Testing Their Metal

Twenty bands on three stages? That adds up to a lot of metal. How much? Well, this field guide should help.

Below you'll find the set times for every band on Ozzfest's bill—along with a 0-10 rating on the band's metal cred and a brief explanation of why that number fits.



Main Stage:

Metallica – 9:45 p.m.

How Metal? 9.9. Pre-haircut: As metal as it gets. Post-trimming: A little commercial, but the legacy still looms.

Ozzy Osbourne – 8 p.m.

How Metal? 10.0. "I'm Ozzy," says Osbourne. "And if you haven't heard of Ozzy Osbourne by now, it's a big fucking laugh."

Serj Tankian – 6:45 p.m.

How Metal? 5.4. Tankian's always kind of toed the line of metal, but he never quite steps over that line; more than anything, he's metal-minded. But it's still entertaining.

Hellyeah – 5:30 p.m.

How Metal? 9.2. Hellyeah's the band with the most ties to Dallas (Vinnie Paul Abbott, Bob Zilla) on the main stage. It's also something of a supergroup—but in this case, that's not a bad thing. (Hellyeah's set will conclude with the planned Dimebag Darrell tribute.)

Jonathan Davis – 4:25 p.m.

How Metal? 7.5. Metal by association, mostly. Sure, at the turn of the millennium, his old act, Korn, was something of a big deal. But now he seems kinda like a hanger-on, doesn't he?

Cavalera Conspiracy – 3:35 p.m.

How Metal? 8.9. An amalgamation of ex-Soulfly and Sepultura members (prominently featuring Max and Igor Cavalera...hence the name), the pedigree is there; so are the vicious breakdowns.

Shadows Fall – 2:50 p.m.

How Metal? 8.6. With riff-heavy metal plopped on top of furious drumwork, Shadows Fall is pretty legit. But its former members currently in Killswitch Engage and All That Remains might be even more so...

Apocalyptica – 2:10 p.m.

How Metal? 6.8. Cello-based metal, huh? Very cool. Just not, y'know, metal.

In This Moment – 1:30 p.m.

How Metal? 7.6. In vocalist Maria Brink, In This Moment offers something no other Ozzfest act can: estrogen. But the screamed backing vocals bring this metalcore act a little too close to screamo territory.

Second Stage:

Sevendust – 4:30 p.m.

How Metal? 7.2. The grunge influence on Sevendust is clear in its sound—almost more so than its metal elements. Still, it's a little shocking to look up the dossier on Sevendust and realize that the Atlanta-based alt-metal act has been doing its thing for going on 15 years now.

DevilDriver – 3:30 p.m.

How Metal? 7.7. Devildriver doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table with its sound—it's pretty derivative of a number of metal acts before it—but it also doesn't veer away from the successful metal formula.

Kingdom of Sorrow – 2:30 p.m.

How Metal? 7.6. It makes sense that KoS vocalist Jamey Jasta also serves as the frontman for hardcore act Hatebreed. There's a definite punk aesthetic to the way he shouts atop the rest of the band's metal sounds.

Soilent Green – 1:30 p.m.

How Metal? 8.4. There's not much song structure to Soilent Green's efforts; instead, the band eschews all standard verse-chorus-verse rules in favor of fitting as many breakdowns and parts as it can into a four-minute track. Flipping off the rules? That's pretty metal, man.

Witchcraft – 12:30 p.m.

How Metal? 6.2. Witchcraft's much more psychedelic and glam-based than metal-oriented. And while that hurts its "How Metal?" rating, it also happens to makes the band one of the most interesting ones on the bill.

Goatwhore – 11:30 a.m.

How Metal? 8.7. Imagine everything you know about metal is compressed inside an aluminum can of soda. Then shake that can up for, oh, an hour and immediately open it. The explosion that will take place is kind of like what it feels like to listen to Goatwhore's black death metal—only, the explosion lasts for an entire set. Should help wake up the crowds, for sure.

Texas Stage:

The Sword – 4 p.m.

How Metal? 9.1. As the headlining act on the Texas stage (and the only non-DFW act playing it), Austin's The Sword pretty much exemplifies why this third stage might be even more interesting than this event's second stage. J.D. Cronise's lead vocals give the band's brutal, impressive songwriting (which incorporates a hint of classic rock) a medieval, fantastic quality. Oh, and the band's 2008 release, Gods of the Earth, is amazing.

Drowning Pool – 3 p.m.

How Metal? 7.9. When Drowning Pool wants to, it can be as metal as any band out there—uh, "Bodies," much? There's a reason this band is such a favorite with overseas troops, folks. But, like Sevendust, Drowning Pool dips a little too deeply into the post-grunge pool at times. Leave that crap to Three Doors Down, guys, c'mon!

Rigor Mortis – 2 p.m.

How Metal? 8.9. The Rigor Mortis guys pretty much introduced North Texas to thrash metal during their late '80s heyday. The fact that its members now include acts like Ministry and GWAR on their résumés is just another testament to their collective talents.

The Destro – 1 p.m.

How Metal? 7.0. Just 'cause you can catch The Destro playing around Dallas at venues like The Curtain Club fairly regularly doesn't mean they're any less metal than the other acts on the bill. But the Cookie Monster vocals and otherwise fairly standard metal fare are rife with clichés.

Within Chaos – 12 p.m.

How Metal? 7.1. Local products Within Chaos at least share this much with Soilent Green: There's no real rhyme or reason to the progression of their song parts. Unfortunately, though, Within Chaos doesn't utilize that free-form formula as successfully.

—Pete Freedman

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