Sunday 12th August
So Day 2 was over, it was time to get some drinks in after Machine Head, get some drunken sleep and on to the final day of Bloodstock 2012, and after a quick breakfast and interview with Evile it was time to check out Nile.
Nile are a band that I’ve always had a massive amount of respect for, for their insane technicality on a lot of their songs and also their use of really cool Eastern and Egyptian scales in their riffing, and since I had not seen them live in years I really wanted to check them out and see how their live show compared now to all those years ago.
First funny moment of the day was when one of the guys announcing the bands came on stage to announce Nile and the sound guy immediately shouted through the PA “wait, we’re not fucking ready! I didn’t cue the god damn announcement yet did I!?”, much to the hilarious enjoyment of the crowd as the “You Fucked Up!!” chants started up in abundance!
The whole intro sequence didn’t seem to go that well, as the intro track only played out for a few seconds before the band walked on stage looking slightly confused, but all this was subsided once they got into gear and Sacrifice Unto Sebek pounds out of the PA system.
Most of the crowd at this point are not headbanging or moshing but are simply watching in sheer awe of the insane technical display that was being witnessed, either that or their just too tired and hungover to move!
The live sound for this show was absolutely superb as everything seemed to be set just at the right levels for this show and I was absolutely loving it!
The Death Metal annihilation continued with Lashed To The Slave Stick (one of my personal favourites) and Ithyphallic. It’s nice to hear a song like Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld in the morning to wake you up as well, and I’ve always loved the fact that Nile can invent song titles that are almost as long as the actual songs themselves as well.
It was then time for a song from their new album At The Gates Of Sethu, in the form of Supreme Humanism Of Megalomania, which sounded pretty damn awesome! The riffs just sounded awesomely low, evil and aggressive and I’m sure I shall have to check out the latest album as soon as possible after hearing this song.
After that it was one for us old school fans with Sarcophagus from the In Their Darkened Shrines album, for me this was one of the first Nile songs I ever heard so it was really awesome to hear it played live again, and if that wasn’t enough the band then finished their set off with Black Seeds Of Vengeance.
By this point I was well away and properly woken up, and despite every muscle in my neck saying no, my brain said yes and the windmilling for the day had begun!
The crowd seemed to become very much alive during this song as well and a pretty giant circle pit opened up right from the start of the song.
Despite playing a fairly short set of just under 40 minutes, Nile laid waste to the land of Bloodstock today and destroyed the ears and necks of every person in attendance with some True Egyptian Darkness!
Sacrifice Unto Sebek
Lashed To The Slave Stick
Permitting The Noble Dead To Descend To The Underworld
Supreme Humanism Of Megalomania
Black Seeds Of Vengeance
After a break and once Nile had finished in order to interview Anaal Nathrakh, Paradise Lost and Headcharger as well as grabbing a good amount of food to keep me going for the day, it was then time for the North of England’s finest Thrash Metal band, Evile!
The band opens up with an awesome rendition of Five Serpents Teeth; the title track of their latest album and the live sound right from the start is fucking perfect! It’s pretty much almost as good as hearing Metallica or Megadeth in their heyday and it’s clear to see that this band will become even bigger, despite being the humble laid back Northerners that they are.
Each band member looks really pleased to be back at Bloodstock as well, and especially on the Main Stage considering their amazing story of starting out only a few years back on the New Blood Stage and then rising up the ranks of the Metal world, to now be playing amongst the best of them on the Main Stage at Bloodstock.
Second song in the set is We Who Are About To Die and Ol Drake’s lead guitar solos fire out of the PA and sound absolutely brilliant, if this isn’t a guy who’ll be remembered as a Metal guitar legend in years to come then I don’t know who is!
After that it’s time for a couple more songs from Five Serpent’s Teeth with In Dreams Of Terror (and some of the guitar picking speeds on this track were just ridiculously insane!). In Memoriam and Cult before the band then brings out an older classic in the form of Infected Nation.
Matt Drake had a bit of banter with the crowd during the middle part of the set and informs them that they’ve been told not to swear or use any bad language on the stage during their set, so says “ok, let’s put this to the test then, let me see your flipping horns you plonkers!” and later Matt then says it’s time for the live debut of their song Centurion which was written specifically for Bloodstock, but had up until this point never been played live.
So we were then treated to the first ever live rendition of the song, and I have to say, it sounded pretty damn good!
The set was then finished off with the classic “Thrasher” and everyone around me was screaming out the lyrics of “Bow Down To The Thhhrrrrraaaassshhheeerrr!!!”.
All in all, Evile did a pretty brilliant set, despite them not having a massive amount of time and the live sound was excellent. Ol Drake’s guitar playing was mind blowing as always, Matt Drake’s vocals sounded Metal As Fuck and it’s clear that this is a band that is really going to be going places in the future and becoming a big name band in the world of Thrash Metal!
Five Serpent’s Teeth
We Who Are About To Die
In Dreams Of Terror
After Evile came Anvil, who to be honest were really pretty poor and really not worth including in the review whatsoever. They took up most of their set with an extremely boring drum solo which was followed by a guitar solo, which was played using a vibrating dildo… …not really very impressive when you’ve only got a short set to begin with, and there’s countless other bands who could have been given that stage time, but I digress…
It was then time for one of my all-time favourite bands ever, Paradise Lost!
The crowd that had gathered to see Paradise Lost was most probably one of the largest of the weekend besides bands like Alice Cooper, Machine Head and Dimmu Borgir, which was surprising really as I thought they were one of those bands that you either love or hate, but the crowd loved them as they were singing along right from the start. as ‘The Enemy’ got things into full swing.
The live sound was a bit ropey in places but as it’s a festival,I guess you have to give them a bit of slack for that, but the drums did sound fairly flat throughout the set and the whole live mix seemed to be quite bass heavy apart from Nick Holmes’ vocals.
After Honesty In Death from the latest album Tragic Idol it’s then time for more of a Paradise Lost classic, Forever Failure from the Draconian Times album, and it’s here where the live sound starts to improve slightly and things start to come together nicely. There were even some nice synth/keys going on over the live mix as well which sounded really nice and he crowd also seems to be getting into the set a bit more and hands start clapping and horns get raised in appreciation of this classic Gothic Metal tune.
The next song in the set was Tragic Idol and it was clear that Nick Holmes was struggling a bit with his vocals on this one, there were sharp notes and flat notes and all sorts coming out of his mouth and occasionally he hit the correct note, but yeah, in all honesty this song really didn’t sound too good, and this is coming from a die-hard Paradise Lost fan of many years! Pity The Sadness comes next though and it’s clear that the older more rehearsed songs are the ones that will always sound better live, as the difference in performance quality is pretty much instant. The same can be said about the following song in the set One Second, which always seems to go down well during Paradise Lost shows and on this occasion it sounds just as good as it’s ever done.
Nick Holmes does one of his usual black humour moments during the middle section of One Second and points to the food stalls at the back of the festival area and asks “Hey guys!? How’s the food!?” before continuing on with the song and at the end of the song, the says “Can somebody get me a Fajita? I’m fucking starving!, You can pass it up to the stage and I should get it by the end of the next song!” and with that the band goes into As I Die.
At the end of the song Nick then has a bit more banter and says “Now you’ve probably noticed I’m not wearing any shoes… …this is because my shoes have leather soles and I nearly slipped over earlier on, not because I want to look like that cunt from The Black Crowes!”, ever the diplomat as always Mr Holmes! And with that the band move swiftly on to play Fear Of Impending Hell, and In This We Dwell from the latest album Tragic Idol as the live sound starts getting a little better for these two songs.
The band then goes on to end the set with Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us and of course the last song at a Paradise Lost show always has to be Say Just Words (not sure why, but it just works as a set closer I guess) and the crowd really starts interacting with the band properly during this song and clapping and singing at the top of their voices.
Despite being a loyal Paradise Lost fan for many years, I have to say that this wasn’t the best time that I had seen the band live. The band themselves really didn’t seem to be on top form and there were bad notes being played and sung, left, right and centre throughout the whole set. Today certainly wasn’t a prime example of what Paradise Lost can do live and anyone who’s seen their Anatomy Of Melancholy of Draconian Times live DVD’s will know that.
It was a shame, but I guess every band has to have its bad performances once in a while.
Honesty In Death
Pity The Sadness
As I Die
Fear Of Impending Hell
In This We Dwell
Faith Divides Us Death Unites Us
Say Just Words
Dimmu Borgir are a band that I’ve loved for years and have always had a good amount of respect for and have seen live many times, but I have to say on this occasion that the band really did sound pretty damn awful. The keyboards and drums seemed to be turned up way too high in the mix and both of them sounded terrible.
It’s probably not a good idea to have the drums kicking out of the PA with absolutely no amount of reverb or delay on them whatsoever as they sounded dull, lifeless and horrifically awful, despite the fact they were actually being played pretty damn well by Daray; their current drummer.
The keyboards sounded really pretty hilarious at times as they firstly were turned up way too loud and just sounded almost childish at times, I can’t really describe it as you had to be there to hear it.
Another thing which kept happening during the set was seeing Shagrath disappearing to the side of the stage to read lyrics out of a lyric book that they’d cunningly disguised as a leather bound spell book of sorts (ooo spooky!) but it was pretty obvious what was going on.
You’d think that after all these years Shagrath would have memorised at least SOME of the lyrics, but clearly not. Another surprise came when seeing Silenoz come on stage as he seemed to have forgotten all of his hair! Oh well, I guess having a symmetrical Cue Ball image on the stage when paired up with Galder kind of works then.
Shagrath also wore a pretty cool array of stage costumes, one of which was a jacket with what looked like belts that were used for tassels hanging off of each arm, and he also wore the mask from the front cover of Abrahadabra album for a couple of the songs if I remember correctly.
Despite Dimmu Borgir being a band that I’ll most likely always have time for, as their studio material is always pretty good, I found this experience of seeing them live to be pretty lack luster in comparison to other times that I had seen them. On this occasion they had no pyro of any kind, the whole band came on stage wearing white, which I know is their kind of cool new gimmick but frankly I think it looked stupid, and they were using an old stage backdrop from the Death Cult Armageddon tour, so it really seemed as though they couldn’t be that bothered about the show at all.
I really wasn’t impressed with their whole set really, and I left early to catch the second half of Anaal Nathrakh’s set on the Sophie Lancaster stage.
In Death’s Embrace
The Serpentine Offering
Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse
Perfection Or Vanity
Unfortunately I was only able to see the second half of Anaal Nathrakh’s set due to them clashing with Dimmu Borgir, but what I did see was totally awesome!
For a band like Anaal Nathrakh, the live is always going to be a challenge as there’s simply so much chaos going on in the music (and also amongst the crowd from what I was seeing!) but for the most part the live sound did tend to fade in and out.
Dave Hunt was also on top form, despite his leg injury with gout but he had some great moments with the audience, one of which was when announcing The Final Absolution and he said “Just a quick word to say that despite what some fucking idiotic fan who came up to me the other day says, this song is NOT glorifying Hitler or the Holocaust in any fucking way!
If anything the song goes to show what a completely fucking insignificant cunt Adolf Hitler was and everything that he stood for!”.
Another moment came at the end of the set when Dave went on to say “Now I’ve been told by the organisers that we’re not to do our usual thing at this time and call for a Wall Of Death, and if we do encourage a Wall Of Death then they’ll pull the plug on our show and that’ll be it… …so I’m categorically saying to you all right now, do NOT, I repeat do NOT do a Wall Of Death… …Wall Of Death… …Wall Of DEATH! ….well, what are they gonna do? Pull the plug? We’re the last band on!”! And to that the crowd firstly got a damn good laugh out of it and secondly were all too happy to disregard the rules and do a damn good Wall Of Death!
The band played a good mixture of songs, mostly from all of their albums and even pulled out a new song for the audience from their upcoming album Vanitas, which is due for release in October entitled We Are All But Dust And Shadows, I could be mistaken on the song title though, which sounded really awesome and left me and the rest of the crowd wanting to hear more of the new album!
I have to say a massive respect has to go to Dave Hunt, for not only performing with Benediction the day before but also today with Anaal Nathrakh, with a pretty painfully injured leg from the looks of things, but despite that he simply got on with it and did a fantastic set!
If there was ever a good bunch of psychotic maniacs to watch perform insane extreme metal on stage, then you can’t do better than Anaal Nathrakh, what a performance and what a legendary band!
Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes
More Of Fire Than Blood
Submission Is For The Weak
When The Lion Devours Both Dragon And Child
In The Constellation Of The Black Widow
The Final Absolution
We Are All But Dust And Shadows (New Song)
Do Not Speak
So now it was time for the closing act of the festival, and what better person to close the festival than a legend of all legends, Mr Alice Cooper himself!
Alice took to the stage in a pretty awesome spider costume for the start of the show to perform The Black Widow which was complete with extending spider arms reaching out from each side and matching all of his arm movements and standing on top of a large mobile stair case from the looks of things.
He then continued with classic songs, such as, I’m Eighteen, Billion Dollar Babies and No More Mr Nice Guy, and Hey Stoopid!, which is one of my personal favourites, which got the crowd singing and cheering along at full volume!
I was surprised to see the line-up consisted of three guitar players including one female guitarist ‘Orianthi’, who was absolutely shredding up her guitar like a beast! In all fairness though, all 3 guitarists were pretty damn awesome and were each delivering some impressive solos and groovy riffs.
Each member of the band did seem to know their parts inside and out and even the drummer was joining in with the backing vocals, which gave the overall live sound a really big boost.
Alice Cooper’s vocals were absolutely on fire as well and it was amazing to see a guy of his age still kicking a huge amount of ass on stage and leaving all of the youngsters in the dust!
A really touching and beautiful moment also came during his performance, where instead of doing the usual sea of mobile phone screens during a song, the crowd instead opted for the traditional image of getting their lighters out for this slow beautiful ballad ‘Only Women Bleed, and for me it was something really cool.
There was also an awesome performance of Feed My Frankenstein which got the crowd grooving and headbanging away, as well as the song that we were all waiting for …Poison!
As much as this song is played on the radio and in nightclubs constantly, I must admit I never get tired of hearing it, especially when it’s performed live by the man himself. If you thought it sounded good on the CD, you should hear it live with a trio of guitarists! It sounds utterly immense!
Alice also did the usual stage performance theatrics and trickery by bringing out a large guillotine and chopping off his own head, only to then emerge again being absolutely fine with his head firmly attached to his shoulders. I particularly enjoyed the song Wicked Young Man, which I hadn’t heard before but the riff and the overall snarling and down-right aggressive attitude and performance that Alice Cooper gave during this song was just awe inspiring to see. This man is an absolute beast of a performer!
It was then time for a short excerpt of I Love The Dead, before the set is finished off with School’s Out (with a short excerpt/cover of Another Brick In The Wall by Pink Floyd in the middle section).
It’s not often that you can find songs like School’s Out and Poison that really bring a crowd together, but if anyone can write a hit song, then it’s certainly Alice Cooper.
There’s then time for a quick encore in the form of Elected and time for Alice to have another one of his many costume changes of the night. At the end of the show I don’t think there’s a single person in the audience that isn’t walking away in sheer awe and amazement of just how awesome a performer Alice Cooper is, and he certainly hasn’t lost any of his original magic that made him such a great song writer and performer right from the very start.
It’s taken me long enough to finally see Alice Cooper perform live and my word was I impressed!
I’m pretty sure I’ll be catching him live again soon and hopefully if there’s tickets left for his upcoming Halloween show in London then perhaps I can get my ass down to that and be treated to another jaw droppingly good show.
Mr Cooper, I salute you for an unforgettably good show! You showed Bloodstock what it means to be a true Rock Legend and then some!
So with that Bloodstock was over, the metalheads all drank into the night, sang their favourite songs, jousted their bins long into the night, and I was ready to crash out and get whatever sleep I could before the long drive home.
This was a festival that I shall not ever, ever forget and I shall take all the memories of meeting the great bands, interviewing, reviewing and whatever else to the grave with me.
I’ll be sure to see you and Bloodstock 2013!