Rockstar Energy's Taste Of Mayhem Fest gave Denver's metal community the chance to see the bulk of bands on tour at an indoor venue, separate from main stage headliners, which will play tonight at Red Rocks.
The supposed undercard for this year's fest nevertheless sold out as fans clamored to see metal bands just under major mainstream music industry recognition. It was a good night for dedicated fans of the genre.
The night's unexpected highlight was Suicide Silence's set. The band is making a comeback of sorts after the death of vocalist Mitch Lucker in late 2012. Sunday's Fillmore date marked the first Suicide Silence show in Denver featuring new vocalist Eddie Hermida, formerly of All Shall Perish. Suicide Silence paid homage to Lucker while still advancing their sound with Hermida. Though the band has a new album, You Can't Stop Me, due July 15th, they only played a handful of new songs. Otherwise, Herminda showcased his own version of classics like "You Only Live Once" and "No Pity For A Coward," which seemed more mature given the extensive deathcore pedigrees of both Eddie Hermida and Suicide Silence. Where Lucker's lyrics reflected angst ("you only live once so go fucking die"), Hermida has a more positive message to convey in the band's otherwise intimidating tracks ("we sing these songs so that you don't die").
Suicide Silence also reaffirmed its commitment to band tradition with a "wall of death" mosh pit for the song "Fuck Everything." The wall of death involves splitting the expansive mosh pit into two sides of people who violently clash at the band's command. Suicide Silence is definitely not the first band to organize a wall of death, but Denver fans were dedicated enough to make it memorable.
Emmure was also a highly anticipated act at Denver's Taste Of Mayhem fest, if just because of controversy over the first track of its new album, called "Bring A Gun To School." Its lyrics seem to deal with Columbine ("holy fucking shit I'm having too much fun killing everyone"), an event singer Frankie Palmeri also referenced or possibly glorified in his own controversial clothing line. Emmure did not address Columbine during the band's set and Palmeri provided little more than calls to mosh in between songs.
Ultimately, Taste of Mayhem proved that metal is still as enjoyable indoors as it can be in an open-air environment. In fact, Denver fans were able to enjoy the simpler version of Mayhem Fest without the inconvenient stage arrangement and relentless hot temperatures that can plague outdoor festivals. The split date also allowed for fans of the less well-known bands to purchase a cheaper ticket.
That's not to say Taste of Mayhem was any kind of utopian show within the metal community. Some fans over-consumed or let themselves get swept up in the tour's testosterone-fueled most pit. Still, the Fillmore's main floor was mostly clear of vendors and merch stands, which were pushed into side or back walls. Local bands handed out fliers for upcoming shows, but the venue was not littered with advertising like one might find covering the pavement at Warped Tour. Rockstar Energy had its own area barricaded in the center of the floor behind the sound board -- otherwise bands roamed the venue selling wares personally which made Taste Of Mayhem that much more of an authentic music experience.