The Hard Word: Metallica headline hot and heavy Soundwave

Metallica frontman James Hetfield had the crowd going as always during Soundwave 2013 in Brisbane.
Metallica frontman James Hetfield had the crowd going as always during Soundwave 2013 in Brisbane. Marc Stapelberg
For the latest in Metal and Hardcore
For the latest in Metal and Hardcore

IT WAS sunny skies and brutal metal that greeted young and old alike at Saturday's sold-out Soundwave Festival in Brisbane.

Everything from thrash to hardcore was on display.

But no band could escape the shadow of the mighty monster - Metallica.

The sheer enormity of expectation on their shoulders was mind boggling even after 30 years of rocking stadiums across the world.

It is easy to forget that thousands of people expect nothing less than perfection from Metallica based on their stellar 31-year career.

But James Hetfield took it in his stride, cracking jokes and using humour to lighten the mood, while Lars Ulrich spat water into the crowd, and Rob Trujillo and Kirk Hammett provided flawless backing.

Once the flames burst into the skies on Fuel the band hit their stride and the enormity of the stage rig was revealed with fireworks shooting into the sky.

But in many ways the entire festival was the true victor for the day, partly because the venue provided plenty of space, shaded seating areas and toilets.

Without the shade many more punters would have been carried away unconscious into the medical tent from heat exhaustion.

The staggering of bands worked well and at the main stage bands complimented each other's styles.

Bullet For My Valentine worked the crowd into a frenzy and people as far back as the stands were air guitaring, moshing and screaming.

But a brilliant move by promoters was to have Tomahawk playing between Anthrax and Bullet. The former Faith No More singer brought an eerie ambience to the venue.

No easy task at midday in boiling sun.

An even better move was to have A Perfect Circle come on at sunset. The moody atmospheric guitar and swooning vocals lulled the crowd into a trance-like quiet as the sun set and the temperatures cooled.

Maynard James Keenan was pitch perfect and the vocalist of the day.

Slipknot singer Corey, another great frontman, provided a staggering performance of sheer intensity and emotional rawness with his band Stonesour.

Giving 110 percent, it truly seemed at one point like he was going to lose his voice.

Switching to some softer songs, the richness and depth returned before the band plunged back into their heavier stuff.

Slayer and Anthrax provided a welcome sight for '90s metalheads, while across the venue hardcore fans could watch Bring Me the Horizon, Killswitch Engage and local heroes The Amity Affliction.

Punk fans could watch The Blackout, Blink-182, and Sum 41 with The Offspring closing the event.

Most punters were well behaved, although an incident in the pit caused Linkin Park to stop playing and chastise someone for trying to get a girl to take her top off. They applauded the girl's modesty before switching to a heaver song.

Posts on festival organiser AJ Maddah's Twitter account showed positive feedback while Facebook showed the Brisbane leg to be a resounding success.

The Sydney event got off to a rough start yesterday when a truck for stage 2 was reported missing, and Garbage needed their gear to be flown in by helicopter.

But once again all punters seemed ecstatic about the event.

Soundwave continues in Melbourne on Friday and Adelaide on Saturday before finishing in Perth on March 4.

Topics:  editors picks metallica the hard word

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