100% HEAVY / 100% Free / 0% Spam

KNOTFEST AUSTRALIA: Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne 21/03/2024

Share This:

Pix by Richie Black Photography

Well well well Melbourne didn’t you once again, on EVERY facet turn on a stunningly perfect day last Thursday for the second (and hopefully annual) KNOTFEST Australia 2024?

Being part of the HEAVY team occasionally has its perks. One of which is not having to get up at half past birds fart in order to get to Flemington Racecourse early, but in order to be treated to some media exclusives and special VIP treatment we do what we do for METAL right? \m/ \m/

I arrived at Flemington around 10am to be given exclusive first access to this year’s personally curated Slipknot Museum guided tour by the amazing Caelin Meredith (thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts). The HEAVY team experienced up close some of the treasures of one of the universe’s most important metal bands. From previously worn boiler suits and masks and full outfit setup to well abused beer kegs and bent beyond recognition baseball bats to the general public being actually able to pick up and play Mick Thompson‘s Jackson guitar or V-Man’s bass. Let’s face it folks, unless you’re IN Slipknot or a roadie for ‘em this is a once in lifetime experience to be as close to plus up close and personal as you’ll ever get. Exclusive to us, unless the secret is out of the bag, Clown & Caelin have added a beautiful addition from his personal collection to WOW their fans.

Now…On to the day…!

Melbourne weather was beyond perfect this magnificent Thursday, sun was out, beer was in hand and Melbourne “frash” legends King Parrot woke us all up. Brand new track Fuck You and the Horse You Rode In On was fucking ACE. But for their whole set, Youngy and crew smashed us brilliantly opening the day and excellently manipulated our necks, heads and fists ready for a severely good rogering, prepping us for the remainder of our long day.

Brand Of Sacrifice followed with their Canadian deathcore majesty. Not having been exposed to them before I thought they were pretty good. Playing tracks from across their two album/two EP catalogues I was impressed with their performance and adoring brutal fans gave them a stellar response. Check ‘em out for sure!

Second Melbourne act for the day were next in Windwaker. Labelling themselves as hyper-pop metal, appealing to the next-gen of metal heads the crowd response for them from in front of me definitely proved that although Windwaker are not my kind of thing, really, their appeal is absolute, which I genuinely understand. Personal preferences are irrelevant pertaining to the likes of Windwaker this though I appreciate it definitely hits alot of people in the feels for real.

NEXT…NSW hardcore outfit SPEED hit the stage. It was at this point I had to attend the summoning bar facilities due to necessary rehydration, LOL. That being said hardcore is not part of my metal DNA unfortunately for those waiting for a brief descriptor I am unable to oblige. Bevvies and burgers awaited.

From afar, making new friends with drinks alongside fellow heavy punters I heard from the distance Skindred and Escape The Fate. Let’s be honest not every festival we go to will contain every band and genre that connects with us, so I digested as much as I could but more so fed off the emotional bond that the crowd has with the artists performing before us and how I could either relate or not. Both bands gave us old-schoolers (Skindred fans) and Gen X’ers (Escape the Fate) a performance worthy of their undeniable addition to this year’s Knotfest.

I made sure to catch Thy Art Is Murder as I had yet to see them since adding Tyler Miller to vocal duties. TAIM are one of my favorite bands and I miss greatly certain missing aspects of old which I do not need to blabber on about, but as always their set was fucking brutal and a testament as to why they are without question one of this countries finest brutal exports that sell out headline tours and festivals around the world. Thy Art, you still fucking rule. ‘Nuff said!

Days like today are for many reasons exhausting, sun exposure, tons of standing around and allow the crowd to constantly manoeuvre through us as a revolving door, so I seriously needed to take a load off and just chill for a bit – all the while my background soundtrack including metalcore darlings Wage War and Asking Alexandria. Stellar sets from two bands that are definitely heavy festival favourites grasping at the feelings and grip of their pop metalcore fanbase. Regardless of my thoughts on various sub-genres of bands and their influences, I can’t help but appreciate and react to the emotional impact that the music has on the crowd around me.

The Hu followed and I re-entered the crowd to bear witness to this band who are undoubtedly in a league of their own. This Mongolian band must be seen and heard to be truly respected. Ancient Mongolian poetry and war cries within their lyrics, delivered with stunning throat singing played with traditional modernised instruments, The Hu’s performance was an artistic treat for those of us willing to be transformed to a new realm of metal artistry. The Hu truly were a shining moment of Knotfest this year and one Sydney and Brisbane punters should put on their “to see” band of the day.

Halestorm were next and few words need to be said as to the rock spectacular we were given. An hour of Lzzy and band doing what they do best, engaging and entertaining her adoring fans with straight up rock brilliance.

Lamb Of God next, I reckon I’ve seen LOG about seven times now and never miss the opportunity to see them, such is their influence and signature sound on me. Release after release, through tragedy and turmoil, Randy and band continuously grasp what the world impales upon them, create and then release that hatred and growth to their hordes of fans worldwide. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, so today’s set was pretty awesome. Punching through a killer show, containing any song they wished and playing a “classic” song after song.

Disturbed are revered the world over and Melbourne’s adoring crowd were rarely silent or still for the duration of their show full of classic melodic majesty. Both sonically and visually wonderful for their hour set, Disturbed demanded entry to the pores of the crowd and left them all awestruck at the end having given them every fan adoring tune they could.

And now we get to 8:30pm, the all too familiar intro to Cowboys From Hell rings loud and ominously through the PA and the crowd goes wild when we see the PANTERA banner disappear and launch into A New Level. Nothing was going to stop us moving as much as we could, especially me as these brutal Texans have been on my “to see live” bucket list for thirty or so years. I felt like I was the only one there, and they were playing for me. I was in pure metal ecstasy. Hearing Phil being backed by the one and only Zakk Wylde, Rex and Charlie live for the first time is a memory I am so honoured to have been gifted. The impact Pantera has on metal is unquestionably without equal, standing amongst the few bands within the realm of extremity, they hold a special place in the hearts of a lot of us for their enduring, anthemic fist moulding, face smashing aggression that we’re all familiar with in our day to day grind and is the emotionally aggressive soundtrack of frustrating release. Case in point: note their perfect set closer FUCKING HOSTILE! The set was an hour and twenty minutes, which seemed like five minutes. It wasn’t enough but there were absolutely zero disappointments. Pantera was perfect from start to finish. “ALL KILLER, NO FILLER” as the saying goes. Another box ticked for me and another festival enjoyed and completed. To close with R.I.P. Dime & Vinnie – we all miss you.

Despite the usual rumblings about the line-up and the screams of despair Slipknot weren’t actually on the bill, Knotfest bands, organisers and fans once more proved that with music metal will always be the victor. And with Knotfest Australia 2025 already being announced as part of Slipknot’s 25 year celebrations it’s already shaping up to be a cracker next year.

If you are still upset about the masked nine’s absence make sure to check out the Knotfest Museum which, for now at least, is the band’s official representation at Knotfest Australia 2024.

Discover more like this on HEAVY:

Our Picks.

Get the HEAVY

Get the HEAVY Digi-Mag in-boxed weekly. 100% HEAVY / 0%SPAM.