Ozzfest skipped Cleveland yet again, but the tour's four best bands are playing the Agora on their day off.
The lineup proves just how diverse metal has become in the last 20 years. In the late '80s, longhairs and hardcore kids were still beating each other up at shows, while both factions laughed off the power-metal fans sporting leather and corpse paint. After two decades of pit wars, however, these tribes are no longer fighting; they're fucking. As a result, metal is now ruled by nasty mongrel beasts.
Touted as this year's Ozzfest breakout, the death-metal ghouls in Poland's Behemoth are touring in support of The Apostasy. The new disc plays like the fastest moments of Slayer's "Angel of Death," stretched to nearly 40 minutes.
Lamb of God has been around for 17 years, but the Virginia longhairs have never evolved past the Pantera-worship phase common to most modern metal bands. But that's just fine.
Roaring and riffing, Hatebreed is the face of metalcore, and its Clevo connections run deep: Frontman Jamey Jasta cut his teeth as an Integrity roadie, guitarist Frank "3 Gun" Novinec is best known for Ringworm, and Hatebreed played Cleveland so often that a Free Times poll once nominated it for best local band.
3 Inches of Blood, the lineup's hottest act, distills every trick from the old and new schools: dual-guitar harmonies, Valkyrie shrieks, double-bass eruptions, and bang-your-head grooves. Produced by Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, the group's new disc, Fire Up the Blades, is pure frakkin' power-metal fury.