Sonisphere, Knebworth, July 10 2011

Sunday bloody Sunday. Using the phrase without political connotation or reference to any U2 song, the three words rang true in a reflective sense as Sonisphere’s third and final day ended.

Both days prior were great for their separate reasons, so it was imperative that the festival saw us off on a high – it’s fair to say it didn’t disappoint. 

A short but succinct midday set from Arch Enemy grinded cogs into gear in abrasive fashion.  As per, a bit of experimental stoner rock was calling, but no one would have anticipated US act Kylesa to put up such a rebellious, rampaging performance.

Trudging along to the Saturn Stage, a two-minute silence was held for the late Paul Gray, before Swedish metallers In Flames gave a respectable 35-minute set.  The all star line-up bettered when Mastodon swept the standards to another level with a journey into the astral planes of space and time.

Following news of former Motorhead guitarist Michael ‘Werzel’ Burston’s death from a suspected heart-attack at age 61, Lemmy sadly announced the situation to the festival goers before doing what he does best – besides drinking and defying odds – rock n’ rolling.

As daylight faded into dusk Opeth began what should have been – in hindsight – a much longer time slot from organisers.  The 50-minutes we were graced with was arguably the best performance of the weekend – but in their prog mastery they weren’t allowed to bloom excessively.  50-minutes merely scratched the surface where this band is concerned.

Although there are plenty of critics of pirate metal, Alestorm used their platform on the Bohemia Stage to do more than enough to appease many merry scoundrels.  Further fun was on offer but this time  it was in the form of esteemed comedian Bill Bailey, who did a hilarious set of covers and original material in a monsoon-soaked act.

Slipknot’s return was an emotional one.  This wasn’t simply concluding their European Tour, it was finishing their first without Paul Gray – emotions were high and a tribute to their friend finished an intense, neurotically charged performance.  Sunday rounded off Soni 2011 brilliantly – keep up to date for all the full reviews coming your way soon.

Calum Robson