Bloodstock Open Air - Friday
9 August 2013
Catton Park, Derbyshire
It was maybe linked to scheduling but I would have expected Death Angel’s stature see them higher up on today’s main stage bill and the crowd response seemed to echo that. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad show from the Bay Area thrashers and nothing was different today for their first ever outdoor UK show. With a set mainly biased towards their reunion albums, plus a few trips back to their 1987 The Ultra Violence debut, Death Angel controlled the crowd for their allotted forty minutes raising the bar for all those due to follow.
Death Angel setlist:
Evil Priest / Voracious Souls / I Chose the Sky / Truce / Claws So Deep / Lord of Hate / The Ultra-Violence (Intro) / Thrown to the Wolves
Bloodbound playing the Sophie Lancaster stage:
Next up was the UK debut of Kataklysm’s Roman themed side project Ex Deo. Taking to the stage in Centurion outfits the band pulled statuesque shapes as the triumphant orchestral backing tapes blared out the PA. The band provided the crunch to go with those tapes and whilst not as hook filled as their main band, the rousing nature of the music saw heads nodding along. However, here was my first clash and it was time to head back to the Sophie Lancaster stage.
Ex Deo setlist:
I, Caligvla / The Tiberius Cliff (Exile to Capri) / Pollice Verso (Damnatio ad Bestia) / The Final War (Battle of Actium) / Per Oculos Aquila / Cruor Nostri Abbas / Romulus
Having deservedly won a place on the New Blood stage in 2010, Shrapnel’s rise continues with a spot on the Sophie Lancaster stage this year. Word is obviously spreading as the tent was very respectful busy for the Norwich thrashers who put in a tight display. On today’s performance there appears to be every indication that they can rub shoulders with the likes of Evile should the follow up to their last EP, The Devastation to Come, hit the mark.
Shrapnel setlist included:
Eternal War / Warhead
A quick trip to the main stage sadly reconfirmed that black metal outdoors in the afternoon at BOA didn’t appear to hit the mark again as we were met with a barrage of drums and barking from Dark Funeral.
Dark Funeral setlist:
The Arrival of Satan's Empire / Open The Gates / Vobiscum Satanas / Atrum Regina / Stigmata / The Fire Eternal / Thus I Have Spoken / My Funeral
Nipping back to the Sophie stage, The Prophecy were commencing their final song, though as frontman Jae Hadley pointed out, their songs are long, hence I caught fair amount of the set. Hadley effortless moved between deep growls and mournful clean vocals along to the familiar Northern doom/death backing.
The Prophecy setlist:
Salvation / Reflections / Don't Forget / Delusion / Redemption
The revolving door for the Firewind frontman position continues to turn with Kelly Sundown Carpenter taking the mic today. Currently listed as temporarily in the roll, Gus G would do well to get him on board permanently as on today’s performance he has the strongest voice I’ve heard front the band. Unfortunately Gus G’s guitar seemed very thin in the overall mix and an occasional, a times painful, popping caused some distraction in the early part of the set I caught on route past the main stage.
Wall of Sound / Head Up High / Few Against Many / World on Fire / Guitar Solo / The Fire and the Fury / Losing My Mind / Mercenary Man / Till the End of Time / Falling to Pieces
My destination was the New Blood stage to catch Prosperina who I’d unfortunately managed to miss at Desert Fest. The Swansea based band are difficult to pigeon hole, mixing the fuzz of Kyuss with the wide-scope of Isis but pulling it all together with massive hooks. The three piece are incredibly tight and absorbed in their performance with drummer Yotin Yo-Yo Walsh in danger of bouncing over his kit at times. Thoroughly absorbing Prosperina delivered one of my favourite sets of the weekend.
Piper Alpha / God vs Darwin / Temples / Graveyard Ambition / ? / Trees Have Eyes
Municipal Waste playing the Ronnie James Dio stage:
Voivod’s marmite appeal had drawn a reduced crowd to the main stage and noticeably thinned as the set progressed. It’s not really music for a casual observer but the die-hards that were gathered, myself included, enjoyed an hour of thinking man’s metal with the Canadians.Birthday boy frontman Snake appeared in very jovial mood, grinning for much of a set which leaned heavily on latest album Target Earth and curiously touched on only three of their previous twelve albums. Nothing from 1989’s Nothingface seemed the biggest omission, particularly their cover of Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine which would have seemed a certain for a festival set. Whilst enjoyable, the lack of volume from Chewy’s guitar meant this was not on a par with a killer performance I caught in Leeds late last year.
Kluskap O'Kom / Tribal Convictions / Target Earth / Psychic Vacuum / Warchaic / Overreaction / Corps Étranger / Forgotten in Space / Mechanical Mind / Voivod
Sprinting across to the Sophie Stage, reformed thrashers Xentrix appeared to have drawn a larger crowd than Voivod. This was my first encounter with the band in nearly 24 years and amazingly the three final songs were the same as at that previous gig. It may have become a bit of a millstone back in the day, but the Preston thrashers don’t ignore their cover of the Ghostbusters theme tune, though it’s Dark Enemy and No Compromise from their 1989 debut Shattered Existence that had me wishing I’d headed over a bit earlier.
Xentrix setlist included:
Ghostbusters / Dark Enemy / No Compromise
The festival felt need it was in need of something anthemic and classic with German legends Accept stepping up to duly oblige. The band’s reunion with the addition of new vocalist Mark Tornillo has been a roaring success and was proved thus again today. It was impressive how well the recent material sat with the more well-known classics. Wolf Hoffmann’s presence and playing demanded your attention as an enthusiastic sing along to Balls To The Wall and the head’s down attack off Fast As A Shark wrapped up a rousing hour of metal.
Hung, Drawn and Quartered / Stalingrad / Restless and Wild / Breaker / Princess of the Dawn / Losers and Winners / Pandemic / Metal Heart / Teutonic Terror / Balls to the Wall / Fast as a Shark
Scar Symmetry playing the Sophie Lancaster stage:
Finally to something I thought I’d never see, King Diamond headlining an outdoor UK festival. The setting was far from understated with the stage resembling Abigail’s mansion complete with stairways and for the early section of the set an iron railing across the front of the stage. The important factor though was the King’s vocals and as he appeared and started to sing opener The Candle the assertions that him giving up smoking have improved his vocal were proved correct with the best performance I’ve heard from him live. The staging, lighting, appearances from Grandma in her wheelchair and Voodoo dancers made for a true headline show spectacle and with the band putting in a tight performance I was left with face ache from grinning through the duration!
King Diamond setlist:
The Candle / Welcome Home / At the Graves / Up from the Grave / Voodoo / Dreams / Sleepless Nights / Drum Solo / Shapes of Black / Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover) / Eye of the Witch / The Family Ghost / Evil (Mercyful Fate cover) / Black Horsemen