they opened with Clarity and Plenty. The stage set with LED screens from which the drum riser nestled in between, creating a terrific stage dynamic. The hoards not messing around as a wall of death was quickly established, leaving the weak to fend for themselves as the craziness arrived. Cypher, Clockwork and Bloodline all worthy additions as these boys from Blacktown were overwhelmed by the scene in front of them. Closing out with Talking Heads the boys were well spent and had earned a cold refreshment, but there was none of that for the punters who were back to it with the mighty Trivium. Anyone who has seen these guys in action knows exactly what is in store, these guys play hard and instantly turned the heat metre to 100. Matt Heafy had a smile for miles, his face ever expressive as they worked through an impressive set including Rain, Feast of Fire and Down From The Sky. The pits were intensifying which each band and they took on a pulse of their own as Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr rang out, it was Trivium’s fourteenth trip to Australia and gauging the crowd response it definitely won’t be the last.
Stalwarts of thrash metal and members of The Big Four, the highly anticipated Megadeth’s time had come. The chants of ‘Megadeth’ started long before they hit the stage, the thrash army pumped and ready to mosh. The intro to Prince Of Darkness got the juices flowing as the band unleashed with Hangar 18, Dread And The Fugitive Mind and Angry Again. Dave Mustaine in peak form and smashing out all the hits with ease. Kiko Loureiro working the stage with ease his guitar shredding exemplary, it was such a joy to watch him at work, he owned the stage and boy can he play a guitar! Their stage also came complete with LED screens and an elevated drum riser giving a terrific view of Dirk Verbeuren as he smashed the skins to within an inch of his life. James LoMenzo is the god of bass and so much fun to watch on stage, his crowd engagement is undying giving every fan an up-close experience. Symphony Of Destruction with its signature intro set fans into a frenzy and made them hungry for more. But would any Megadeth show be complete without a quick appearance from Vic Rattlehead, of course not. Peace Sells was the song when he staggered out and the punters went crazy, taking the mosh up a level and saluting this iconic mascot. There was only one song the fans wanted to finish out the set and it had to be Holy Wars, a Megadeth classic and one that left an air of contentment across the smiling faces of the pit.
Parkway Drive is a household name worldwide these days, the boys have worked ridiculously hard to forge their place in the music industry and it is now paying off in spades. Their show is a spectacle to behold and I can not begin to describe the size of the crowd that had amassed, there was literally thousands upon thousands as far as the eye could see. A sea of people moving as one so eager to regain their lost years of music and soak up every minute on offer. They don’t get much bigger in Australia than Parkway Drive and they delivered a show with every bell and whistle and then some. It had flames, it had pryo, it had smoke, it even had a drone taking in all the action. Winston McCall a born entertainer, had the crowd eating out of his hand as the band worked through their hour and a quarter set, including Glitch, Carrion and Vice Grip to name a few, his graciousness was unending to the fans and his face showed his happiness all night. The addition of strings lifted the show to new heights, the violin and cello setting a sunning scene as the sun set over Flemington Racecourse. Winston returned shirtless to start a few hearts racing as they finished out with Crushed and Wild Eyes, flames blasting off every place possible and warming up the quickly cooling venue.
The time had come to honour the name’s sake of the festival itself, Slipknot. The build-up had been one of gargantuan proportions, selling out every show in Australia, the fans voting with their hard earned desperate to see their musical heroes. It has been a long wait six years in fact, the maggot family reunited and ready to raise hell. Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 played briefly before the AC/DC classic For Those About To Rock stilled the fans, tension was palpable the giant Slipknot banner waving in the wind across the stage, as it dropped Flemington Racecourse exploded. Disasterpiece, Wait And Bleed, and All Out Life got pulses racing and the collective mosh bouncing. Corey Taylor demanded your attention and every eye was on him as fan fave, Sulfur rang out, the stage a mass of impressive screens and lighting, flame throwers rocking the night sky. The show briefly halted while one bozo tried his luck climbing a speaker tower, but the problem was quickly rectified, and the show went on without a hitch. The stage having the trademark Slipknot drum set up on either side raised high to give everyone a perfect viewing platform while the main kit took pride of place. Psychosocial left the hoards panting along with Duality and Custer which just formed a small part of the blistering setlist. Spit It Out took the show to new levels as we all got ready to get low and hold until our preacher Corey ‘mother fucking’ Taylor told us to ‘jump the fuck up’ it was surreal moment and one that always brings the chills with it. The hold he had over the thousands was masterful to watch, the power he held in his hands mind blowing. After a quick trip off stage the night was complete with People = Shit and Surfacing what a way to finish of the most amazing day, Corey constantly thanking the fans for their unwavering support, his appreciation paramount all night.
As the war-wounded and weary made their way from the stage, their faces tired, their bodies feeling every bit their age I know with all certainty they would jump back in the pit to do it all again without a moment’s hesitation. The sound, the lighting and effects made the festival what it was, kudos to all involved your dedication and attention to detail made for a wonderful experience and it did not go unnoticed.
Knotfest Australia 2023 was a resounding success, congratulations to each and every person involved, you brought so much joy to the fans and gave them memories to cherish for a lifetime. Now we wait with bated breath until next time……
Amon Amarth, Trivium & Malevolence will be back on stage at the very first KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA kicking off today in Melbourne!
KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA 2023
Slipknot | Parkway Drive | Megadeth | Trivium | Northlane | Amon Amarth
In Flames Knocked Loose | Spiritbox | Story Of The Year | Alpha Wolf
Void Of Vision | Bad Omens | Malevolence
DATES AND VENUES:
Friday 24 March 2023 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne SOLD OUT
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Centennial Park, Sydney SOLD OUT
Sunday 26 March 2023 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane SOLD OUT
Information available at destroyalllines.com
March 24th, 2023 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Centennial Park, Sydney
Sunday 26 March 2023 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
IN FLAMES represent the best of metal’s past, present, and future. New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal architects and innovative purveyors of groove, hard rock, and melody, the band’s artistry, influence, and stature loom as large as the vibrant style’s horizons. The widely recognized titans boast an impressive and diverse catalog celebrated internationally. IN FLAMES are as vital (and even more energized) today than when they unleashed classics like Come Clarity and Clayman in decades past.
“IN FLAMES are one of the few bands to successfully pull off a radical stylistic shift and not only maintain but actually grow their fan base, while also staying true to the band’s core sense of self,” Revolver Magazine wrote in 2020, saluting their dual status as hooky hard rock heroes and melodeath icons.
The continued popularity of anthems like ‘Only for the Weak’ (72 million streams on Spotify alone), ‘Cloud Connected,’ ‘Alias,’ ‘I Am Above,’ ‘Pinball Map,’ ‘Zombie Inc.,’ ‘Artifacts of the Black Rain,’ and ‘Come Clarity’ demonstrates how much the fans embrace the diversity of In Flames.
The songwriting duo of singer Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte (both of whom appear on every IN FLAMES release since 1995) persists as one of the most potent creative teams in heavy music.
Foregone, the furious fourteenth studio album, combines the greatest aggressive, metallic, and melodic strengths of their landmark records with the seasoned songwriting of their postmodern era.
“In a way, it sounds stupid to say we wanted to be more ‘metal,’ because we always felt that we were,” Fridén observes. “Over the last couple of years, the world became even more hostile and evil in certain ways. We have a war in Europe. People, in general, are more stressed. All of that energy and anger helped fuel this album. We went in to make something on point, heavier, and yes, ‘more metal.’”
Gelotte concurs. “We made an aggressive album. We kept the dynamics, some big epic choruses, heavy guitars, lots of kick drums, and melodies. That’s who we are and who we’ve always been.”
Foregone is the second IN FLAMES album with bassist Bryce Paul and drummer Tanner Wayne, the first with ex-MEGADETH guitarist Chris Broderick, and the third with Grammy-winning producer Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, THREE DAYS GRACE). Mike Plotnikoff (ALL THAT REMAINS, WARBRINGER) engineered at Benson’s West Valley Recording Studios. Joe Rickard (10 YEARS, STARSET, DIAMANTE), who played drums for IN FLAMES from 2016 through 2019, handled mixing duties.
“Tanner is the best drummer we’ve ever had,” Fridén says proudly. “I don’t say that to diss anyone that came before. Tanner has so much energy and there is so much stuff going on all of the time. Bryce is an amazing bass player, really, really heavy, with a good feel. Chris comes in with all of his knowledge of the guitar. His solos are way different from Bjorn’s and the combination of those two guys just works perfectly. It’s easy to do what I do on top of it because the foundation is so solid.”
Songs like ‘State of Slow Decay,’ ‘End the Transmission,’ ‘Bleeding Out,’ ‘Meet Your Maker,’ and ‘The Great Deceiver’ pulsate with hypnotizing power and furious anger. There’s desperation, a raw nerve exposed, brought on by the chaotic dystopia of post-pandemic society.
“This album is about lost time. Everything is going in the wrong direction,” Fridén explains. “We can’t make up for the lost time. That’s why the album is called Foregone. We’re destined to end. That realization creates different emotions – panic, frustration, fear. ‘Scary’ isn’t a horror movie or an angry metal guy screaming. The real horror is what’s going on in the news from around the world. We are basically doomed. The album is about the few moments we have left and what we do with them.”
The melodic guitars, crushing riffs, and high-speed tempos that define much of the IN FLAMES catalog first crystalized on their second album, The Jester Race (1996), complete with hints of the catchy choruses to come. Whoracle (1997) is the rawest and arguably heaviest IN FLAMES album from the 90s.
Metal Hammer declared melodeath masterpiece Colony (1999) “an undisputed fireball of an album.” Clayman (2000) introduced synths and more prominent clean vocals, with accessible hooks, without sacrificing the band’s overall intensity, resulting in their first Top 20 album in Sweden. Reroute to Remain (2002) took the groove element even further and broadened the American audience.
Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004) expanded the arena rock bombast. Come Clarity (2006) is a perfect metalcore slab, as majestic as the American bands IN FLAMES inspired. Even as it stepped away from death metal, A Sense of Purpose (2008) delivered some of the band’s best and most eclectic songs.
The gothic groove metal of Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011) paved the way for the unapologetic arena rock of Siren Charms (2014) and Battles (2016), albums full of Active Rock hooks. Fans of the more aggressive side of IN FLAMES heralded I, the Mask (2019) as a return to form. Foregone masterfully, if improbably, manages to serve all sides of the IN FLAMES fanbase, with powerful force.
“We’ve had our fair share of times when we were trying to please others,” Fridén reflects. “‘You should write with other people. You should go after radio.’ We tried it but it wasn’t for us. With this album, we didn’t even think about anyone else or any of that.” The major strength of Foregone, and of IN FLAMES altogether, continues to lie in the long partnership between the singer and guitarist.
“Bjorn and I have 100 percent trust in each other,” Fridén says. “He can give me a piece of music and know that I will give him something back he’ll feel proud about. I know his way of playing and it’s something I love singing on. He’s from that Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page school of soulful, bluesy guitar players. And he has a good melodic sense. I know him inside and out and I love him to death.”
Both men continue to follow their own compass. “It’s impossible to please everybody. So the most important question to ask is always, ‘Do we like it?’” Gelotte points out. “If I didn’t like the music we play, I couldn’t believe in it. It’s a lot of time away from family. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it. That’s why we’ve been able to do it for such a long time; because we actually enjoy what we do.”
The band built a stunning reputation with devastating, crowd-moving, inspired performances around the world at every major rock and metal festival imaginable, on festival tours like Rockstar Mayhem and Ozzfest, headlining multiple treks, and touring with their heroes, friends, and giants in the genre.
The band regularly headlines some of the biggest stages and festivals in the world. The list of IN FLAMES tourmates boasts SLIPKNOT, MEGADETH, JUDAS PRIEST, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, WITHIN TEMPTATION, and LAMB OF GOD. (Over the years, they even took newer bands like GHOST & GOJIRA as support acts.)
“I’m really proud of what we achieved and that we never went away,” Fridén says reflectively. “Sometimes you’re loved, sometimes you’re not, but we always pushed ourselves and created the music we felt was awesome. I’m so proud and happy with Bryce, Tanner, and Chris, what they’ve brought into the band, on the recordings, and with their energy, and where IN FLAMES is at today.”
A sense of pride, accomplishment, and continued vitality are evident every time the band takes the stage, and all over Foregone. The album itself represents IN FLAMES of the past, present, and future.
“Not caring about anybody’s opinion but ours is a great situation to be in,” Gelotte says. “We’re confident in what we’ve done. We love what we’re doing. And we’re constantly exploring forward.”
KNOTFEST, the destination festival brand curated by SLIPKNOT, is continuing its ever-expanding global domination with the announcement of its next location – KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA in 2023.
The music and counterculture experience created by the multi-platinum sonic phenomenon SLIPKNOT, will hit the East coast of Australia starting on Friday, March 24th at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, before making its way to Sydney on Saturday, March 25th at Centennial Park and wrapping up in Brisbane on Sunday, March 26th at RNA Showgrounds.
Headlined by SLIPKNOT, the hugely stacked festival line-up includes PARKWAY DRIVE, MEGADETH, TRIVIUM, NORTHLANE, AMON AMARTH, IN FLAMES, KNOCKED LOOSE, SPIRITBOX, STORY OF THE YEAR, ALPHA WOLF, VOID OF VISION, BAD OMENS and MALEVOLENCE.
A staple at KNOTFESTs all over the world, the KNOTFEST Museum will also be making its way to Australia for the very first time. The KNOTFEST Museum features a jaw-dropping collection of items from the band’s history and a fan-favorite attraction at the other KNOTFESTs around the globe. Tickets are strictly limited in each city.
Early bird pre-sale tickets are on sale at 9am local time on Thursday 3rd November here and general public tickets go on sale at 9am local time on Monday 7th November here.
KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA 2023
DATES AND VENUES:
Friday 24 March 2023 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Saturday 25 March 2023 – Centennial Park, Sydney
Sunday 26 March 2023 – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
SLIPKNOT’s latest album, ‘The End, So Far’ landed yet another #1 Official Album Chart position in Australia, their fourth straight #1 in a row, as the album racked up a string of global chart accolades, including #1 Album positions in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico and Top 10 in Japan, Finland, Sweden, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Portugal, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, France and the Netherlands.
About SLIPKNOT: There was never a band like Slipknot, and there will never be another. Like a spore out of the Midwest, they’ve quietly bloomed into the most uncompromising, undeniable, and unique presence on the planet whose influence transcends genres and generations. Since sowing the seeds for revolution in Iowa during 1999, these musical outliers have captured a GRAMMY Award alongside 10 nominations, scored 12 Platinum / 41 Gold album certifications around the world, and logged over 8.5 billion global streams and 3.5 billion video views to date – unprecedented for a rock act in this generation or any other. Rolling Stone cited the seminal platinum-selling 2001 album Iowa among “The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time,” while The Ringer attested, “They’re the most important heavy band of their era.” In addition to marking the group’s third consecutive #1 debut on the Billboard Top 200, their sixth full-length album, WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND, bowed at #1 in twelve countries worldwide in 2019. Selling out shows on multiple continents, they deliver an irreplicable multi-sensory experience on tour and through their own festival Knotfest. With their seventh studio album, THE END, SO FAR, Slipknot are back, and nothing will be the same again.
About KNOTFEST: Knotfest is Slipknot’s own self-curated, destination festival brand, currently held in eight international locations; the US, Japan, Mexico, Finland, Germany, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. Designed as an immersive, unforgettable, ‘dark carnival experience’, the event invites you into Slipknot’s apocalyptic underworld where stunning visuals, fire breathers and nightmarish creatures on stilts set the stage for an intoxicating and memorable weekend of live music.
Stay up to date on all things KNOTFEST over at https://knotfest.com/australia/ and by following on socials.