After a three year hiatus involving the cancellation of two festivals, Sonisphere Festival finally returned to the UK with a jam packed line up boasting some the biggest names in the world of metal. After two false starts, did the Knebworth outing manage to get itself back on track or has this once mighty festival hit rock bottom with yet another failed comeback?
London’s own The Defiled (5/10) kicked off the festivities on the main stage and proudly continued the unwelcome tradition of great upcoming bands playing first on a festival bill being decimated by terrible sound. Even if you knew the songs well the muddy sound translated all the bands riffs and melodic choruses into an inaudible mush.
Luckily the sound picked up for Canadian punks Anti Flag (7/10) who followed The Defiled on the Apollo stage. Armed with near perfect sound and a decade long back catalogue of politically charged punk rock the trio certainly got the crowd going with the likes of ‘The Press Corpse’ providing mass sing-along’s.
On the AGA stage (Bohemia Stage), if you could stand roasting in your own juices for the full 30 minute set you would have witnessed the triumphant return of Howard Jones to the UK with his new band Devil You Know (8/10). Despite the sweltering temperatures in the tent the band ploughed through a set of punishing metalcore from their new album “The Beauty of Destruction”, with Howard showing that he has lost none of the passion or intensity from his Killswitch Engage days.
Back on the Apollo stage, Finish rockers HIM (8/10) where the next band I managed to catch, opening with arguably their two biggest songs with the gigantic one two of ‘Buried Alive By Love’ and ‘Wings Of A Butterfly’ before ploughing through a career spanning greatest hits set. Providing the first major sing-along of the weekend during ‘Buried Alive By Love’ and the first visible teary embrace during ‘Funeral Of Hearts’.
Shortly after His Infernal Majesty came the arrival of the greatest festival band to ever to grace the world of music festivals ever….ever. I am of course talking about the arrival of Limp Bizkit (9/10), if you haven’t seen Limp Bizkit live yet, then what are you doing with your life? Despite Fred Durst now looking even more like he will give you one hell of a quote on an extension, the band are still capable of bringing more fun to a festival field than a bouncy castle made of cake and clowns. From opening with ‘Rollin’ to defying the curfew to bring the crowd a near biblical rendition of ‘Break Stuff’ as well as a monolithic cover of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ they held the entire crowd in their palms from the second they hit the stage. Thank you Limp Bizkit for continuing to make festivals what they are.
Following Bizkit were that evenings headliners The Prodigy (7/10) who, when they were on, were almost untouchable, throughout the likes of ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, ‘Breathe’, ‘Firestarter’ and even the majority of tracks from their last album “Invaders Must Die” the energy in the crowd was electrifying. However there did seem to be a lot of waiting for the drops, with Maxim constantly trying to hype the crowd to maintain their energy, despite this and a slightly old school and bemusing choice of an encore they smashed it, as well as packing one of the best festival lighting rigs that you will see.