IT`S testament to the pure self-belief coursing through their veins that masked marauders Slipknot have given Polish Death Metal veterans, Behemoth, free reign with their stage show to open their show as special guests.

From the huge drum riser, video screens, blankets of fog, plumes of smoke and thunderous balls of flames, together with ghostly costumes, this was a show befitting a headliner.

With their hellish cries, brutal riffs and rampaging drums and songs like Wolves ov Siberia, Bartzabel and Chant For Eschaton 2000 they had the capacity crowd suitably warmed to boiling point.

While most bands would balk from such visual competition, Slipknot have nothing to fear as the strains of AC/DC`s For Those About To Rock preceded a suitably grand entrance with Unsainted from their latest chart topping release, We Are Not Your Kind and Disasterpiece from their classic Iowa album kicked things off in suitably savage style.

The first major show of the decade was well and truly underway.

Corey Taylor prowled the stage with pent up fury, spitting out the lyrics to All Out Of Life, Before I Forget and Wait and Bleed while guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson stood imposingly on either side of the stage grinding out the colossal riffs that forge their signature sound.

Slipknot show wouldn`t quite be the same without a bombastic stage setting and this time round, they have exceeded even their own high standards.

With a central drum riser staircase leading to multiple platforms and gangways, huge video screens to each side, behind and above the stage.

Flanking each side of the stage with were colossal towers with smoke filled neon columns and platforms containing a range of percussive instruments including steel kegs and a stunning set of drums with wrap around video screens creating a jaw dropping structure for percussionist, Shawn “Clown” Crahan, to climb over.

Then there was the lighting rig that could have illuminated a small city and copious amounts of smoke, fire and brimstone.

An absolutely stunning spectacle topped off by nine onstage performers each in their own distinctive costume and eyrie mask.

Psychosocial`s thunderous stomp shook the foundations of the Arena to its core and ignited a riotous moshpit while Crahan dispatched a hanging keg with a flaming baseball bat adding some unique twists to the percussion of Duality before the pyrotechnic fuelled bombast of Sic and Surfacing left an already exhausted crowd on their knees in awe.

Mick Burgess