Ozzfest’s four hottest bands are playing an off-date show at the Agora Theater (5000 Euclid Ave.) Tuesday, August 13. The diverse bill brings together the kind of groups that wouldn’t have been caught dead together 10 years ago, and they’ll be raging for an audience that ranges from kids in hoodies to longhaired heavy-metal lifers. The headliners are Lamb of God (the reigning kings of Pantera emulation, always a fertile genre) and Hatebreed (the Connecticut metalcore kings who famously played Cleveland so much that the Free Times once nominated them as best local band).
Scene scored a last-minute interview with Nergal, the lead singer of Polish death-metal titans Behemoth. Touted as this year’s Ozzfest breakout, Behemoth are supporting their new disc, The Apostasy, which plays like a full hour of the fastest parts from Slayer’s “Angel of Death.” Twenty years ago, if you’d have told the most die-hard metalhead that a band could play this fast for this long, he would have laughed and sprayed you with Old Milwaukee.
Click “more” for the full interview …
Scene: Who’s coming out to the shows? Each band has a pretty distinct audience.
Nergal: 70 percent of the kids who show up are die-hard Lamb of God fans. But I’m happy to see some of them leaving with Behemoth shirts. I think we bring the same energy with our performance. We don’t have that groove, though. Lamb of God and Hatebreed are based on groove, and Behemoth is a hyper, fast, blasting band. For some of them, it might be a traumatic experience, but some of them seem to dig it.
The Apostasy doesn’t let up. How hard is that material to play, live?
I’ve done this for 15 years, so what can I say? It’s pretty demanding. You have to be really skilled. We don’t just stand on stage and play and look boring. We do lots of moving and running and headbanging, side to side. It’s not the easiest task, but then, that’s what this band is all about.
On Ozzfest, you’re playing the side stage, during the day, is full gear. How’s that going?
The heat has been killing us. Just yesterday, I decided to use half the gear I usually use on stage, because it would just kill us. We play 30 minutes, which is just six songs, not a long set -- but 30 minutes can fuck you up badly in this heat. But this is heavy duty, and someone’s got to do it. So we do it.
Click here for an interview with Shane Clark of 3 Inches of Blood, the Canadian power-metal assault squad that’s opening the show. -- D.X. Ferris