Soil (5) Were the first band to play, who gave a pretty standard performance until their last song of their set- 'Halo.' It's pretty safe to say that this band will never be more than a one-hit-wonder.
The fact that Michael Jackson has recently died may have had something to do with Alien Ant Farm (9) appearing on the bill, but I'm glad they did. An entertaining live performance proved that AAF are not just an MJ cover band, but a unique and initiative rock band who have much more to offer than a fat bassist.
We only managed to catch a glimpse of Skindred (7) but the audience seemed to like them. You wouldn't think there was much of a market for reggae-rock but Skindred offer a change from ultra-death-metal-breakdown-core that seems to be flooding Myspace recently.
The Dead Formats (1) demonstrate how NOT to play at a festival- on the back of a truck with 30 people watching. It's not like they're a promising prospect in the rock and metal world, who will go home knowing that an extra 30 fans is a big achievement, they're actually just a really shit band.
Now Sylosis (9) ARE a good demonstration of how to play a festival, and a 750+ man strong circle pit around the entire tent is a clear indicator that Sylosis' melodic modern thrash will soon be a part of every metal fans music collection.
I wasn't too familiar with Anthrax (8) before their performance but as soon as they began to play it felt like I was a life-long fan. Bring the Noise was definitely a highlight of the festival.
Plenty of these '6 for £3' Donuts were consumed over the weekend. This photo was taken as we sat through The Used (?) who I didn't really listen to/care about.
We went to the mainstage to check out Coheed and Cambria but they weren't there. Instead we were punished with Fact (2) who I couldn't help but feel sorry for. The entire mainstage audience just vacated the arena to get as far away from their oriental mess of a performance.
At this point it pissed it down and we were drenched and miserable. Not a good sign for Airbourne (6), so in an attempt to keep the audience entertained (besides their average AC/DC imitating rock) the singer/guitarist climbed to the top of the speakers on the left and hung off with one arm.
Heaven and Hell (5) are basically a poor mans Sabbath, and perhaps I would've enjoyed them more if it wasn't pissing it down. It was good to see Dio- the innovator of the metal horns, do the metal horns. (enlarge the picture, look at the screen)
Bullet for my Valentine (9) were the only band that could turn a miserable rainy evening back into a true metal festival. I had recently sort of forgotten about Bullet and their perfect live performance was just what I needed to reaffirm my appreciation of them.
Headliners Linkin Park (6) were good. But that's it- they were only good. They are the first ever band to headline a night at Sonisphere, and yet their performance seemed like a standard tour date for them.
As well as having an identical set to their headlining slot at Download in 2007, Linkin Parks' lack of new material seemed to leave the question of 'why are they even headlining at all' in the back of my mind.
Saxon (8) are the most under-rated British metal band. Their new material is amazing, so epic. They deserve so much more recognition.
Lamb of God (8) are up next and don't disappoint. The catchy riff in 'Now You've Got Something...' was the highlight if the entire festival. A strong performance but perhaps a little unimaginative with the set list.
Machine Head (5) were the 'special guests' even though they pulled out and threw a hissy fit because Limp Bizkit were above them on the bill. Me and Talman are quite bored of Machine Head touring the same album for 3 years now.
Limp Bizkit (6) played an identical set as they did at Download, and as I've seen them before I really didn't care about them.
Nine Inch Nails (?) played the mainstage as we waited for the next band on second stage. I don't rate them myself.
Avenged Sevenfold (9) were the best band of the entire festival. The fact that they haven't released any new material yet they still receive a huge reception shows just how good this band is. Like some of the other bands they seemed to play it safe in terms of the set list, however their performance was second to none.
This bouncer guy was egging the crowd on to crowd surf over to him!
I'm looking forward to see just how far A7X can go.
On the last few songs me and Talman barged our way to the front which resulted in my glasses being swiped off of my face by crowd surfers. I thought I'd lost them forever until some guy announced he 'threw them to the front.' At the end of the set I asked the bouncers if they had any glasses, which they did- without a scratch.
Metallica (7) end the festival in style, with classics such as 'One' and 'Master of Puppets' and even a cover of Queen's 'Stone Cold Crazy' which we all recently discovered thanks to the latest Guitar Hero.
All in all a brilliant festival which in due course will overtake Download as the premier 'alternative' British festival thanks to it's rotating stage system and general better quality of bands.