Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 10th August 2012
|Event:||Bloodstock Open Air 2012|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 9th-12th August 2012 by Baz Anderson (62)
It is now long well-known that the Bloodstock Open Air festival is the UK's biggest and best heavy metal festival. From the first Bloodstock Indoor festival in 2001 to the first Bloodstock Open Air in 2005 to the current time, the Bloodstock festival has grown each year into the #1 weekend of the year that needs to be booked off in anyone's diary. The festival has had a remarkable history of development from being a two-day event in 2005 and 2006, to extending to three and four days and becoming the success it has been. What sets Bloodstock apart from the gigantic festivals in mainland Europe is that this growth hasn't jeopardised the view you get of the stage, or how long it takes to walk from the festival arena to your tent, or any aspect of your enjoyment. Bloodstock has improved year after year, which leads us promisingly into the 2012 edition.
Since 2008 the festival has offered entertainment on the Thursday, and this year was no different with entertainment from Viking Skull and a few other bands, closing with the metal disco in the Sophie Lancaster tent to allow for some practise before the real thing the next day.
Opening the main stage on the Friday was metalcore outfit Malefice who drew a nicely sized audience for the opening band, but ultimately didn't put on anything memorable apart from being the first band. Up second though were the German kings of cheese Freedom Call, who are far from being strangers to the UK after several visits over here recently. With another good audience, the band plundered into their set with "We Are One" from their very first album, and continued to play a great set of classics with the addition of a couple from the band's latest album. Putting smiles on everyone, Freedom Call certainly didn't disappoint.
Setlist: We Are One / United Alliance / Rockstars / Tears Of Babylon / Power & Glory / Warriors / Land Of Light / Freedom Call
With a huge Swedish flag backdrop, Grand Magus entertained the ever-growing audience with a more laid-back set of heavy riffs and heavy metal. Like a hammer from their homelands the band provided forty minutes of crushing metal, but nothing too groundbreaking. Up next though were the Moonsorrow guys from Finland, who's last performance at Bloodstock in 2008 was one of the highlights of the weekend. Not to disappoint the band waded into their five-song setlist, which included the absolute classics "Sankarihauta" and "Sankaritarina" and the surely to-be classic "Huuto" from the latest album. Epic as always, Moonsorrow showed once more why they are such an impressive and wonderful force live.
Setlist: Ukkonsenjumalan Poika / Huuto / Sankarihauta / Kivenkantaja / Sankaritarina
Americans Iced Earth up next were also last at Bloodstock in 2008 on their second stint with Matt Barlow at the time. Now the band are back with new singer Stu Block off the back of the latest album Dystopia. New songs were featured quite prominently as you would expect, and Stu performed both new and old songs well aside from a slightly embarrassing moment when he dropped the microphone. It is always the cliché to lament band's older albums and original singers, but this time there was some truth in it. Iced Earth were missing something, perhaps just a few of the better older songs that were omitted, but regardless of everything the band were still very worth watching.
Setlist: Dystopia / Burning Times / Angels Holocaust / Slave to the Dark / Watching Over Me / V / My Own Savior / Anthem / Boiling Point / Damien / Iced Earth
Now Sepultura might be touring off the back of a terrible album, but their reputation of being an awesome live band is still spot on and rightly justified. Sepultura just destroy live. With a savage opening song of "Beneath The Remains" there was no chance any member of the massive audience could stand still, especially being followed up by "Refuse/Resist". The sound this band get live is like no other thrash band, so crushing and intense at the same time; even the new songs were pretty enjoyable. Tim "Ripper" Owens came on for a duet during "Territory" to show off his impressive thrash-style vocals alongside the charismatic and very likable Derreck Green. Another thrash classic "Arise" found its way into the setlist before the popular favourite "Roots Bloody Roods" brought Bloodstock to its knees. Best set of the whole festival.
Setlist: Beneath the Remains / Refuse/Resist / Kairos / Convicted in Life / Dialog / Mask / Territory / Arise / Roots Bloody Roots
As if the Bloodstock audience hadn't already been treated enough today, Dio Disciples were about to continue the great spirit. Made up of three members of Dio's solo band and fronted by Tim "Ripper" Owens and Toby Jepson, there was a surprisingly small audience waiting in front of the stage before the set, but that soon changed when the band got going. This set was a glorious tribute to one of the greatest heavy metal singers alive in our lifetime. Dio songs, Black Sabbath songs, and of course Rainbow songs made up this incredible set delivered by two amazing singers. Both singers gave all they had, but Toby Jepson's singing was absolutely phenomenal and out of this world. Given the legacy Ronnie Dio left behind, there was no chance this set could have been anything but awe-inspiring.
Setlist: Stand Up and Shout / Holy Diver / Egypt (The Chains Are On) / Kill the King / Magica Theme-Lord of the Last Day-All the Fools Sailed Away / Neon Knights / The Last in Line / Catch the Rainbow / Stargazer / Long Live Rock 'n' Roll / Man on the Silver Mountain / Heaven and Hell / Rainbow in the Dark
Next was perhaps the best visual set of the festival. Watain has spared no expense when it came to their stage setup, but it did feel a lot like style over substance. Watain certainly entertained the massive audience, but it's a bit of a myth as to why this band have been hyped so much when it is over two years since they put out an album, and on occasions like this only sound like an average black metal band with a few slower and "deeper" moments. Championed by many as one of the highlights of the festival, regardless of how dull it seemed at times.
Setlist: Malfeitor / Sworn to the Dark / Total Funeral / The Serpent's Chalice / Hymn to Qayin / Reaping Death / Stellarvore / Waters of Ain
Headlining the first day were none other than Polish death metal giants Behemoth, with Nergal making it clear to all he was happy to be back and happy to be alive. Behemoth have always been in some way lacking live though, and it was no different tonight. The band seem to struggle a little with the pace of some songs and sometimes deviate from the pace of songs on CD playing parts ever so slightly slower live. Extreme death metal bands usually play hour-long headline slots but the Poles had an hour and a half to fill here, which meant we had to sit through some slower, filler songs that only seem to get in the way of the actual death metal. When on the ball and at full speed, Behemoth are an enjoyable force to watch, but the mid-pace material might as well be missed out.
Setlist: Ov Fire and the Void / Demigod / Moonspell Rites / Conquer All / Christians to the Lions / Alas, Lord Is Upon Me / Decade of Therion / At the Left Hand ov God / Slaves Shall Serve / Chant for Eschaton 2000 / 23 (The Youth Manifesto) / Lucifer
So the first day of Bloodstock was largely a big success with a lot of enjoyment to be had. Moonsorrow, Sepultura and Dio Disciples were the best three sets by a long way. Along with the extremely bright and hot weather, you couldn't have asked for more really.
||Written on 23.08.2012 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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