Co-authored by Mark Wrigley.

Back in October 1990 The Clash Of The Titans Tour hit the UK. It was a lineup heavier than a herd of concrete cows encased in lead. Slayer, Megadeth, Testament and Suicidal Tendencies were the four bands making grown men seriously lose their shit that day. Now twenty odd years later, on July 8th 2011, Sonisphere Festival brings a line up to Knebworth that could well recreate the carnage of The Clash Of The Titans, and in all honesty could make that tour seem like a bit of a toddlers’ playground. Friday at Sonisphere is when The Big Four hit the stage, we are talking Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax… and just for good measure they’ve thrown in one of the bands responsible for shaping The Big Four into what they are today, Diamond Head. We don’t know about you, but here at TINAS Towers, we’ve been grinning like wanking chimps ever since we heard the opening day line up.

Just in case you need psyching up even more, here’s a teaser from the Big 4 Sonisphere DVD to whet your appetite:

Diamond Head: Apollo Stage 15:15 – 15:45
Diamond Head are seen as one of the most influential bands for metal as it is today. Their NWOBHM debut album released in 1980 “Lightning To The Nations” is seen as one of the defining albums in metal history. Admittedly Diamond Head, are probably more well known to Metallica fans than any other because of ‘Tallica’s cover of that song, but DH are worthy openers for The Big Four and they remain one of Metal’s understated gems. Want to see an audience go mental? Then ensure you are in front of the Apollo stage when Diamond Head kick out ‘Am I Evil’…

Anthrax: Apollo Stage 16:00 – 16:45

Caught In A Mosh

What is it?

Anthrax, one of our favourite bands on the planet. These New York moshers helped shape the thrash scene throughout the eighties, Fistful Of Metal, Spreading The Disease and Among The Living form the backbone of every old school thrashers record collection. If Sonisphere had a roof, Anthrax would be capable of blowing it off. ‘Caught In A Mosh’ has the capability of making all those who were around in the eighties believe they are a teenager again, and it could get well and truly messy. One member of TINAS has even been threatening to dust off his old Anthrax NOT! skate shorts in honour of these boys on the day (as if they’d still fit – ed). Sadly (for us) Scott Ian will not be playing on Friday, with his wife (Pearl Aday) having recently given birth to their son Revel Young (Congrats from us all here at TINAS). His six string duties will be covered by the more than capable Andreas Kisser (Sepultura).

Anthrax have also given us a taste of what is to come on their new album by giving a free download of ‘Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t’ available here.

Megadeth: Apollo Stage 17:15 – 18:15

Who's buying?

Quarter past five at the Apollo Stage will see metal thrust into your faces at breakneck speed courtesy of the snarling anarchic shred machine that is Megadeth. We all know about Mustaine being binned from Metallica, and he has given the best answer to that by throwing out 12 quality studio albums… actually scrap that, make it 11 because ‘Risk’ was utter bollocks. Dave Mustaine is the grimacing anger riddled, politically infused engine that powers Megadeth, and now reunited with Dave ‘Junior’ Ellefson the partnership the masses want to see is complete. Anyone who has seen the Metallica ‘Some Kind Of Monster’ documentary will feel sympathy for Mustaine, and if you have read Mustaine’s biography, that sympathy may not be as forthcoming. However, no matter what the stance is, getting Metallica and Megadeth on the same bill is a feat of gargantuan proportions.

Back in 2002 Mustaine suffered nerve damage in his arm, and disbanded Megadeth as he was told he would not play guitar again, and wanted to focus on recovery. It’s nothing short of a miracle then that we get to the multi-million selling thrashers rip it up on Friday. ‘Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying’ was such a significant album in thrash history, and as Ellefson kicks into the title track’s opening bass line, Sonisphere will erupt.

Slayer: Apollo Stage 18:45 – 19:45

Angel Of Death

If you’re still in the pit come 18:45 then good luck to you, because when Slayer hit the stage it will be carnage. Slayer have been laying waste to venues consistently now for over thirty years with their bludgeoning thrash. Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman’s demonic fretwork is as awe inspiring as is their presence, King instantly recognisable both through sight and sound. The thirty years have taken their toll on frontman Tom Araya, with injury and surgery now forcing him away from headbanging, but just because he can’t do it means that the Slayer army love to work twice as hard to make up for it. Any Slayer show is more than just a show, it’s a brutal experience, and there is a damn good reason why these guys lie second on the bill to Metallica. They have inspired many and destroyed even more along the time frame of their eleven album savagery.

Slayer fans are amongst the most notorious and devoted in metal, they could start a mosh pit in a nursing home. All Sonisphere will need is one portion of ‘Angel Of Death’, thousands and thousands of pumped up and fuelled metal heads, and you have a recipe for one of the most intense hours of your life. Slayer will tear Sonisphere up… can’t bloody wait.

Metallica: Apollo Stage 20:30
Metallica really need no introduction, the leaders of The Big Four and a band that has rarely disappointed… apart from ‘St Anger’ that is. Live though, they are a force to be reckoned with, Hetfield will prowl, Ulrich will thump, Hammett will widdle and Trujilo will play the three roles of himself, Cliff Burton and Jason Newstead. No matter what you think of some of their later works, Metallica are the behemoth of thrash. These guys are The Big One. They will have Knebworth eating out of the palm of their hands, screaming along and will close a day of epic proportions.

Metallica chief tub thumper and skin smasher Lars Ulrich sums it all up:

“As soon as the Big 4 gigs started rolling across Sonisphere Festivals in Eastern Europe last summer, we all felt we were part of something special. The vibe within the bands was more than anyone had anticipated and the vibe with the fans was so next level, it completely blew our minds . . . there was no way this should not happen again!!! So I am beyond psyched that the first Big 4 show in Western Europe will take place on the hallowed grounds of Knebworth, where so many unique and special gigs have happened over the years. There is simply no better venue for a European round two of the Big 4!! Put your dancing shoes on, this is gonna be fun!”

The Big Four

We’ll see you in the pit.

Japanese Voyeurs: Bohemia Stage 15:00 – 15:30
Opening proceedings on the Bohemia Stage are London based quintet Japanese Voyeurs. Their debut album “Yolk”, produced by the legendary Gggarth, is due to drop the Monday after Sonisphere. A fine way to kick off your festival shenanigans!

Lower Than Atlantis:Bohemia Stage 15:50 – 16:10
Melodic hardcore band, Lower Than Atlantis are second up on the Bohemia Stage on Friday. The Hertfordshire four-piece released their latest album “World Record” through A Wolf At Your Door Records in the UK in April of this year.

Glamour Of The Kill: Bohemia Stage 16.40 – 17:10

Glamour Of The Kill

Glamour Of The Kill

York’s Glamour Of The Kill are a band on many people’s lips right now, they are making a huge noise in the British music scene and with the release of their debut album “The Summoning” earlier this year that noise is getting louder and louder!

On returning to play Sonisphere, guitarist Chris Gomerson commented:

“Just by looking at the line-up you can tell Sonisphere is going from strength to strength, bringing more and more great bands into the UK music scene. It’s a good time to be a British band when we have festivals like this on our home turf!”

Firewind: Bohemia Stage 17:30 – 18:00
Gus G. Is probably more noted for his guitar playing with the legendary Ozzy Osbourne but his roots lay firmly planted in the Greek power metal band Firewind. Their latest of six albums, “Days Of Defiance”, was released in October 2010 on Century Media. Perfect, if you want to feel that power metal vibe coursing through your body!

The Black Dahlia Murder: Bohemia Stage 18:20 – 18:50
Little more than a week after the release of their latest album, “Ritual”, The Black Dahlia Murder take to the Bohemia Stage on Friday to tear off their fair share of faces. The Metal Blade stalwarts are in the middle of a huge European tour with Sonisphere being their only scheduled UK date this summer and last European date before heading back to the states for more touring mayhem! Join us on the barrier for your only chance of a little Black Dahlia mayhem this summer…

My Passion: Bohemia Stage 19:10 – 19:50
Fresh from their recent signing to Spinefarm Records for the release of their second album “Inside This Machine”, My Passion will join the Sonisphere party hitting the Bohemia Stage on Friday. The electronic rockers have slowly garnered a sizeable following over the past few years thanks to their charismatic live shows and the release of two strong albums.

Blood Red Shoes: Bohemia Stage 20:10 – 20:55
Brighton’s alternative rock duo Blood Red Shoes bring their live show to the Bohemia Stage on Friday. Their latest album, “Fire Like This” was released in early 2010 to rave reviews. Reminiscent of the angst of PJ Harvey and the anger of Babes In Toyland but with their own unique twist.

Killing Joke: Bohemia Stage 23:00 – 0:00

Killing Joke - Jaz Coleman

Jaz Coleman

Taking the headline slot on the Bohemia Stage on Friday night are influential, post-punk industrial band, Killing Joke, but thankfully their set won’t start until after Metallica have done their thing and with plenty of time to get back from the Apollo Stage.

The original line-up, consisting of Jaz Coleman, Kevin “Geordie” Walker, Paul Ferguson and Martin “Youth” Glover, saw a triumphant return in 2010 with the release of the “In Excelsis” EP, followed a few months later by the full length “Absolute Dissent”, the release of which also marked the 30th Anniversary of Killing Joke!

Hayseed Dixie: Bohemia Stage 00:30 – 01:30
Jumping head first in to the graveyard shift are tongue in cheek, hillbilly, bluegrass rockers Hayseed Dixie popping their proverbial Sonisphere cherry long after Killing Joke have exited stage right on the Bohemia Stage.

Frontman Barley Scotch, explains:

“Bad things happen when Hayseed Dixie plays Sonisphere. Our bodies are Rock & Roll temples, and we will sacrifice them on the altar of Sonisphere.”

Who are we to disagree with him? See you there…

Hammer Of The Gods: Jägermeister Stage 15:00 – 15:30
Toga wearing, god named, metal warriors Hammer Of The Gods get the party started on the Jägermeister Stage on Friday. If their self-titled debut album is anything to go by then the party is going to start with an ‘Earthshaking’ bang!

Decade: Jägermeister Stage 16:00 – 16:30
West country pop punkers Decade have been described as a breath of fresh air in an over-crowded, cliché ridden genre. Their mix of clean vocals and and powerful, yet melodic guitars has seen them being tipped for greatness. It’s your chance to say, I was there..

Hounds: Jägermeister Stage 17:00 – 17:30
Essex quartet Hounds take a different approach when describing themselves as Jamaican Death Metal and cite The Incredible Hulk as an influence… It’s all tongue in cheek but in all seriousness there is a more than a little Death from Above 1979, with a splash of Nine Inch Nails and for dessert a slice of Biffy Clyro. If that heady mix sounds like your thing then don’t miss Hounds!

Slam Cartel: Jägermeister Stage 18:00 – 18:30
London based hard rock band Slam Cartel bring their killer combination of cuts, hooks and jabs to the solar plexus to Sonisphere on the Jägermaister Stage. Like the aural equivalent of a Peter Howson painting, all rippling muscles, taut sinew and striking tattoos, Slam Cartel are not to be argued with and the fact they can count Billy Morrison and Russell Brand as fans is a bonus!

Black Breath: Jägermeister Stage 19:00 – 19:30
One of our favourite albums of 2010, without a doubt, was “Heavy Breathing” from Seattle crust punk thrashers Black Breath. Along with a short but damn sweet debut UK tour last year Black Breath announced themselves in serious style. These are a band to miss at your peril, we just can’t wait..

The Defiled: Jägermeister Stage 20:00 – 20:30
Another of the bands that have been widely tipped to be the next best thing to come out of the British music scene, The Defiled, are so far living up to that tag. Their debut album “Graves Times” was awarded an 8/10 by our very own Pete RingMaster back in March and they still continue to impress with their live performances. Definitely a band to keep your eyes on as well as your ears!

The man behind the keyboards, The AvD said:

“We’re ecstatic that we will be headlining the Jager stage on the Friday at this years Sonisphere festival. To to be invited back again and to be playing the same day as the Big 4 is gonna be amazing!”

MakeThisRelate: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 15:30 – 16:00
is another of the bands to win a place on the bill thanks to the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition. The Glaswegian alternative rockers also played Download and T In The Park, plus appearances at Hevy and Underage after their appearance at Sonisphere.

Acoda: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 16:30 – 17:00
The Corby based quartet, Acoda, take their place in the line-up after winning the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition, which also saw them play to a packed tent at the Download festival last month. Expect to hear the name a whole lot more this year!

Young Legionnaire: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 17:30 – 18:00
British post-hardcore band Young Legionnaire formed when members of The Automatic, Bloc Party and La Roux’s live drummer met in a studio in Newcastle, with Dan Pearson taking over drum duties in 2010. An unlikely mix for a post-hardcore band but it works, and their debut album “Crisis Works” was released earlier this year.

Cerebral Ballzy: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 18:30 – 19:00
New York skate punks Cerebral Ballzy bring a 21st century feel to the sound of bands like Minor Threat, Black Flag and Bad Brains, but at the same time having one big party. They’ve been making a noise stateside for and now bring their party to these shores for us all to join in.

Protest The Hero: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 19:30 – 20:00
Already well in the lead of the most hyped band of 2011 are Protest The Hero. The Canadian progressive metal outfit have been riding the wave of praise and rave reviews since releasing “Scurrilous” in March 2011.

Despite having been around for a decade and having two previous studio albums and a live album under their belts, it has only been since the release of “Scurrilous” that they have broken through from the underground music scene to more mainstream attention. Only time will tell if they are here to stay or will be once again welcomed back into the underground. Either way, they are well worth checking out whilst you can, we most certainly will be!

Rolo Tomassi: Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage 20.30 – 21.00

Rolo Tomassi

Rolo Tomassi

Sonisphere veterans Rolo Tomassi return to headline the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage on Friday. The mathcore rockers seem to have been around a lot longer than their mere six years but that is testament to their constant touring and work ethic.

Well renowned for their experimental approach to music, mixing chaotic mathcore segments with acid-jazz breakdowns and synthesizers, ultimately resulting in Rolo Tomassi being tagged with jazzcore or nintendocore to name but two genres…

They always put on a great show, so if Metallica isn’t your thing then perhaps Rolo Tomassi might be more to your liking, we’ll be having sleepless nights deciding which we ones will be watching…