As Saturday creaks into life, the Bloodstock masses are up and ready for a Metal breakfast and there is no better band to share your breakfast burrito with than the mighty Evil Scarecrow, who manage to pull an absolutely huge crowd, which seems to have taken the band themselves by surprise! Taking to the stage to the theme song of Thundercats there is a buzz of excitement throughout the crowd and as the band launch into “Crabulon” it becomes clear that this is going to be a ridiculous and equally brilliant show. As singer Dr. Hell commands the entire Bloodstock arena to raise their “crab claws” and proceed to “scuttle” it becomes apparent that this has to be one of the most bizarre main wake up call that Bloodstock have ever hosted. A whole host of guests appear throughout the bands set including “Crabulon” himself and “Robototron” not to mention plenty of inflatable beach toys and general all round tom foolery. Highlights of the bands set has to be the ball room dancing during “Blacken the Everything” the “moon moshing” during “Space Dementia” and the site of roughly 10,000 people doing the robot dance during the rather excellent “Robototron”. Evil Scarecrow are a band you either love or hate and in Overdrive’s case, we love them! It’s bat shit crazy music for people with a sense of humor. The guys know how to entertain and have some pretty catchy tunes to back it up. A great start to the day and long may Evil Scarecrow continue to wreak havoc upon the Metal community for many years to come. 4/5 Now fully awake and ready for more, we are treated to Shining on the main stage and it would seem that most of Bloodstock spectators have wandered off to find something better to do as the band create a furious sound to a quarter filled field! The band have just traveled from a festival in the Czeck Republic just eleven hours ago and nearly missed the show but are making up for it by ripping out their unique form of Black Jazz Metal! Opening with “I Won’t Forget” followed by “The One Inside” see’s Shining get right down to business and it all seems to be going down well with the now steadily increasing crowd. The presence of the saxophone seems to be a problem with some people but overall seem to be winning the crowd over. Up next is “Fisheye” which sounds even more manic live that it does on record. Shining have an extraordinary ability to bring the listener to the very edge and when you are just about to reach for the stop button they pull everything back and lock back into a groove again. It certainly makes for interesting listening but seem to be difficult to digest at this time of the day and especially after Evil Scarecrow. There is no dispute in Shining‘s ability at playing their instruments, as they are profoundly talented musicians, however they just don’t seem to connect with the audience in this setting today. 3/5
Over at the Sophie Stage The King Is Blind are gearing up for their 30min set and just as we enter the tent, the first chords for “Mors Somnis” ring out amongst the growing crowd. Vocalist/Bassist Steve Tovey stands center stage looking like he’s ready to kick the shit out of a small mountain should he have to and manages to hammer out the most guttural vocals all the while beating on his BC Rich Warlock bass. With a sizable crowd now packed into the tent The King Is Blind, flex their mussels and show us the real monolithic power they are capable of and as they smash through the utterly brilliant “A Thousand Temples” there is no question in our minds that these guys are going places and fast! 4/5Sticking with the Sophie Tent after The King Is Blind, sees the Darlington five piece that is, Old Corpse Road, take to the stage to a very healthy tent capacity. As they unleash their sonic assault of Black Metal upon the early afternoon spectators it becomes clear just how intense they are in a live setting. Banshee like vocals coupled with extreme flurry of riffs and blast-beats sees Old Corpse Road weave their folk tales of old English macabre inspired nightmares. One can only long for more and wish to see this band in a headlining slot somewhere in a dark and evil club preferably located in a haunted forest. 3/5
As we head over to the Ronnie James Dio Stage we can hear the rumblings of Pantera‘s “Walk” being churned out and to our surprise it’s only the boys from Decapitated who are doing their own sound-check! Not a bad way to get people’s attention that’s for sure!
The Polish four piece just fucking explode on stage with “Lying And Weak” before tearing into “404”. This causes all sorts of chaos in pits and with the sight of beer cups being flung in the air and bodies slamming and bashing about, it would be safe to say that Decapitated are ripping Bloodstock a new one! Drummer Michal Lysejko is simply outstanding, as his technical ability shines through behind the savage like riffs of Waclaw Kieltyka’s guitar work.
Decapitated sound fucking immense today and as they blast out “A View From A Hole, Carnival is Forever, Spheres of Madness and Homo Sum” the venue is leveled! From start to finish, Decapitated owned Bloodstock and this performance should hopefully guarantee them a much higher slot on a future BOA line up! 5/5
The New Blood Stage has been doing great work over the weekend and as we mentioned before, this is the future of our beloved genre that the organisers of Bloodstock and Simon Hall of Beholder are helping to protect. Mid-afternoon see’s Norwich based five piece, that is Synaptik hammering out their craft to a small but modest crowd on this very stage.
This band has a very interesting sound that has elements of Thrash and Power Metal with a heavy dose of Prog thrown in for good measure. The musicianship of each musician is staggering and manage to pull of one hell of a set. Hopefully they will make a return to the festival with an appearance on the Sophie Stage in the near future. 4/5
A quick wander around the Bloodstock site with some rejuvenation in the form of beers and a few rather surprisingly tasty gourmet sausages, Overdrive make our way back at the New Blood Stage to catch Metaprism who hail from Bournemouth in the UK. These guys have a huge sound that can only be described as a mix of progressive Metal but with extra armor and a few fucking big ass guns that shoot out some insanely good riffs. Mix all that with twin male, female vocals and you got yourself one hell of a band that is worth keeping an eye on at all costs. The band have pulled in a huge crowd today, who seem to be totally immersed with the bands performance, and we don’t blame them.
With songs like “Against All” and “Lost In The Dark” the guys are set for big things. There is an album in the works at the momenta and a release date of the end of this year has been mentioned so keep a look out for Metaprism.
Back to the main stage for Orphaned Land which sees a large crowd gathered for the Israelie’s Bloodstock performance. As “Brother” drifts from the P.A., the five piece work the stage with confidence and deliver a powerful set that connects with the crowd on all levels.
Sounding like moments of System Of A Down at times, Orphaned Land have a very unique sound that has a capacity to almost hypnotize the listener at times. As the sun blazes down on the Ronnie James Dio stage the band push through their set with “The Kiss Of Babylon, Norra el Norra and Ornaments of Gold” and leave a subdued but relatively pleased crowd. 3/5
Heading back over to the New Blood Stage we can hear the beginning of Resin‘s set and as they blast out “Fake” the punters are flocking in to catch these guys in action! Hailing from Hinckley, Leicestershire the five piece have a very distinctive sound that touches on the Grunge and Hard Rock end of the spectrum. Songs like “Open Heart Trauma” and “Carpe Diem” go down a fucking storm with the now very cluttered tent! Singer James Botha has a very impressive set of pipes and knows how to work a stage that’s for sure! One of the lighter sounding bands of the day but still very impressive all the same. 4/5
The sound of some very old school British Heavy Metal is ringing out across the plains of Catton Hall and as we approach the Sophie Tent we are faced with Conquest Of Steel, who have a sound that stems from the early NWOBHM bands such as Maiden, Priest Diamond Head and Samson. This five piece band of denim clad Metal heads from Bradford, UK prowl the stage with ease as they work the crowd into delicate frenzy! With song titles like “Steel is the Law, Bitch of Steel, Raise Your Fist” and throwing in the classic Manowar “Metal Warriors” there is bound to be one hell of a party!
Finishing with “Can’t Stop The Metal” and “Only The Devil Can Stop Us Now” see’s Conquest of Steel leave quite the impression and have the entire capacity of the Sophie Tent shouting “Heavy Metal, Satan” not a bad way to go out! 4/5
A short break and some backstage relaxing, get’s us right back on point for Crowbar who have the pleasure of a insanely large crowd. Kirk is in a pretty good mood as he expresses his delight at being at this years Bloodstock. “We are Crowbar from New Orleans and it’s Fucking great to be here” he roars, before launching into “Conquering”.
The dry ice floods the stage for “High Rate Extinction” and as Kirk beckons for the audience to make themselves heard, Crowbar do what they do best. Bangers such as “Walk With Knowledge Wisley, Cemetery Angels, and title track from the new record “Sever The Wicked Hand” follow as the deep South sludge is turned up a notch for “New Dawn” which gets the hairs standing up on the back of your neck! The pace picks up again with “The Lasting Dose” and as the dust clouds emerge from the front of the stage, it’s turning out to be one hell of a Bloodstock! As Crowbar finish up their set with “All I had (I Gave)” and the final punch in the stomach that is “Planets Collide” rings out over the evening landscape of Bloodstock before Kirk and his crew of bad-ass mother fuckers leave the stage. Awesome! 4/5
Without a moment to catch our breath, Blood Red Throne are taking the Sophie Stage by storm as they unleash “The Light, The Hate” and the crushing “Primitive Killing Machine”. Giving a lesson in old school Death metal Norwegian style, Blood Red Throne drop the savage “Soulseller” before exiting the stage. Brilliant! 5/5
Lacuna Coil enter stage left with the beautiful Cristina Scabbia leading the pack who are all dressed in black. As they begin with “Trip The Darkness” there seems to be some sound issues that are cleaned up in no time and we can concentrate on the full power of Lacuna Coil.
Andrea Ferro works the duel/backing vocals as best he can and again the sound seems to be sketchy at best. Regardless of the sound, the band continue with “Kill The Light new song “Die & Rise”, Fire, Fragments of Faith, Zombies, Heaven’s A Lie” and “Upsidedown”. It’s such a shame that there are problems with the vocal sound as Lacuna Coil are on particularly good form today.
There is no question that the band are feeling the love for the band as there is plenty of chanting between songs and audience participation is at an all time high at moments during the bands set. There is just something lacking and I just can’t put my finger on it. This could be due to the sound issues but will have to wait and see for the next time. 3/5
As the evening draws to a close and the night sky bleeds across the skyline, we head over to the New Blood Stage to catch Warcrab, who are busy working their Death/Sludge/Doom infected tunes to a decent crowd. 3/5
Battleaxe are whipping up a frenzy over at the Sophie stage with their old school NWOBHM sounds. With a huge sound, this Newcastle four piece know how to bring the goods with neck breaking bangers like “Power From The Universe, Hands Off” and “Dirty Rocker”. The tent is busy with air guitar and headbanging leather clad dudes giving the horns at any given opportunity! And why not! \M/
Back to the main stage for Carcass, who are in fighting form this evening. Frontman Jeff Walker is his bitter sarcastic self, as the band were switched off early in the set due to a punter collapsing in the pit. After a few minutes the show continues and we are treated to the likes of “Incarnated Solvent Abuse, Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System, This Mortal Coil, and the immense “Reek of Putrefaction”. With a razor sharp sound and a dream set list the band hammer through classics and some new stuff before finishing with “Heartwork” which leaves an ecstatic Bloodstock crowd screaming for more! 5/5
While Carcass are driving the main-stage all the way to hell, Sister Sin can be found over in the Sophie Tent and are doing an exceptional job at laying waste to the ever growing crowd. All eyes are on powerhouse vocalist Liv who works the stage like a hungry lioness!
The Gothenburg quartet do a fine job in bringing a sleazy hard rock vibe to Bloodstock and with Liv’s constant interaction with the crowd, they win over a very large audience in no time. Blasting out slabs of red hot Rock, Sister Sin are a band to look out for at all costs and we predict that these guys will be taking on bigger venues in the very near future! 5/5
Over to the main-stage again for the Saturday night headliners Emperor, who did a rather fine job of entertaining the masses at this years Wacken Festival in Germany. Fully rigged out with pyro blasts of fire balls it seems clear that Emperor have brought the full stage package with them tonight!
With “The Burning Shadows of Silence, Beyond The Great Vast Forest, Towards The Pantheon, I am The Black Wizards” and “Wrath of the Tyrants” all served piping hot tonight the crowd are lapping up every second of it! Emperor don’t do many shows and to catch them on a bill like this is rather special as the future of the bands touring schedule is not at all very clear nor definite. Finishing up with “A Fine Day To Die” see’s Ishahn a happy man (to a degree) and as he thanks the crowd the main stage closes for the night to allow the late night partying to begin again. 4/5
With the Sophie Stage now packed to capacity the anticipation of Hellyeah‘s arrival to the stage is at breaking point! On the fist sight of former Pantera stick’s man Vinny Paul Abbot, the place goes bat-shit crazy!
The guys waste absolutely no time in reducing the crowd to a blur of bodies, turned upside down and inside out! Chad is on chipper form as he relentlessly works every bit of the stage. The band sound heavy as fuck and tighter than a Nun’s knickers! Vinny Paul is throwing out drum sticks to his adoring fans at any given moment, much to the hysteria of the sweaty mass that congregate in front of the stage!
As the band take their bow’s and more sticks and guitar picks are flicked into the crowd, only then do the throng of punters begin to exit, allowing the much needed fresh air to waft around the now ass-smelling tent! At this point, we can only think of the unfortunate bar staff who have to heave that odour in for another three hours or so! Hellyeah! 5/5
Words – Oran O’Beirne
All photography by Steve Dempsey of Down The Barrel Photography.