Now in its second year, the Rockstar Energy Drink UPROAR Festival has growled its way across the country this fall, a showcase of nine up-and-coming and established bands pushing forward progressive thrash and passionate hard rock. Returning to headline is Huntington Beach, Calif.''s Avenged Sevenfold, a band heading into its second decade as an example of new heavy music''s theatrical dexterity. Here are some highlights from the road.
Avenged Sevenfold vocalist M. Shadows looks out on the deeply devoted A7X fans, one of whom holds up a sign in tribute to James “the Rev” Sullivan, the band''s original drummer who passed away during preproduction of the band''s latest full-length, Nightmare. Wireless is the band''s standard, with backline set behind extensive set pieces, Avenged Sevenfold puts on a pyrotechnics-augmented show with emo-tinged, New Wave of British Heavy Metal-style ghoulish imagery.
The crowd drinks in the main-stage energy as Escape the Fate opens up a day of sonic squalls that refused to be dampened by a night of inclement weather.
Avenged Sevenfold rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance (front) and lead guitarist Synyster Gates pool together the raw power split between their multiple amps to cover an aggressive spectrum that mixes with the band''s cinematic orchestrations.
Jason James, bassist for Welsh quartet Bullet for My Valentine, pauses dramatically while shredding more than his jeans. His band worked hard to avoid overloading its latest album, Fever, with extraneous rapid-fire riffs, instead leaving pockets for heavy grooves.
Escape the Fate vocalist Ronnie Radke and bassist Max Green lock into one of the Las Vegas post-hardcore band''s tautly polished pinions of shrieking thrash, promoting the band''s eponymous 2010 full-length.
Lajon Witherspoon, lead singer of Atlanta, Ga.''s Sevendust, commands the crowd at the Best Buy Music Gear Stage, which his band is headlining following a recent tour opening slot for Avenged Sevenfold. The band—touring on 2010''s Cold Day Memory, the first album since 2003 to include guitarist Clint Lowery—works hard to leave the crowd with searing impressions.