So our adventure into the wonderland of metal, brought with as much elegance as a Derbyshire field can offer, came to an end in what one can describe as only the finest way possible.
Sunday dawned bright with plenty of sunlight to illuminate the campsite and the Dio stage as I and my many hungover friends staggered into the arena for another brutal assault of international metal.
And what a good line up it was to soothe the pain our partying had brought. All the way from Portland, Oregon, came the atmospheric outfit: Agalloch – a band with all the relaxing riffs and hypnotism to have us feeling good to be alive as we lay on the grass enjoying their presence.
What a performance this was. Atmospheric doom metal laced with all the right chimes and blends only shoegazing and post-rock can offer.
I’ve been following post metal for some time now and have fallen madly in love with bands like Alcest, Les Discret and Deafheaven, and now Agolloch have joined those ranks.
Very little was said from the Americans, which was fitting because the flowing river of sound was all we needed to feel human again.
The sound was spot on and no irritating cut outs like on the previous night. Something very memorable and a good starter. [5/5]
We then witnessed another fantastic offering from Sweden, one of the meccas of European metal: Wolf. Celebrating 20 years on the road delivering blistering traditional metal.
And that blistering tradition doesn’t seem to have waned over time, for the band was on point all the way through its short time at the helm.
Vocalist Viper seemed to control the crowd like an artist, people were singing along to the catchy choruses and headbanging in unison all across the swelling crowd of happy festival goers.
To commemorate all their hard work, Viper mentioned the band had begun brewing their own ale, and I do hope to try it once it’s available here, for my standards tell me it’ll be just as bittersweet as this performance.
I also enjoyed when Viper threw his shirt into the audience – nice traditional rock n roll frontman style. [4/5]
Orange Goblin graced the stage next. I’ve never been much of a fan of stoner or doom metal, but this band made me think otherwise, as I was quite taken by their fusing of traditional punk rock riffs combined with all the right anger of sludge metal.
It was like the Ramones on acid. I know said band sang about drugs a lot, but this was what you’d get if you took the punk fathers’ chords, blended them with all the right drug fusions of bands like Sleep and Electric Wizard and performed it with all the right shouted vocals similar to Grand Magus et al.
Frontman Ben Ward had the crowd cheering the moment he took to stage. And his larger than life appearance just made the whole experience more and more over the top. I’ll be listening to Orange Goblin a lot more nowadays. [4/5]
The Devil’s Whip
Cities of Frost
The Filthy & the Few
They Come Back
Quincy the Pigboy
Red Tide Rising
Up next, also celebrating a milestone 30 years on the road, putting their home country of Brazil on the metal map were Sepultura.
The band whose career has stretched across the boundaries of Thrash, Death, Groove and Nu Metal arrived using all the right influences their Brazilian heritage can do for the most extreme music around.
Drumming in particular was quite subversive and styled on typical Brazilian roots and vocalist Derrick Green delivered a stellar performance speaking in Portuguese and English.
A good replacement who put the legendary Max Cavalera to shame.
Their set spanned all of the 30 years and 13 albums released to date. A good performance worth watching for anyone who grew up with this band. [4/5]
Troops of Doom
Under My Skin
From the Past Comes the Storms
Roots Bloody Roots
I then ventured into the Sophie Lancaster tent to check out the solo offerings of Ol Drake, having left Evile and set up his oddly named project: Old Rake.
And from what I witnessed, this performance had about as much charisma as a rusty old rake lying forgotten at the road side. What the hell was up with those performers in green jump suits? Was there some sort of in-joke I’d missed out on?
The music was okay, but the presence on stage was like watching an episode of the Catherine Tate Show. A boring, overused and lowest common denominator set of catch phrase based jokes. The jump suit guys would have been fine for the first song or two, but they stayed alongside Ol for the whole of the set.
Dull, pathetic, boring, very little creativity…..there’s really not much praise I can give for this guy. Solos and riffs were standard thrash, but nothing really stood out. Maybe it’s time Drake hung up his guitar and took a break from music for a bit. [0.5/5]
Thankfully, Finnish folk devils Ensiferum cheered me up when they arrived on the Dio stage.
I’d watched the band on their Europe tour back in February when they headlined London, promoting their new album: One Man Army.
And here, the guys pulled no punches in getting straight down to business, playing crowd pleaser after crowd pleaser. A sign of a band who know how to work a crowd in a field on a hot summer’s day.
Very pleasing performance including my favourite of their tracks: Twilight Tavern – something that hyped up the crowd as much as me, so good work there.
But if I were to frown upon Ensiferum’s performance: what was with those dancing girls they brought out at the end?
There’s nothing in Ensiferum’s repertoire and back catalogue to suggest they are a band dealing with topics of love, sex, sleaze or decadent partying, so why bring out something like this?
I did enjoy watching these beautiful ladies perform, but I don’t think this was the right band for said dancers. It did feel like the group were milking the crowd for as many cheap laughs and whoops as possible. This was a pretty naff move for a band whom I admire, still admire and expect better from in the future. [3.5/5]
Axe of Judgement
Two of Spades
On the Sophie Lancaster stage, just after the Finnish folksters had taken to the road, came the hilarious parody thrash outfit: Lawnmower Deth.
You know what you get with Lawnmower Deth – good musicianship, a barrel of laughs and so-much siiliness that you could end up in tears of joy.
On the Sophie stage they didn’t disappoint – props a plenty and fan favourites such as ‘Did You Spill My Pint’ and ‘Seventh Church of the Apocalyptic Lawnmower’ were on display, in addition to a rather OTT cover of Slade’s ‘We’ll Bring The House Down’.
A guest appearance from one of Bloodstock favorites – ‘Dr Hell’ from Evil Scarecrow proved the fun never stops
And that’s not to mention the hi jinks around ‘Satan’s Trampoline’! [4.5/5]
Spook Perv Happenings in the Snooker Hall
Flying Killer Cobs From the Planet Bob
Did You Spill My Pint?
Cobwoman of Deth Meets Mr SmellyMop
Sumo Rabbit and His Inescapeable Trap of Doom
Urban Surfer 125
We’ll Bring the House Down
Seventh Church of the Apocalyptic Lawnmower
And then came the moment I’d been waiting for the whole weekend. Back in 2010 I saw death metal flagship, Cannibal Corpse live for the first time in this very field. The crowd went absolutely mental and Cannibal have become that band I refer to as: ‘the one capable of turning the whole crowd into a circle pit.’
I was ready to take on whatever the other fans around me could throw, and the moment George Corpsegrinder Fisher launched into his infamous death growls, everything became physical.
That was until three or four songs in, when I noticed that a big, healthy pit had formed and I was a little ashamed as Cannibal Corpse are capable of doing greater damage than this, but I had to remember I was there for the music.
And what I great set these death metal veterans had lined up. All the classics: Demented Aggression, Sentenced to Burn, I Cum Blood, Make Them Suffer, and ending on the infamous: Hammer Smashed Face.
This band are renowned throughout the world as the nuclei of the death metal genre, and bloodstock has taught me why. Because Cannibal Corpse were tight as hell and the sound system was at a level I don’t think employed on any band before. Everyone was having a good time and it was as if I were listening to Cannibal on CD surrounded by all the right friends.
A band capable of making thousands go mental in the space of a few minutes is something not that many can claim to have done. I salute Cannibal Corpse for their ravishing aggression and hope they return soon with more tales of zombies, serial killers and goriness. [5/5]
Scourge of Iron
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Disposal of the Body
Sentenced to Burn
Kill or Become
I Cum Blood
Make Them Suffer
A Skull Full of Maggots
Hammer Smashed Face
Devoured by Vermin
I couldn’t think of much that could have topped the awe of Cannibal Corpse, and follow up band, Black Label Society didn’t seem to do that.
Black Label Society are a band I’ve regarded as overrated for some time now. Having listened to their Southern Rock fused riffage and over the top solos, I’ve come to the conclusion that they haven’t really done anything new.
They are that band you want to listen to when you’re belting down Route 66 or the Autobahns in Germany, not that sort of band you want to watch live in a field.
Granted, the crowd were having fun, but I just couldn’t help seeing this group as a Judas Priest clone.
I’ve no interest in motorbikes or travelling, so that might be why this band aren’t a favourite, but the music is what’s most important.
And here we had a band who were giving it all they had and their loyalist were present and showing true support, but I sadly did not warm to them. [2.5/5]
The Beginning… At Last
Bleed for Me
Heart of Darkness
My Dying Time
Damn the Flood
Godspeed Hell Bound
The day then reached twilight, and the final act of the entire festival. in the lead up to this performance, I could safely say I’d had one hell of a time seeing an awesome array of bands and fraternizing with many keen metallers. Now it was time to witness the swansong of Bloodstock 2015: none other than musician and film maker: Rob Zombie.
Zombie is one of those acts I’ve known of for many years, but I’ve never properly sat down and listened to his work. I have watched clips from his many horror movies and found them mildly amusing, but now was the time to witness his contributions to the metal world.
And I can now report, that Rob Zombie is worthy of all the praise people give to him, because he puts on one hell of a show.
His appearance reminded me of Carl McCoy from Fields of the Nephilim, and his band is made up of some of the finest musicians who deliver an excellent stage attack.
This was like watching Iron Maiden if they’d started playing Horror Punk.
Rob Zombie was loud, brash, toungue-in-cheek, and had all the stage presence and pyrotechnics to make the crowd go absolutely bananas. There wasn’t a single slip up on any track.
I was most amused when some people crowd surfed on an inflatable couch and Rob shouted between songs: ‘hey my couch!’ A great sense of humour goes down well with any good musician.
As well as delivering excellently camp and flamboyant horror themed metal, Zombie remembered his routes and paid tribute to the fathers of punk: The Ramones with a cover of Blitzkrieg Bop.
This was the finest cover I’d heard of said anthem and brought out the angst teenager in me, singing along with all the might in my lungs.
This was a performance I wouldn’t forget for many a year. Thank you Rob Zombie. I’d put you on a par with Alice Cooper when thinking of the best headliners I’ve seen at bloodstock over the years. [5/5]
Teenage Nosferatu Pussy
(I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine
Living Dead Girl
Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown
More Human Than Human
Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga
Meet the Creeper
Thunder Kiss ’65
The Lords of Salem
Well that was a wrap. Bloodstock satisfied my festival cravings for another year. Atmosphere wise, the people I came across this time were as much a bunch of legends as everyone else I’ve met in this green and pleasant field. I do look forward to next year’s line up because this year delivered a good set of bands who all showed that rock and metal isn’t going anywhere as some journalists have said over the last few months. Whenever I step through the bloodstock gates, I know there is a place for me in this world. And that world is still alive and kicking as any healthy metal fan.
See you next year bloodstock. It’s been a pleasure.