Aside from the fact I was totally wrong about Pearl Jam, it's pretty damned impressive. And that's even bearing in mind that the first band on that list that I'm actually genuinely excited about is the 7th one listed - Machine Head.
System of a Down are a decent enough band, but I don't think they're a top-of-the-bill headliner, at least not in the same vein as Faith No More, Nine Inch Nails and Iron Maiden in recent years. I'm not a huge Slipknot fan but I won't deny they have a pretty big folllowing. Then you have Limp Bizkit who have absolutely no business being higher than many of the bands on that list and uh, yeah the less said about that the better. Continuing the 90's nostalgia trip are Marilyn Manson (admittedly probably worth seeing) and Hole (almost certainly not).
And then you get into the really good stuff... promoter AJ Maddah called it the biggest metal lineup outside the Big 4 and I think that's pretty fair.
Machine Head: a recent and highly worthwhile discovery for me, The Blackening and Unto the Locust are both top albums.
Lamb of God: haven't heard a great deal, but suspect I might investigate them further - I was impressed by them when I saw them open for Metallica last year.
Trivium: same category as Machine Head, minus the opening for Metallica thing. Friends I trust in relation to these things swear by them, so that has to be worth something.
Alter Bridge: only heard one album but that's enough to know they'll be worth checking out.
And then of the rest, the ones I'm particularly interested in:
Devin Townsend Project: I am totally unfamiliar with but friends who know stuff rate them, so definitely worth a look.
Black Label Society: Should be pretty kickass actually... especially if they play Stillborn, fantastic track. I expect they're in the category of 'great fun after a few beers', but perhaps not to the same extent as:
Hellyeah: will be insanely good fun after a few beers. Both their albums are fun, ass-kicking hard rock records - nothing complex, nor do they need to be. Could be a highlight of the day, actually.
And finally, Mastodon. I mean, why the FUCK are they so low on the bill. Fantastic new album and a big fan base from their earlier (also excellent) albums. This is probably the band I'm most excited to see, and I think they'll go off at Soundwave. The interesting question is which stage they end up on - main stage (presumably mid-afternoon) or metal stage (presumably later on). They better not clash with anything else on that list, if they do, the 'anything else' will lose. There is a long list of songs I'd love to hear these guys play... Blood and Thunder, Spectrelight, Black Tongue, almost anything off Blood Mountain... actually I hope these guys play a sideshow either in Sydney or NZ because I'll be there.
In summary, this is a damned good festival lineup, and a reminder of how shit the Big Day Out has become. Soundwave is, unashamedly, a metal and punk festival - it knows its identity - and it delivers, every damn year. Meanwhile the Big Day Out seems pretty lost about what it is actually trying to be... having Kanye West as a headliner is just flat-out bizarre for what was historically an 'alternative rock' festival. Even worse, he will probably be the main headliner, above Soundgarden. And who remembers how shit it was when they gave Scribe a decent slot on the main stage (admittedly Kanye's got a bit more star power, but still).
Anyway, I digress. As usual Soundwave has done a phenomenal job of bringing together an incredible selection of great bands. Soundwave is awesome and it looks like I'll be off to Sydney in February again for more madness with McLeish. Chur bro.