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Korn leads charge at fierce nu-metal festival

MANSFIELD -- The reactivated Family Values Tour is now expanded to an all-day, Ozzfest-style extravanganza. The nu-metal festival finally pounded to a close at the Tweeter Center on Saturday, after about 10 hours of viciously heavy music. But there was nothing bloated about Korn's taut closing set.

Led by a menacing Jonathan Davis -- dressed in a black kilt and T-shirt -- the onstage action (dreadlocked heads swirling, flailing bodies, musicians darting here and there on the multi level stage, animal masks) had a dream-like quality. Here, Dante's ``Inferno" met ``Alice in Wonderland," and the brutal music, powered by two drummers, enhanced the surreal spectacle.

The scene was quite different earlier in the day when the multiple openers -- Bullets and Octane, Deadsy, Bury Your Dead, and others -- performed for a scant, mildly interested audience.

Japanese art metallers Dir en grey stirred things up with sharp speed jams and noise. Few will forget the haunting instrumental passage the band played as singer Kyo slashed at his chest Iggy Pop-style. The self-mutilation wasn't necessary. The music was fierce.

Metal buzz band Flyleaf, led by petite singer Lacey Mosley, instantly brought to mind Evanescence, minus the Goth shtick. Mosley's sweet, powerful voice could easily top a pop song, but instead she and her bandmates plied crunchy metal into a promising but unremarkable set.

Stone Sour, which includes singer Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root of masked heroes Slipknot, really got the party started. The band's throbbing thrash ceased momentarily when Taylor gently strummed an electric guitar, performing ``Bob" solo and very simply, too -- a rarity in metal balladry. Cheers from the audience became overwhelming. Taylor seemed genuinely touched and expressed it in a warm flurry of expletives.

If anyone stood out musically from this motley crew, it was Sacramento's Deftones, whose next record, ``Saturday Night Wrist," is due Oct. 31. With no pat chat, frontman Chino Moreno sang slowly against the beat, his voice filtered into a spacey wash. He occasionally rapped hard, as the band interspersed its dreamy, springy beat-backed songs with outpourings of brutal thrash.

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