SUNDAY 9 August:
My Sunday could be described as a lazy one. Looking back at it, I only had six bands to see, and the best bit was, I didn’t have to even get into the arena until the early hours of the afternoon. Over on the main stage round 1pm, the mighty Orange Goblin took to the stage and brought with them a very sizable crowd. Having only ever experienced Goblin in an indoors or enclosed setting like the Sophie Stage last time they played Bloodstock, I did have some worries about how that big thunderous sound they bring would hold up through the main stage – would the fact it was outdoors mean that it might lose some of that same effect it does when the sound is confined? Thankfully, the moment the band hit the stage and began to blast out the opening bars of Scorpionica, those worries were washed away with copious amounts of rock and roll infused metal. Ben’s great stage presence and ability to work the crowd along with the unmatchable tone the band have made for a fantastic combination. Opting to go with the more heavy and metal friendlier tracks, they ripped through their nine song set, finding time for live favourites like Cities Of Frost, The Filthy And The Few and Quincy The Pigboy alongside the newer live anthems of Sabbath Hex and the closing track, Red Tide Rising which featured a massive pit which brought a smile to Ben’s face.
More downtime was up after Goblin so after the usual wander round to see what else I could waste money on and see who else I could catch up with, it was time for the second major clash of the weekend. As much as I would have loved to see Ol Drake’s Old Rake performance, he totally clashed with Sepultura and as much as I like Ol as a musician… It’s Sepultura!
Opening up with Troops Of Doom, the pioneering thrash band delivered what we’d expect of them, a set which was heavy as hell and well received by the crowd. My only criticism of this band is the fact that they never did replace Max in terms of his rhythm dynamic. Whilst Andreas Kisser is a fantastic guitarist and carries the burden of being the one guitar in Sepultura, it does miss that extra bite which would be provided by the rhythm guitar. That one slight aside, much like the last time I saw them at Bloodstock, it was pretty much more of the same. Derrick’s stage presence as always was terrifying and added to the heaviness from the instruments, especially now that he has shaved his head and the new song, Sepultura Under My Skin went down a storm. As always though, the best moments of the set came as soon as that pounding intro to Roots Bloody Roots came on to draw a close on the set and the crowd just opened right up and all hell broke loose!
Heading back to recover a little from the Sepultura set, I headed back into the Arena for the remainder of the night and once again, the main stage was where I was. Cannibal Corpse were about to head on up and this of course meant one last venture into the thick of it for their set. Whilst Conan and Godflesh (more on them later) may have been the heaviest sounding bands and brought a different kind of intensity to the table, Cannibal Corpse were without a doubt the heaviest band of the weekend in terms of performance, sound and just the overall sense of their set. The death metal institute took no prisoners. With a ferocious sound, precise playing at frantic speeds and a huge towering stage presence, the Corpse laid waste to Bloodstock leaving many a person broken, whether that be from pitting, being hit with a crowd surfer or those who dared try to keep up with the windmill of epic proportions. Hammer Smashed Face, I Cum Blood, Skull Full Of Maggots and Devoured By Vermin were the highlights of the set for me along with surviving such a punishing ordeal in the pit. It was angry, it was brutal and it never gets old.
After recovering just enough to peel myself up off the floor and retreat to the safety of my camping chair, Black Label Society took to the stage. This was a set I was looking forward to as it was on paper a decent band to have playing – big on groove, excellent guitar work and the infamous’ Zakk Wylde Drinking Game’ (drink every time he plays a pinch harmonic) was potentially on the cards… Sadly this wasn’t the case. Whilst the set may have been musically precise and no one can dismiss Wylde’s credentials as a technically sound guitar player, the massive doses of advanced, rapidly alternate picked pentatonic wankery which seemed to go on forever grew boring after the very first song of the set. Funeral Bell and Bleed For Me went down great with the crowd and the closing onslaught of Concrete Jungle and Stillborn wrapped it up nicely, but if it wasn’t for the extremely tedious solo spots splattered through the set, we could have got more in like Fire It Up, Stoned And Drunk and The Blessed Hellride. Also, the lack of interaction with the fans was widely noted and commented on, with one person saying that they saw the set as more of a “I am Zakk Wylde, you will watch how good I am” moment.
It was after this self indulgent display of pentatonic wankery that we were informed that Behemoth will be one of the special guests next year, performing their Satanist album in full for the very first time. Whilst this announcement does have some potential, fans of the band who aren’t too besotted with them pointed out this was their most recent and not their best album in terms of quality, but it is the same one which has got them into hot water in certain countries. Go figure I guess?
Finally, it was time for Rob Zombie to make himself known. I wasn’t too keen on him to begin with having heard the horror stories of the quality of his set from Hellfest 2014 and I have always known Rob to not be a spectacular vocalist of any kind, often relying on his raw half assed shout style vocals to compliment the music accompanying them. Never the less, the moment he came out and the start of Teenage Nosferatu Pussy kicked in, you could see the crowd was into it. Superbeast was powerful despite Rob dropping lines in the verses or just half assing his way through them, but the set started to come alive when he began to play about with the crowd. An impromptu cover of James Brown’s Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine) into Living Dead Girl went down a storm with the girls in the crowd who wanted to get their dance on and when the classic More Human Than Human came on, you could tell the people who were clearly there for the nostalgia kick were interested as everyone got in on it. We got a Ramones cover thrown in there too, but the highpoint of the set was the mighty Thunderkiss ’65 which was extended to include a John 5 Solo Spot (far more interesting than Zakk’s ones previously) and even a snippet of School’s Out by Alice cooper before it wrapped itself up with the end of Thunderkiss once more.
Vocally, it appeared Rob got stronger as the set went on (Or I was getting more drunk and it didn’t seem as bad) but the real downer on his set was the encore. Dragula, the one song plenty of people were up for sounded a bit lifeless and the set finished a lot earlier than expected, but looking at it, that meant I had plenty of time to catch who I considered to be the real headliner of the weekend.
Closing Bloodstock’s musical affairs for the weekend were the mighty Godflesh. If you have seen them before, you knew what was coming – a poundingly heavy, relentless level of noise and intensity coated in nihilism and despair. Much like Conan earlier in the weekend, these guys were easily winners in the heaviness of sound aspect, so much so that even a good thirty to fifty feet outside the rammed out Sophie Lancaster Stage, your chest was pounding. There was little interaction, but with a band like Godflesh, there doesn’t really need to be. People come to see Godflesh so they can be crushed under the weight of their sound with little or no reprieves and a lot of people were crushed that night. The highpoint of the set was the dedication of Like Rats to Sophie Lancaster, something which I hadn’t heard from the few bands I saw playing this stage across the weekend, so that did add one small bright spot to a crushingly heavy and despair laden set.
In all, Bloodstock 2015 was a great weekend musically for me. Plenty of Thrash, Death, Groove and intensity was only let down by a handful of bands/performances. For me, the band of the entire weekend had to be Death DTA, it was just all round magic… And Saturday was the best day for me too with that run on the mainstage which is partially responsible for my arms and back being in agony and littered with cuts and bruises. Ihsahn was a letdown for me and Trivium pissed all over my nostalgia kick and annoyed the inner me of 2005 with how dull they were whilst Dark Angel and Within Temptation really surprised me with how good they were live.
Venom and Behemoth as bands announced for next year is a bit touch and go for me. I’m not a fan of Behemoth so that is probably a one to watch if I’m bored set, but Venom, irrespective of how they are live these days who who is in the line up now should be a tremendous amount of fun… Either in a good way, or the slowing down to look at a train wreck happening right before your eyes.
It was fun, see you again next year!
Review by Fraggle
Photos by Zinger