After a breakfast of painkillers and beer, we have awoken and ready to do this all over again…
Despite the early hours and hangovers that are a common thing this morning, Beholder have managed to attract a great crowd of crazy metal maniacs ready to keep the party going.
First of all, Beholder are fronted by the one and only Simon Hall – the man who we all should be thanking for taking part in running the wonderful festival that is Bloodstock Open Air.
Second of all, Beholder are one of the bands that rise and fall for true British heavy metal and are on their way to bring it to the masses.
Today they deliver an intense set that’s equally violent and fun, as the band really feels at home and are enjoying every single minute of their performance.
Songs that stand out and sound especially groovy are “Killing Machine,” “Splinter” and “Footprints in the Sand”. (4/5)
Footprints in the Sand
Next up are the Canadian metallers 3 Inches Of Blood and once again the holy grounds of Bloodstock are filled with the sound of falsetto vocals and menacing riffs.
Not exactly King Diamond, but still epic enough…
Starting their set with two absolute classics, like “Leather Lord” and “Deadly Sinner,” things just can’t go wrong for 3 Inches Of Blood and their few thousands of fans banging their heads and raising their fists.
2013 marks 10 years since 3 Inches Of Blood guys stepped foot on to the shores of UK for the first time and Bloodstock is a great way to celebrate it.
Cam Pipe’s vocals and the band behind him are sounding immense making “Forest King” stand out as the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
It makes everyone in the crowd throw their hands up in the air as the band launches into a sample of “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath.
As a special treat, the band throw in a cover of “Tom Sawyer” by that one Canadian band called Rush to emphasize their National affiliation and earning some well deserved cheers from the audience. (3.5/5)
Destroy the Orcs
Battles and Brotherhood
Tom Sawyer (Rush cover)
The Goatriders Horde
Next band to take the Ronnie James Dio stage are the very theatrical and always entertaining Hell from Derbyshire, England.
Their stage set up looks similar to what you would expect to see at a Ghost show, but bare in mind that Hell have been going since 1982 when there was no one to borrow their ideas from.
They were one of the first bands to wear corpse paint and definitely the first ones to make Bible explode on stage.
“Good afternoon, Bloodstock! Can anybody here smell burning?! …That’s your souls burning, that is!” shouts the singer David Bower as he welcomes everyone to the theatre of iniquity and the Church of Hell.
Today he demonstrates rather impressive vocal aerobics mixed with some well-considered and full-on theatrics.
The band put on a show that shocks, thrills and entertains, and once you think you’ve seen it all, David Bower returns to stage few foots taller and rocking impressive stilts, massive goat horns and carrying a pitch fork set on fire.
Songs that stand out with the most expressive stage performance, tightest sound and synchronized moves are “The Quest,” “One Earth as It Is in Hell” and the closing number “Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us”.
If you enjoy a great live show and not taking things too seriously, Hell is the band to look out for. (4.5/5)
Let Battle Commence
On Earth as It Is in Hell
Blasphemy and the Master
Plague and Fyre
Save Us From Those Who Would Save Us
Smothered in black paint and playing ridiculously loud, they manage to come across more evil than some of the ‘very evil’ Black Metal bands out there.
Scarab sound is raw, straight forward and ‘no-fucking-about’ death metal. However, some of their material, like “Ankh” and “Valley of the Sandwalkers,” include melodic elements, making Scarab music into something much more interesting to explore.
Coming from a country which is definitely not most famous for its heavy metal scene, it is delightful to see Scarab perform top quality death metal on a global level and being appreciated amongst the crowd at Bloodstock 2013. (3.5/5)
It’s time for some more death metal action, as the Canadian Hyperblasters Kataklysm hit the Main Stage to go down a storm.
“We play Death Metal and in Death Metal there’s violence and blood!” warns the front man Maurizio Iacono as a massive circle pit opens up as soon as the band takes the stage.
It’s the second time front man Maurizio Iacono steps on to the Ronnie James Dio stage this weekend, as yesterday he performed with his other band Ex Deo, however he shows no signs of exhaustion.
Today Kataklysm put on a hell of a show and manage to sound exceptionally tight.
As the drummer Max Duhamel demonstrates his unreal skills in blast beats, the guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais delivers some of the roughest death metal riffs Bloodstock has ever witnessed.
The ultimate highlights of Katalysm performance are “Crippled & Broken” and “In Shadows and Dust,” when the crowd kick off one of the biggest wall-of-death’s this weekend. (4/5)
Like Angels Weeping (The Dark)
Push the Venom
The Night They Returned
Taking the World by Storm
As I Slither
At the Edge of the World
Crippled & Broken
In Shadows And Dust
Soon after Kataklysm are done, Mael Mordha take the Sophie Lancaster stage to show us what Ireland’s got to offer.
Geared up in woad body paint and black leather Mael Mordha deliver a rocking set of doom metal inspired by Irish folklore.
With their significant image and approach to traditional doom metal sound, they manage to create an authentic atmosphere that sure calls for a pint of Guinness.
(3.5/5) But while Mael Mordha are telling tales of Irish mythology, a crowd of impressive size has gathered by the Main stage to welcome one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend.
It is time for the French prog-metal masters Gojira to steal the show.
Opening with two banger tracks “Explosia” and „The Axe” off their latest studio album L’Enfant Sauvage, Gojira manage to turn every minute of their performance into an absolute musical rapture.
Once crowned as the best live band of 2013 at the Metal Hammer awards, Gojira sure live up to any possible expectations and do not disappoint even those not familiar with their sound.
A great surprise for the audience is an unexpected guest appearance by Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God) when he suddenly appears on stage to join Gojira for the performance of “Backbone”.
The crowd goes absolutely berserk and if it’s been a great show so far, then now it just got unreal.
After nearly forcing the safety barrier in front of the stage to collapse, the crowd are left in pure ecstasy, as Gojira blast out one of their biggest and monstrous sounding hits “L’Enfant Sauvage”.
Despite the fact that most of their stage gear (instruments, PA, backdrop, etc) has been lost in-between flights, Gojira deliver an intense and technically mind-blowing set.
They’ve once again proved themselves to be the ultimate heavy metal band you want (and need) to see live. (5/5)
Backbone (with Randy Blythe)
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Toxic Garbage Island
Fresh off tour with Alice Cooper, they are bringing their melodic metal to Bloodstock 2013.
Being on tour with such a legend like Alice Cooper has definitely taught NeonFly boys some great stage theatrics and presence.
The singer Willy Norton is not a beginner when it comes to fronting a band, as he absolutely owns the stage and occasionally flirts with the audience.
Aside from their stage presence and with a little help from Christopher Clark of Xerath stepping in on bass, NeonFly deliver a set with lots of groove and personality added to their melodic metal sound. “A Gift to Remember” stands out as a great sing-along anthem with a ridiculously catchy chorus.
Even if you’ve not heard this one before, it’ll be definitely stuck in your head for the next couple of hours.
Oh, if only we could travel 30 years back in time when “A Gift to Remember” would have landed NeonFly quite an airplay on MTV and a lifestyle straight out of “Girls, Girls, Girls” video. The song has got the right 80’s vibe, an epic guitar solo and practically everything to make it a hit. (3.5/5)
Back to the Main Stage and it’s time for the one and only Swedish metal band fronted by a man with a six-pack made of steel. It’s time for no one else but Sabaton.
Unfortunately Sabaton appear to be amongst the bands who have lost a part of their stage gear in-between flights, which means that Joakim’s forced to front the band without his signature steel six-pack.
However, he borrows one from a kind fan in the audience in exchange for al six-pack of beer cans and the show can officially start.
Kicking off their set with “Ghost Division”, Sabaton start their performance full of enthusiasm and energy. However, their set is stopped for a while, as the band face technical difficulties right after the first song.
Sabaton sure stand out as a band who love and know exactly how to communicate with their audience. While the rest of the band are trying to solve technical issues, singer Joakim cracks a joke at any given opportunity.
From throwing beer cans in the audience and publically reading out a document stating that bands playing the Main Stage at Bloodstock are prohibited from using the ‘F’ word, Joakim makes sure that everyone in the crowd is having a good time.
Soon when the technical problems are solved, Sabaton carry on with “Gott Mit Uns” and “Carolus Rex” off their latest album.
The crowd seems extremely enthusiastic about the Swedish version of “Karolinens Bön,” and it makes Joakim question the English audience: “You guys here in the UK like this Swedish thing as you like IKEA, right? …or ABBA?”
What happens next is about to go down in history as the first time a heavy metal band get the whole audience to shout ‘IKEA! IKEA! IKEA!’ at their show. As ridiculous it might seem it is truly spectacular.
Sabaton really come across as the sweetest and most down-to-earth band, as everything about their show is genuine, including their fans. (4.5/5)
Gott Mit Uns (English version)
Carolus Rex (English version)
The Art of War
Meanwhile on the New Blood Stage, a rather exciting band from London called One For Sorrow are getting ready to hit the stage. Despite the fact that Sabaton are currently living it up on the Main Stage, One For Sorrow manage to gather quite a crowd.
Their music is a hybrid of stoner and groove metal, but what makes them stand out is the raw energy of their live performance. Joe Thompson’s (singer) stage presence and vocals remind a little of Phil Anselmo back in the day, while the rest of the band are absolutely smashing it up by producing catchy hooks and chugging riffs.
Songs like “Into the Woods” and “Bigot” have a lot more melodic detail to them than your average groove metal, making their sound more appealing and diverse.
The band earned their slot at Bloodstock 2013 as the winners of Metal 2 The Masses competition and today they made sure that everyone on-stage and off were having a blast. (3.5/5)
In-between sets, fans were lining up to enter the ‘signing tent’, where it was possible to meet many bands that performed across the weekend and well… get stuff signed!
After going strong for 13 years, Power Quest have decided to put an end to their career as a band, so today not only marks 10 years since they first played Bloodstock festival, but also the last Power Quest performance we’ll get to witness.
It’s no secret that Power Quest guys are a bunch of gifted and talented musicians.
From the great power metal vocals of Colin Callanan to the master of keyboards Steve Williams and the two guitar virtuosos Andy Midgley and Gavin Owen.
If there is one word to sum up their performance, it is EPIC. The energy on stage is joyful and emotional, as the band seem truly privileged to be playing their last show here at Bloodstock.
Classic songs like “Temple of Fire” and “Wings of Forever” go down like absolute classics, as the fans who have gathered to see Power Quest today are more than familiar with their music.
They sing along to every song and turn Sophie Lancaster tent into a power metal themed farewell party. (4/5)
Next up in the Sophie Lancaster tent are Last in Line.
There’s no greater sense of anticipation than knowing that a band who were once revered so highly in the Metal scene have reformed to bring back a second dose of all the things that made them so awesome to start with.
Such is the case with the Ex members of Dio as they take to the stage with a renewed line up and amplified level of confidence, as the fans of the former Metal titans roar with excitement.
Wasting no time in carving their chaotic sound, ‘Stand up and Shout’ barges through with infectiously woven riffs, eccentric drums and above all soaring vocals that carry everything forward. Most notable early on is the cathartic range and prowess of Andy Freeman‘s singing as he breathes new life into the band’s well remembered sound.
Next up, the head smashing guitar riffs of ‘Straight Through the Heat’ keep the momentum going as they perform to an audience of raised arms and fists. The charging drum work of ’Evil Eyes’, with its well sung lyrics and sonic driven solos gave everything an anthem sized quality that was both shuddering and beast like.
Meanwhile, the heavily bass induced sound of ’Holy Diver’ found its way into their set. With a clarity in the vocals and a watertight sounding guitar jumping effortlessly between riffs and lead, this was indeed the highlight of their set, with what felt like the entire crowd singing the chorus back at the band throughout.
Whether you were a Dio fan or not, seeing a revival of their material in a live setting is enough to sway anyone into the cult of fans that have been following the original band since 1983.
Astounding live performance and great sense for song writing that is as tangible as it is timeless in both the periods of Dio and Last in Line. (4/5)
Stand up and Shout
Straight Through the Heart
King of Rock and Roll
Don’t Talk to Strangers
I Speed At Night
The Last in Line
Rainbow in the Dark
But over on the Main Stage are Avantasia – who are putting on a show that’s bigger, brighter and larger than life.
A band that turns Ronnie James Dio Stage into ‘power metal meets 80’s galm and make it into an opera’ party.
Today marks the first show Avantasia play in the UK and the last show of their Mystery World tour 2013.
The crowd by the Main Stage is noticeably smaller than it was for either Gojira or Sabaton, however there are still plenty of passionate fans looking forward to Avantasia.
What makes Avantasia show a little more special are the multiple guest appearances by world famous and talented artists, like Michael Kiske (Helloween), Bob Catley (Magnum), Ronnie Atkins (Pretty Maids) and Eric Martin (Mr. Big).
For those not familiar with Avantasia material, their set might seem quite repetitive and with no distinct highlights.
However, the front man Tobias Sammet is doing his best and making sure that people of Bloodstock are enjoying their set.
Songs that stand out today are “Twisted Mind,” “Shelter from the Rain” and the final track “Sign of the Cross”, when all the guest performers are brought back on stage together.
Avantasia finish their set on an uplifting note, however they struggle to convince us that they have been the right band to be chosen as the main support act for Lamb Of God. (3/5)
Invoke the Machine (Sammet/Atkins)
The Scarecrow (Sammet/Atkins)
Reach Out for the Light (Kiske/Sammet)
Breaking Away (Kiske/Sammet)
The Story Ain’t Over (Catley/Sammet)
The Great Mystery (Catley/Sammet)
Dying for an Angel (Sammet/Martin)
Twisted Mind (Atkins/Martin)
Shelter from the Rain (Kiske/Sammet/Catley)
Sign of the Cross / The Seven Angels
And it’s finally time for Saturday night headliners Lamb Of God to steal the show.
First of all, it is a pleasure to see Lamb of God going strong after the unpleasant legal action their singer Randy Blythe had to undergo after he was arrested on manslaughter charges last summer.
It was never 100% sure if Lamb Of God will be able to headline Bloodstock 2013 in the first place, but just after the 5th of March when Randy was cleared of all the charges, the band confirmed that the show is go.
Today Lamb Of God are welcomed by a crowd of over-enthusiastic metal heads who’ve been waiting for this particular moment for quite a while.
Lamb Of God take the stage and open with “Desolation” and “Ghost Walking” off their latest album Resolution.
The band seem to be in excellent shape as they kick off their first UK show since Randy Blythe is a free man.
However, the past events have significantly affected the way Lamb Of God consider the safety and security at their shows. Today Randy politely asks the crowd to look after each other and always help out if someone falls down.
In the end of the day, we’re here to have a good time and any kind of accidents are unnecessary.
The start of Lamb Of God show is energetic and brutally intense, but unfortunately 5 songs into their set, the band is forced to stop, as the safety barrier at the front of the stage collapses.
The audience is forced to take three steps back, so the barrier can be fixed, but that leads over 5 minutes long interruption of the set.
When the problem appears to be solved, rest of the band return to stage, but unfortunately the energy on stage has changed and the band does not seem as excited as in the beginning of the set. Lamb Of God carry on and throw in “Now You’ve Got Something to Die For” and other classics, like “Omerta,” “Laid to Rest” and the obvious “Redneck”.
Even though it’s still Lamb Of God and it’ epic, Bloodstock 2013 does not mark their most spectacular performance, as they sound a little sloppy and unsettled.
However, Lamb Of God and their audience prove to be absolute pros when it comes to overcoming technical difficulties, as their interrupted set did not cause any crowd dissatisfaction or protest. (4/5)
Walk with Me in Hell
Set to Fail
Ruin (Front Barrier collapsed … more)
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
In Your Words
Laid to Rest
As Lamb Of God put an end to Saturday at Bloodstock 2013, thousands of metal heads leave for the bar to keep the party going.
Back in the Serpents Lair VIP bar, it’s time for some disco with Metal Hammer team behind the decks.
They make sure that everyone gets to embarrass themselves on the dance floor to everything from The Prodigy to Iron Maiden.
Saturday night traditionally marks the greatest party of the festival as there’s only one day left to go and there’s not much left to lose at this point. Fun was had, as we stayed up way past our bedtime and celebrated another successful day at our favourite heavy metal festival.