This was my first Bloodstock for two years as this is the first year for two years my wife didn’t decide to have a baby! I have to say it was great to be back! I didn’t realise how much I’d missed it, even though the lineup this year was disappointingly weak and Deicide had, not unexpectedly, pulled out. Maybe next year? Can we have Hypocrisy too, please?
Grand Magnus  were the first band I saw. Nothing special. Just a straight metal band with nothing of interest to me. I’ve seen Moonsorrow  before and even owned an album once. They were better than I remember and I quite enjoyed their set. The most startling thing about Iced Earth  was that Jon Schaffer’s hair and beard, having been white two years ago, was now suddenly dark brown! As if no one would notice? They played well as always, but didn’t play Melancholy (Holy Martyr) this time, much to my dissapointment. Sepultura were just spectacularly brilliant as always . Back with their original bassist it was great to hear the classics. Pythia  probably suffered most from a poor sound on the little stage. Still they played well and were good entertainment. I don’t understand all the fuss about Ronnie James Dio’s voice, I really don’t. The Dio Disciples  were ok, but I can really take or leave them even though I’m a big fan of Ripper Owens and Toby Jepson. Watain  felt like just a wall of the same chord. I’ve since bought one of their albums that I’m quite enjoying. Maybe there’s hope. Behemoth  were of course fantastic. They put on a great show and played their best songs. Probably more a special guest band than a headliner, but given everything Nergal has been through it was a well deserved headline.
First band on the second day was I AM I  and have a serious chance of being the band of the festival. The ex-Dragon Force singer’s new band play a heavy style of power metal that just works. The singer’s obvious charisma is just a bonus. I can’t wait for the album in September. I listened to Chthonic  on the internet when I first read about them. It sounded like rubbish noise. Live however they are fantastic. I now have their latest album and it’s a world away from what I heard previously. Crowbar  were just rubbish. Nothing to offer. The same goes for Mayhem . They were crap when I saw them before and they were crap this time. So as I’d heard a bit about them I left Mayhem to go and watch Furyon instead. They were ok, nothing special. I have to watch Kyrbgrinder  as its the drummer from Threshold’s band. They’re ok, but nothing to get excited about. The drumming is of course superb. I was full of hope for Sanctuary  as I really like Nevermore, but they did nothing for me. Hatebreed  aren’t really worth mentioning. There was a second acoustic set from I AM I  with a couple of covers, including Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi, and one of their own songs. Again brilliant. I just don’t understand the fuss about Testament . Totally boring. I didn’t really know what to expect with Machine Head . They were obviously stoked to be there and played a blinding set. Obviously it helps that their latest album is the best thing since Burn My Eyes, which they also played five tracks from. Rob Flynn told us he got into metal as he knew he was different when he was growing up. This struck a chord with me and I’m sure many others.
I got to Bloodstock early on day three to watch Cobra and the Lotus . I needn’t have bothered. They were boring and had nothing new to add. Evile  are like Metallica and Slayer rolled into one, but much, much better than Slayer. I’m looking forward to enjoying them for years to come. Corrosion of Conformity  had nothing to offer. The band I was looking forward to for most of the weekend was Nile . Unfortunately it started to rain as they came on and they had a few technical difficulties, but they played a blinder. More please! The Black Dhalia Murder  and Anvil  had nothing to offer me. Paradise Lost  have struggled to produce good albums since Draconian Times and One Second. I haven’t been that impressed with their live performance recently either. However today they played well and a great set which only lacked True Belief and The Last Time. The last time I saw Dimmu Borgir  was supporting Lamb of God and the sound was terrible. This time it was incredible. I could have listened to the play much longer and haven’t stopped listening to them since. Alice Cooper  has a radio show where he talks a lot. Tonight he didn’t address the crowd at all. He played greatest hits set that included my favorites Poison, Hey Stoopid and Feed My Frankenstein. I really would have liked more from Trash and Might As Well Be On Mars, not to mention a lead guitarist who could play the solos properly.
All in all not the best Bloodstock ever, but at least I discovered two good new bands I hadn’t really heard before. I’m already looking forward to next year, although I wouldn’t have chosen Anthrax unless they were playing lots of stuff from The Sound of White Noise album.