Bloodstock Open Air 2009 - Friday
14 August 2009
Catton Hall, Derbyshire, UK

Last year the metal hungry Bloodstock campers turned out in their droves for pretty much unknown openers Saint Deamon. It was a surprise therefore that the crowd was sparse as NWOBHM veterans Blitzkrieg took to the stage with The Phantom. It doesn’t take long to realise those having an extra 30 minutes kip in their tents had chosen wisely, as this lumpen set dragged along. Of course they finish with Blitzkrieg but the band who penned this song’s version is so tame in comparison to Metallica’s cover, it failed to raise much response from the crowd.

Blitzkrieg set list:
The Phantom / Dark City / Theatre Of The Damned / My Life Is My Own / Escape From The Village / Blitzkrieg

Heaven’s Basement provided some hard rocking last year, however they were positioned on the last day where they were a nice change from the heavier end of metal. Million Dollar Reload could have provided a similar diversion, but we hadn’t had any decent metal yet and as a consequence they appear a bit out of place. With a tinny guitar sound not doing them any favours, at least the Belfast band have a few catchy songs in their cannon. Phil Conalane certainly has the voice for this style of rock, but considering the rumours, he certainly doesn’t have the necessary X-Factor to front a band of the calibre Velvet Revolver.

Million Dollar Reload set list:
Fire Your Guns / Goodnight New York / Freeloader / Living In The City / Give It All / Superslave

At last a band with some balls, but for god’s sake turn the guitars up! To be fair the sound improved as Insomnium’s set progressed. Initially the Finns seemed a bit taken aback by the warm response, but settled into a set which focussed mainly on their Above The Weeping World album. Having heard an advance copy of the band’s forthcoming Across The Dark album, it was pleasing that a couple of songs were previewed. Where The Last Wave Broke is a particular favourite, however the lack of clean vocal in the chorus was a little disappointing. Weighted Down With Sorrow from that same album closed the set, with Niilo Sevänen declaring, “Bloodstock, you’ve been great”. Well you weren’t bad either Insomnium.

Insomnium set list:
The Gale / Mortal Share / Where The Last Wave Broke / Daughter Of The Moon / The Killjoy / Drawn To Black / Devoid Of Caring / Weighed Down With Sorrow

A gimp strode onto the stage and twirled a whip around at us drawing curious looks from the crowd. It was Dr Pest of course, keyboard player of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, who was soon positioned on his swing! It all sounds mad and it was, but the German’s finally kick started the BOA2009 party. Ringmaster of proceedings is barefooted frontman Fuchs who as well as running round the stage managed to somersault across it. The band have a catalogue of mainly German language songs stretching back to 1997, but it’s mainly from the latest two that this set is drawn. Most of this crowd probably haven’t heard anything by or like Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, but their infectious schizophrenic metal and commanding presence wins them over. Tricks like sailing a member of the audience out across the crowd in a rubber dingy certainly added to the hilarity.

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter set list:
Wir sind das Licht / Revolution / Riders on the Storm / Es wird schlimmer / Adrenalin / Nach der Ebbe / Der Seemann / Der Adler / Der Weg / We will never die

From one party band to another that have hinted they are playing things a bit more serious with their latest album. With that in mind, it was intriguing to see if the Municipal Waste live riot would have changed. As frontman Tony Foresta took to the stage and announced, “Bloodstock, show us your mosh” before Mind Eraser, the answer appeared to be not much. The subtle change appeared to be that Foresta concentrated on letting the crowd get on with the funny stuff rather than being the onstage clown. His call for a wall of death was well observed, as was a comical attempt to get the World Record for the most crowd surfers during Beer Pressure. For me Municipal Waste’s brand of crossover thrash on record is starting to wear a bit thin, but the evidence today was that live they are as potent as ever.

Municipal Waste set list:
Mind Eraser / Headbanger Face Rip / The Thrashin’ Of Christ / Thrashing Is My Business… / Terror Shark / Wrong Answer / Sadistic Magician / Black Ice / Beer Pressure / I Wanna “Chill” The President / Unleash The Bastards / Blood Drive / Accelerated Vision / Acid Sentence / The Inebriator / Bangover

Katatonia bring melancholy on the wind and in fact it was really blowing, obscuring Jonas Renske in a flurry of hair and sending opener Consternation all over the place. Renske must have been struggling with the onstage sound as his vocals drifted in and out of key over the earlier part of the set and having waited so long to catch the Swedes it was a disappointing start. Fortunately by Ghost Of The Sun, Katatonia hit their stride and start to envelop us with the warmth of their misery. A trip back to 1996’s Brave Murder Day for Murder pleased the older fans and after a doddery start Katatonia just about rescue their set.

Katatonia set list:
Consternation / Soil’s Song / Teargas / Dead House / Ghost Of The Sun / My Twin / July / Evidence / Murder

Sodom haven’t been in the UK in 20 years so this was something of a coup for Bloodstock. Whether Sodom have put much out of excitement over those 20 years to crave for their return is questionable. Post Agent Orange, they moved from the dark and dangerous band of the German thrash big three, to the most workmanlike. You can therefore guess my expectations weren’t high and whilst I wasn’t blown away, the German’s return to British soil was entertaining. With an enthusiastic crowd in front of him, Tom Angelripper is experienced enough to take control of proceedings and ensure the band leave the stage with their name ringing out.

Sodom set list:
Napalm In The Morning / Outbreak Of Evil / City Of God / Surfin Bird (exert) / The Saw Is The Law / Agent Orange / Blasphemer / Obsessed By Cruelty / M:16 / Sodomy & Lust / Remember the Fallen

Things were nicely teed up for Saxon to hit home with a crowd pleasing set and that’s exactly what they did. Whilst not forsaking some of their recent material, such as opener Battalions of Steel and Let Me Feel Your Power, Saxon read well that undoubtedly there were a fair few beers in this crowd and invoking sing-along anthems such as 747 and Denim & Leather put the crowd in a party mood. It had reached the point in the day when the onstage lights really start to take effect and with the dry ice swirling as Biff Byford strode around the stage, Saxon commanded with the ease that thirty years of experience have afforded them.

Saxon set list:
Battalions Of Steel / Heavy Metal Thunder / Demon Sweeny Todd / 747 (Strangers In The Night) / Let Me Feel Your Power / And The Bands Played On / Wheels Of Steel / Crusader / Live To Rock / Denim & Leather / Princess Of The Night

This was Arch Enemy’s second appearance at Bloodstock Open Air having preceded In Flames in 2007. It was soon to be Michael Amott’s third, with a set with Carcass to follow, but if he was holding anything back for his lengthy stay on stage, it didn’t show. Shredding away in typical intuitive fashion with brother Christopher the Swedish siblings wove a melodic metal tapestry with balls for Angela Gossow to growl upon. With this being a co-headlining set it was relatively short offering the opportunity to bring out the band’s catchiest songs. Arch Enemy have re-recorded songs from their first three albums for an imminent release and with The Immortal we get a taste of what to expect with this line-up. Whilst wisely choosing to not push that album today, it would be intriguing to catch Arch Enemy at one of their own shows treating us to a retro set.

Arch Enemy set list:
Blood On Your Hands / Ravenous / Taking Back Your Soul / Dead Eyes See No Future / The Immortal / Revolution Begins / My Apocalypse / Burning Angel / We Will Rise / Nemesis

So how were Carcass? You tell me. Well actually people did all weekend and apparently they were bloody brilliant. Yes I must admit my pacing of downing Jagermeister’s had gone amiss and as a result I managed to miss them. Damn it!

Carcass set list:
Corporal Jigsore / Buried Dreams / Intro Tape / Incarnate Solvent Abuse / Carnal Forge / No Love Lost / Edge of Darkness / This Mortal Coil / Death Certificate / Keep On Rotting / Ruptured (Intro) / Heartwork

Bloodstock Open Air