Bloodstock Open Air - Saturday
11 August 2012
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
Johan kicked off his day shooting Benediction on the Main Stage:
Followed by Splintered Soul on the Sophie Stage:
My first port of call on day two was to the New Blood Stage to check out Merciless Fail who I’d been impressed by from their online clips. The Southend band mix the doom of Solitude Aeturnus with more uptempo US style power metal. Frontman Chris Storozynski’s rich vocal recalled Candlemass, particularly during the chorus of Accusation of The Innocent, with bassist Kieron Rochester providing the occasional gruff backing as a counterpoint. Certainly one to keep an eye out for, Merciless Fail provided something a bit different on the New Blood Stage this weekend.
Merciless Fail setlist:
Accusation Of The Innocent / The Rapture / ? / The Tide / Forged In Black
Heading over to the Sophie Stage I was quite excited to check out Savage Messiah, however they were at the mercy of the worst sound mix I heard all weekend. On a number of occasions over the weekend the sound in the Sophie Tent was ridiculously loud and none more so than for Savage Messiah. A friend left during the first song fearing permanent hearing damage. With ear plugs I lasted two songs but things where so pushed to the max I could barely work out what was being played. I look forward to checking Savage Messiah out again under better circumstances.
Savage Messiah setlist included:
The Accuser / Plague Of Conscience / Shadowbound / Carnival Of Souls / Insurrection Rising
As a result of the curtailed visit to the Sophie Tent I managed to catch some of I Am I, the band formed by former Dragonforce singer ZP Theart. Theart was all smiles, though he obviously didn’t get the memo about refraining from swearing, with the event being streamed online, with a severe case of potty-mouth! During the first song he had made his way into the photopit to mix with the front row of fans and put in one of the strongest vocal performances I have heard from him. Whilst the band were also proficient, the songs come across as inoffensive and lacking a cutting edge and caused my attention to wander.
I Am I setlist:
This Is My Life / In The Air Tonight / Cross The Line / Wasted Wonders / Pave The Way / Kiss Of Judas / Silent Genocide
In a flash back to last year, the photopit at the Sophie Stage was absolutely rammed pack anticipating the arrival of Dripback, an explanation of which I provided in last year’s review. Thankfully the volume was down a few pegs and with Russ Russell present at the sound desk, unsurprisingly the mix was far better for the London bruisers. A good portion of the set was made up of material set to feature on the bands first full length release and sat well against the known material from the debut EP. As ever it was organised chaos on stage and the infectious nature of the performance spread to the crowd.
Dripback setlist included:
Hold Your Horses / Kick Out Time
Having seen Chthonic on a number of occasions I left Johan to take photo's and headed over to the New Blood stage.
Oceanquake / Southern Cross / Broken Jade / Forty-Nine Theurgy Chains / Quasi Putrefaction / Quell the Souls In Sing Ling Temple / Takao
I'd headed to see Father in the New Blood tent whose last album One Eon I had enjoyed. Surprisingly they hit the stage ahead of their allotted time offering “A gift for you who arrived early” by way of a medley consisting of snippets of songs from Pantera, System Of A Down, Metallica, Korn, Slayer and Rage Against The Machine. Perhaps this was meant to demonstrate their own influences but I’d have preferred if they had stuck to their own material. System Of A Down seemed to be the prevalent of the aforementioned from the quirky Croatians, who invited to dance disco metal style to Machina. For the most I felt like I was watching a different band to what I expected, until the end of the set when the band included the first two tracks from the One Eon album with a moodier vibe.
Medley (I’m Broken / Toxicity / Sad But True / Blind / Reign In Blood / Killing In The Name) / ? / Machina / Chigla Pegla / The Downloader / Venus & Mars
Crowbar were devastating when we caught them in London early last year. Unsurprisingly an outdoor festival stage doesn’t provide the same claustrophobia of a packed Underworld venue, but there were moments of excellence through the bands allotted 45 minute set. Mainman Kirk Windstein warned us early, “We’re not gonna waste your time telling rock star bullsh*t stories, we’re just gonna jam our balls off”. The treacle thick guitars of Lasting Dose was an early highlight, but the run of the more speedy High Rate Extinction, crowd favourite All I Had I Gave and massive Planets Collide was when Crowbar really hit their stride.
Conquering / New Dawn / Burn Your World / Lasting Dose / Sever The Wicked Hand / High Rate Extinction / All I Had I Gave / Planets Collide / The Cemetery Angels
I’d expected seeing Mayhem would be a ticking off exercise for me, being one of the few major Black Metal bands I hadn’t seen live and thus it turned out to be. The antithesis of the other Black Metal bands this weekend, Mayhem had put little effort into their presentation with even Attila Csihar looking relatively normal for himself. This put the emphasis on the music and perhaps the band were trying to look moody but it came across more like disinterested. Csihar stayed mainly centre stage seemingly obsessed with what looked like a little skull which he kept playing with. Good to hear Deathcrush and Freezing Moon live but forgettable otherwise.
Silvester Anfang / Deathcrush / Ancient Skin / My Death / Illuminate Eliminate / Freezing Moon / Carnage / De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas / Pure F**king Armageddon
Back to the New Blood Stage for a brief sighting of Bull-Riff Stampede. The band feature ex-Blaze Bayley guitarist Jay Walsh but it’s actually Walsh’s previous band Fourwaykill who Bull-Riff Stampede have more in common with. Taking a more aggressive thrash approach the band are razor sharp with Dave Garnett’s vicious scything vocals unrelenting throughout. A packed tent bodes well for the band’s future and on this performance it looks bright.
Bull-Riff Stampede setlist:
Central Embodiment of Evil / Bled To The Arena / Raze / Minotaur / Ten / Pit March / Thrashing Machine
Undoubtedly my main event of the year, my anticipation of Sanctuary was also filled with concern. Could Warrel Dane still hit the high notes, with the singer taking to lower registers in follow up band Nevermore? Well he certainly wasn’t choosing the easy route opening with Die For My Sins and the answer was a firm yes he can. Stood next to a friend who was also at the band’s show supporting Megadeth in Bradford back in 1988, we must have looked like two grinning idiots as we (tried to) sing along with selections from the band two albums. The Mirror Black soared with the following Sanctuary better still. At this point the band chose to air two new songs. I Am Low had a slow pace with The World Is Wired more mid-tempo. Both were enjoyable, but without the engrained history, playing them back to back took the set’s atmosphere down a little. However, closing with Battle Angels put that right, with a pit opening.
Die for My Sins / Taste Revenge / Future Tense / The Mirror Black / Sanctuary / I Am Low / The World Is Wired / Battle Angels
Having a hardcore band high up the bill on the mainstage may have been a controversial decision but the size of the crowd gathered alone vindicated the decision. What happened next took that one step further with Hatebreed laying the place to waste. The circle pit was enormous, conducted from the stage by frontman Jamey Jasta. With few technicalities to their sound Hatebreed avoid the concerns of a festival P.A., with their rhythms causing fists to pump and people to bounce around. This atmosphere seemed to spread across the crowd with Jasta’s all inclusive attitude working wonders. During penultimate song I Will Be Heard a 7 year-old fan was brought up onstage by Jasta, though hopefully he was safely out of the way during closer Destroy Everything, with the crowd responding in kind.
Defeatist / Facing What Consumes You / As Diehard As They Come / To The Threshold / Everyone Bleeds Now / Merciless Tide / Hands Of A Dying Man / In Ashes They Shall Reap / Doomsayer / Never Let It Die / Tear It Down / Live For This / Last Breath / Perseverance / I Will Be Heard / Destroy Everything
With the crowd suitably warmed up Testament kept things on a high. On a stage looking like a giant version of their new album cover, the San Francisco thrash legends seemed well up for things today with opener Rise Up proving to be a classic live song that the recorded version threatened it would be. That was one of four inclusions from Dark Roots Of Earth with Native Blood probably the most recognisable to the crowd, since we had seen the video about 20 times already this weekend – seriously, a wider selection of videos on the big screen between bands next year please! Classics punctuated the set with Chuck Billy mimicking playing a guitar on his microphone stand and Alex Skolnick heading centre stage in posing fashion for his impressive solo runs. Following a brutal Over The Wall, the side screens are pulled down to reveal the words “RANDY” and “FREE”. Obviously originally intended the other way around during Randy Blythe’s incarceration in the Czech Republic, this still drew a celebratory cheer along with a chuckle from the crowd.
Rise Up / The New Order / The Preacher / Native Blood / True American Hate / More Than Meets the Eye / Dark Roots of Earth / Into the Pit / Practice What You Preach / Over the Wall / D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate) / 3 Days in Darkness
With what had preceded them Machine Head needed to be on form and thankfully they were. Atmospheric lighting and huge flame pots added to the performance, but this was a very well paced set. Aside from Imperium from 2004’s Through The Ashes Of Empires, the set concentrated on the band’s last two albums together with landmark debut Burn My Eyes. Fans had been given the chance to pick five songs from that album to be played live and prior A Thousand Lies Rob Flynn explained the significance of today being the 20th Anniversary of the band’s first ever show. It was a rare chance to hear again the likes of Death Church and Blood For Blood, with the set building to a crescendo of harmony guitar during Halo before Davidian of course closed a successful set and day.
Machine Head setlist:
I Am Hell (Sonata in C#) / Aesthetics Of Hate / Imperium / A Thousand Lies / Locust / Death Church / Blood For Blood / Darkness Within / Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies (intro) / Block / Halo / Davidian