Bloodstock Open Air - Sunday
12 August 2012
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
My slow start on Sunday comes with a quick recommendation for insect repellent, having awoken with a very swollen and painful leg following an adverse reaction to three insect bites, resulting in cellutitis of the lower leg and a course of antibiotics! This somewhat affected my ability to stand around much on Sunday and also meant I missed Kobra & The Lotus open the Main Stage, though Johan was on hand with his camera.
Similarly Corrosion Of Conformity’s set seemed to hop around, offering confusion, frustration and joy in equal measures. Those expecting Pepper Keenan in the band looked particularly confused, and then frustrated when COC teased us with snippets of songs from that era with only Deliverance getting a full airing. Being a fan of the new album, I revelled in the selections played from it.Your Tomorrow was the highlight, even if it all nearly did come crashing down during The Doom, with Mike Dean’s ill advised and almost disastrous attempt to climb on his bass amp. The band stitched everything together in what came across like a jam and by the end it felt like the band had enjoyed themselves far more than the majority of the crowd.
Corrosion Of Conformity setlist:
Loss for Words/ Mad World / Psychic Vampire / Seven Days (intro) / Your Tomorrow / The Doom / Vote With a Bullet (excerpt) / The Moneychangers / Deliverance / Rat City / Holier / Technocracy
I can appreciate the appeal of Nile but they bewilder me so I hadn’t planned to stick around. I was there long enough for the funniest and most chaotic stage introduction of the weekend with the stage announcer heading out and starting to welcome Nile to be bellowed at by the sound-desk, through the PA, “We’re not f**king ready!”. Anyway, my friends who stayed tell me they were on good form and were joined by The Black Dahlia Murder to sing back up on Black Seeds of Vengeance.
Sacrifice Unto Sebek / Lashed to the Slave Stick / Ithyphallic / Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld / Supreme Humanism Of Meglomania / Sarcophagus / Black Seeds of Vengeance
With the first and (for around an hour) only rain of the weekend, my decision to check out Battalion in the Sophie Tent was well timed. Their Underdogs album, complete with Ed Repka style artwork and Metallica style logo held no surprises before playing, nor major excitement during. However, I was glad to have made the effort to see them live, as the first three songs of their set from the forthcoming album Set The Phantom Afire hint at an improvement. All three songs remained massively influenced by Metallica but were far mature with elongated construction. Frontman/guitarist Silvan Etzensperger had his Hetfield posturing down to tee, but despite the lack of originality I have to say I very much enjoyed the Swiss thrashers.
Buried Nation / Bomber Fire (?) / Set The Phantom Afire / Thrash Maniacs / Bullets & Death
A quick dart from the Sophie Stage provided a very brief sighting of The Black Dahlia Murder and how kind of them to fit my favourite two songs into the three that I caught. The Michigan based band motored around the stage as the Scandinavian styled melodic guitar runs of Moonlight Equilibrium sunk their teeth in. What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse followed, putting the P.A. to test and I was disappointed there wasn’t chance to stick around further.
The Black Dahlia Murder setlist:
A Shrine to Madness / Moonlight Equilibrium / What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse / Malenchantments of the Necrosphere / Necropolis / Everything Went Black / Miasma / On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood / I Will Return / Unhallowed / Funeral Thirst
Crimes Of Passion’s second and latest album To Die For had taken me somewhat by surprise, with the band notching up the heaviness without losing their melodic sensibilities. Thankfully the Sophie Stage presented them with pretty decent if not perfect sound and the Sheffield based 5 piece made good use of it. Frontman Dale Radcliffe, who possesses an incredibly impressive vocal range, worked tirelessly throughout the set, emoting the lyrics with waved arms and posturing. The band backing him were tight as the proverbial and with songs as strong as Dare You To Try and Body and Soul, played a blinder to a tent that had filled markedly by the closing Accidents Happen, Even Here.
Crimes Of Passion setlist:
Dare You To Try / I Think I Can Save You (?) / Body & Soul / Hell & Back / Blackened Heart / Blown Away / Accidents Happen, Even Here
Argh! Clash time and a difficult decision. Being from the same village as Huddersfield thrashers Evile, I felt somewhat disloyal but I had seen them at Bloodstock before and hence headed back to the Sophie Tent.
Fire Serpent’s Teeth / We Who Are About To Die / In Dreams Of Terror / In Memoriam / Cult / Infected Nation / Centurian / Thrasher
Ancient’s Ascendant’s new video Driven By The Dark, which mixed some of the older style riffing of Opeth with the catchiness of Heartwork era Carcass had drawn me to order (and receive) the band’s latest EP, Into The Dark Veil, for it’s release date on the Monday prior to Bloodstock. It did not disappoint and with Dan Swanö behind the desk you know the production is going to be good. Unfortunately Ancient Ascendant aren’t provided with that clarity of sound today but the songs from the EP still stand strongly and I’d really like to see the band again with a clearer stage sound.
Ancient Ascendant setlist included:
The Veil (intro) / Blood Calls / Driven By The Dark / Casting The Shroud Aside
The last time I saw Anvil I had recently watched The Story of Anvil film, which leaves you rooting for the band to succeed. The film did the trick in raising the band’s profile, but as time passes Anvil appear to be slipping back down festival bills and returning to play smaller venues. The sad fact behind this is that they aren’t actually that good. Despite Lips’ undeniable enthusiasm, after 14 studio albums you’d expect better material then presented today which at times sounded amateurish; Juggernaut Of Justice and especially This Is Thirteen being the biggest culprits here. Whoever decided to include jazz/swing instrumental Swing Thing, complete with drum solo, in a set of this length needs there head checking. The rose tinted glasses have gone and things don’t look good.
March of the Crabs / 666 / Juggernaut of Justice / Winged Assassins / On Fire / This Is Thirteen / Mothra / Swing Thing / Metal on Metal
Demonic Resurrection were a band in need of some luck. In 2011 their Sonisphere appearance and UK dates fell through due to visa issues. They were on the bill for Sonisphere again in 2012 and that got pulled and some dates around Bloodstock with Chthonic had also now been cancelled. Thankfully the band from Mumbai, India did make it to Bloodstock and hit the stage on schedule. Whilst the band play symphonic style black metal in the vein of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth they don’t indulge in the typical image for that type of band. There’s no corpse paint, leather or spikes, just guys getting up and playing music. Demonic Resurrection came a long way and made many friends with a strong performance.
Demonic Resurrection setlist:
Bound By Blood, Fire & Stone / A Tragedy Befallen / Dismembering The Fallen / Apocalyptic Dawn / The Unrelenting Surge Of Vengeance
So into the final run of Bloodstock 2012 and home-grown misery merchants Paradise Lost were next up to entertain the faithful, or faithless. I’ve just totted up this was my 17th PL set and all was sufficiently in place: static band – tick, sarcastic Nick Holmes – tick, songs new and old – tick, highly enjoyable hour – tick. The only disappointment about this set was that when deadpan Holmes asked someone to fetch him a fajita from the stall at the back of the area, someone actually did but it wasn’t passed to Holmes by the security. The generous selection of four new tracks faired well, but today perhaps surprisingly it appeared to be the two tracks from One Second that got the biggest reaction.
Paradise Lost setlist:
The Enemy / Honesty in Death / Forever Failure / Tragic Idol / Pity The Sadness / One Second / As I Die / Fear Of Impending Hell / In This We Dwell / Faith Divides Us / Say Just Words
Dimmu Borgir can be hit and miss live and today they fell firmly into the former category. With one hour to do their thing, the Norwegian’s wisely hit us with an incredibly strong “best of” set, with perhaps Kings Of The Carnival Creation the only obvious omission. With a born-again Christian due on stage next, it was quite amusing for Shagrath to ask, “Are you ready for a night of unholy black metal?” The frontman was on fine form, though initially it did look like their had been a wardrobe mix up and he’d ended up with Rob Halford’s clothes. With guitarist Silenoz now shaven headed, he and fellow six-stringer Galder formed a uniform look and the mix was perfectly balanced between the orchestral backing and their guitars. Song after song received cheers from the crowd and by the time Mourning Palace came to an end it was clear Dimmu Borgir had played an absolute blinder.
Dimmu Borgir setlist:
Spellbound (By the Devil) / In Death’s Embrace / Dimmu Borgir / Gateways / Ritualist / Vredesbyrd / The Serpentine Offering / Puritania / Progenies of the Great Apocalypse / Mourning Palace
So to the finale and what is becoming an annual event of seeing Alice Cooper at UK festivals following Sonisphere 2010 and Download 2011. If he was English he’d be due to collect a bus pass in February next year, but there’s no signs of Alice Cooper slowing down. This was a masterful performance with probably one of the strongest crowd reactions I’ve seen from a Sunday night Bloodstock headliner. Amongst other things we had Alice on top of a pulpit with spider legs, a massive Alice Frankenstein’s monster, the mainman beheaded at the guillotine and, draped around Alice’s neck, the first ever boa at B.O.A.. The backing to this was an absolute wealth of classic rock music. Posion seemed to have the same effect Europe’s Final Countdown had at Catton Hall and the closing School’s Out and Elected was pure party heaven. We are not worthy indeed!
Alice Cooper setlist:
The Black Widow / Brutal Planet / I'm Eighteen / Under My Wheels / Billion Dollar Babies / No More Mr. Nice Guy / Hey Stoopid / Is It My Body / Halo of Flies / I'll Bite Your Face Off / Muscle of Love / Guitar solo (Orianthi) / Only Women Bleed / Cold Ethyl / Feed My Frankenstein / Caffeine / Poison / Wicked Young Man / Killer (excerpt) / I Love the Dead (excerpt) / School's Out / (with Another Brick In The Wall excerpt) / Elected