Attempting to improve on 2014’s The Satanist (review here) was always going to be a near impossible task but with I Loved You At Your Darkest (review here), Polish blackened death metal act Behemoth very nearly succeeded. A robust and forward-thinking follow-up held in high regard by many, the only thing which appeared to hold it back for some was the enormous shadow cast by its predecessor.
Catton Park, United kingdom, 12 Aug 2022, Behemoth performing on the Ronnie James Dio Stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival Credit: Rich Price/Ghost Cult Magazine
Main Stage and Sophie Lancaster Stage
If there are two things we love doing in the UK, it’s complaining about the weather and queuing for things. Well, this year at Bloodstock Open Air, both are freely available and at no extra charge. Not a moment goes by without a comment on the sweltering heat or about having to wait to cross the road to the festival ground. Yes, not content with spending two hours in the main queue, campers have now invented a brand new line to join before even getting that far. For the first time ever, a line has formed for people pulling trolleys and sack carts. Almost a quarter of a mile of people waiting in a surprisingly orderly queue before joining an even bigger queue. England, never change.
With the heat already playing its part, I finally arrive at the Sophie Lancaster Stage in time to catch Italian nutters Nanowar of Steel who send the audience into hysterics with daft costumes and a “Wall of Love” (a traditional wall of death that climaxes with people hugging each other to George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’). Preceding the infuriatingly catchy ‘Norwegian Reggaeton’ with Burzum‘s outdoor recipe for roasted salmon (“you place the freshly caught salmon on a rock and burn down the church next to it”) the band then take the opportunity to use the mighty ‘Valhalleluja’ to build an Ikea coffee table, holding it aloft for the elated crowd. Accompanied by an actual goblin for the duration of their set, US act Nekrogoblikon certainly put on an enjoyable show but find it tough following such a display of irreverent insanity.