Saturday 11th August
So one day down, another day begins at the Bloodstock Festival & i’m just in time to catch Savage Messiah on the Sophie Lancaster stage…
The band took to the stage with all the usual Heavy Metal adrenaline that I’ve seen from them in the past and Joff Bailey was putting forth his normal face gurning Metal poses for the crowd, whilst shredding up all manner of blistering solos.
Dave Silver’s vocals sounded great out of the PA as well and the band seems to just create unforgettable riff after unforgettable riff as they win over the large crowd that has gathered at the Sophie Lancaster stage to see them.
Amongst their set list they played the title track of their latest album Plague Of Conscience which is an absolutely face melting thrashtastic tune that really got the crowd’s heads nodding and to finish up the set the band played out an almighty rendition of Insurrection Rising, the title track of their previous album.
Any fans of Testament would definitely be happy to hear the crushing thrash riff in this song as well!
Despite being a relatively new band on the scene, Savage Messiah have already got 3 albums to their name and seem to be going from strength to strength in attracting more and more of a fan base and improving their live show each and every time that I see them.
This is a band that I will most certainly have to keep my eye on in the future as they rise through the ranks of Trash Metal stardom!
Awesome show guys, come back and melt our faces again soon!
Plague Of Conscience
Carnival Of Souls
Straight after Savage Messiah was time for Dripback, on the Sophie Lancaster stage and I must admit I’ve not seen these guys before, but after hearing so much about them I just had to check them out!
I’d heard that the band were pretty heavy but sufficed to say that this band are more than heavy… …they are certifiably insane! You can certainly hear the mixture of Hardcore and Death Metal influences from bands like Biohazard and Napalm Death and it all comes together into a beautiful sounding chaotic mix that’s like being repeatedly punched and kicked in the face! Pure bliss!
The crowd that’s gathered for the band seems to be a mixture of younger Metal guys and Older Hardcore fans and it doesn’t take long for a pretty crazy moshpit to start up. I’m just happy to stand back and watch the chaos however and have the occasional windmill headbanging moment!
The bands set is a short but sweet and one that left the crowd wanting more, but in the short time that Dripback performed I think it left not only myself but many other members of the crowd, really impressed with what this new UK band can achieve on stage.
To say that Dripback completely raped and killed every member of the audience that day would be an understatement; these guys were completely and utterly insane and made damn sure to leave a trail of Death Metal destruction in their wake. I look forward to hearing more material from these guys in the future!
(Unfortunately I have not been able to find the set list for Dripback’s performance at Bloodstock)
After a break to conduct a few interviews and have some lunch, it was soon time to check out Crowbar. Unfortunately our photographer was unwell at this point & unable to shoot this set.
Having heard of Crowbar from being a fan of Down but not really knowing the band’s material that well, I thought I would take the opportunity to check them out at Bloodstock and see why they had attracted such a name for themselves within the Sludge/Stoner Metal genre.
The band rips into a pretty epic rendition of Conquering to start the show off going straight into New Dawn and the low tuned slow sludgy riffs kick out of the PA with authority, much like Kirk Windstein’s vocals. With riffs like this you can’t help but gurn your face up and raise the horns! They really are just absolute belters!
Kirk then greets the crowd and says “I’m not going to waste time telling Rock stories or whatever, let’s just Jam our fucking Balls off ok!?” before roaring (literally) into Burn Your World and the band sounds really nice and tight on the slow Doom style segments of this song. The live sound does start to deteriorate slightly towards the end of the set though and the vocals seem to be overpowering the mix in places which kind of made it harder to make out exactly what the guitars and bass were playing.
The crowd seems to be relatively interested during Crowbars set but there’s certainly no one that I can see going overly mental or getting really enthusiastic for it.
I have to say that I really do like the riffs, I think some of them were absolutely killer, but for me personally I prefer Metal with a bit more dynamics to the tempo so it has a mixture of both slow and fast and not just slow, but that’s just my personal choice in music really.
The sound then seems to come back and come together for All I Had (I Gave) which was just an absolute ass kicker of a song, the outro riff had me headbanging like hell as it’s just so fucking groovy! The band then sees out their set with Planets Collide and Cemetery Angels and people really start grooving to both of these songs. A good set overall but one that I personally couldn’t get into so much as I like my music fast and aggressive…
Burn Your World
The Lasting Dose
Sever The Wicked Hand
High Rate Extinction
All I Had (I Gave)
Now, I’m going to try and keep this short and sweet and not bore you as much as Mayhem pretty much bored me. This was quite simply one of the worst and most boring performances of any band that I have ever had the displeasure of witnessing, period.
Mayhem took to the stage with a pretty lifeless and static performance from all of the members and Atilla’s vocals (despite sounding cool with his work in Sunn O))) ) sounded almost hilariously awful, the rest of the bands live sound was pretty shockingly bad as well and as they hardly really acknowledged when one song had finished and another begun, the whole set seemed to just blur into an incessantly repetitive drone and I felt like falling asleep.
Another gripe that I have about Mayhem’s live show which seems to be the case every time I see Hellhammer perform in any band is that he always seems to trigger his drums in such a horrendously bad way that it sounds truly awful! He might as well just do away with playing an acoustic kit altogether and just perform in stage with a Roland V-Drum kit instead it sounds so artificial.
As I said before I don’t want to waste too much writing about these guys, as to be perfectly honest I can’t for the life of me understand why this band keeps getting booked to play Main Stage slots at big name Metal festivals when they seem to consistently perform utterly terrible shows like this, and the studio material really isn’t that great either. Surely with the wealth of other great Black Metal bands out there in the world today this stage slot could have been given to a more deserving band, rather than one that has just been overrated from day one because of some ridiculous teenage incidents that happened 20 years ago.
All I can say is, this was quite simply one of the most boring and lacklustre Black Metal performances I’ve ever seen and I hope I don’t ever have to sit through that kind of utter boredom ever again.
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
Pure Fucking Armageddon
Next up it’s time for Sanctuary, and this is a band that I never thought I’d end up seeing live if I’m honest. Being a big Nevermore fan as well as a Sanctuary fan, I couldn’t help but be somewhat disappointed and upset at the breakup of Nevermore, but the reformation of Sanctuary and the new solo albums from Jeff Loomis at least give us some new material from both parties I guess.
Sanctuary took to the stage and launched into an awesome rendition of Die For My Sins and in that moment I think both myself and the whole audience were transported back to 1987!
It sounded like the band had never split up really and the material still sounded great live in the present day.
After the first song had finished there were chants of Battle Angels, coming from the crowd straight away and Warrel replied with “No way man! We’re saving that one for last; you want me to blow out my voice already!? Haha!” and with that they then went into Taste Revenge from the Into The Mirror Black album and the heavy intro riff gets everyone moving before Future Tense comes up as the next song and you can see on my face and the folks around me how great it is to finally hear these songs performed live, and once the band goes into The Mirror Black then you can see the nostalgia growing.
It’s when the band start talking about details of their new upcoming album that the intrigue really grows, as Warrell announces to the audience that the title will be The Year The Sun Died and that it will be out very soon and they then perform a couple of songs from the upcoming album entitled I Am Low and The World Is Wired, the first of which has a more slow paced Ballad type feel to it and sounds similar to the Dreaming Neon Black era Nevermore stuff mixed of course with the classic elements of Sanctuary and the track also increases tempo towards the end into a dark vision of Warrel Dane’s mental torment (I can’t wait to hear the studio version on the new album!).
The World Is Wired on the other hand is a much more up-tempo and aggressive song with heavy riffing and double bass drumming that all comes together to create what I’m sure will be a future Sanctuary classic for live shows.
The band then finishes off their set with Battle Angels and before performing it Warrel asks “I think you all know what the last song is going to be, don’t you? What is it!?” to which the crowd screams back BATTLE ANGELS! And once the intro riff kicks in it really gets everyone headbanging and throwing the horns (I mean you have to with a riff like that don’t you!?). Warrel’s vocals for the most part sound great but you can tell during some of the high notes of the chorus that he was struggling to hit them, which I guess is no small feat when you listen to the original recordings and hear some of the ridiculously high notes he was hitting back then!
Despite that though the band did a pretty good comeback show, although I think I’d prefer to see what they can do at one of their own headline shows to be sure. I also can’t wait to hear the new album when it’s released as I’m sure it will be one of 2013’s most anticipated albums and I’ll be counting the days until it’s released!
Die For My Sins
The Mirror Black
I Am Low
The World Is Wired
After another break for me to conduct some more interviews and get more food and drink it was then time for one of my favourite Metal bands of all time, it is of course the mighty Testament!
Right from the start it seemed like the crowd area and all of the stage was packed with people all trying to get a good spot in anticipation of the Thrash Legends return, and as the intro track of music from Hellraiser played out you could feel the adrenaline building for an all-out Thrash Metal assault. I have seen Testament live quite a number of times but to see the classic line-up back together and playing live is something really special.
There was a slight glitch during the first song Rise Up (from the new Dark Roots Of The Earth album) where the intro track seemed to be playing on a loop whilst the band was playing which was distracting to say the least, but once that had been sorted the performance was quite simply jaw dropping! Going straight from Rise Up into The New Order the crowd instantly goes from the relaxed state that it was in whilst waiting for the band to come on, to a sea of hands raised and hair flailing. If there’s one band that can seriously get a crowd going, it’s Testament!
Right after The New Order it’s time for another Testament classic in the form of The Preacher and the band sounds as tight as ever and the crowd goes wild at the end and starts the Testament chants straight away. Chuck Billy then announces that it’s time for a new track from the latest album Dark Roots Of The Earth entitled Native Blood. During the switch-overs of bands on the Main Stage they had been playing the same rotation songs over and over again in the form of Doro Pesch and a few other bands all weekend and Testament’s Native Blood was one of the tracks, so each member of the audience was pretty well versed on the lyrics as it turned out!
After True American Hate (also from the latest album) it was then time for More Than Meets The Eye from the Formation Of Damnation album (and my personal favourite from that album), and although this song does kick ass and the live rendition that Testament did at Bloodstock was awesome… …I can’t help but automatically think of Transformers when I hear this song, I guess that’s not so much of a bad thing as Transformers are cool (yes they are!!) but I’ve always just found the song title to be quite chucklesome. Anyways, I’m rambling, on with the review!
Alex Skolnick provided some good backing vocals on this song to get the crowd going as well as shredding up his guitar in typically awesome style and the rest of the band seemed to be really gelling together nicely on this track, it really did sound pretty fucking awesome from where I was standing, and the title track of the new album Dark Roots Of The Earth sounded brilliant as well, it’s got all the hallmarks of the classic 80’s Testament era mixed with the heavy elements of their more modern material as well.
Then it’s time for another Testament classic in the form of Into The Pit and this does quite literally start getting the pit going, and in my case getting my well and truly knackered and worn out neck windmill headbanging! Such a classic song and I never get tired of hearing it live! If the crowd thought that the Thrash Metal onslaught was over though then things really got kicked into gear with Over The Wall and D.N.R. and I even spotted our Metal-Rules photographer (Jamie Hunter) friends riding an inflatable Killer Whale and crowd surfing over the audience… …I swear I didn’t drink that much! It actually happened!
Another cool part of the show was that during D.N.R. and right up to the end of the show the stage was decorated with a banner that said “Randy Free!” which of course was in reference to the recent legal problems of Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God and Chuck Billy screamed “RANDY’S FREE!” before launching into the song.
The band then finished up the set with 3 Days In Darkness which gave an ominous prediction if the theories of 21/12/12 are to be considered. All in all though it has to be said that Testament put on easily one of the best performances of the entire festival and this band seems to just get better and better every time I see them live, not to mention the fact that it was amazing to see Gene Hoglun and Alex Skolnick back in the band and performing amazingly.
Long may it continue, this is the Testament that people have waited a long time to see and my god was it worth it!
The New Order
True American Hate
More Than Meets The Eye
Dark Roots Of The Earth
Into The Pit
Practice What You Preach
Over The Wall
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
3 Days In Darkness
Once Testament had finished, the sun had set and darkness was across the festival site, and it was then time for the 2nd day headliners, Machine Head!
Now there had been some misgivings from quite a few Bloodstock festival goers about Machine Head being confirmed as headliners, as they are a band that does regularly play the UK on a number of occasions and for a festival headliner you normally would want something special and unexpected and get a band to play that doesn’t normal either play the UK or indeed play live that much at all. I can understand this completely and before the band were confirmed to headline the festival I was really hoping that the headliner would be King Diamond instead, especially given the whole secrecy behind the announcement and holding off to announce it on the 6th of June at 6pm but to be honest, I’m still baffled by why it was kept secret…
Despite some people being unhappy at the choice of headliner and the way in which they were announced, I think it’s fair to say that if Machine Head are required to put on a show, then they’ll put on a fucking show! This is a band that consistently delivers blindingly good live performances and tonight was no exception!
Launching straight into I Am Hell to start the set off, the stage is bathed in red light and flames launch up from the stage and almost reach the lighting rig! I think Rob Flynn wasn’t sure when to expect them to go off at first as you could see him recoil backwards at the first one at the sheer fucking size and heat of them! They looked pretty amazing though and even from where I was standing (which was right near the sound desk) I could feel the heat from there! So on stage it must have been absolutely roasting!
Rob Flynn then greets the crowd and shouts “Bloodstock! For our brother Dimebag! For YOUR brother Dimebag! This is Aesthetics Of Hate!”, and then things really start kicking into gear.
The pit starts up, the horns start flying and the hair starts flailing and if there’s ever a band to get things kicked off quickly into their set and start tearing things up then Machine Head have to be one of the best, and the live sound right from the get go sounds really fucking nice.
Rob and Phil’s duel guitar solos sound awesome and Dave McClain’s drumming combined with Adam Duce’s pounding bass lines give a crushing amount of low end to the live sound that literally shakes through the ground of Bloodstock.
After Aesthetics Of Hate the intro to Imperium starts playing out and this is where I really start to go nuts, as much as I love Machine Head’s old material as well, there is definitely something to be said about this song, and the moment that Rob Flynn shouts “HEAR ME NOW!!”, that kick ass riff comes in was just awesome.
I don’t think there was a single person in the place that didn’t pretty much lose their shit in one way or another once that riff hit and the floor started shaking!
The chants then start up and the crowd is rabidly excited to hear more! I was quite surprised at the crowd reaction really as I was thinking it might be a bit of a divided opinion but it seems like tonight Machine Head really had everyone on side and enjoying the show.
Rob then takes some time to address the crowd and says “I wanna say a loud and hearty cheers to the loud and fucking crazy maniacs of Bloodstock! I don’t know if you guys know but today falls on the 20th anniversary of Machine Head’s very first concert ever! We played in a house, we played our roadie’s house and he hated his landlord so he said to us, you guys come play in my house and we’ll destroy the place at the end! So, in honour of being able to play concerts for 20 years, we let you guys vote on 5 songs that you wanted to hear live that would eventually end up on the Burn My Eyes album, and we’re gonna play all of them!”
The next song they played hadn’t been played in the UK for around 14 years or so, not since the very first tour for Burn My Eyes back in 1995, which was ‘A Thousand Lies!’ With that the audience was taken right back to 1994 where it all began for Machine Head…
The Burn My Eyes theme carries on with Death Church and Blood For Blood (during which an almighty circle pit opened up in front of the stage!), which then gets broken up with Darkness Within from the latest Unto The Locust album, before the final fury of songs from Burn My Eyes hits with Real Eyes Realize Real Lies, Block (followed by Halo from The Blackening) and finally Davidian to end the night off with a real ass kicker of a song!
Despite the metal fans who said Machine Head were not the right choice or Bloodstock, despite they certainly put on a performance tonight that people will remember for quite some time to come and there’s not many bands around that can boast a good and healthy 20 years of history and material to their name.
Machine Head came to Bloodstock, and Machine Head conquered Bloodstock, and that’s all there is to it!
I Am Hell (Sonata In C)
Aesthetics Of Hate
A Thousand Lies
Blood For Blood
Real Eyes Realize Real Lies