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Headbanger's paradise: 4 metal bands playing Bonnaroo 2014

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While Europe has always had a strong tradition of heavy metal festivals like Wacken and Sonisphere, dedicated metal festivals have never really caught on in the United States. In fact, most major U.S. music festivals see metal as an afterthought, booking one if any at all. But for metal fans attending Bonnaroo 2014, there is plenty of reason to celebrate as the festival has brought four of the strongest touring metal acts in the world to play, including a mini-metal festival on Friday when 3 of the 4 will perform in a dedicated Bonnaroo Late Night Tent.

Mastodon- Friday, June 13, 11:30 p.m.- This Tent

Atlanta-based act Mastodon is one of the biggest names among the next generation of heavy metal acts. They've received both critical and commercial acclaim throughout their career for their technical musicianship and literary lyrics. The band received Grammy nominations in 2007 and 2012 for Best Metal Performance and their 2011 album "The Hunter" climbed to #10 on the Billboard album charts. Mastodon will be coming into Bonnaroo just a couple of weeks ahead of the June 24 release of their new album "Once More 'Round the Sun." You can bet these Bonnaroo veterans will be ready to give their album some major buzz with a killer live show.

Deafheaven- Friday, June 13, 1:15 a.m.- This Tent

Continuing the Late Night metal tent on Friday is one of the newest acts to burst into the mainstream. Black metal group Deafheaven turned a lot of heads in 2013 with their album "Sunbather", which landed on many a critic's year end best-of list. Mixing the aggression of black metal with elements of shoegaze and post-metal, Deafheaven is charting new territory in the metal realm. Expect their Bonnaroo debut to draw a good crowd of curious onlookers anxious to see what all the music publications are buzzing about.

Meshuggah- Friday, June 13, 2:30 a.m.- This Tent

Closing out the Bonnaroo Late Night metal tent on Friday are the elder statesmen of the group, Meshuggah. Celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band, Meshuggah has blazed trails for numerous metal bands throughout the years, including the two preceding them. Their highly technical instrumental style and philosophical, often existential, lyrics have kept them from making a significant mainstream breakthrough, but has kept them a highly influential cult band for a quarter century.

Animals as Leaders- Friday, June 13, 8:00 p.m.- New Music On Tap Lounge

The only one of the four metal bands not playing the Late Night tent is Animals as Leaders. This instrumental progressive rock band is led by 8-string guitar virtuoso Tosin Abasi. The band has toured in support of bands like Circa Survive and Between the Buried & Me and their March, 2014 release "The Joy of Motion" has generated significant buzz.

Bonnaroo 2014 will be held June 12-15 in Manchester, Tn. In addition to the metal acts, featured bands include Jack White, Elton John, and Flaming Lips.

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