The Must-See Opening Acts of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2017

Ozzy Osbourne’s Ozzfest firs hit in San Bernardino in 1996. Since then, the tour has become a namesake of the summer touring season, featuring some of the biggest names in heavy metal music and even branching out internationally.

Twenty-one years later, Ozzy will bring back this celebration to where it all began, as his Ozzfest merges with Slipknot’s Knotfest for a two-day heavy metal juggernaut that will take over San Bernadino as tens of thousands of metalheads, revelers and campers flock to the biggest outdoor metal festival in the US this year. The festival will go down Saturday, November 4, and Sunday, November 5, at the San Manuel Amphitheater. Saturday will be headlined by Ozzy, along with MainStage acts like Deftones, Prophets of Rage, Children of Bodom and Orange Goblin. Sunday will be headlined by Rob Zombie, along with Marilyn Manson, Stone Sour, Eighteen Visions, and Prayers.

But, aside from these main stage acts, there are over two dozen bands on various side stages, definitely worth checking out. So, if you don’t want to spend your entire time camping, drinking, and tailgating, here’s our compilation of side stage bands to check out for both days. Some of these are worthy of major headlining sets and tours on their own merit, but still seeing them in this environment might be cool.


This NorCal death metalcore unit mastered the art of pulverizing audiences and fans with their sonic assault of technical brutality. Be sure to get there early for these guys, for a dose of the chaos as they go on at 12:35 on Saturday at the Nuclear Blast stage.


Quite possibly the first band to coin the term Death Metal, Possessed were part of the early ’80s thrash scene from the SF Bay area, but took things faster, and darker, as the music was full of references to demonic possessions, Satanism, and the Occult; this was horror movie music. The band’s seminal 1985 album, Seven Churches is still a staple of extreme metal today, after three decades of its release. Though the band has a new line up of musicians, one exceptional fact is that original singer Jeff Becerra still rages with the band, all from a wheelchair, due to being paralyzed from the waist down. Be sure to catch Possessed perform on Saturday at 2:20 p.m. on the Nuclear Blast stage.

Iron Reagan

Featuring members of Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and Darkest Hour, this band will incite circle pits and slam dancing galore, with their style of crossover thrash, much in the similar vein of Municipal Waste. Think a lot of beer, pot smoke, bad humor, and political dissatisfaction. This is the perfect mix of speed and aggression to give fans a kick in the ass and keep them on their feet during this festival. See the Thrashers and punks in the pit. Iron Reagan plays Saturday at 2:00 p.m on the Second Stage B.


From the icy depths of Norway, this traditional black metal band formed in 1997 and is Hell-bent on spreading blasphemy and darkness throughout the world. Named after the year the Black Plague came to Europe, that band’s fast, misanthropic and aggressive form of black metal comes full with black beats chainsaw sped up guitar riffs and members decked in corpsepaint spikes and possibly black hoods. This is evil music, and the only bad thing is the vibe will not be the same as seeing this band in dark club, but perhaps the sunlight will bring out extra darkness as this band pummels through a set of Norwegian black metal, beginning at 1:30 Saturday on Second Stage A.


Known to many as the German equivalent of Slayer, this is a must-see thrash band. The music is full of force and energy that makes thrash metal so unique but the band makes a point to address darker contemporary issues of society such as violence, and war. In its lengthy career, the band has broken barriers to travel the world and influence so many thrash, black metal, and even industrial metal bands. Definitely a band worth catching live, if you like thrash metal. Kreator plays Saturday at 3:45 on Second Stage A.


LA/Ventura neo thrashers Warbringer will perform for fans, bringing their ultimate mix of historic battles and tales of warfare themed speed metal to those in attendance. As the years went on, this local band kept touring and working hard, only to become one of the tightest units in metal, and one of the most decimated and hard working. Hard work pays off, and the band’s sound is at its best, full on thrash metal keeping this music alive. Get ready for the pit to explode during Warbringer, who will play on Sunday at 12 noon on the Nuclear Blast stage.


Known as the forefathers of Grindcore, this old-school extreme metal band will melt everyone faces off with their punishing performance. Playing most, if not all of the classic album Horrified, the band will shred through bloody soaked, apocalyptic songs about zombies, nuclear holocaust and other flesh-eaters. Imagine Night of the Living Dead come to life as an extreme metal band, that is Repulsion. The band will take the stage on Sunday at 1:40 on the Nuclear Blast stage

Life of Agony

Once a part of the tail end of the bustling NYC hardcore scene of the late ’80s, Life of Agony had peers such as Biohazard, Agnostic Front, Madball, and Type O Negative at one time. The band’s sound evolved to become a more hard rock/alternative metal, giving them opportunities to tour the world with so many bands and artists. After breaking up reuniting years back the band is back with a vengeance, with lead singer, Mina Caputo having come out as transgender, formerly known as Keith Caputo. Life of Agony will perform on Sunday at 4:05 at Second Stage B.

The Black Dahlia Murder

With a new album out entitled Nightbringer, The Black Dahlia Murder has proven they have carved out a niche for themselves in the world of extreme metal with a meshing of technicality, and macabre that does an excellent job fusing thrash metal, black metal and extreme death metal into one package that fans will love. Since 2003, this band has been raging hard touring the globe and making extreme metal. The band’s fan base has only solidified over the years, and the band shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Get ready for some aggression and darkness. The Black Dahlia Murder is set to perform Sunday at 3:20 p.m on Second Stage A.

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