So another Bloodstock is in the bag! 2016 might have been the best year (for me personally) of music & the festival as a whole was fantastic!
Note: I am not paid to review Bloodstock. I go there because I love the festival and the music is way closer to my taste. I try and see as many bands as I can but I am only human (eat/sleep etc.) & enjoy a drink as much as the next guy!
Sublime Eyes (6/10) kicks off the festival in style before Karybdis (7/10) ups the stakes with their heavy brand of metal. However, Sumer (8/10) showcase why they are such an exciting band, it’s an incredible set that had the crowd begging for more than the 30 minutes they are given.
Phil Campbell’s (of Motorhead) All Star Band (8/10) finish the Thursday night off with plenty of gusto & tributes to Lemmy and others that have died over the last year. A rousing edition of ‘Born to Raise Hell’ that sees Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) and Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity/Down) join the band on stage was one of the highlights of the weekend.
Friday is when the festival really gets going with all the stages opening up. Hark (7/10) are the first band on the main (Ronnie James Dio stage) & do well to wake up the early morning crowd that came out to see them. They are quickly forgotten though, thanks to the fantastic & fun Gloryhammer (9/10). A really killer set that sees them earn many new fans with their infectious tunes.
Evil Scarecrow (7/10) are becoming Bloodstock regulars now but still manage to draw in a huge crowd even if there was very little ‘fresh’ for those who had seen them multiple times before. Over on the tiny Jägermeister stage, Isarnos (7/10) are one of the few folk metal bands to appear over the entire weekend & they draw in a surprisingly big crowd. It’s fun but a little bit too ‘busy’ with the frontman singing, playing bagpipes and all manner of flutes throughout. They end with a fun folk metal rendition of the Terminator music that has everyone in the crowd smiling along!
The Charm, The Fury (5/10) are average over in the Sophie Lancaster Stage, just not offering much in the way of outstanding music while Corrosion of Conformity (8/10) attack the main stage with ferocity and great tunes to boot. It is a great performance (borrowed instruments and all) & the band seem to really enjoy it too.
Metal legends Venom (9/10) are outstanding on the main stage and with a new album in the works they are far from just being a nostalgic act! Things stay dark and nasty as Behemoth (8/10) play their seminal album The Satanist in full, it’s a fantastic set that promises to destroy what is left of the crowds hearing!
Friday ends with one of the biggest rock bands ever saying goodbye in ‘Irish funeral’ style. Twisted Sister (10/10) are phenomenal & there is no doubt that this is the end. Classic like ‘The Price, ‘I Wanna Rock’ and ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ are lapped up hungrily by the huge crowd but it’s the airing of lesser known songs that really show just how good the band are & why they will be missed.
The Heretic Order (7/10) do a great job of trying to wake up a hungover crowd before Vallenfyre (7/10) bring some seriously dirty & heavy metal to the festival.
A reunited & re-energised Akercocke (9/10) take a few songs to hit their stride but when they do it’s incredible, one of the bands of the entire weekend. Unfortunately most of Rotting Christ’s (8/10) set clashed with another band but what I did watch was fantastic. The new music sounds huge but it was all about The King Is Blind (9/10) over at the Sophie Lancaster stage. This is a band that everyone needs to be paying attention too, they are going to be massive.
Fear Factory (6/10) are still doing their ‘Demanufacture’ celebration and the album is aired in full here. They do well, with ‘Zero Signal’ in particular going down a treat but songs like ‘Dog Day Sunrise’ suck the life out of the crowd & some of Burton’s high notes don’t quite hit as well as they should.
Gojira (9/10) don’t have any problems though, absolutely tearing the festival a new one with some of the heaviest songs of the entire weekend. The new stuff sits perfectly alongside the old & there is no doubt that they are almost at the headliner level.
That spot today though is reserved for Mastodon (9/10) who are somewhat of a controversial one for Bloodstock with many decreeing that they weren’t headliner material. They proved a lot of people wrong with a set that was quality all the way through. They don’t say much, preferring to let the music do the talking for them but most who watched until the end went away satisfied. They were excellent.
Those that managed to get out of bed for Ghost Bath (9/10) where treated to an intense experience. You could see the confusion on many faces as they realised there are no lyrics, the frontman backs up the music with intense screams & wails. It’s not for everyone but I fucking love this band & their set was fantastic.
Krysthla (8/10) continue the intense heaviness of the morning before things take a serious nosedive with the pointless & very questionable (bill position wise) Metal Allegiance (2/10). Why such a prominent spot on the main stage was given to a bloody ‘famous faces cover band’ is highly debatable. What I watched was god-awful with their own music in particular sounding like shit.
Thankfully Witchsorrow (6/10) do a good enough job with their brand of doom to liven things back up but it’s Satyricon (10/10) that really turn things around. Playing Nemesis Divina in full, it is incredible & Satyr gives it his all on stage. They breathed life into a flagging crowd & reminded everyone just why black metal is so important.
Over on the Sophie stage, Whispered (9/10) put on an amazing show that marks them out as ones to keep a very close eye on before Symphony X (3/10) ruin the feel good factor with their brand of bland & boring power metal. It’s an unexciting set that shows how much the band are lacking when compared to the likes of Helloween or Blind Guardian.
The main stage at Bloodstock is brought to a close with 2 trash metal titans facing off. First Anthrax (7/10) do what they always do. A solid set but one that hardly leaves regular attendees to their shows excited before Slayer (8/10) show why they are still considered legends of metal. It’s a great show with Marshall stacked crosses spitting out fire & riffs a-plenty but the band don’t seem as interested to be there & conversations with the crowd are kept to the minimum.
It’s a fine ending to a pretty amazing weekend. Bloodstock has proven once again that they are the best heavy metal festival in the UK. Roll on 2017!