Bloodstock Open Air - Sunday
14 August 2011
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
Hell’s success may be long over due but it’s deservedly coming at last.As I type this they sit well ahead in a poll for best band of the day on the mainstage on Sunday and I’m not going to disagree.Aside from a set of timeless metal songs, they are just so thoroughly entertaining to watch.It’s impossible to take your eyes off frontman David Bower. Wearing a headset microphone in order to free up his hands, the trained actor uses his skills whether gesticulating, picking out audience members, climbing atop of an onstage pulpit or flailing himself.It’s all performed with tongue slightly in cheek but looking around me all I saw was smiles from the crowd.Mixing the more epic Blasphemy & The Master with shorter catchier numbers such as On Earth As It Is In Hell, Hell truly reigned down on Bloodstock.
Let Battle Commence / On Earth As It Is In Hell / Plague & Fyre / The Quest / The Oppressors / Blasphemy & The Master / Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us
Last year for me Gorgoroth proved black metal early in the day outdoors at a festival rarely cuts the mustard.I’d like to say 1349 proved me wrong but whilst they did eclipse their Norwegians brethren, I was still left underwhelmed.With a sound so dense it was always going to be a difficult task and the mix didn’t really do them any favours.Onstage the band looked suitably grim, covered in corpse paint with Seidemann on bass hiding beneath a hooded cloak.At times I was struggling to work out what the band were playing, though When I Was Flesh was a rare moment when things fell into place.
Riders Of The Apocalypse / I Am Abomination / Chasing Dragons / Serpentine Sibilance / When I Was Flesh / Sculptor Of Flesh / Atomic Chapel
Continuing the corpse painted theme, Alan “Nemtheanga” Averill appeared to have more on then all of 1349, with some fake blood added for good measure.The similarities pretty much end there though with Primordial building hypnotic Celtic tinged walls of intertwined guitars, with Nemtheanga’s soaring vocals atop.Well, for two songs at least as following As Rome Burns there’s confusion when the band stop with Nemtheanga pointing at his throat and even unable to speak into the microphone.Drummer Simon O’Laoghaire eventually came to the front of the stage to announce Nemtheanga’s voice had gone, which had never happened before.The band decided to soldier on with Nemtheanga attempting on various occasions to sing to little avail.However, the crowd warmed to the band’s determination, singing the words to Empire Falls.It would be nice if Primordial are given the chance to return next year.
No Grave Deep Enough / As Rome Burns / Bloodied Yet Unbowed / Empire Falls / The Coffin Ships
Evil Scarecrow playing the Sophie Stage:
There’s not much of a fanfare with Napalm Death’s arrival to the stage.Barney Greenway is the last to appear with a humble wave as he dumped his pink towel on the drum kit.Strong Arm kicked in and Greenway commenced his dancing like he was being attacked by a wasp as the band blasted.“For those looking nonplussed by the noise attack, we are Napalm Death from Birmingham”, noted Greenway.Defending his pink towel he noted he was secure with his sexuality and picked it on purpose.Mixing new millennium songs with short “Blink or you’ll miss them” blasts from their first two albums, Napalm Death provide a satisfyingly brutal aural attack.Suffer The Children was the only 1990s track played before Instinct Of Survival closed the set.
Napalm Death setlist:
Strong Arm / Unchallenged Hate / Continuing War On Stupidity / Next On The List / When All Is Said & Done / Lucid Fairytale / Social Sterility / Diktat / Lowlife / On The Brink Of Extinction / Scum / Life? / Control / M.A.D. / You Suffer / Nazi Punks F**k Off / Suffer The Children / Instinct Of Survival
Nemhain playing the Sophie Stage:
In the Sophie Tent, Hellish Outcast picked up where Byfrost left off the Norwegian metal on Friday.In fact both bands feature Alkolust on the drums, but the difference is Hellish Outcast are a far more brutal proposition.Fronted by Thebon of Keep Of Kalessin, subtleties are not welcome and the focus appears to be the channelling of aggression.In fact with the sound painfully loud and a tiring body, I eventually give in to the relentless assault and submit to the tables outside the tent.
Hellish Outcast setlist included:
Rapid Eye Movement
Hammerfall playing the Dio Stage:
Heading back in for the following Survivor’s Zero I had been really looking forward to seeing the Finnish band having been impressed by their debut album CMXCIX.There’s a familiar face on bass in the shape of man mountain Tapio Wilska, the former lead singer of Finntroll; though his current band are very different, having more in common with traditional Scandinavian melodic death metal.However, guitars are integral to that sound and they weren’t really cutting through the mix which severely blunted the bands attack.This was a shame as the performance was good but deciding to conceded due to the poor sound I decided to head over to see Exodus.
Survivor’s Zero setlist included:
Thorns Of Rapture / Scavengers Of Christ / Lucifer Effect
The clash with Survivor’s Zero had meant I had expected to have missed much of Exodus’ set, however apparently they appeared late on stage meaning they were only just wrapping up opening number The Ballad Of Leonard & Charles.Obviously one of the biggest draws of the day, a massive crowd had gathered and the pit near the front was seeing a lot of action.Frontman Rob Dukes was a non stop dynamo, working the stage and crowd with the rest of the band also putting in an assured display.Whilst not the worse sound of the weekend, it did have a distinctly muddy feel and the more mid-paced Blacklist probably cut through best.That song saw Gary Holt chugging a beer with his picking hand and letting Dukes do the picking of his guitar.The late start and lengthy songs meant for only half a dozen numbers, with closer The Toxic Waltz getting an enormous pit on Dukes command.
The Ballad Of Leonard & Charles / Beyond The Pale / A Lesson In Violence / Blacklist / Bonded By Blood / The Toxic Waltz
Only back in January 2010, at a screening for their The Flames Of The End DVD, At The Gates guitarist Anders Bjöler told me “the itch had been scratched” and that was the end of the band.However three years after their last appearance at Bloodstock the band are back again.Last time the band appeared it was dark and raining.By contrast, today the sun had finally come out, not particularly death metal as frontman Tomas Lindberg noted.For once without his usual peaked hat, Lindberg seemed in a relaxed mood and in fact it looked like the feeling spread through the band, with guitarist Martin Larsson in particular grinning from ear to ear throughout.The set was very similar to three years ago with just Windows added and The Beautiful Wound and All Life Ends omitted and with a good sound it’s an enjoyable hour.Side of stage was Exodus frontman Rob Dukes and Lindberg noted that At The Gates had a tough slot today sandwiched between two of their favourite bands in Exodus and Morbid Angel.Where next for the band?Who knows, Lindberg refused to speculate in a recent Terrorizer article.At the very least, sporadic reunions like these would be very welcome.
At The Gates setlist:
Slaughter of the Soul / Cold / The Swarm / Terminal Spirit Disease / Suicide Nation / Raped By the Light of Christ / Under a Serpent Sun / Windows / World of Lies / Unto Others / The Burning Darkness / Nausea / Need / Blinded By Fear / Kingdom Gone
Amaranthe playing the Sophie Stage:
With all the controversy over Morbid Angel’s latest album Ilud Divinum Insanus, I hadn’t been surprised to not see many new Morbid Angel t-shirts this weekend.The artwork for the album flanked a huge band logo at the back of the stage and I wondered what kind of reception the band would receive.Well with astonishing sound, probably the best of the weekend and an opening trio of Immortal Rites, Fall From Grace and Rapture, the crowd chants of “Morbid” said it all.Armed with that great sound and tight as the proverbial, Morbid Angel were immense.Despite looking a bit like Nikki Sixx, David Vincent maintained a strong presence and commanded from centre stage.Guitarist Trey Azagthoth as ever was a mop of hair but I swear I saw his face on at least one occasion.Three new songs were played together, though two were in the more traditional Morbid Angel style.I Am Morbid deviates from the norm and although there were a couple of middle fingers raised during it near me, for the most the crowd seemed to enjoy joining in the “Morbid” chants once more.With a few older classics to close out the set, Morbid Angel left a very positive impression.
Morbid Angel setlist:
Immortal Rites / Fall From Grace / Rapture / Maze of Torment / Existo Vulgoré / Nevermore / I Am Morbid / Angel of Disease / Chapel of Ghouls / Where the Slime Live / God of Emptiness
Well it was nearly over for me.Having seen a below par Motorhead performance at Sonisphere, I had taken the decision to leave as soon as Johan had taken his photos.As a result I caught only the first three songs of the set and that was enough to convince me I’d made the right decision.With a very quiet sound for a Motorhead show and a less than convincing performance of those three openers I headed off.It’s been widely reported on the forums and Motorhead have even issued a statement explaining the band had picked up a virus.However after Lemmy asked how we were doing to a cheer from the crowd, how true were his words, “We’ll soon fix that!”
Iron First / Stay Clean / Get Back In Line / Metropolis / Over The Top / One Night Stand / Rock Out / The Thousand Names Of God / I Know How To Die / The Chase Is Better Than The Catch / In The Name Of Tragedy / Just ‘Cos You Got The Power / Going To Brazil / Killed By Death / Ace Of Spades