Having survived through the first two days of Bloodstock Open Air 2013 with relative success, Sam, James and Fran were ready for one last tilt through the grounds of Catton Hall surrounded by quality metal all day long. If you missed the first two days coverage you can check them out on the links below:
With a large portion of the crowd most likely feeling hungover opening the main stage might seem like a hard job.Gama Bomb (7.5) however just don’t seem to care. Their thrash metal might sound silly but they are undeniably fun and help to wake their tired audience up. Whitechapel (8) could not be more different, their bludgeoning deathcore isn’t fun in any way (or helpful for hangovers, as one of Rocksins team found out to his detriment) but the band play with such mechanical precision and fans in the pit go mental with a large wall of death opening during their final song “This Is Exile”.
Trust Fozzy (8) to bring back the fun with WWE Superstar Chris Jericho proving himself to be a fantastic front man controlling the Bloodstock crowd with ease while over on New Blood stage Bound By Exile (6.5) play a set of beat down heavy death core tunes – very similar to Whitechapel. It’s more than a case of “wrong band, wrong place” for Sacred Mother Tongue (5) with neither their songs or (pretty lacklustre) crowd banter engaging much. Luckily Bossk (9) are providing a hangover friendly prog-athon over on the Sophie stage with their Isis-esque soundscapes crafting an almost ethereal atmosphere – no mean feat in a festival tent.
Following Bossk Evile Scarecrow (9.5) prove that they sit up there with Skindred as one of the most fun festival bands, and, like Skindred they manage things no other metal band could manage including getting the entire crowd to do the robot during ‘Robotron.
Exodus (8) unleash the moshpit carnage on mainstage – laying down the gauntlet for Devildriver to follow. Exodus more than make up for their short set time two years ago. With Bonded by Blood’s wall of riffs sounds even more savage with Heathen’s Kragen Lum rushing out to join the band for a few songs. Singer Rob Dukes agressive style of frontmanship sees the circle pits get bigger and bigger while the final wall of death during ‘Strike of the Beast’ is a site to behold!
After the sheer carnage during Exodus DevilDriver (9) might struggle – particularly after Rocksins witnessed them being blown off-stage by Cannibal Corpse earlier this year. Luckily Devildriver prove they are more than up to the challenge with frontman Dez Fafara on particularly fine form today. The circle pits of last two songs ‘Clouds over California’ and ‘Meet the Wretched’ more than equal the size of Exodus’s pits.
On a weekend full of some of the best contemporary metal acts Anthrax (9) provide the perfect reminder that the old guard still aren’t past it yet blasting through a ridiculous setlist that see’s them open with ‘Caught In a Mosh’ and ‘NFO’ before a sprint through ‘Got the Time.’ Joey Belladona’s infectious energy does more than enough to get the entire festivals fists pumping (in one case enthusiastically enough for an unfortunate member of team rocksins to get elbowed square in the nose!) Anthrax have often been the most overlooked member of the big four, but by the time they close with ‘I am the Law’ and ‘Antisocial’ everyone present is reminded once again of just how essential they are to the history and, indeed the future of our genre.
After a weekend of heavy metal and heavier partying it’s time for Slayer (8.5) to bring it all to a close. Due to the tragic passing of Jeff Hanneman recently this was always going to be an emotional set and at first it really does feel like something is missing. The first three or so songs seem slightly lacklustre and its only after War Ensemble that Slayer start firing on all cylinders.
The band keep their stage show to a minimum which does leave some fans who were expecting a big show disappointed and Tom Araya keeps quiet for a lot of the set letting the songs do the talking. Mention of the recent passing of guitarist Jef Hanneman is kept to a minimum until, just before their encore a huge Hanneman backdrop is revealed and the Slayer finish off the night with “South Of Heaven” and “Angel Of Death”. It might lack the ferocious energy of the Slayer of even ten years ago but as a Slayer set in 2013 this is nearly all you could want.