Review: No OZZY OSBOURNE At OZZFEST, But The Bands Play On

August 20, 2003

Kelefa Sanneh of The New York Times reports that Ozzfest organizers announced at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday (August 19) that Ozzy Osbourne was ill and wouldn't be performing at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey.

"Refunds were available, but most people stayed," he writes. "There were no further reports on Mr. Osbourne's condition, but no one who has watched him stammer and stumble through the second season of 'The Osbournes' would begrudge him a night off.

"And so, even without its spiritual leader, the show went on — and on and on, for almost 12 hours. The festival was largely devoted to a quality that could be the name of a heavy-metal band: mediocrity. Most of the bands played nu metal as if it had never gone out of style, combining sullen vocals with chunky rhythms.

"A few of these groups managed to make an impression: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE opened up its songs with brutal rhythmic sections that consisted mainly of silence. MOTOGRATER used extra percussionists (and buckets of body paint) to keep its raucous songs slightly off-balance.

"Some tried something else altogether. The ludicrous British band CRADLE OF FILTH augmented its bombastic songs with a clear-voiced female backup singer and a pair of heavily costumed dancers on stilts. And the veteran Canadian band VOIVOD, featuring the former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted, played a strong set full of solid, midtempo songs. One fan showed Mr. Newsted his appreciation by sharing a cup of beer, although he probably would have enjoyed it more if it had been handed to him, instead of thrown." Read more.

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