Massachusetts headbangers Unearth had an “awesome” but interesting experience on OZZFest’s second stage this summer.
The group had one of the secure late-afternoon slots rather than rotating with other bands starting in mid-morning. But frontman Trevor Phipps says the days Ozzy Osbourne performed on the second stage made for an odd situation.
“They’d led the fi rst 3,000 people that went to OZZFest that morning be inside this extra barricade and be the closest people to Ozzy,” explains Phipps, 29, who co-founded Unearth in 1998 after a short career as a newspaper sportswriter.
“A lot of our fans and the other fans’ bands were outside the barricade, which was a real trip. People would start mosh pits, like, 300 feet from the stage. As you got used to it happening, you learned to talk outside that fi rst barricade in order to reach everyone in the back.”
But OZZFest did provide a good setup for Unearth’s “III: The Eyes of Fire,” which came out in August shortly before the tour’s end. And unlike many of its metallic peers, Phipps says the group’s goal was to make “a darker, faster and harder record” with no aspirations toward rock’s mainstream.
“It seems like a lot of bands today are falling into the same trap bands fell into in the late ’80s and early ’90s, by having more pop-friendly metal songs” he explains. “You look at Pantera and Testament; they just got heavier and still sold records.
“That’s the model this band wants to follow, to show the fans and other bands that you can still be heavy and not need to sell out with pop radio hits.”
Unearth, Bleeding Through, Terror, Through the Eyes of the Dead and Animosity perform at 6:30 p.m. Friday (September 8th) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 399-2980 or visit
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