Big Al's Metal Review

Ozzfest - 10 years and counting

July '05, Post-Gazette Pavilion.

As the final strains of "Sanctuary" rang in my head, along with chants of "Maiden! Maiden!" from the weeping 40-year-old metal fans around me, I couldn't help but smile. For you see, yet another summer was coming to a close, and I had just witnessed yet another spectacle from the mind of Madame Osbourne. Last year it was a reunited Judas Priest and Black Sabbath; this year a set by Iron Maiden culled exclusively from their first four albums. (And, yeah, Black Sabbath too.) What more could one reasonably ask for?

Well, perhaps Rob Zombie coming out of the darkness for a Second Stage show, along with The Haunted, Soilwork, Arch Enemy, and the remaining half of Sweden. Add a little Killswitch Engage, Mastodon, and Trivium to yankee it up a bit, dash a little celebrity here and there, and [ITAL]voila![ITAL] As with every major show I hit, there was a band in particular that I came to chat with. This time around, it was metal-core upstarts As I Lay Dying.

There has been a shift in the points of reference for the newest generation of bands to come our way. Maiden, Sabbath, At The Gates, and Guns N' Roses all come to mind during CD spins and interviews. Sonically, these giants lay the framework for todays artists. Lyrically, emotionally, the landscape is vastly different. Angst has been replaced with commentary on the present moral and political conscience of our society. Anger is focused on those who seek to destroy our freedom of expression. In this sea of confusion, bands like Hatebreed, Throwdown, As I Lay Dying, and the late and much lamented Earth Crisis garner huge armies of fans that use their music as a beacon of hope and light in their lives. The bands in turn take this as a responsibility to their fans, and treat them with kindness beyond anything I've ever seen.

With this in mind, I sat down with vocalist Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying for a half hour, chatting about everything from religion to Camp Ozz. Tall, built, covered in tattoos, the man is amazingly soft-spoken. As metal celebs mill around us, the first question out of my mouth is, "...So dude, what's it like? Being on tour with the godfathers of Metal? Ever catch Ozzy or Bruce at a cookout?"

"Well, actually no. But I'll tell you what is weird is waking up and seeing Will Smith walking around the [food] tent. It's like a scene outta [ITAL]Independence Day[ITAL]." (Jada Pinkett Smith's band Wicked Wisdom was a late add-on to the tour, and the sci-fi star decided to tag along with his lady.) As our talk got deeper into the state of the world, and his (and the band's) religious point of view, I couldn't help but notice the Hebrew tattoo on his arm. "It's out of Isaiah, where he says he is ready to serve, and this is how I feel. With all the other bands that share our Christian beliefs, we see a duty to our core of fans, and to all fans. We don't push our views at all, and we have great discussions with people after our shows...."

"Ever have anybody tell you that you helped them out in their life?" I asked.


With their new album, [ITAL]Shadows are Security[ITAL], AILD have established themselves beyond all expectations. The power of their chugga-chugga riffs competes with the intricate emotions layered within the songwriting. Check them out on tour, or at any music store near you.

Meanwhile, Shadow's Fall and In Flames kicked ass on the Main Stage, having graduated to that level after years in the underground. Still, there was something a little odd seeing them up there. As Rob Zombie put it, among the sea of raised horns, "every day somebody asks me why I didn't play the main stage this time around. Looking at you now, all I can say is 'Isn't it f?king obvious?'

Until next time, Up the Irons!

Before I go, huge thanks go to Maria Ferrero and Loana DP Valencia for setting this up ? you guys come through year after year. And Loana, nice to have ya back!