Bloodstock Open Air - Friday
12 August 2011
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
Another year, another Bloodstock, with the masses gathered expectantly for the main stage activity to begin with The Defiled.Pre-show comments had indicated that they were aware that they were a little bit of a square peg in a round hole as far as this festival was concerned and initial reactions would indicate the crowd felt likewise.As ever The AVD spent more time throwing his keyboards around than playing them and the band seemed more intent on acting anarchic than playing the songs.With them not doing anything for me today, I took my leave to the Unsigned stage, however friends who stayed noted the set improved towards its conclusion.
The Defiled setlist:
In The Land Of Fools / Call To Arms / Blood Sells / Metropolis / Black Death / The Resurrectionists
Over at the Unsigned Stage, Shreddertron were already into their set.Their name could prove misleading as there are few guitar histrionics but more industrialised metal riffing.Fear Factory popped into mind on a few occasions, but Shreddertron also headed into more trippy territories.With the band being purely instrumental for me they ended up as a great backing whilst meeting up with friends rather than grabbing my attention.
Shreddertron setlist included:
Turbo Future Gladiator / Riff Of Doom
Back to the mainstage Wolf are reminding us “This is our third time and we love it”.Skull Crusher was dedicated to a roadie who had hit his head badly backstage and we began to wonder whether the same guy was manning the sound desk, as a confused sound had Anders Modd’s bass drowning out the guitars which should really be the focus of the Wolf sound.Despite the sound issues it was a solid if unspectacular performance from the Swedes.
Evil Star / The Bite / Skull Crusher / Full Moon Possession / Voodoo / K-141 Kursk / Hail Caesar
Mortad playing the Sophie Stage:
Annoyingly the sound didn’t improve much for Forbidden with a messy mix making you really concentrate to pick out the guitar work.One thing that remains on form was Russ Anderson’s vocal.It always set Forbidden apart somewhat to have a thrash singer that could truly hit the notes and retaining that skill we’re prepared to forgive him for calling us c**nts at ever opportunity.Forsaken At The Gates from the band’s comeback album Omega Wave sat well amongst the early classics, but it was that older material that set the crowd alive, with a large pit opening for Through Eyes Of Glass.
March Into Fire / Step By Step / Forsaken At The Gates / Omega Wave / Twisted Into Form / Through Eyes Of Glass / Chalice Of Blood
Primitai playing the New Blood Stage:
Poisonblack do little to excite me on record and the sight of mainman Ville Laihiala taking to a stool centre stage did little to change my views.To be fair I understand Laihiala had just had a knee operation and fair play for not cancelling, but for me the unsigned stage beckoned once more.
Piston Head / Casket Case / A Good Day For The Crows / Sycophant / ? / Buried Alive / ? / Bear The Cross / Mercury Falling / ?
For more appealing were Rannoch on the Unsigned Stage.With a fantastic sound the band from the West Midlands put their 8-string guitars to full use and hypnotised us with a sound that mixed the progressive death metal leanings of Ihsahn and Opeth with the occasional sound of djent.Following opening song Heathen, frontman Ian Gilling announced, “The next song is our last this afternoon”.He wasn’t joking either with Between Two Worlds sprawling over the next twenty-odd minutes taking us through different moods of light and shade.Easily the best band so far today, Rannoch are certainly worth keeping an eye out for.
Heathen / Between Two Worlds
Staying in the tent there’s a deja-vu feeling about Saturnian.That’s because the symphonic black metal band played last year under the name of Traces.Whilst probably now with a more fitting name, little else seems to have changed since Traces, with overblown Dimmu-like black metal topped off with soprano backing vocals.Whilst enjoyable a legend awaited us on the mainstage and we reluctantly had to take leave.
Saturnian setlist included:
Visions (Of A New World) / The Shadow Of Prophecy
From the ashes of Celtic Frost, rose Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s Triptykon, a natural continuation from the colossal Monotheist album.Almost unrecognisable to begin with, the lumbering take on Procreation (Of The Wicked) provided a perfect bridge between the two bands with Warrior’s trademark guitar sound oozing through the PA.The thundering sound of Goetia seemingly caused the heavens to open with one of a few minor rain showers of the weekend.[On a side note, since BOA’s banned flags, golfing umbrellas opened and raised in front of the mainstage should be the next on the list!]Circle Of The Tyrants is offered as a treat to Frost fans before the band bravely chose to dedicate the second half of their set to just one song, The Prolonging.Paying off brilliantly, Triptykon depart with one of the sets of the weekend.
Procreation (Of The Wicked) / Goetia / Circle Of The Tyrants / The Prolonging
Arthemis playing the Sophie Stage:
However, for me, Coroner just eclipsed Triptykon.With an eighteen year break since final album Grin, I really wasn’t expecting the Swiss three piece to be this tightIn fact Coroner boast four members today with the addition of friend Dan on samples and backing vocals who added brilliantly to the band’s sound.Not the most visual of bands, though they never were the first time round, Coroner relied on the sound they create and with a great mix the groove in their songs really came to life.The only disappointment was that there was not enough time to include Reborn Through Hate, which would have meant all 5 studio albums would have been touched upon.As it was, this performance really left a desire that this reunion should continue.
Masked Jackal / Internal Conflicts / Metamorphosis / Semtex Revolution / D.O.A. / No Need To Be Human / Divine Step (Conspectu Mortis) / Grin (Nails Hurt)
Add some black metal make up and the odd crab walk and at times it felt like we could have been watching Immortal on the Sophie stage.However, fellow Norwegian’s Byfrost take a more thrashed up approach with a formidable wall of crunch.Moving between three microphones positioned on stage, vocalist/guitarist Heavyharms helped fill out the space on stage as the band ran through a set of songs from their two albums.Heavyharms told us that the band “Tried to write a power ballad but only got to the first riff”, and sure enough Buried Alive quickly moved from the melodic to punishing blackened thrash.An impressive if at times overwhelming set due to the at times physically painful sound.
Byfrost setlist included:
Eye For An Eye / Shadow Of Fear / Buried Alive / Horns To The Sky
Kreator on the Dio Stage:
Opting to skip Kreator on this occasion it was back to the Sophie stage for October File.The booming sound in the tent worked in favour of the band leading to a fittingly claustrophobic feeling.The instant reference point is the heavier side of Killing Joke with Ben Hollyer’s powerful hollers framed against a regimented wall of noise.Having aided the distribution of hundreds of bands, Plastic Head Director Steve Beatty was evidently loving the opportunity to present his own band with the bassist bounding around the stage mouthing along with each song whilst locking in with John Watt’s powerful drumming.October File offered something a bit different on today’s bill and it was well received.
October File setlist:
A Munitions Crusade / Crawl / Falter / Eau Du War / A Public Display Of Anger / I F**k The Day / Dredge / Isolation
Whilst technical issues hampered rather than marred Devin Townsend’s set last year, the opportunity for him to come back and have another go was well deserved.This time Ziltoid was here too, with the goofy alien chatting to Devin from the big screen and comically pointing out fat metallers in Manowar t-shirts in the front row.The focus however remained very much on Devin for this show with the mainman quickly grasping the crowd in the palm of his hand, leading us to sway our arms through the flying section of opener By Your Command, which Devin dedicated to Jani Lane.“Eat shit hippies, let’s see some tits” screamed Townsend prior to Supercrush! before comically stroking his own.Bad Devil was a great addition to a festival set with bassist Brian Waddell re-Christened Bass Frehley and Spliff Burton for the evening.The only downer with this set was that it flew by so quickly and left us with one confusing question, in Devin’s own words, “Who here wants to be a fire engine?”
Devin Townsend Project setlist:
By Your Command / Supercrush! / Kingdom / Truth / OM / Stand / Juular / Bad Devil / Deep Peace / Vampira
I’d expected following Devin would be a tough call for W.A.S.P., but whilst not eclipsing him they actually put in a pretty solid performance.On Your Knees would have been a perfect opener but as it was getting going, W.A.S.P. chose to carve-up that song and The Real Me before running into L.O.V.E. Machine.Readers of our site will be aware I am not a fan of medleys which always leave me feeling unsatisfied and there was to be a further medley later in the set.However, fists were raised and chants of the letters L, O, V and E started to give the evening a party feel.The two songs from the band’s last album Babylon slotted quite well amongst the greatest hits, though there did seem to be some confusion that W.A.S.P. were playing Wild Child when Crazy’s opening very familiar riff started.The Idol broke the pace up with Blackie Lawless putting in a pretty passionate performance, before it was back to the more instant with a very extended I Wanna Be Somebody.The usual antics of dividing the crowd for a sing-off followed, which were fun but dragged on a little too long.However Blind In Texas ensured that W.A.S.P. left us with memories of overall a good finish to Friday night at Bloodstock.
On Your Knees / The Real Me / L.O.V.E. Machine / Crazy / Babylon’s Burning / Wild Child / Medley (Hellion/I Don’t Need No Doctor/Scream Until You Like It) / The Idol / I Wanna Be Somebody / Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue) / Heaven’s Hung In Black / Blind In Texas