Knotfest Australia is going ahead from 24-26 March. All dates are sold out.
(Parkway Drive via Hayden Nixon)
It’s the morning of Knotfest in Melbourne, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s been over three years since Australia has had a straight-up, entirely metal festival - Download 2019 was the last to fit in that category.
When the announcement of Knotfest dropped, we were stunned that a festival that doesn’t travel to the UK at this stage is coming to Australia; we were blown away by the line-up that includes local and international metallers, the clash-free timetables, and we bought tickets fast. The Melbourne date, happening today, sold out three months in advance, with Brisbane and Sydney selling out before the festival kicks off as well.
In celebration of the first-ever Knotfest, we’ve rounded up our Most Anticipated Knotfest Sets, which you can check out below.
Love or hate their newer albums; there’s no doubt that Parkway Drive have been hugely influential to the Australian metal scene. Besides their headline set at Knight And Day festival on New Year’s Eve of 2021, Parkway Drive haven’t toured around their home country since the pre-Covid times. A lot has happened since then - they’ve released another album, Darker Still, toured the US, UK, and Europe, and they bared their souls on Australian Story.
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With their Wacken main stage performance featuring pyrotechnics, we wonder if we’ll see any at Knotfest. Parkway Drive take the stage after Megadeth and before Slipknot in a homecoming that’s sure to be massive.
It’s been a long seven-plus years since Megadeth have toured Australia. Since the 2015 Dystopia tour, founder, singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine has faced cancer and the band put out another album, last year’s The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!
Megadeth performed in Melbourne on a Knotfest sideshow a few days ago, and the chemistry of this iteration of Megadeth was on display from the opening songs. Those tracks included the mighty Hangar 18, Dread And The Fugitive Mind, Angry Again, and The Threat Is Real.
We witnessed Mustaine, lead guitarist Kiko Loureiro and bassist James LoMenzo getting together in the triple-threat guitar stance on multiple occasions during the concert, with drummer Dirk Verbeuren the star of the show. He didn’t miss a beat, no matter how fast the tempo of a song is or how many time changes his band members throw his way. If you love thrash metal or you’re just curious about watching one of the Big 4, Megadeth will blow your socks off at Knotfest.
Not many bands have ridden the hype wave like Spiritbox in recent years. Vocalist Courtney LaPlante was in the metalcore band Iwrestledabearonce from 2012 to 2015 and wound up spinning off to form Spiritbox with her husband, guitarist Mike Stringer. It’s probably the best decision the couple have ever made.
The band’s debut album, Eternal Blue, which debuted at #8 in Australia, isn’t the most innovative release ever, but it’s exciting, catchy, memorable, and LaPlante sounds at home. Spiritbox performed their first-ever show in Australia earlier this week, but did they live up to the hype they’ve generated?
Our reviewer Rod Whitfield thought so and wrote, “Spiritbox’s set tonight is a one-hour and fifteen-minute celebration of new-school heavy music, an extravaganza of heaviness, melody, atmospherics and subtle but effective electronica. Every song hits the mark, from opener Circle With Me to closer, the title track from their debut album Eternal Blue. Every song sounds exactly like it does on the record, just bigger, badder, bolder, and better.”
Northlane are one of those bands who have gotten better and better as time goes on. Of course, not everybody will agree; this is just one writer’s opinion. Their two latest albums, 2019’s Alien and last year’s Obsidian, find the Aussie metalcore outfit embracing electronica elements alongside brutal chugs and the vulnerability of vocalist Marcus Bridge.
We’re expecting Obsidian-heavy setlists, with a few cuts from Alien, and Quantum Flux from Singularity for the old-school fans. The lack of older songs in their set may disappoint some OG fans, but it’s still thrilling to watch a band like Northlane grow into the monolith they are today.
As Kill Your Stereo reviewer Jimmy Harden wrote in a Full Tilt festival Brisbane wrap-up: “Kicking off with the absolute banger that is Clockwork to a wall of pyrotechnics, the crowd was treated to a perfect cross-section of tracks from all six records, with a particular standout being the frankly ridiculous guitar tones on Carbonized and Plenty from new record Obsidian. Describing them as huge doesn’t do it justice. Finally, kudos needs to go to Marcus, whose vocal performance and ability to shift from banshee screams to almost crooning is world-class.”
Bad Omens performed their first-ever shows in Australia this week, but sadly, their Sydney show didn’t exactly go to plan. “Tonight something happened with my voice that I can't explain as it's never happened to me before,” vocalist Noah Sebastian wrote two nights ago. He continued, “I take so much pride in my endurance as a vocalist and such good care of my voice on tour that until now I've felt invincible, but tonight I was humbled and finally experienced every singer's worst nightmare, during our first time ever in Australia no less.
“I chose to cut the set short instead of pushing on only out of concern that I'd potentially make whatever is wrong with my voice worse, and then also be unable to sing at the Knotfest performances that brought us here in the first place. With that said, my priority right now is getting my voice back to 100% in time for those last three shows here.”
After an experience like that, we really want Bad Omens’ set to go OFF today.
Bad Omens have been pretty popular in the US since their formation in 2015, but their latest album, last year’s The Death Of Peace Of Mind, went viral on Spotify. Today marks their first-ever Australian festival appearance, and we can’t wait to see what their performance will hold.
What can you say about Slipknot that hasn’t been said already? Their influence on metal, and on the misunderstood kids who latch on to music, is undeniable. You know all the songs; you know they’ll be brilliant live.
Like Megadeth, it’s been a long time since headliners and festival curators Slipknot have toured Australia. We, sadly, never got a chance to celebrate their brilliant 2019 album, We Are Not Your Kind, a haunting metal monolith, but what a way to make things up to their devoted Aussie fans.
I’m sure there are many fans who would rather a headline tour, especially one that goes to Perth and Adelaide, but with the very first Knotfest Australia selling out, who knows how much it’ll expand next year?
Slipknot are expected to play a 90-minute set tonight, and we know that means we’ll hear classics like Custer, Disasterpiece, Wait And Bleed, All Out Life, Spit It Out, and People = Shit. We can’t wait to hear Corey Taylor again, witness Clown in action, and manifest a little Birth Of The Cruel.
To see a band of their calibre, fame and success headline their own titular festival is going to be something special, and we’re just thankful that this experience is going ahead, here in Australia.
Knotfest Australia is going ahead from 24-26 March. All dates are sold out.
Slipknot | Parkway Drive | Megadeth
Trivium | Northlane | Amon Amarth | In Flames
Knocked Loose | Spiritbox | Story Of The Year
Alphawolf | Void Of Vision | Bad Omens | Malevolence
DATES AND VENUES
Friday 24 March 2023 - Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Saturday 25 March 2023 - Centennial Park, Sydney
Sunday 26 March 2023 - RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane