Saturday, 20 August 2016

A review of Bloodstock 2016

Bloodstock is one of the highlights of my year. It’s a chance for me to get away from it all (well, most of it), listen to some fantastic music and catch up on reading.

Friday

Gloryhammer are a band I’d never heard of.  Surprisingly good sci-fi based power metal. Lot’s of fun and not to be taken too seriously.

Evil Scarecrow were just Evil Scarecrow which means lots of robot and crustacean oriented antics. I’m always pleasantly surprised how much they often sound like Slayer.

Then for the first band of the day I really wanted to see, Misery Loves Company.  I first saw them in Bradford in the 90s when they were at their prime. Unfortunately those days are gone and I felt they didn’t play as well as they could have done, but their set was full of old classics. I wonder if there might new a new album on the way,

Stuck Mojo and Corrosion of conformity I’ve seen before. I wasn’t that impressed then and nothing has changed now.

Venom I had really been looking forward too and I was only slightly disappointed. Thier sound lacked a second guitarist, especially during the guitar solos. They opened with a couple of songs from their new album, which is very good, played some of my favorites like Evil One and closed, of course, with Black Metal, which I know best from the Vader Cover.

Behemoth were always going to be brilliant. I don’t think they had the best PA sound and I’m not sure if Nergal is lost in the theatrics or disappearing up his own backside. The band did leave the stage a lot between songs. They played latest album The Satanist all the way through and it was amazing. A great stage show, fantastic lighting and even black confetti, although the wind had other ideas.

I wasn’t looking forward to Twisted Sister. I have their greatest hits album and the sound is tinny and under produced. Thier live sound is full bodied and really rather good, especially with ex-Dream Theater drummer Mark Portnoy on drums. However, they were late to the stage, went on too long and had far too much to say! Roll on Saturday.

Saturday

Kill II This. Passed the time. I read my book.

Vallenfyre just blew everyone else away. A fantastic sound from the PA, heavy and both slow and fast songs. Everything I hoped they would be and more.

I seem to remember quite enjoying Akercocke the last time I saw them at Bloodstock. They were ok this time, despite some spectacularly bad guitar playing and/or tuning. It seems to improve as they went on. It was good to hear them try out some new material.

I'd been looking forwarded to Rotting Christ. I used to have an album of theirs which I listened to alot 20 years ago. I bought some of their other stuff, but it wasn't as good and in the end I sold it all. At Bloodstock they started off very disappointingly, but by the third song they seemed to find their feet and remained solid for the rest of their set.

I didn't realise Fear Factory were performing all of Demanufacture. Initially I was disappointed as I really like their new stuff. They are one of the few bands who came back better than they were before. I wasn't disappointed for long. They were incredible, even better than Vallenfyre. Fear Factory are another band with only one guitarist, but this didn't impede their sound at all.

I don't like being wrong, but I was about what Paradise Lost’s performance was going to be like. I didn't have high hopes. To me they're a decent metal band who haven't had a good album since the mid-nineties. I was expecting them to play recent stuff, but they didn't. They reached back, sometimes a long way, into their considerable back catalogue and were heavy and doomy and pretty amazing! Paradise restored.

It gets better! I was looking forward to Gojira a lot! Knowing they were playing I've been collecting all their albums and the new one, Magma, has been a regular for me recently. I had high hopes and I wasn't disappointed. Fantastic band, playing fantastic heavy metal.

I wasn't wrong about Mastodon and I still don't know what all the fuss is about or why they're a headline act.

Sunday

Heart of a Coward, from roundabout ridden Milton Keynes, weren't bad, probably tried to hard, but were nothing to get excited about.

Unearth were better than I remember them being when I saw them support Lamb of God, but even Dimmu Borgir weren't great that day! At bloodstock Unearth were heavy, tight and enjoyable to listen to.

Stoner isn't really my thing, but Jukebox Monkey, the only band I watched on the Jagermeister stage this year had a fantastic, clear and sharp sound. I really enjoyed some of the lead guitar work too.

The Metal Allegiance should have been so, so, so much more. Very sure of themselves and what they were doing in the name of metal, but really just capitalising on the recent spate of rock and metal deaths. Just rubbish.

Satyricon appeared to have a few technical problems before they got down to some fantastic traditional Black Metal. They played most of the Nemesis Divina album and ended with some of their more recent tunes, such as Black Crow on a Tombstone.

Fortunately Dragon Force were exactly as expected, fun and fast! They had a great sound, with perhaps too much kick drum, but the vast amount of guitar widdling and the phenomenal singing made up for that. I've waited to see this band for a long time. Their album before last was amazing, the more recent one not so much. Unfortunately, due to technical problems at the start, they had a very short set.

Symphony were the band I wanted to see the most this weekend and I wasn't disappointed. They blew everyone else away. The guitar playing, the singing, the songs. Wow! Just wow!

Pythia I saw support Threshold a few years ago and they were quite good. I gave them a go on the Sophie Lancaster stage and was super impressed. A much better performance than when I saw them before and much better songs! Bought their latest album from Amazon stood the crowd.

Slayer were Slayer. A few tracks from their new album, which is superb, and all of the classics. Solid, but unexciting. Worth hanging around for at the end of the weekend, but I probably wouldn’t again.

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