It was a pretty fun show. I took my cousin and her friend who are big Disturbed fans. The security lines were longer/slower than I expected, so even though we got there 15 minutes before Red Fang's set, we only got through the doors in time to catch their last song. Which rocked like a motherfucker.
Bands who were more fun than I was expecting: Kingdom of Sorrow, Unearth, Godsmack. Kingdom of Sorrow especially had great energy and songs that sounded good live. Unearth was mostly fun because I got in some bone-jarring pit action. I was never a Godsmack fan but they were entertaining as hell. The singer is a good frontman and also a helluva drummer -- they rolled out a second drum kit for a while and he played along with the regular drummer through several recognizable classic bits -- including some Sabbath and also Tom Sawyer.
Oh, and the Athiarchists are pretty cool. I didn't really like their music too much, but the fact that they manage to sound so heavy as a two piece, and play with such energy, and the story of how they got this far by just fucking setting up in parking lots without permission and playing.... It's a good story, and I'm glad I saw them. Also they closed with a cover of "Raining Blood" which was respectably done and pretty badass. And then the singer came down and joined the rather impressive circle pit which had formed. Their energy and sheer nerve are impressive.
Bands who were less fun than I was expecting: Megadeth. Something was off with their sound or something -- they seemed 50% quieter than both Machine Head (who played before them) and Godsmack (who played after).
Suicide Silence gave me a headache in about 30 seconds, and provided a good cue to take a break from the side-stage area and head off for a beer.
The way they set up the two prelim stages side-by-side and have one band start as soon as another band ends -- on one hand it's kinda great, but it's also a little aurally exhausting. You kind of NEED a break between metal sets. Especially when so much sounds so similar, in terms of vocal style and guitar tone. On the same principle, we just decided to skip out on Hatebreed and find seats on the lawn for Machine Head. In hindsight, maybe not the best move. Machine Head was boring. Maybe Hatebreed would've been better. But whatever. It was a pretty good day, with a little rain to keep things cool but none of the threatened thunderstorms.
So well informed I don't know where the truth begins.