Sunday vibes of Windstock VS Mudstock have well and truly set in, with the elements not being on side – up to the point where flights have been delayed [Graveyard] and some gazebos in the camp site going for a walk, it’s still nice to be awake and at a beautiful festival. With one more day until home time it’s time to make the most of it. With the weather taking a shine to the bands in the tents and giving them more exposure and deserving amounts at that.
Jägermeister Truck Stage
Getting an honorable mention while it pours it down the Jägermeister House Band [4.5/5] are amazing and entertaining with their four piece brass band producing more covers than Richard Cheese- such as Iron Maiden’s “Run to the hills” that keep the spirits up during the nasty weather.
Aaron Keylock [4.5/5] At the age of sixteen he is attracting major interest, but this has not been an easy path. Aaron is a well known figure around the London clubs, plus there is nothing like a surprise band to hear, armed with a series of songs that fit within the same vein as Jake Bugg and Tom Odell vibe with a slant more towards the blues.
It’s nice to see and hear a variety of music within the slots at Bloodstock and this fresh young talent with his blend of the groovy and the smooth licks of heavy rock make for a fantastic combination that really makes you want to pick up the guitar and give it a go. All with a style more at home in the Mississippi Delta than his home town of the rolling West Oxfordshire countryside.
October File [4.5/5] are up next and bring a morning glaze of apt music about rain, and how water will consume us all whilst the aftermath of the storm encircles us all, all awhile hoping that that Sophie tent won’t got for a walk about due to the weather.
Playing tracks from both a retrospect as well as most recent and ambitious concept album entitled ‘The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair – An Introspective of the Human Condition’ which in the live setting works superbly well!
Like with many of the bands on the stages this weekend October file have played previous to now, and have improved within the live setting each time, the band have been going from strength to strength with each release. Overall the sound was hard, crunchy and very swish!
Graveyard [5/5] After having to swap with Avatar, due to being delayed the band work through a set of Godly groves and kick ass rock. Graveyard throughout their set bring an appearance of cool, calm and collectivity within the intimate tent setting. Coming into their own as they explored a diverse style mainly in the form of bluesy delight, given the attention by a hungry crowd, its no wonder they lapped it up come on it had been delayed by a few hours.
It’s not long before the plethora of infectious feet stomping grooves begins to draw everyone in.
The set was homage to the fluctuation in mood over the music, which is awesomely translated into the live setting and is paced by the lyrical content. Overall a job well done!
New Blood Stage
Byzanthian neckbeard [4/5] besides wining a competition for the best band name ever, are described as being stranded on an island enveloped by fog, lost in the English channel and forgotten by time . They fully live up to this description as they play a set that is deeply pounding in sludgy and nasty riffs! Who said Sunday mornings were easy to listen to?!
Psykosis [4/5] Thrash metal and free beer what more do you want? The troupe from Ireland ride in on a wave of free beer that they had brewed, bottled and labelled themselves. With the attention gained through the rain with big signs, it’s a good job these lads have a big sound to back their boosting. They have a very slick and well polished off sound that is familiar to the speed metal licks of Warbringer, Elm street and Fog of war. With songs like “Beach Season’ and ‘Driller Killer’ in the song ranks they came, they thrashed and they kicked more ass than you could have imagined!
Akbal’s [4/5] harsh vocals, instantly sound like Tool with that signature drum loop sound that is like a bongo trapped in a wheel of a highly cogged engine, whilst the music sounds like retro fight tunes with a progressive atmosphere. Concluding the set with a collection of high end calibre varieties of powerful melodies and free shirts, Akbal prove to be a great addition to the New Blood line up.
Ronnie James Dio Stage
Arthemis [3.5/5] begin playing to a very small crowd of loyal fans who entered the arena to find a sea of mud! The Italian Power Metal band formed by Andrea Martongelli in 1999, but weren’t put off by the weather and carried on regardless.
It was probably some what of a relief that any one showed up too see them this morning, as Bloodstock has well and truly turned into a min version of Glastonbury (famous for its muddy site).
The heavy-thrash metal troupe whose sound reflects the dark side of heavy metal with thunderous guitar riffs, adrenaline fast solos, fire-breathing vocals and a massive-modern-killer ground-breaking wall of sound. Powering through ‘Vortex’ and ‘Empire’ to a now appreciative audience.
Aborted [3.5/5.] [Review by Ben Spencer]
Erupting in full their full destructive vitality, ‘Meticulous Invagination’ plays out with chaotic drum work, sonic driven guitars and blood hungry growls. The guitar work remains technically proficient throughout as well as throwing in some impressive lead guitar work to keep things interesting.
‘The Holocaust Incarnate’ remains as one of the band’s stand out moments, as they delve into a further display of savagery. Full of tightly woven guitar riffs and consistent sounding drums their focus upon extreme noise remains as unyielding as ever.
Closing off with the weighty sounds of ‘The Saw and the Carnage Done’ the band race ahead with adrenaline induced riffs and a violent spree of complex drumming that see’s their fans rejoicing with a wall of raised fits.
Aborted prove that they have a sound that is entirely their own and as their set draws to a close we are reminded of just how formidable they are as a unit, one that remains both distinctive and engaging.
ReVamp [3/5] was formed in 2010 by singer Floor Jansen. She wrote the first ReVamp album with Waldemar Sorychta and After Forever colleague Joost van den Broek.
A powerful lady in the metal scene, with a truly strong voice even if the microphone decided to give up the ghost, still the audience were patient with her, and laughed off yet another main stage tech fault.
Still the current Nightwish singer’s solo project venture isn’t without merit, despite the continuing sound problems, there are some magical moments that make the studio material really pop out at you.
The music is very heavy for a symphonic metal band and there is a spread of different emotions and genre diversions that aren’t as touched upon in other bands of a similar ilk. This makes them instantly more exciting and an enjoyable band.
Today’s performance is a real dedication of the idea of despite the rain the band must go on sounding somewhere between flowing tears and Devin Townsend with a cross combination of male harshness and female delicately placed parts.
Later in the set the sun made it’s for-told appearance, however this was short lived but the music still soared above and beyond expectation.
The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: On the Sideline
The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System
Head Up High
Here’s My Hell
The Anatomy of a Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia
In Sickness ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Disdain
Wolf and Dog
Biohazard [3.5/5] arrive on stage to not quite an advantage, what with the wind having a hiss fit due to the left over hurricane.
Even with the wind the band’s punk and hardcore blend is still going strong 25 years later. It’s odd to see a band who seem so accustomed to being involved with crowd on a literally face to face level be up on such a large stage.
Biohazard, formed in 1989 in Brooklyn, New York, was one of the first bands to fuse hardcore punk and heavy metal with elements of hip hop.With their authentic mix of inner-city vocal rhythms with metal’s take-no-prisoners attitude debuting a half-decade prior to the rap-rock explosion of the late ’90s.
The adding of this band to bill was something that many goers to the festival were not most excited about, and although only being given a relatively short lunch time set, they perform with passion and pure love for the time they have, with whirlwinds of energy and pure stomping aggression that makes for an undeniably fun time.
Their sound is slick and ready to party and basically ones that you would have been foolish to miss. The band never quite recovered from the loss of the charismatic Even Seinfeld, yet ‘Punishment’ still manages to incite a mass stage invasion which many acts would give their right arm for.
In the live arena they are sharp, hard not to like and willing to host a full on stage invasion – much to the annoyance of the security team, Here is to another 25 years!
Avatar [4.5/5] step up the challenge of not only holding back the weather but playing earlier than expected and being lovely enough to be willing to swap with Graveyard.
The band was formed in 2000 by drummer John Alfredsson and singer Johannes Eckerström. After a turbulent start, the line up settled in the fall of 2003 and stayed the same for ten years. In February 2013 guitarist Simon Andersson left the band, being replaced by Tim Öhrström.
Opening with newest album’s initial track “Hail the apocalypse “ with a sound that is similar to that found in The Deathstars, and a cross over of full on theatricals and make up clad like Eric Draven from the Crow.
The band is constructed of the ring leader in action Johannes Eckerström who took on the Ronnie James Dio stage in his stride, along with dual guitar masters Jonas Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström at his side, Blisteringly brilliant bassist Henrik Sandelin and Pumping Percussionist John Alfredsson to complete his army.
The band pick a fine selection of songs ranging from eight different releases including 2014’s “Hail the Apocalypse”, 2012’s “Black Waltz”, 2009’s Self titled, along with 2007’s Schlacht and 2006’s first studio album “Thoughts of no tomorrow”
Putting on a visual feast with their soldier uniforms and fine tunes choreographed moves, it’s no wonder that the skeptics are soon won over. With a danger of running out of time, there seems to be sped up versions of a couple of their songs.
The set produced by the five piece from Göteborg (Sweden) is everything you needed on a grey day. A dark, twisted circus sideshow that’s built around bombastically grooving melodic death n’ roll! Nice work!
Hail The Apocalypse
Death Of Sound
Ready For The Ride
Let It Burn
Paint Me Red
Smells Like A Freakshow
Obituary [3/5] are a band where you know what you are going to get and that is an old school set with a classic straight forward panache and ommmph musical journey.
Without much hassle, the band get themselves planted on stage with an itinerary to bring back the swirls of hair and fist in the air ; with plenty of pushing and shoving, an obvious choice for a middle of the day band.
As the Godfathers of Death metal struggled with the sound quality their energy was still in the right place, working through numbers such as “Stinkupuss”, “Intoxicated” and “Bloodsoaked” it’s clear that despite the troubles they are a strong band live.
Obituary were planned to be following the bluesy tones of Graveyard but following the dark adrenaline of Avatar they work just as well, with plenty of hooks, licks and alike with fellow death mongers Decapitated; they are a firm choice to have on the bill.
The band by the end of their eleven track set had treated the audience to a fine blend of mayhem, metal and a carnal pleasure for doom, death and thrash fans alike.
By using their arsenal of later sludgey feeling tracks, obliterating overtures that reached far beyond expectations and just all out ballsy metal to make a set worth while.
The crowd are broken and the sky is getting just dark enough to let the moshers hide in the shadows and nurse their wounds. Caked in mud and with great grins on their faces there is something great about this band, even if the weather is a bit crap!
Visions In My Head
Chopped in Half
Back to One
Inked In Blood
Slowly We Rot
For great music in general, England is often the go-to country to have your auditory senses pleased. It delivered Maiden, Priest, Sabbath…need I go on???
Another of Britain’s finest, Saxon [4/5] open with the title track of the latest album ‘Sacrifice’. Besides this and ‘Battalions of Steel’, these crowd pleasers play no other song from the latter end of their repertoire.
The band themselves had an uncertain future for a while but with demand and confidence being re-ignited in the metal outfit, it’s nice to see them be back on the seen, alike with audiences like this one ready to receive their old school tones.
Even though again there is a weather problem, these guys are British so it’s just every day stuff. The band are in an interesting position, being poised a couple of slots down from headline, but it’s still good to see there is an interest in the band. Not only a small one but really an impressive response.
As the often over looked for greatness Peter Byford’s strong voice still billows across the field with the strength and powerful style that has always been one of Saxon’s trademarks.
A surprise arrives after ‘Princess of the Night’ finishes – Dave Mustaine of Megadeth joins the Englishmen on stage to provide guitar duties for the unifying ‘Denim and Leather’ as the audience explodes with excitement.
It’s nice to see these wonders of metal live, they should be back to head line next year, horns up for the mighty ones!
Power and the Glory
Heavy Metal Thunder
Battalions of Steel
To Hell and Back Again
And the Bands Played On
747 (Strangers in the Night)
Wheels of Steel
Princess of the Night
Denim and Leather
(with Dave Mustaine)
As soon as two giant dragon heads appear on stage you can presume one of a collection of bands from the northern hemisphere are about to bound the stage, this weekend it’s the mighty Amon Amarth [4/5].
Bringing with them passionate rhymes about folk lore, Vikings, and ships against harsh seas, Amon Amarth are not far off excellence.
Dragon antic ready Amon Amarth hit the ground running with their set opener “Father of the wolf” that sets up with excellent precision a field of cheers and excitement chants that are well deserved for the succulent swedes.
The vast majority of their set focuses on the most recent portion of their discography with songs such as ‘Guardians of Asgaard’, ‘Asator’ and ‘Cry of the Black Birds’.
As the set progressed it was definitely time to turn and pay attention to a valuable lesson from the Swedish masters of the mayhem, wasting no time getting into the pace of things with “Father of the Wolf” and “Deceiver of the Gods” firing out like pistols across a western stand off.
Currently promoting “Deceiver Of The Gods” the viking crazy chaps are dapper and prepared for war performing to a much pleased crowd who bloody loved it; finding energy somehow after being cheesed out by Saxon.
Just as an exhausted audience could have probably done well without one, an encore arrives in the forms of ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ and ‘Victorious March’, however, their ability to raise any more energy seems pretty none existent. As it would sadly seem that people were more excited about being able to have a good spot to see Megadeth, who were up within the next forty-five minutes.
Still they played without any technical, wind evading or pyrotechnical problems. You have to remember that this was a second to last bill spot and to be far most people where a bit drunk by this point to have energy left…still you can’t fault the band on that.
Father of the Wolf
Deceiver of the Gods
As Loke Falls
Guardians of Asgaard
Cry of the Black Birds
We Shall Destroy
War of the Gods
Twilight of the Thunder God
The Pursuit of Vikings
It was originally an odd choice for many fans of the festival, when Megadeth [4.5/5] where announced to headline. Although a logical choice – as with the previous years hosting three out of four of the big four, guess it was Megadeth’s turn.
With their steel hearted thrash tonnes and resilience to keep going despite all the strong spirit of Megadeth is a site to be seen. Seeming as Lacuna coil have been sticking around for the whole festival there have been some rumors that she may be singing with them this evening for “Toute Le Monde”.
Sadly this isn’t the case and instead is a full on tear jerk affair instead, with plenty of metal heads all reaching for their fellow man to comfort and enjoy one of most depressingly lovely songs out there.
Even despite this act of true rock family tendencies it’s not long before the few hole and nick pickers begin a tyrad on the band with drama involving such pushing Satan’s set on the Sophie Stage back by up to an hour and telling the stalls near by to silence themselves for their set.
It doesn’t really matter, they are the last band on the Ronnie James Dio stage and are closing the festival so why not just enjoy it.? Despite all this angst about Dave being a hard ass , there is still a soft and cute side to Mega-Dave as his attention was grabbed by the small kid in the front row who received a hi-five and more Megadeth trinkets then he could ever have wished for!
“Yeah fine, I’m a pussy leave me alone!” The dark horse Mustaine laughed it off with a growling grin before starting work on “Sweating Bullets”. Sharp and dressed ready to kill, business is good. The front man is just that, with appropriate pouts and snarls to summon the crowd to have on last burst of energy.
Throughout the set the last beams of energy have been spread throughout the crowd as they surged forward against the barrier. Eager to get closer to the dual axe weilders Dave Mustaine and guitarist Chris Broderick as they began a battle of the guitar solo.
Overall using a set list that has made them the ultimate headline act for the weekend with superb songs such as ‘Wake Up Dead’, ‘Skin o’ My Teeth’, ‘Sweating Bullets’ and less predictably ‘Poison Was the Cure’.
Before winding things down for the last excitement during “Peace Sells” into a lulled silence that would have been enough to fortify that this band were the best head liners of the weekend – as they where actually a sing a long band.
Completing a encore with the classic Thin Lizzy cover and a tyrant of love for the bands set. It’s been a great one, now party until leaving the next morning needs to begin!
Prince of Darkness
Wake Up Dead
In My Darkest Hour
Skin o’ My Teeth
Tornado of Souls
Poison Was the Cure
A Tout Le Monde
Public Enemy No. 1
Symphony of Destruction
Cold Sweat (Thin Lizzy cover)
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
My Way (Sid Vicious song)
The last morning on site is always either a rush, a tumble and more goodbyes then you could ever imagine, it’s hard to let go of a great weekend. Even if it did turn into mudstock at the end, which was more fun than expected! Soggy and soaked through, we waved good bye to our homes, well at least for another year. Our tents un-pegged and joining the remnants of the hurricane’s wind, went on a flying trip along with the gazebos!
It’s been yet again another fantastic year with the pure talents of Down, Emperor and Megadeth headlining the Ronnie James Dio stage over the weekend as well as the plethora of fantastic talent across the new blood stage. No of course forgetting the old and new faces gracing the Jägermeister and Sophie Lancaster Stages too, with a huge thanks to an awesome weekend! Same again next year?… I think so!