FridayWe started Bloodstock early this year, as I wanted to see Ex Deo. We arrived just after 11.30, so we caught Death Angel (5) on the main stage as well. For an 80s thrash band, they were remarkably good, but not good enough for me to rush out and buy an album. Ex Deo (7) were definitely worth the cost of the extra night in a hotel. They didn't have the best PA sound and their live performance exaggerates just how dependant on keyboards their sound is, yet they don't have a live keyboard player. I'd like to see them again in a smaller venue.
Dark Funeral (6), another band I was looking forward to seeing, also had a poor PA sound, but appeared to be playing their socks off. After they played Stigmata, in my opinion their best song, I went over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to see The Prophecy(7), a progressive death metal band. As with a lot of progressive bands, their songs were long and I only caught the last two and a half. They were good and had a great live sound, especially for a band with a single guitarist.
I've seen Firewind (5) twice before and they're one of my favourite bands. However, they haven’t released a decent album since Allegiance and their live performance seems to have suffered also. There isn't really space for a guitar solo in a 40 minute festival set. Firewind appear to becoming more about Gus G's ego and less about the music.
Xentrix (8) were brilliant. The sound in the Sophie Lancaster stage is vastly improved over previous years and is currently better than the main stage. Xentrix are back after a 20 year holiday and they're better than ever. They sound a lot like Metallica, but so much better.
Accept (5) were also not too bad for an old 80s band. The only song of there's that I know is Metal Heart and I only know the Dimmu Borgir cover. They didn't play it before I headed off to see Scar Symmetry (8) who, while they were playing songs were simply stunning. Especially when you consider they had a stand in bassist and are down to a single guitarist. Having two singers appears to be working really well. However, between songs they seemed distracted. One of the singers ended up reading from the wrong set list and forgetting lyrics. Then three songs before the end the guitarist disappeared to relieve himself.
We soon gave up on King Diamond (3). His vocal styles is just rubbish and performing behind on-stage railings gives a clear impression of how he feels about audience.
SaturdayHell (6) were great, good music and a fantastic stage show, including fire. I’ll be buying the album. I’m a huge Kataklysm (8) fan and have all but one of their albums, so was really looking forward to seeing them again. They were superb and had the best sound on the main stage so far. I listened to Gojira (5) from the Rock Soc tent. They were much better than I remember and will have to listen to their albums again.
Sabaton (6) were plagued by technical problems early on in their set, so after the first song the singer entertained us on his own for about 10 minutes and was hilarious. They’d played two further, excellent songs before I went of to see PowerQuest (9) do their final ever show. I’d never seen them before, but have all their albums. They were superb and everything you could want in a power metal band. Great vocals, fast guitars and dungeons and dragons. Several previous members of the band made guest appearances. Unfortunately I had to leave before the end.
I’ve seen Lamb of God (6) before and last time they were better. Tonight there were problems with the barricade in front of the stage and the band had to keep stopping. Randy Blythe isn’t so good at entertaining the crowd without the band, but at least he tried. When they did play, their sound got better towards the end of the set and I started to quite enjoy it.
SundayI used to be really into Whitechapel (6), but stopped listening to them soon after I saw them play with Annotations of an Autopsy and Job For A Cowboy. They played well, but were not really my thing. I’d heard a lot of good things about Amorphis (6). They’re particular fuse of death and folk/battle metal was ok, but didn’t encourage me to listen for very long.
Exodus (5) may have defined a genre, but Thrash really isn’t my thing. Although they played well and had a reasonable sound. I had high hopes for Devil Driver (6) and they were ok. I’d have rather seen Coal Chamber though.
Belphegor (4) were another of the bands I’d really been looking forward to, but all you could hear was the drums and the vocals, so I soon gave up. Much to my surprise, Anthrax (6) were really quite good, but still not my thing.
Slayer (7) should have been so much better. It would have been great to have them speak to the crowd some more. In a 90 minute set it’s obvious that a lot of their songs are very similar. I enjoyed opener World Painted Blood and closers South of Heaven and Angel of Death.
All in all a very disappointing year for Bloodstock musically, with no clear stand out band of the festival. I still had a fantastic time though and can’t wait to see Emperor next year.