Bloodstock Open Air 2007
Saturday 18 August 2007
Catton Hall, Derbyshire

Beyond All Reason probably received the most derision for their inclusion prior to the event and my own desire to see them was not particularly high. In the end I managed to catch the band`s last two songs which confirmed that whilst these young lads can play, Bloodstock is probably the wrong place for them.

Beyond All Reason set list included:
Don`t Hold Back / Blood Stained Words

With the weather heading downhill, Cold Season was a very fitting opener from Rise To Addiction. Even with the gusting wind, Johan Slater & Steve Wray`s guitars were fairing well through the P.A. and Low hit the mark with its big hook of a chorus. Vocalist Leigh Oates worked the crowd tirelessly, indulging in some sort of monkey dance to the "filthy groove" of Joel Graham`s bass during One Sweet Minute.

The familiar guitar line of Falling As One meant the end was nigh and the set finished on a high, with a number of fans heading over to the merchandise stall to meet the band as offered earlier by Oates. I`m not sure if they all bought him a beer as he cheekily suggested!

Rise To Addiction set list:
Cold Season / I Follow / Low / To A God Unknown / One Sweet Minute / Falling As One

By now it had become Bloodstock Open Skies, with no end in sight, looking at the very grey skies. Freedom Call are a tad too cheesy for me, hence I decided to skip them in favour of the dryness of the beer tent.

Freedom Call set list included:
Warriors / United Alliance / Metal Invasion / Mr Evil / Land Of Light / Freedom Call

Perversely, the horizontal rain driving into us was fitting as Benediction banged out I, from their subtly named Grind Bastard CD. Frontman Dave Hunt sarcastically questioned, "Who says you can`t have an open air festival in England coz the weather`s shit?" Hunt, who fronted Cerebral Fix the previous day, was on fine joking form, adding "This is the point in a festival where you either smell of baby wipes or death!" Well it was certainly death on the agenda when Unfound Mortality followed.

In complete contrast to the aforementioned Cerebral Fix, Benediction`s guitars were raging and, although Frank Healey`s bass was too loud in the mix, overall the crunch packed a punch. Agonised got head`s bobbing, but it was The Grotesque that saw the real pit action. Frankly I hadn`t been expecting a great deal and coupled with driving rain, Benediction were frighteningly good.

Benediction set list included:
I / Unfound Mortality / Magnificat / Agonised / Jumping At Shadows / The Grotesque

With the rain not quite as driving but still relentless Legion Of The Damned took the stage and continued on the aggressive platform left by Benediction. The band`s no frills thrash approach was perfectly suited to a short set of brutality. Son Of The Jackal and Undead Stillborn opened, as they do on the band`s latest CD, with the ridiculously long hair of Messrs Swinkels, Ebisch and Gielen whipped by a combination of headbanging and wind.

The band`s similarities to Slayer have been noted before and never more so than the march of Bleed For Me. Fists punctuated the chorus of Werewolf Corpse, whilst I can confirm that Infernal Wrath sounded good in one of the (very) few porta-loos!

Legion Of The Damned set list included:
Son Of The Jackal / Undead Stillborn / Death`s Head March / Bleed For Me / Werewolf Corpse / Infernal Wrath / Malevolent Rapture / Legion Of The Damned

Oh dear, the above mentioned porta-loo became key to the rest of my day and with out going into graphic detail, a churning stomach caused me to miss Finntroll, though I did briefly see Sabbat`s Martin Walkyier taking the stage for Trollhammaren.

Combating the elements with a great dose of heavy metal Dream Evil took the stage and immediately United the crowd with a sing along anthem. "Of course we have very serious lyrics", joked Niklas Isfeldt before Fire! Battle! In Metal!, quipping at its conclusion "So you like peasant farmer metal?". Well yes, if that`s what it`s called then this crowd likes it.

Little effort is required to get this crowd punching the air and shouting "Made Of Metal", which also featured a united high pitch "I am his wife!". Children Of The Night could have been lifted off a classic Scorpions album. However, Dream Evil have never intended to reinvent the metal wheel, but seemingly effortlessly stick a cheesy grin on your face. This is none more so than the concluding Book Of Heavy Metal, which had people screaming "Metal!" all weekend.

Dream Evil set list:
United / Blind Evil / Fire! Battle! In Metal! / In Flames You Burn / Crusaders Anthem / Made Of Metal / The Chosen Ones / Children Of The Night / The Book Of Heavy Metal

Just seeing the huge Sabbat logo on stage raised my anticipation, which peaked as the stage was bathed with blue light and dry ice and the History Of A Time To Come intro rolled. The band filed on with Martin Walkyier demanding "Let me see your horns" and "So it is done" heralded A Cautionary Tale. Sabbat appear to have got tighter since the reunion and guitarists Andy Sneap and Simon Jones were striding around the stage confidently. One change to the classic line up however, is the addition of Gizz Butt on bass. Last seen playing guitar for Fields Of The Nephilim, Butt has replaced Fraser Craske.

Although the rain was easing up, an enormous pit had churned up a sea of mud, egged on by Walkyier`s cries of "Lets see you moving" and as Sabbat continued, continuous walls of death crashed into each other, as bodies slid across the mud. How long this reunion goes on is not clear and Sneap has said he has no interest in writing new material. Based on today`s reaction, there`s a fair few who would love to see Sabbat live on.

Sabbat set list:
A Cautionary Tale / Hosanna In Excelsis / The Clerical Conspiracy / Behind The Crooked Cross / Do Dark Horses Dream Of Nightmares? / I For An Eye / The Best Of Enemies / For Those Who Died / The Church Bizzare

Hurrah! It stopped raining and the only flood is that of people heading to see Arch Enemy. Noting we have been "metal warriors" for sticking it out in the rain, Angela Gossow leads us in an amusing "Fuck You" to the skies. The band themselves are recently out of the studio and looked hungry. Indeed, Ravenous is quickly unleashed upon us and it`s already apparent how much stronger the band are with the Amott brother`s reunited. Christopher Amott is back in the fold and his playing seems to have improved further in the interim.

Keen to show off their new wares "which we`ll all know words to soon", promised Angela, Blood On Your Hands appears early. The song has featured on a few magazine discs and the die-hards are already shouting along in the chorus. The other new addition, Revolution Begins, is catchy as hell and looks certain to join the closing We Will Rise as a fan favourite. Given the turn-out, performance and reaction, it would seem Arch Enemy could have easily headlined one of the days.

Arch Enemy set list included:
I Am Legend - Out For Blood / Ravenous / Blood On Your Hands / My Apocalypse / Dead Eyes See No Future / Burning Angel / Enemy Within / Revolution Begins / Dead Bury Their Dead / We Will Rise

Amusingly coming on to the theme from Little Britain, In Flames set about closing BOA in style, opening with Leeches. Anders Fridén is on fine form, wandering backwards and forwards between songs talking to the crowd in a very relaxed manner. Following Pinball Map he tells us that In Flames had planned to "blow shit up", but were denied causing any explosions in case they were mistaken for terrorists! This led to the crowd chanting "Blow shit up!", greatly amusing Fridén.

Joking that the band don`t play older stuff as we don`t move to it, Fridén threatens us that if we don`t move to the next two they`ll never play them again. Episode 666 and Graveland follow, Fridén screaming "Move bitches!" as Jesper Strömblad and the newly short haired Björn Gelotte`s guitars scythe.

Taking the pace down, Come Clarity sees lighters and mobiles held in the air on demand, but no such encouragement is required to get the crowd bouncing to Only For The Weak. In Flames weren`t taking it easy, with a nineteen song set, reaching it`s finale with Take This Life into the traditional closer of My Sweet Shadow. Roadies head on to the stage throwing hundreds off guitar picks into the crowd, which Fridén joked replaced confetti bombs.

In Flames set list:
Leeches / Crawl Through Knives / Dead Alone / Touch Of Red / Pinball Map / Trigger / Dark Signs / Episode 666 / Graveland / Colony / System / Bottled / Egonomic / Come Clarity / Only For The Weak / Cloud Connected / The Quiet Place / Take This Life / My Sweet Shadow

In Flames
Arch Enemy
Dream Evil
Legion Of The Damned
Freedom Call
Rise To Addiction
Beyond All Reason