Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 14th August 2009

Event: Bloodstock Open Air 2009
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 18.08.2009


Bloodstock Open Air - Catton Hall, England, 14th-16th August 2009 by Baz Anderson (284)

The fifth Bloodstock Open Air was upon us with an impressive and bulky line-up to boast about. Drawing the largest audience the festival has ever seen once again, the Bloodstock festival keeps growing and growing and building its reputation as not just the very best metal event in the British calendar, but also as one of the best metal festivals the world has to offer. Each year the festival gets better; the bands get better, the arena gets better and as the experience of the organisers and crew grow, the running of the festival is smoother than any previous year. U.K. exclusive shows as well as first ever U.K. shows for some bands always make for a line-up that will please anyone and give people the opportunity to see bands that rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to play on this island. The time had come, Bloodstock Open Air 2009 was here.

Insomnium played to a growing audience and were the first band of the festival to bring some extreme metal to the bloodthirsty audience. Although the audience gave a generous reception, the band sounded almost too much like a sub-par Amon Amarth clone and did nothing to leave a lasting impression. Forgettable.

The Bloodstock audience probably didn't know what was going to hit them before Die Apokalyptischen Reiter took their slot on stage. For many here it was their first experience with the band, but after a cautious start the crowd had clearly warmed to this highly enjoyable and diverse band. For the people who did know the band, it was a pleasure to see them on home soil for once and also to hear some new songs such as the insanely catchy "Es Wird Schlimmer". Gimpish keyboard player, charismatic frontman, a girl from the audience crowdsurfing in an inflatable boat; the set had everything to win the crowd over. Unfortunately forty minutes is never enough for a band such as this to show an audience what they can really do, but considering how unknown they were, it was probably a perfect teaser for the audience to go forth and discover the band properly in the future.

On the other hand, Municipal Waste are quite well known here and provided the Bloodstock audience with a solid, if not immature, set of crossover thrash. Songs about sharks and the recently updated "chillin' with the president" song gave the audience a chance to go a little crazy and let off some steam. Entertaining for that moment, but something that will get quite old, quite fast.

Katatonia decided that we needed a bit of a cooling down and thus slowed things back down to a normal level. Although being a little surprised that they did bring along a few more extreme songs, the band didn't do anything to stick in the minds of the audience.

On the other hand, Sodom were on the receiving end of something quite extraordinary, as the British audience chanted their name almost between every song, and went crazy during each song. It is hard to believe that Sodom have not been in the U.K. since they toured on the "Agent Orange" album twenty years ago. The bass guitar was very high in the sound, but not to an uncomfortable level. It was only appropriate that these Germans were made to feel like kings of metal for their set then, as they bulldozed through a set of both new and old material.

Saxon seem to get everywhere these days don't they. Although they had an hour, it did seem a little strange that they weren't higher on the bill. Celebrating thirty years since the band's first album, the band decided that the Bloodstock audience deserved exactly the same set as they always play these days. Unfortunately there were no special sets like the one at Wacken a few weeks back, the band were back to playing an almost stale set of songs from albums between only 1980 to 1984 and the 2007 and 2009 albums. Come on guys, you have more in you then that and the staggering Wacken performance proved that. Someone needs to tell them that they don't always have to rely on the same old songs over and over again, they have much more potential than the set they played here.

It was time for the first of the Michael Amott double bill, firstly with Arch Enemy. This band are hugely popular over here, and this set justified that. Arch Enemy are one of the most typical kinds of melodic death metal bands you can get, but unlike most of the drab bands in the genre Arch Enemy make the death metal parts really intense, and the melodic parts quite enjoyable. Double bass drums flaring, this was indeed a spectacle of a band in top form. Not only that, but Angela's voice seems to have changed somewhat for the better with the growling more guttural and with less of the more forced - "look at me, I'm a girl and can do death metal noises" kind of vocals. Really, an enjoyable set.

But come on, no one thought they could top Carcass right? The Carcass reformation was not supposed to last this long, but it is probably a little hard to pack it all in again when you are playing the best shows of your life with some of the most influential and favoured material this side of extreme metal. The setlist held no surprises, just the same melodic death songs from the later years and the unrelenting grindcore from the earlier ones, but will this ever cease to sound so good live? Seriously, Carcass wrote some outstanding material that is both brutal and super catchy and it just sounds so much better live today than any CD could give. One of the absolute top bands of the festival, and on the whole the audience acknowledged this.


Written on 18.08.2009 by Member of Staff since 2006.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 67 users
22.08.2009 - 23:29
Valentin B
Glad to see that Saxon gets recognition, they truly deserve it after what they did at Wacken, great performance and rehearsing all those obscure songs they played live 2-3 times at most and stuff like that demands some respect
Sing me a song, you're a singer
Do me a wrong, you're a bringer of evil.

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