Sunday is always a bitter/sweet day at Bloodstock for me as on the plus side you have another day of metal but on the minus side when the day is over you have to wait another year for the next one. First band of the day on the Sophie Lancaster stage was South Wales based Triaxis. Forming in 2006 this was their third Bloodstock appearance and after this performance it is easy to see why. The night before featured a stunning vocal by Sharon Den Adel from Within Temptation and Triaxis vocalist Krissie Kirby started Sunday off in the same vein as she commanded the stage for their 30 minute set.
‘Liberty’ began with a fist clenching, call to arms intro as the rest of the song powered its way to the full tent. Up next was ‘Sand And Silver’, with the main riff starting some early morning headbanging going with lead guitarist Glyn peeling off a fret burning solo. ‘Stand Your Ground’ featured Krissie’s most powerful vocal especially on the huge chorus. ‘Victorious’ was all about the drum assault from Giles Wilson with Krissie leading the crowd on the “kill, kill, kill” refrain. Highlight for me was set closer ‘Black Trinity’ with the bridge of “you reap what you sow” getting into your head immediately.
Celbridge in Ireland based Dead Label epitomized the meaning of the phrase power trio with an over the top set on the Sophie stage. Fronted by the imposing personality of vocalist/bassist Dan O’ Grady, guitarist Danny Hall and drummer Claire Percival they wasted no time in hitting the crowd with the early Prong like grooves on opener ‘Salvation In Sacrifice’. ‘Throne In Bones’, introduced as “a new album song” had a guitar tone that made the juggernaut rhythms even more intense. ‘Ominous” according to Dan was “a bangover, not a hangover song” and the front rows responded accordingly with flying hair during this evil, hate filled number. ‘Blood Letting’ was a concrete heavy pounder and their set ended all too soon set with ‘Void’, a slow building opus ending with some fast footwork from Claire.
First visit of the day to the Ronnie James Dio stage saw British heavyweights Orange Goblin decimate Bloodstock with their brand of full on, no frills heavy metal. Covering bands that clashed on 3 seperate stages meant that I only caught 4 out of their 9 song set. ‘Cities Of Frost’ was a P.A rattling assault with man mountain Ben Ward covering every inch of the stage to whip up the crowd. Best song for me was the heads down boogie of ‘Filthy And The Few’ that contained some furious riffing from guitarist Joe Hoare and fretboard marathon bass guitar runs from Martin Millard proving what an underrated band Orange Goblin who are now in their 20th year together and will be on a full UK headlining tour in December to celebrate.
Norwich based Killer Hurts opened the Jagermeister stage giving me my first fix of the day of some blistering old school thrash metal. Lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Errol Watson wasted no time with just an intro of “we are Killer Hurts, ready, aim, fire!”. Set opener of ‘Ready, Aim, Fire’ was aptly named as the band were the firing squad unleashing some furious early Megadeth like speed metal with Errol giving a few Dave Mustaine like snarls. Intense high velocity riffing from Errol and lead guitarist Nathan Sadd backed by some fast footwork on the drums from Johnny Martin Grimley propelled ‘Into The Breech’. ‘Killer Be Killed’ upped the ante with full throttle time changes and a slamming breakdown midway. A bit of levity crept in during new song ‘Nightmares’ when it was cut short with Errol saying “sorry, we fucked up” which lead to set closer and heaviest song ‘Beware Of The Fog’.
Cheshire region Metal 2 The Masses winners Obey laid waste to the New Blood stage with their 30 minute set of ear splitting heavy metal, delivered to an appreciative full tent. A feedback drenched intro to opener ‘Ain’t No Son Of Mine’ saw lead vocalist/guitarist Steve Pickin, bassist Chris Poole and drummer Matt Lane lock into a bludgeoning groove. Standout numbers for me were a beefed up cover of ‘Superstition’ with a scorching solo but this was surpassed by the guitar work during set closer ‘Suicide Shifter’. Featuring long instrumental band workouts, the guitar solo from ‘Hotel California’ was included but given a faster take on it. Obey took their well earned bows before leaving us with ringing ears!
Wigan based Bigfoot who recently impressed me at Wildfire festival did so yet again today on the Jagermeister stage. I missed the start of their set due to stage clashes but got there just as the Southern rock tinged riffs of ‘Stone Soldiers’ from guitarists Sam Millar and Mick Mc Cullagh cut through a very vocal crowd. The 5 piece band must have been shoehorned onto the small stage but it never affected the delivery of numbers like the acoustic lead classic ‘Come Down My Way’ which built into commercial hard rock with a dual guitar solo finish. Set closer ‘The Other Side Of Paradise’ was chock full of Aerosmith like hooks and attitude proving that the future looks good for Bigfoot judging by the amount of people wanting a word with them at the end.
Sepultura have been one of my favourite thrash metal bands for over 25 years now and to say I was excited about their main stage appearance today is putting it lightly. Frontman Derrick Green still cuts an imposing figure onstage and is now in his 18th year in the band after replacing Max Cavalera and personally I still think he does a better job! Their backdrop read that it was 30 years of Sepultura with Derrick saying that they would be drawing from all eras of the band, point proven by a breathtaking opener of ‘Troops Of Doom’ from their 1986 debut album Morbid Visions. With their back catalogue it must have seemed a daunting task of compiling a 45 minute set but they managed to even fit in new tracks ‘Sepultura Under My Skin’ and ‘The Vatican’.
Of the older numbers ‘Propaganda’ saw a furious pit open up with Derrick roaring the vocal with aplomb. ‘Inner Self’ featured a furious drum assault from Eloy Casagrande, a more than worthy replacement for Igor Cavalera. ‘From The Past Comes The Storms’ took us way back to the 1987 release of Schizophrenia on a blur of riffing from Andreas Kisser and the pit were kept even busier as a warp speed ‘Arise’ was unleashed. The vociferous crowd got louder with some participation on ‘Refuse Resist’ who then went over the edge as my riff of the day for ‘Roots’ was played. A brutal song to end a brutal set!
The New Blood stage was next port of call for Stourbridge based Left For Red featuring the physically and vocally towering Lc Decoy. Their powerful set was highlighted by opener ‘Master Of The Games’ that displayed gritty hard rock and the first soaring vocal from Lc, a natural born frontman. ‘Shatter’ was a Clutch like groover as the pace quickened following a fist clenching opening riff but set highlight was the closing ‘Kneel Before You Die’, once again a riff heavy number full of melody and muscle.
The 5 man wrecking ball Cannibal Corpse were given an hour to batter the throng gathered at the Ronnie James Dio stage and to be honest their task was done by the end of opener ‘Scourge Of Iron’ which segued into ‘Demented Aggression’. The evil riffs from Pat O’ Brien, Rob Barrett and Alex Webster wound around the astonishing drum work of Paul Mazurkiewicz who was a blur of feet and hands but focal point was vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. His guttural growls were matched by his 100mph headbanging! Stage clashes meant leaving their set midway after ‘Kill Or Become”, another swirling pit opener.
Another festival favourite was up next on the Sophie Lancaster stage. The inimitable Lawnmower Deth made pantomime season come early for their all to brief 40 minute set. It all seemed to fly by on a blur of riffs and the wit of frontman Pete “Qualcast Mutilator”. Extras in costumes and stage props added to the lunacy of ‘Sumo Rabbit’, ‘Cobwoman Of Deth Meets Mr. Smellymop’ and ‘Satan’s Trampoline’ to name but a few. The props I could remember were the inflatables launched into the crowd during ‘Flying Killer Cobs’ that were thrown around through most of the set, one of which when deflated, almost took guitarist Paddy O’ Malley’s head off.
Also, a makeshift sheep dip was rolled out for the song of the same name with a shepherd chasing someone dressed as a sheep who was ushered in and came out covered in red dye. It turned out to be a special guest, the lead singer from main stage openers that day Agalloch with Pete stating, “serves him right for playing progessive death metal”. Another special guest was Matt Burton from Evil Scarecrow who added vocals to an insane cover of Slade’s ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’. Comedy highlight for me was when the packed tent was divided down the middle for a wall of death which ended in them being made to do the Okey Cokey dance. A brief encore of ‘Fuck Off’ and the band were gone. One of my sets of the weekend.
After such lunacy it would take something special to compete with it. Unfortunately, Black Label Society were not. Zakk Wylde’s ability is not under question but on the night, each song just seemed written around a guitar solo that sounded the same and after endless pinch harmonics I gave up when a lengthy solo spot resulted in me making my way to the Jagermeister stage to check out the headliners Hell Puppets.
Tongue in cheek, they are apparently from Brighton, Chichester and Hell. Most notably they delivered their 7 song set in the same mindset as HanOwaR and Lawnmower Deth so chaos presumed as a group of gruesomely made up zombies lurched around before Hell Puppets plugged in to thrash and bash in front of and amongst the large crowd. Although they mainly wore corpse paint there was a punkish vibe in their full on metal delivery. Opener ‘Demon Preacher’ saw lead vocalist EviL-P stalking the pit as a cacophony of riffs raged behind him. The main riff of ‘The Pain’ had a ‘Walk’ like vibe with a Satyr like snarled vocal.
‘We Are The Enemy’ saw them play as fast as anything that Cannibal Corpse had gave us earlier and the Rammstein tinged death metal crossover of ‘Hung, Drawn And Slaughtered’ saw the crowd increase in size behind me. ‘Narcotic Shark’ saw a costumed extra, crowd surf over the front rows and join in with the already open pit. Their set flew by far too soon as they ended with ‘Hail Satan’ that saw a Jesus throwing out luminous straws and rhythm guitarist GRaveS climb off the Jagermeister bar, onto a fans shoulders to finally end up still playing whilst in the pit. The song climaxed with lead guitarist BeLiaL throwing himself over the front rows, also into the pit.
A quick dash to the Sophie Lancaster stage saw Bristol based veteran thrash metallers Onslaught tear through their opener ‘The Sound Of Violence’ which saw a packed out tent create a constant circle pit for the whole of the set. The first visit to their 1985 debut album Power From Hell threw up the double bass drum driven pounder ‘Angels Of Death’. Lead vocalist Sy Keeler still hits his trademark howls, most notably on follower ‘Destroyer Of The World’. The anthemic ’66 Fucking 6′ from latest album VI gave the crowd a chance to supply vocals after a deceiving gentle picked intro gave way to mauling riffs from guitarists Nige Rockett and Andy-Rosser Davies.
More blasts from the past saw ‘Fight With The Beast’ and ‘Metal Forces’, both from the 1986 album ‘The Force’. The latter shook the ground with foot to the floor rhythms including fast footwork from drummer Mic Hourihan and Sy’s most ear piercing vocal of the set. The pace was then brought down with ‘Children Of The Sand’, the second number aired from VI tonight. Its Middle Eastern tinged intro and pounding riffs made it my song of the set. Their set drew to a close with 2 more visits to the debut album Power From Hell showing the main stage headliner Rob Zombie how to pace a set. ‘Born For War’ and final number ‘Onslaught (Power From Hell) closed a triumphant performance with a bellowing refrain of “Onslaught” when ordered to.
For the second time of the weekend I was left disappointed with a main stage headline performance. Rob Zombie ,although drawing what seemed to me the largest crowd of the weekend seemed very flat. A booming P.A system provided no shortage of volume but for every strong number like ‘Meet The Creeper’, ‘Superbeast’ and ‘More Human Than Human’ there were some strange choices, most notable being 3 cover versions of ‘Sex Machine’, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘Schools Out’ which took up time of a supposedly only 75 minute set. A lengthy ‘Thunder Kiss 65’ saw a mind numbing guitar solo from John 5. ‘Dragula’ was the final number with another costume change. The song ended with John 5 on drums, drummer Ginger Fish taking the plaudits and Rob playing John’s guitar before they walked off and that was it, a very surreal ending.
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