Review: Bloodstock Open Air 2012

By Georgi Bomb and Elaine McMonagle


So many amazing bands played over the Bloodstock weekend that it was impossible to see them all! The atmosphere was crazy, the people were fantastic and the company kept over the weekend was amazing!

Plenty of familiar faces made a welcome return to the festival this year, including Malefice who kicked off Friday’s proceedings on the Ronnie James Dio. Next up was some good old power metal by Freedom Call. These guys don’t like to give half measures, and front man, Chris Bay sending out shivers with his voice and crazy guitar solos. Sepultura stormed the stage with Derrick acting like a complete dude as they tore through classic hits like Refuse, Resist and new tracks from latest album, Kairos.

Over on the New Blood stage were some crazy boys from Glasgow called Exile The Traitor. Melodic death metal and music to my ears, they played a great set and managed to pull in a crowd quicker than ever.

While the heat kept rising, backs and boobs got redder; people remained pumped throughout the day. Seeking shade in the Sophie tent discovered Winterfylleth performing to a packed out audience. Black metal without the corpse paint, they played with exceptionally tightness, blending tranquil folk with bloodthirsty extremity and themes surrounding British history. A top performance from these Manchurians, proven by the din from the crowd.

Next up was Pythia, pulling a great crowd and played a fantastic show. They have a strong stage presence and they know how to work it. Vocalist, Emily Ovenden is such a talented woman, her voice is on top form and her followers are fantastic. Back on the main stage for Satan Lords, Watain, performing with full pyro stage and an amazing atmosphere was built during their tight set.

They definitely paved the way nicely for headliners, Behemoth, who proved that, even after battling a life threatening illness, they still deserve to remain on the throne of the black metal scene. With atmospheric smoke, fire and fantastic performance, the crowd didn’t want their encore to end. A memorable to end to day one.

Once all cobwebs and mouldy booze was rinsed from our rancid bodies, Dripback decided to brutally assault our delicate heads with some ferocious London grime. Hitting intense energy levels, curing any leftover hangover. Death Valley Knights also packed the tent out and the atmosphere was crazy! The only way to watch these guys was to stand outside at the back rather than trying to push through the sea of people.

Crowbar was talked about by many with their husky front man and ultra sludgy sound. An impressively strong, forty minute set from these guys.  Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Mayhem, who may be passed their prime as they gave a rather mediocre, if not freaky show. The one band that no one could deny gave a performance of epic proportions was Hatebreed. From start to finish, there was a crazy amount of energy as vocalist, Jamey Jasta, bopped and spun around on stage. Running from one end to the other, engaging the audience and not one member lost this momentum during the gig.  Although the announcement of Saturday’s headliner saw the forums spring into life with venomous hatred for Machine Head. They were greeted with huge appreciation and the metallers did what they always do. Perform all their best tunes to the constant chanting of “Machine-fucking-Head”.

Flayed Disciple may have had an early start on the Sophie stage, but this didn’t deter former Metal 2 The Masses winners from bringing it all on Sunday Monday. Catchy, brutal and a front man with more character than a politically correct Disney hero, these Somerset boys definitely set a high bar for everyone else.

People had definitely set their clocks and rose early for Kobra and the Lotus, who gave a stunning performance. Kobra’s voice perfectly sailing out over the catchy music and plenty of energy. With Nile promoting At the Gates of Sethu, it was pleasing to watch them performing the challenging tracks, although the set seemed somewhat static.

The heat ended abruptly and the rain commenced right on cue for Evile who, as always, were strong and on form, laughing and cheering as a man surfed the crowd on an inflatable mattress. The Black Dahlia Murder played an incredible set of insanity. Clearly putting their hearts and souls into the performance. As were a young couple near the front, who took it upon themselves to fornicate during their show.  A first for the Detroit lads!

Demonic Resurrection, from India, had a decent sized crowd turn out and they didn’t disappoint. With their evil black metal sound with haunting synths and fearful cries from the Demon Stealer. Demonic Resurrection were merciless as the crowd bowed before them.  Dimmu Borgir never fail to put on mind blowing shows, and on Bloodstock’s final night, they didn’t nothing less than captivate every member of the audience with an almighty playlist and spectacular stage set.

As the festival draws to a close, Alice Cooper reminded us why he has had a career older than most of the festivalgoers. Fantastic set covering so many years and despite it being a festival show, he still produced his fantastic stage set, with a mammoth, dancing Frankenstein, various costume changes and the infamous, guillotine. Closing with glittering confetti during School’s Out made a fitting end to an incredible three days.

With Anthrax already confirmed for 2013, we’ll see you next year!


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