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ConcertsBloodstock Open Air Festival

Posted on Wednesday, September 07 2011 @ 22:07:11 CDT by Duncan Glenday
Concert Reviews

Bloodstock Open Air Festival

Catton Hall, Derbyshire U.K

Nestled in the middle of the English countryside the 2011 edition of the festival keeps the same ethos as it did when it started from its humble beginnings, book bands by fans for the real fans and take the odd risk.

Sea Of Tranquility's Mark Davies reports:



FRIDAY

With many nursing Thursday hangovers, The Defiled were regarded by many as lambs to the slaughter opening the mainstage. However they ripped through Bloodstock with an adrenaline fueled set leaving as conquering heroes and watching skeptics recovering their jaws from their drinks. Wolf are no strangers to this festival and once again in a criminally early slot belted out their German metal to an appreciative audience, closing the set with Voodoo sound problems were soon forgotten.

U.S thrashers Forbidden powered through a tight set but something was not right (it later transpired that drummer Mark Hernandez had left the band on Monday). The delivery of the songs was spot on but you could sense a certain atmosphere.

Essex hardcore's Romeo Must Die ripped the SOPHIE LANCASTER tent a new exit with their raw aggressive set ensuring an invitation for next year is in the mail. Tom G Warrior ensured any sunshine was quickly extinguished with a dark broody set from Tryptikon, with some original & Celtic Frost material it made for an intense experience.

The reunited Coroner certainly welcomed old and made some new fans with a storming set. Ron Broder now sporting the sleek head look has lost none of the hunger and fat bass lines that drew people to them all those years ago. Next up German titans of thrash Kreator, with a set that was destructive to the senses and pleasure to the ears, they certainly proved that to headline Bloodstock was certainly within their grasp someday.





A young fan throws the horns at Kreator


'Flag of Hate' was chanted and waved by the hordes of metal lovers on the site, many say they certainly should have headlined and judging by Mille Petrozza's shit eating grin don't be surprised if they come back soon. After last year's technically plagued set Devin Townsend was here to make amends and put on a special performance. Ziltoid's presents were soon felt when he proclaimed "welcome to Bloodcock" and so Devin launched into 'Truth', 'Supercrush', 'Juular' and 'Vampira' which was getting its first ever live airing. Devin, gurning his way through an awesome set with his witty off the wall banter and exquisite guitar work was Fridays true festival highlight and certainly ensured his fan base on these shores expanded a truck load more.

WASP
on the other hand were a masterstroke to headline, with everyone well and truly refreshed and tanked up what better way to ensure an excellent end to the evening by a good old sing along to L.O.V.E Machine, Blind In Texas and I Wanna Be Somebody. With a back catalogue longer than route 66 Blackie Lawless still has the voice and the ability to command a crowd and proved to be a worthy choice. After a metal soaked day we all trundled back to our tents awaiting another day of metal mayhem to come.






SATURDAY

My first band of the day was German stalwarts Grave Digger, who put in a workman like performance on a very rare outing to the U.K. For such an early slot the Bloodstock faithful were full of noise for the German metal outfit. Finntroll on the other hand went down an absolute storm with their folk infused melodies washing lingering hangovers clear in preparation for more alcohol. What can I say about Ihsahn? Apart from using the words sublime dark power, an awesome set is delivered to our throbbing skulls which includes 'Scarab', 'Invocation' and a blistering 'Frozen Lakes on Mars' completes a truly emphatic performance; Bloodstock is left Bloodshocked as we amble to the bar like holocaust zombies.

Therion had a difficult job from the start, their over the top symphonic metal fails to ignite apart from the truly faithful followers. Yes, they are very good at what they do but four singers who just look like they are waiting for a cab until their part to sing comes up, does not make for an entertaining set. Rhapsody Of Fire on the other hand put in a sterling performance, and who would have known their last one with the present line up. A quick shuffle to the tent to catch Angel Witch proved to be worth the effort.

Playing to a packed tent the hunger for old school metal and one of the godfathers of the NWOHM movement certainly treated us to a solid set that soon got the place chanting 'She's an Angel Witch'. Headliners Immortal on the other hand missed an opportunity to shine. With an awful mix coupled by too many drum triggers it all seems as superficial as their face paint, the faithful lap it up however but for most of us it's like rolling a turd in glitter.




SUNDAY

Sunday morning, and what better way to start the day but to be preached to by Hell! The crowd is large for 11am and thankfully the sound is spot on. 'Welcome To Hell' sees Andy Sneap and Kev Bower trading solos but its vocalist David Bower who is the focal point delivering a magnificent performance bordering on Shakespeare meets metal, excellent stuff.

Poor old Primordial, having gained a place on the bill replacing Nevermore their set comes crashing to a halt when three songs in vocalist A.A Nemtheanga totally loses his voice. The band plays on with audience participation but the look of pure frustration overshadows what should have been a triumphant set. They certainly deserve an invitation next year to vanquish the demons of 2011. Napalm Death soon bring things down with a shuddering bump, delivering their grindcore to the masses. Barney stalking the stage like an epileptic on steroids and Shane Embury getting the bass thunder shuddering through the festival site you can always guarantee a storming set. Hammerfall deliver a strong power metal interlude to the day before Exodus cover us all in thrashtastic riffs and sweat! Getting their set cut short they rip through the place like a bad burger. Rob Dukes owning the stage and filling it whilst Gary Halt taught us some thrash history ripping it up old school.

And so to my band of the weekend, At The Gates. Not being too cynical but last time they played here was their 'farewell show'. Tomas Lindberg and the band put their all into this gig and it showed, with the sun beating down the set steamrollered along leaving a trail of total devastation, the band were tight, the sound was tremendous and a set closing 'Blinded By Fear' brought Bloodstock to their corpse painted knees. Over at the 'New Blood Tent' the sound emanating from the stage was dirty heavy and powerful. Lifer, from South Wales were bringing their own version of the deep south to the Midlands to a surprisingly large crowd. A pure no nonsense face ripping set ensured promotion to one of the larger stages is inevitable.

And so to Motorhead, having seen Lemmy and the boys countless times this was by far the strangest performance I've seen.

Not talking much to the audience, disappearing for long periods between songs it seemed all was not right in the Motorhead camp. However when they did play it was impeccable, 'Iron Fist', 'Ace Of Spades' is what we wanted and it was delivered. A few days later an apology was posted onto the festival website stating the band were suffering from some sort of bug which inhibited their performance.

So we come to the end to another very successful BLOODSTOCK, which gains more credibility and notoriety every year for putting on the very best metal in the best run most friendly atmosphere ever witnessed for a festival. Other festivals could learn a lot from these guys, horns up for August 1012 2012, save now it's worth the trip.

Words & Pictures

Mark Davies

(Many thanks to the noise cartel)



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