Ozzfest performers prove their metal review: System of a Down
headlined the daylong show that featured 2 stages, 20 bands.

The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)
July 28, 2006 Friday

By Kevin Kazokas, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Times Leader

Jul. 28--The show did not include the man dubbed The Prince of
Darkness.

But even without namesake Ozzy Osbourne on the bill, Wednesday's
daylong Ozzfest still delivered an all-out barrage of metal mayhem
to the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain.

Loaded with a series of overdriven performances, the two-stage event
covered just about every headbanging subgenre, from hard-core to
death/thrash to alternative metal.

Festival headliner System of a Down proved without question it belonged
as the main stage's culminating act. During its hour-and-a-half
set, the avant-garde, California-based group of Armenian-Americans
unleashed its trademark assault of ravaging drum riffs, Eastern
European-influenced melodies and lyrics loaded with scathing political
and social commentary.

The band's unpredictable start-stop sequences seem downright crazy and
its harmonies downright elegant. Somehow, those elements artistically
and seamlessly flow together both in the studio and on stage. That
became perfectly evident Wednesday night during scintillating
renditions of "Chop Suey!" "Revenga," "B.Y.O.B." and "Psycho."

Led by co-vocalists Daron Malakian and Serj Tankian, System delivered
an unforgettable sound-and-light frenzy from the outset, culminated by
the raging intonations of "Toxicity" and the dizzying finale, "Sugar."

The set included one of the day's several surprises when the band
broke into a modified version of the Dire Straits' "Sultans of
Swing," substituting "We are the System, We are the System of Down"
as the chorus.

System's performance ended an approximate 20-band onslaught of
blistering, mosh-inducing music. Many of the day's acts played during
blistering sunlight, including second-stage headliner Black Label
Society, whose singer-guitarist, Zakk Wylde, an icon among rock
shredders, delivered a spine-tingling version of "The Star-Spangled
Banner" on his axe, a la the legendary Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock.
That was the highlight of Black Label's set, which began with a
somewhat muddled sound and Wylde's vocals seeming too shrill. The
band overcame all that en route to some powerful concluding numbers,
including a punchy rendition of "Stillborn" to close.

That set the scene for the main-stage acts.

United Kingdom-based DragonForce led off with a sound that at times
merged the classic metal elements of squealing guitars and soaring
vocals with punk-paced drumming. The group might not have packed the
thunder of other acts but did offer a slick, melodic sound reminiscent
of Iron Maiden or Queensryche.

Lacuna Coil followed with its own mix of melody, artistry and power.
The Italian group, led by the male-female co-vocal team of Andrea
Ferro and Cristina Scabbia, played mostly songs from its 2006 release,
"Karmacode." While the band brought a tight sound and replicated its
album tracks well, it could have benefited by introducing the crowd
to more material from its three previous full-length albums and two
previous EPs.

Hatebreed then took the stage for its fourth Ozzfest appearance,
launching into a raucous and commanding string of rapid-fire songs,
including "Before Dishonor," "Tear it Down" and "I Will Be Heard."
The group's hard-core approach might have seemed over the top to
traditional metal heads, but the Connecticut-based band shared an
instant connection with the crowd, spurring a mosh pit almost from
the first note.

Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta had by far the best crowd rapport of
any of the main-stage vocalists. He acknowledged the fans between just
about every song and even mentioned a show the band played years ago
at Sea-Sea's in Moosic.

Avenged Sevenfold delivered the day's other powerful tribute, a
stirring version of Pantera's "Walk" in homage to former Pantera and
Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott, who was murdered at a
2004 concert.

As evening settled in, so did one of the day's most anticipated acts,
Disturbed. The Chicago-based foursome offered a fist-pumping batch of
heavy hits, including "Stupify," "The Sickness" and material from its
most recent album, "Ten Thousand Fists." Dave Draiman's percussive
vocals were almost flawless and contrasted nicely with Dan Donegan's
melodic guitar playing.

Indeed, Osbourne, the sinister grandfather of heavy metal, would have
been proud.