After Trivium brought a conclusion to the end of the first night proper at Bloodstock Open Air 2015, Team Rock Sins was up nice and early to catch some of the finest British metal talent Catton Hall had to offer. Anyone who missed our review of Thursday and Friday can check it out here, otherwise lets get straight on with Saturday at Bloodstock 2015!
Savage Messiah (8) get a hungover Saturday crowd warmed up with their blend of fast thrashy riffs and early-Maiden esque choruses. It’s a wide-eyed and enthusiastic performance that even sees the first circle pits of the day breaking out to ‘Hellblazer.’ Xerath (7) suffer some fairly major technical difficulties that sees a ten minute gap about halfway through but they do their best given the circumstances and when they get the opportunity to play songs sound excellent. From Xerath it’s a quick dash over to the Sophie Stage to catch Ageless Oblivion (9) who put on a set focused on death metal riffs but augmented by almost black metal ambience in parts. It is an impressive display. Back on mainstage, 1349 (6) are, unfortunately, nowhere near this standard. Although they are, musically, pretty good it’s a case of wrong band, wrong place as the bright midday sun renders the corpse paint ridiculous. Korpilklaani (7) too, don’t quite live up to their potential playing a set focused on the mid-paced and newer material although, of course a mid set run through of the ubiquitous ‘Vodka’ hardly means the set is a washout. Napalm Death (8) following Koriplaani suffer no such issues as being too ‘mid-paced.’ Classics like ‘Scum’ sound thoroughly crushing and Barney Greenway remains his charismatic self flinging his arms around like a toddler in a temper tantrum during each song but remaining conversational as he introduces the themes of the next song.
Dark Angel (8) keep the high standard going with one of their first UK gigs in 25 years! Ferocious riffing such as on ‘The Burning of Sodom’ demonstrates Dark Angel have lost none of their potency with age while Gene Hoglan’s distinctive drumming perfectly locks with the aforementioned guitar work. Death DTA (9) play an excellent set. With a rhythm section that comprises Steve DiGorgio and Gene Hoglan and an opening salvo of The Philosopher into Leprosy/Left To Die you’re always going to be hard pressed to not sound excellent but what makes Death To All’s set such a triumph is the very respectful manner with which Schuldiner’s legacy is managed. Although Max Phelps may sing and play all Schuldiners parts he stays completely silent between songs leaving the majority of crowd interaction to DiGorgio and simply bowing at the end of the set.
Opeth, (8) too sound excellent musically, however, unfortunately the time that Opeth are allotted means that it feels like more of a whistle-stop tour of their discography rather than the much more inclusive affair that Death To All was. Certainly a band to watch a full two hour headline set of Opeth’s performance, is, nonetheless an excellent showing. JH
After so many sets being plagued by sound problems on Friday the question was would symphonic superstars Within Temptation (8) escape the Bloodstock technical gremlins? Sadly not. The Dutch band began brightly in a flurry of lights and sonic bombast though some punters were confused by the multiple voices blasting out at them, with some accusing Sharon of miming! The truth was she mouthed words, visibly on screen, of parts sung by ex-Nightwish siren Tarja on “Paradise (What About Us?” and also songs featuring ex-Killswitch Engage frontman Howard Jones, rapper Xzibit and former Life of Agony singer Keith Caputo. None of these voices were there in person, a shame as at least one may have spiced things up. Apart from her duets with the computer choir Sharon led her troupe through a set of old and new, with Winston Churchill’s voice booming into the night on “Our Solemn Hour” That carried added poignancy so soon after the 70th anniversary of World War II’s conclusion. It was all going well until what turned out to be the last song of the main set. They tried to start “Ice Queen” but it was three strikes and then out. Despite the frustration it was taken in good grace and after an impromptu drum solo they returned for encores of “Covered By Roses” and “Mother Earth”, with Sharon parading on a platform high above the others. In the circumstances it was a bit of a triumph against the odds. NH
Meanwhile, closing the Sophie Lancaster Stage for the day, Fleshgod Apocalypse (9) are one of the weekends highlights. Although it takes about three songs for the right balance to be found between the guitars and orchestral aspects of Fleshgod’s sound once this equilibrium is found the band are devastating with the orchestration adding massive depth to Fleshgod’s scathing death metal. Having taken along all the backing musician appropriate is also a wise move as Fleshgod do not need to fall back upon playing all the additional parts through the PA system like certain other bands tonight needed to; it also allows for physical interaction between the band and their backing musicians such as on ‘Epilogue.’ Lastly, the surrounds vastly compliments Fleshgod’s performance. It’s hard to imagine this performance having quite the same amount of intensity in the bright sunlight in the middle of the day. In the dark with strobe lighting accentuating every scathing second of blast beat and a mass of confetti being fired over the band in the closing seconds of their set it is a real spectacle. JH
Tune back in to Rock Sins later this week to catch the final part of our review of Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2015 with Rob Zombie and friends bringing things to a close on the Sunday!