OZZFEST '99
BLACK SABBATH / ROB ZOMBIE / DEFTONES /
SLAYER / GODSMACK / SYSTEM OF A DOWN /
FLASHPOINT / FEAR FACTORY / DRAIN S.T.H. / APARTMENT 26 / STATIC-X / PUYA  

Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge; Manassas, Virginia; 06/04/99


Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

1999 is the third year of the travelling version of OzzFest. For the third year in a row the event at Stone Ridge was blessed with near-perfect weather - low 80s, cool breeze, and just enough clouds to give everyone a break from the sun. Great weather certainly helps the atmosphere of these all day festivals. Given the mix of bands on the bill, the crowd was well blended between younger fans and older fans and everyone seemed very pleased to catch some of their favorites as well as discover a few new bands.

Right off the bat, let me tell you who I missed on the Second Stage: hed(pe) , SLIPKNOT and PUSHMONKEY - my photo responsibilities kept me from these acts. However, there was quit a buzz about Slipknot so they may be worth checking out. From what I did see, the second stage was very consistent this year.

PUYA brought their Latin-tinged metal to the masses - given how early they were on the second stage they garnered a lot of positive reaction from a largely unsuspecting crowd. Puya sound much better in a live setting than on record. Click here to see photos or Click here to read our review of their CD.

STATIC-X rocked hard with their new brand of hard techno metal - a simple yet devastating mix of cool riffs and electronica. Amazingly enough, Static-X's sound translates very well to the live setting. The music was solid and each band member seemed to be completely involved in the presentation of the songs. Click here to see photos or Click here to read our review of their CD.

The young kids of APARTMENT 26, benefiting from the presence of Geezer Butler's son, played competent new school metal. My guess is that it will take a few years for these guys to really develop their sound, but they are off to a great start. Click here to see photos.

DRAIN S.T.H. displayed the same heavy and melodic music that made their first appearance at OzzFest '97 one of the bigger musical surprises of the '90s. In addition to playing songs from their debut disc "Horror Wrestling," Drain S.T.H. showcased a number of new songs from their forthcoming disc "Freaks Of Nature" due in stores June 25th, 1999. Click here to see photos or Click here to read our review of "Horror Wrestling".

FEAR FACTORY, with their sound suffering just a tad in the open air of the Second Stage, managed to inspire the crowd into some of the best moshing and fierce reactions of the entire day. It is clear to me now that Fear Factory are capturing the ears of new fans and have turned casual fans into devoted fanatics.

The main stage provided mixed results; but still was well worth the wait.

FLASHPOINT'S muscular rock opened the Main Stage. Opening the main stage is always a tough task due to the sparse crowd spread out over a large area, but Flashpoint played with all the emotion they could muster and didn't embarrass themselves. Click here to see photos.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN, building a fan base in the time honored tradition of relentless touring, caught many OzzFest attendees by surprise. It's amazing to consider that some people haven't yet fully experienced the passionate chaos that System Of A Down bring to the stage every time they play. Click here to see photos.

GODSMACK the stage with their fat sound and got the crowd out of their seats - the great fan reaction is no doubt due to the near constant exposure of "Whatever" on the radio. However, Godsmack are more than just one radio single. "Get Up, Get Out!" proved to be a satisfying foray into metallic intensity as their other material did not disappoint either. Sully Erna provided a lot of emotional depth to each song which gave the overall performance an increasing crescendo. Guitarist Tony Rambola added a host of licks and tricks to the Godsmack arsenal with his gigantic guitar sound. Click here to see photos or click here to read our review of their CD.

I felt cheated when SLAYER only played for about 40 minutes; a band as good as Slayer doesn't deserve to be going on a bill before Deftones.   However, Slayer was the most satisfying act of the evening. The relentless riffing and pounding of Slayer coupled with the fact that they were one of the few acts to actually play guitar solos made their brief, but alarmingly awesome, performance the highlight of OzzFest '99.

DEFTONES were far worse in concert than their studio efforts. Some bands just don't sound good in a live setting and this was proof of that. To say I was disappointed by Deftones would be an understatement. I still appreciate the delivery of Deftones, but it just didn't communicate very well.

ROB ZOMBIE, if nothing else, provides maximum entertainment value for the dollar. There was a bit of calculated insanity during the set, but it sure sounded good. With exploding bombs, flash fires, and a stage set for the ages, the mood was campy and funny. Rob Zombie and his new image is more horror movie than the urban dirtiness that was White Zombie. Rob Zombie dipped into the White Zombie catalog and really had the fans screaming for more with such material as "Thunder Kiss '65."

BLACK SABBATH, although a bit predictable, sounded great. The least they could have done was played "Psycho Man," but the crowd wasn't to be so lucky. Regardless, the classic riffs of "War Pigs," "Sweat Leaf," and "Paranoid" kept the Black Sabbath faithful happy. If this is truly their last tour together, then you got what you paid for - a solid, if unspectacular, performance for the godfathers who started it all.

Overall, OzzFest '99 was more consistent than OzzFest '98 (however, who could resist the powerful sonic treats of Megadeth, Tool, and Ozzy back to back during OzzFest '98?). OzzFest '99 had a diverse appeal which kept the capacity crowd of 22,000 fans excited and pleased. I can't wait for next year.


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Copyright 1999 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:15 -0400.