Sam, James and Fran were recently lucky enough to be sent to a field in Derby quite a bit larger than the field we sent James to a few weeks ago. Along the way they managed to watch some bands. Here’s part one of their review of Bloodstock Festival 2013.
Opening up a festival main-stage is never an easy task, and despite some sound issues earthtone9 (7) manage to get Bloodstock off to a good start pulling in a sizeable crowd who all seemed to enjoy the bands alt-metal sound.
Over on ‘New Blood’ stage Rezinwolf (6) play to a small crowd (perhaps due to a fairly illogical clash with Death Angel) but don’t particularly seem to care as they power through a short set of killer thrash tunes. While Norwegian Death Metallers Sheol Afterlife (6) struggle with sound problems at first, they manage to overcome them with front-man Andre Glendrane’s highly energetic performance providing a natural focal point for their performance.
On main-stage Death Angel (7) get the first decent sized circle pits of the weekend but the energy of the performance begins to peter out about midway through their set. With such a heavy thrash presence on this year’s bill you’ve really got to do better to stand out. Later, on mainstage Firewind’s (7) Gus G cements his place as one of metal’s premier guitar heroes; although it’s a shame about the songs themselves which are mostly by-the-books power metal.
Next up on mainstage crossover thrashers Municipal Waste (8) play to the days biggest crowd so far. They might not be the most sophisticated band on the line up but non stop circle pits, crowd surfers and huge chant-alongs, especially during set closer ‘Born to Party more than make up for this. Municipal Waste are, (again) a highlight of the weekend.
As soon as the Richmond thrashers finish it’s a frantic dash over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to watch Xerath (9) showcasing their colossal, ‘Pantera meets Meshuggah on the last night of The Proms’ sound. Although it is a slightly bittersweet performance with it being the last concert for guitarist Owain Williams.
Following Xerath are reformed thrashers Xentrix (8) and it’s immediately clear how happy people are to have them back. Combining the meat of Metallica and the sheer technical nuance of Megadeth Xentrix prove why they are among the best thrash bands the UK scene has offered. Over on main-stage Accept (8) power through a no frills set of some of the best heavy metal songs written, with penultimate song ‘balls to the wall’ giving an apt enough description of what you can expect from Accept.
Headlining on Sophie Lancaster stage, Symphonic Tech-Metal band Scar Symmetry (7.5) might seem like one of the less credible metal bands at the festival thanks to those incredibly cheesy choruses but the huge crowd don’t seem to mind. Songs like “The Iconoclast” get most of the crowd singing whilst the pit explodes during the heavier moments.
Finally it’s down to King Diamond (8.5) to close the main stage for the day. There is a huge amount of excitement for his set due to the fact he hasn’t been to the UK for a good six years. With a huge stage show that involves the gates of hell, light up pentagrams and…. his grandma? King Diamonds set is a triumph of stage-craft. His falsetto vocals also sound incredible (even with drunk metalheads and certain members of team Rocksins trying to imitate them,) throw in a few Mercyful Fate songs to keep the die hard fans happy and you have a great way to end the first night at Bloodstock.
Words by: James Halstead and Sam Dignon
Pictures by: Fran Dignon