SATURDAY 8 August:
Another day beckoned and another 11am start was on the cards. This time the day began on the Sophie Lancaster stage with PIST, a filthy sludgey four piece from Bury. From the off, you could see the lads were enjoying every minute of their set as they stormed through it with a monstrous sound and a confident swagger. Interacting with the crowd, drinking at any and every possible chance and even finding time to give us a new song in the form of Shitstorm which came off as a groovier version of something you might find on a Weedeater album, the guys really nailed it and set the mood for my day.
Korpiklaani was my next band of the day and as you’d expect, the folk metal outfit from Finland brought the crowd with them. Granted they were on right in the middle of the day when it was pushing the temperature right up, but it didn’t stop the party from happening. The heat didn’t drain the will of the crowd and there was plenty of drinking and dancing all round as the Finns stormed through their set. The only downer about this though was they didn’t actually play the one song which casual listeners actually know from them – Happy Little Boozer, though we did get Vodka which made up for it a tiny bit I guess.
With little time to spare, from Korpiklaani I hot footed it over to the Jagermeister Stage where Pig Iron were up playing a semi-acoustic set (bassist was using his electric bass). Having seen Pig Iron previously in May 2014 supporting Mustasch when they could unleash their full pelt rock and roll sound, seeing them acoustically was a bit more interesting. The sleazy blues aspect of the band’s sound really came across well in the unplugged setting and the mix of the harmonica and guitar really got the crowd gathered round the tiny stage moving. It was a great way to chill out for a few songs whilst preparing myself for what would be the biggest run of bands of the day for me.
Back on the main stage it was time for Napalm Death. Having seen one of the pioneers of grind several times already over the past few years, it wasn’t like there were any or many surprises in store in the set. We got some of the new material, plenty of the old classics and one hell of a lively pit going. Intense from start to finish with a crowd begging for more from Barney and the boys, the only real way I could describe them in one word would be lapsing into the slight Scottish twang I picked up having camped with a few Glaswegians and just say “Yaldi!”
Staying with the main stage, Dark Angel followed on. The heavier thrash act who are one of the most overlooked bands in the genre despite releasing some of the finest thrash of the 80’s were back on the live scene once more and with talk of new material in the works, it was a fantastic experience. Complex instrumental sections nestled between the aggressive vocals, a crowd begging for more groove and heaviness, much like Overkill the day before, it was a slice of classic thrash which went down fantastic and really blew me away with how precise and great the band was.
Up next though was the band who when announced really had my attention: Death DTA. Death need no introduction, the legendary band helped pioneer a genre and the host of musicians who passed through its ranks have all went on to perform in other acts and contribute greatly to metal as a whole. With Death DTA being a celebration of Chuck’s musical legacy, every song delivered was a classic. With Gene on drums, Steve on bass, Bobby on guitars and Max handling vocal and guitar duties, it was a true death metal super group and the atmosphere was incredible. It was as close to the ‘real thing’ as you will get and to me, it was just like watching old live Death footage on YouTube in terms of the sound, stage presence, execution of the songs and the overall feel. Opening with The Philosopher, the band destroyed the main stage, whipping up a frantic pit and when Overactive Imagination, Crystal Mountain and Pull The Plug all kicked in, it was just magic. Easily the best band of the day for me by some distance!
Given my distaste for Opeth, I decided to use the break to grab food, top up the beer levels and take a rest before Jettblack took to the Sophie Lancaster Stage. With their hard rock with a heavier kick to it, like a more metal Thin Lizzy with a slight glam edge from time to time. Bringing a real party like atmosphere with some great melodic guitar work and real dirty sounding rock and roll, it was a great change of pace from the hefty dose of death, thrash and grind I’d had earlier in the day. A few people smirked when I said I would have rather watched Jettblack than Opeth, but when a band as entertaining as that is on offer against a band who have managed to change their sound and alienate a large slice of their fanbase are on, I’m going to go with the entertainment every time.
By the time Jettblack had finished, I headed over to catch the rest of Within Temptation who were already in full flow. I’m not really a fan of the female fronted symphonic power/euro metal bands as from past experience of these, the singers have often been more eye candy than vocally talented (a la Nightwish) and I did wonder whether the group were big enough to pull off the headlining slot. They are the type of band Bloodstock caters for, but before the festival I would have had them down more as the special guests than the headliners. My opinion of course, with both hands held up now, was way off the mark. Vocally powerful, a good solid sound and a really engaged crowd were what I found. Big dramatic sound, fantastic stage presence and a crowd fully immersed in the set, Within Temptation surpassed my expectations. After I left the set to catch the last band of the day, I was informed that there were more technical issues plaguing the main stage which is a shame, but on the plus side, at least they weren’t Trivium!
Closing the day were Symphonic Death Metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse. It was rammed out over on the Sophie Lancaster stage before they even got on stage and there whispers of even more technical issues afoot which was a reason believed for the slight delay of them getting on stage. When they did get on though, it was a phenomenal wall of sound which smashed into everyone. Tight, heavy, precise and intense, the Italians showed no mercy with a brutal display which you could compare to that of Rotting Christ at last year’s Bloodstock. It was a real solid performance and by the time it was over, it was back to the campsite for the usual post band antics and the smallest day of the festival in terms of who I had to see.
Review (+ Pist Photo) by Fraggle
Photos by Zinger