Bloodstock Open Air 2015
@ Catton Hall, Derbyshire
6th – 9th August 2015
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography by Michelle Murphy
Picture the scene: a field in south Derbyshire. One moment, quaint and calm; serene, leafy and undisturbed.
But then, as the sun arises to the midday point one cloudless Thursday in august, thousands upon thousands of heavy metal fans swarmed forth out of the woodwork that is England 2015, to attend the twelfth official Bloodstock Festival (11th open air to be exact).
For me, Bloodstock has become my annual jaunt into the country every summer since I discovered the place in 2010, and having witnessed the breathtaking performances of many bands like Immortal, King Diamond, Alice Cooper, Behemoth, Gojira and Motorhead, I was pumped up for another good weekend of the heaviest music around.
I’d sadly missed out on 2014, so I was hellbent on having one whale of a time as I wandered through Midgard campsite to find my friends.
Eventually I located my brethren, pitched tent and cracked open some beer, ready to relax and have the time of my life.
Soon, the moment came, and we all descended upon the Sophie Lancaster tent like the Israelites fleeing Egypt and we congregated ready to hear the first onslaught of the fest.
First up on the Thursday bill were home grown Thrash Metal outfit: Reign of Fury, who have become something of a promoters’ favourite according to several up and coming promoters whom I liaised with as the day wore on.
And this band certainly showed me how they’d become such a favourite.
Their set was short but as tight as any youngblooded group can get and had all the necessary energy to get the crowd all pumped up and mental for the audible barrages ahead.
I’d never heard anything of the Cheltenham group before this but I came away wanting to know more of their tunes which fused classic thrash with melodies and atmosphere you’d expect from a typical power band. [4/5]
1. Hypnotise the Masses
2. Psycho Intentions
3. Gates to Sanity
4. Born to Die
5. Death be Thy Shepherd
The next band I caught on the stage, having lazed around making new friends after Reign of Fury, were Welsh death metal veterans: Desecration.
This band are synonymous with bloodstock for me, as they were the first band I ever saw in this Derbyshire field all the way back in 2010, as I was learning the ropes of metal and knowing which band represented which subgenre. Since then, I’d caught the band several times both at the festival and in London, and had enjoyed their brutality.
And this time they did not disappoint. But I must comment that the set time was too short for the group. Desecration are a band who deserve as much time on stage as a festival can offer because they are a band who know what they are doing and will never disappoint. But once again we had a case of the organisers letting the guys down with next to no time on stage which is making it hard for me to recall a lot of the set.
I will commend vocalist Olli Jones for mentioning his child’s attendance at the festival – that’s what I call good parenting. Good work Desecration, you guys do deserve better having put Wales on the death metal map. [4/5]
Up next were the quirky Pirate Metal outfit, Red Rum. A group I’m not familiar with as I prejudiced them as an Alestorm clone. But I can safely say I am much mistaken about this group as they really seem to have come into their own.
Pirate Metal is still fairly new and I can see why this band are amongst the flagships leading the proverbial fleet into battle.
Like Alestorm these guys had a great sense of humour, entertaining us with many a swashbuckling jibe about times at sea and searching for riches and fame. They’re the kind of band to get into if you’re a fantasy fiction buff because they made us all laugh and cheer with a cover of ‘Taking the Hobbit’s To Isengard’, one of the first viral videos I ever saw.
So Red Rum were there to give us a nice nostalgia trip and tell us it’s very metal to be fascinated by villains and thieves who take to the waves. The party was now in full swing. [3.5/5]
1. Booze and Glory
2. Dragged out with the Tide
3. Red Rum
4. Drenched in Ale
5. Elixir of Death
6. They’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard
7. Drink Port, Make Port
9. Rise from the Deep
And finally, to round the evening off were the oddball group: ArnoCorps. Now I’m no big fan of Schwarzenegger but have enjoyed his overt campiness and walking talking punch line roles on many occasions, but I’ve never seen him as a sufficient source of comedy music.
This band, supposedly, were from Arnie’s homeland, Austria but they really weren’t pulling off the Austrian accent like the former Mr Universe whom they so dearly admired. I did enjoy how they presented every film covered as pieces of long lost Austrian history, stolen and saturated by Hollywood, but I felt this wasn’t the funniest band to round off the evening.
I did ask myself a few times: why didn’t they just book Austrian Death Machine? Said band have a much more interesting sound and their catchy tunes would’ve had the crowd in hysterics which is sadly not what I saw.
But by this time of the evening, I and everyone around me had been downing gallons of booze and taking god only knows what so it was still a memorable end to a day we’d looked forward to for months. ArnoCorps just didn’t quite deliver as much as I was expecting. [2.5/5]
I was now all pumped up and ready for the rest of the weekend. There had been much debate among my immediate friends over Within Temptation being an ideal headliner. I was looking forward to seeing them, and I didn’t feel immediately that the atmosphere of the festival had changed for the worst as some had claimed. Everyone was having as much fun as I’d recalled on all the previous festivals, so I went to sleep that night all booted up and ready to roll into another day of music and partying.
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