Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
Yesterday, dates for Mayhem Fest 2012 were revealed (albeit without mentioning the actual venues). And while the lineup won’t be officially revealed till January of 2012, and chances are the organizers are still trying to book bands as we speak, we can’t help ourselves from playing the guessing game. Thus, Bram and Zach discuss which bands they think are likely to appear on the Mayhem Fest’s next installment.
Zach: Of course, it’s rreeaalllllyy too soon to know for sure who will be playing Mayhem Fest next Summer. However, one name I think will most likely be on the 2012 Mayhem lineup is Five Finger Death Punch. They’ve been on the tour twice now (on the side stage in 2008 and the main stage in 2010), and American Capitalist’s top 5 debut on the charts this month proves that they’ve become one of metal’s best selling acts right now. They may not be big enough to headline the entire festival, yet I bet they’ll be one of the bigger draws on the main stage. I think it’s also likely that Shadows Fall (also Mayhem Fest 2010 veterans) will appear on the festival since they’re in the studio right now and hope to release a new album sometime in 2012.
One name that I think is unlikely to appear is Slipknot (who headlined the festival back in 2008). Although they’ve only been playing a handful of dates in Europe since the death of bassist Paul Gray, Slipknot have been showing signs of slowly getting back into the swing of things. In fact, Corey Taylor and Clown have stated plans for Slipknot to tour the US this coming Summer. However, Clown confirmed that a U.S. tour would take place in June of 2012 (Mayhem Fest kicks off on the last day of June). So unless if they haven’t booked anything yet, Slipknot will most likely not be on the Mayhem Fest lineup.
Bram: Ooh ooh, I like this game! It’s completely pre-emptive right now to guess anything, really. There’s probably bands that don’t even have their next album written that will inevitably wind up on the tour. And this past year’s headliners were so mainstream that I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed them this time last year.
I’m not a hater, but I’d be a little disappointed to see Five Finger Death Punch come back. Three times in five years is a bit much, regardless of the band’s selling power. I think it would make sense for Mastodon to come back as one of the headliners. They’ve come into their own as a touring act, and while they’re not going to sell out a shed by themselves, they’d be a welcome addition to the fest. Another returning band that would make sense is Lamb of God. They have a new album coming out early next year, so after their own headlining tour, it’d make perfect sense for them to jump on Mayhem for a summer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see High on Fire play too, since they have an album coming out early next year as well. I’m sure there’s some mainstream band of the Breaking Benjamin ilk that I’m not thinking of that’s all over rock radio that’ll headline.
As far as bands I’d like to see on it? I’m going to go with the lineup of the boat show I saw last week: Kvelertak and Skeletonwitch. Kvelertak is in the middle of their first proper US tour, but they’re so fun live that it’d be amazing to watch them play nationwide. And Ghost weren’t able to tour before due to whatever, but their King Diamond meets KISS meets Blue Oyster Cult sound would win over a ton of converts.
Zach: I’m not saying that I’m looking forward to seeing FFDP on Mayhem again. I agree, it would be disappointing if that’s who they get as a co-headliner. But as you said yourself, this past year’s headliners were mainstream acts, and while three times in five years is definitely a bit much, these are the organizers who booked Disturbed to headline both the Uproar and Mayhem fest within a few months apart.So let’s face it, FFDP will likely be on the bill.
While I agree that Lamb Of God would be a likely (and awesome) choice as well, I don’t see Mastodon coming back to Mayhem Fest. Yes, they really have grown as a touring act since the 2008 Mayhem Fest, but I don’t necessarily think they’d fit well as a headliner on a touring package like Mayhem, which boasts a mix of up and coming metalcore/underground bands with mainstream metal acts (neither category in which Mastodon fits comfortably in). Plus, when I saw them perform on the 2008 Mayhem Fest, you could tell that even they felt out of place (though it didn’t help that half the crowd was over at the second stages when they were performing). I wouldn’t be surprised if that tour left a bit of a sour taste in Mastodon’s mouth.
As for bands I would actually like to see on Mayhem Fest? Damn, I could probably name a million bands right now. The bands you mentioned, Bram, would be awesome to see on the bill. But I’d also love to see Anthrax on the main stage. I think a tour like Mayhem could really benefit Anthrax, while the tour could benefit from having one of the Big 4 bands on the bill. I’d also love to see Between The Buried And Me or even Protest The Hero on one of the side stages.