Bloodstock Festival: Day Three – Catton Hall, UK

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As the final day of Bloodstock 2015 begins, it is once again with the shock of no sign of rain once again. Someone, somewhere must have made some kind of sacrifice to some form of deity to ward off the rain and giving perfect sunshine for the entire weekend. No doubt the usual washout day will rear its head again next year, but for today, there is plenty of heavy metal to enjoy.

Kicking off proceedings for the day is one very annoying clash between atmospheric black metaller’s Agalloch on the main stage and British heavy metal masters Triaxis, who reward the rammed Sophie Tent by assuredly knocking the cobwebs of people’s hangovers away with a spectacular showcase of straightforward but massively enjoyable metal. New cuts like ‘Liberty’ and ‘Death Machine’ prove just as immediate and strong as fan-favourites like ‘Black Trinity’ as they show just why they one of the brightest lights on the British metal scene today, as today’s set feels hugely triumphant. The same can’t quite be said for the following The Izuna Drop who’s electronica bass drop tinged sounds are interesting in principle but doesn’t translate well today as a thin, curious crowd quickly empties even further.

For all the critics of the modern day incarnation of Sepultura (WAH! THERES NO MAX CAVALERA ITS NOT SEPULTURA!) they’re overlooking three important factors: Firstly Derrick Green has been a part of the band by now longer than Max ever was. Secondly the band that they are today is a very different beast to the Max incarnation; yes they play the hits like ‘Roots Bloody Root’ and ‘Refuse/Resist’ but with a somewhat different tone to those days. And thirdly, they still pack a hell of a punch, giving a strong, somewhat safe set with very few surprises (other than a brand new song aired) but one that is never less exciting than before, as the main stage crowd gives a huge response, especially to those aforementioned hits.

The likes of Agalloch and Belphegor may have suffered some of their atmospherics due to the sunshine on the main stage, so its fortunate for Saille that they perform to a darker, more intense Sophie tent, where their brooding, melodic brand of black metal is allowed its full impact. Mostly static but full of intensity, their vivid tales inspired but the likes of H.P. Lovecraft proof menacing but so captivating, and they have surely made a tonne of new friends in this instance.

You always know what you’re going to get with Cannibal Corpse, from the bludgeoning barrage of their music to the recognisable stage introductions (“This song is about shooting blood from your cock”) but it never withers in intensity, and today they are as strong and reliant as ever. The staggering amount of crowd surfers during this set tells you how well they have gone down today, and why they are such a firm live favourite.

It may be hot outside, it may be the evening of the last day, but people still want to have a bloody good time, and apparently a bit of a boogie. Good job French swing/death metal oddballs Trepalium are at hand with perhaps the surprise set of the entire weekend. Not a huge name by any means on these shores but they pack out the Sophie tent, and after a confusing sound-check, absolutely explode. Volatile death metal meets catchy, jazz like passages with stunning effect as the what could possibly be the biggest moshpit the tent has seen all weekend is surrounded by people dancing like loons to four sharply dressed musicians and a shirt-less, voodoo mask like painted nutter of a vocalist. An unexpected highlight as they prove one of the bands of the weekend.

Zakk  Wylde

Zakk Wylde

All three headliners this year were subject to vitriolic responses on the internet forums at their announcement, but today’s headliner Rob Zombie probably received the most flak. Coupled with the memory of recent, stripped back festival appearances not gaining plaudits and there is a swell of anticipation amongst excited fans and those who seem to be there simply wishing for a car crash performance. Not to mention the catastrophic stage problems that plagued Trivium and Within Temptation, there is a feeling that anything could happen; fortunately for the excited throng, all goes well this time around.

 

 

 

Rob Zombie, photo credit  Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

 Rob Zombie, photo credit  Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opening with a storming ‘Teenage Nosferatu Pussy’, Rob Zombie’s part b-movie horror flick, part cartoon brand of industrial metal proves an excellent festival closer which oozes fun. Zombie himself proves very charismatic (if at times forced) whilst the excellent pair of John 5 and Piggy D jostle and challenge for attention on stage, both giving show stealing, virtuoso performances and their own unique visuals. Coupled with such a strong arsenal of songs and it seems silly to think how it could have failed; although there seems to be reliance on a couple of famous covers to gather some momentum: an awkward rendition of James Brown’s ‘Get Up…’ and note perfect, nothing special renditions of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘Schools Ou’” which surely take time away from songs people may have wanted to hear. That being said the likes of ‘Superbeast’, ‘More Human Than Human’ and a rarely aired ‘Pussy Liquor’ hit the spot, bringing the festivities to a euphoric close on the main stage (for those who still have energy and urging for a more claustrophobic disposition, Godflesh pack out the tent later on in the night).

 Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Over the weekend some issues reared their heads again, from the stage show suffering of black metal bands in broad daylight to the near comical amount of main stage difficulties which nearly derail many a set, but none of this can detract from a tremendous weekend that gave fantastic weather and even better bands.

See you in a year Catton Hall.

 

CHRIS TIPPELL and SARAH WORSLEY

Bloodstock Festival: Day Two- Catton Hall, UK

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With the Sophie Lancaster Stage headliners finishing late into the night, as well as other forms of entertainment in the arena or the Serpent’s Lair VIP Area (or for the less brave of course, beers at the tent), you’d be forgiven for thinking the atmosphere would be a little subdued on the Saturday, especially considering the scorching heat the day before. Far from it however, as Saturday greets all with even hotter weather (thankfully there are plenty of water stations and surprisingly small queues) and another day of some of the best and most exciting bands the metal world has to offer.

A relaxed and lazy morning means the days viewing kicks off in the Sophie tent with British death metallers Ageless Oblivion, whose dark atmospherics try to detract from the sunshine outside. Pulling in a strong crowd, they prove why they are one of the most exciting bands on the UK extreme metal scene, complete with unpredictability structures and relentless viciousness with hypnotic majesty.

The small size of the festival arena proves a blessing as Ageless Oblivion wrap up their set just as prog/tech metallers Xerath take to the main stage within seconds. With a large, attentive crowd Xerath prove that they are more than worthy of the upgrade from their last time here on the second stage, as their progressive tendencies hit the mark alongside a tonne of fat grooves, perfectly catering for all. The stage size does not seem to daunt them as they give a confident and crushing display.

Korpiklaani, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

Korpiklaani, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

Normally benefiting from people wanting to shelter from near monsoon conditions, its truly heart-warming to see masses of people supporting those bands that have come from far climes, especially when they are as good as the first of two Indonesian bands on the bill today, Jasad. As they take the stage they are greeted with a near packed tent and a euphoric response which clearly humbles them as the band can hardly contain their smiles throughout. Combined with brilliant death metal and frontman Mohammed Rohman’s sense of humour and this proves one of the most fun and triumphant sets of the weekend.

SLR_5211_Napalm Death

Napalm Death, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

Very few bands are as consistently brilliant both live and on record as Napalm Death so its unsurprising that they are consistently great form today, and the huge response they get from the crowd makes this a no surprises but incredible set.

It has to be pointed out the diversity that, appropriately, the Sophie Lancaster Stage presents over the weekend, brings some of the weekend’s greatest moments. Right near the top has to be the second Indonesian band of the day, Burgerkill as once again a packed out tent and the chaos that ensues proves truly heartening. The massive grins that adorn each member tells the story as the moshpits almost takes over the entire front of the tent. As Oaf’s Dom Lawson makes a guest appearance the importance of today for the band is abundantly clear, and they took it by storm.

Opeth, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opeth, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opeth are no strangers to the Ronnie Jamies Dio (main) stage, having headlined twice, once in the place of Heaven & Hell who cancelled due to the sad passing of the man for whom the stage is now named. They could play in a nightclub car park and still exude the same amount of beauty and brutality as they do co-headlining a festival. Love their progressive direction or loathe it, Opeth never fail to impress as ten thousand mesmerised fan sway to ‘The Devils Orchard’, then moments later headbang to ‘Deliverance’, showing symmetry with the bands diverse back catalogue.

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

To quote the mighty Taylor Swift – “haters gonna hate” – and those die-hard Bloodstockers who scoffed or spewed ignorant and hateful babble when Within Temptation were announced certainly did. They can be spotted a mile off, standing with their arms folded waiting for the Dutch symphonic metallers to suck harder than Lars’ drumming. But they don’t – so ha! Each song is performed with heart and soul, with the set culled mainly from the more recent Hydra (BMG/Universal) and The Unforgiving (Roadrunner) albums, and the unity the crowd feel with the band is a testament to their longevity. Sharon den Adel, who seemingly has danced in the blue flame of eternal life, rallies the crowd so that even when technical difficulties plague their penultimate song, the baying masses hang on her every note. Within Temptation bring a touch of flair and class to Derbyshine; utterly sublime.

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

 

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

CHRIS TIPPELL & SARAH WORSLEY