Black Sabbath, Tool and Slipknot thrill crowds at Milton Keynes Bowl...

A pyrotechnically enhanced BLACK SABBATH performance, the long-awaited return of TOOL and the unveiling of SLIPKNOT’s ‘new look’ were the highlights of this year’s OZZFEST, held yesterday (May 26) at Milton Keynes Bowl.

Despite the odd broken nose emerging from one of the fest’s many moshpits, the 60,000-capacity, all-ages crowd was good-natured and gave its support to every

single band on the bill, even to a garage rock band from Texas called Pure Rubbish.

There were occasional bottle fights between rival factions of the crowd – most notably from face-painted Mudvayne fans who threw ‘bottled liquids’ of every colour and shade towards the more clean-cut Papa Roach fans.

Famous for his nu-metal collaborations Soulfly’s Max Cavalera was joined onstage by Slayer’s Tom Araya and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor during his band’s set – Corey’s entrance drawing the most applause from the legions of boiler-suited ‘Knot fans.

Indeed, it was Slipknot’s set that drew the biggest crowd of the day. The band

played new songs from their upcoming ‘Iowa’ album, including ‘Heretic Song’ and

‘Disasterpiece’ – both new tracks showing that the band have decided not to

stray from their ultra-heavy, death-metal-based sound.

The nine-strong group did reveal slightly overhauled costumes, which included

shoulder-padding, zips and, for Clown Shawn Crahan, splashes of blood.

At one point Crahan triumphantly held up a dead cow’s head towards his fans, or

“maggots” as the band like to call them.

Despite a typically spirited performance, Amen’s Casey Chaos’ ragged, gasping voice revealed just why the group have had to cancel their upcoming European tour, but most Amen fans didn’t seem to mind.

Tool’s return was typically ‘enigmatic’ and saw a bald-headed Maynard James Keenan wearing black leather swimming trunks and swaying from side to side at the

back of the stage, while the group showed why their new ‘Lateralus’ LP has just

gone to the top of the Billboard charts.

Disturbed disappointed by not wheeling out their electric chair stage set, but the Ozzfest crowd soon forgot all about that when Black Sabbath appeared to a medley of their greatest hits.

Ozzy Osbourne was in fine form throughout the set, running all around the stage,

spraying his fans with water cannons and constantly throwing buckets of water over his own head.

Needless to say, the group played their greatest hits – ‘Paranoid’, ‘Black

Sabbath’, ‘War Pigs’ et al – plus a new, slow, bluesy number called ‘Scary Dreams’.

As the Ozzfest reached its finale, cannons of fire shot from the stage and a ten-minute-long fireworks display filled the skies above the Milton Keynes Bowl.

Ozzy left the stage, promising they’d be back next year and by the reaction of

his audience, that return couldn’t come too soon.

[url=]Click here for Ozzfest photo gallery.