Posted on by Oran

We have reached the halfway point in this years Bloodstock Open Air Festival and things are rolling along nicely! With a huge amount of bands that pulled off incredible performances across all stages on Friday (August 12th), we set ourselves up for another blissful day of top-class metal and good times! Step inside the main arena for our Overdrive highlights on Bloodstock Saturday August 13th!

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With an early morning start for us all at Overdrive we are a little weary after an absolute belter of a night (and a few cheeky beers). We gear-up for another jam-packed day of performances across the festivals four stages.

Walking through the campsites towards the main arena really is a sight to behold; as it’s reminiscent of scenes from Mad Max ‘Bartertown, although there is no hope of seeing Tina Turner with those big-ass hoop earrings, mincing about in a metal dome with elastic bands! There are a few signs of late-night partying, as the fallout of dazed and confused punters lay about the place, giving everything they have to muster up the strength to get back on the saddle and venture back to the front lines of Bloodstock 2016! Get in….

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Northampton’s Black Ink Sun hit the New Blood Stage on Saturday morning to kick things off as they should be kicked off, attitude is great, energy levels are set to overload and the guys manage to pack so much into their short set it’s amazing! We witness a “kiddie” moshpit (yes, you read that correct), a circle pit, flag running, a wall of death and that’s alongside a really heavy, powerful set. There’s a very decent and lively crowd in attendance at this early hour and the band are latching on and grabbing the opportunity with both hands. Vocalist Jamie works really hard to get everyone involved, organising what’s going on in the pit, joining the crowd on the barrier or just anything to bring us all closer to the show and it’s gotta be applauded in it’s own right.

For this show there’s a stand in bass player, but honestly you wouldn’t have guessed it, as he slotted in perfectly and the band sounded tight. Musically they are extreme, but not inaccessible. The set is made up of tracks from their Take The Fall EP and more of their own material, everything is more than solid and this really is how any band should approach a chance at playing a big festival, attack it with all you’ve got, don’t let up until your time runs out and make sure everyone in that tent remembers your name, would be surprised if Black Ink Sun don’t make a return visit at some point in the future. 4/5

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Next we make our way to the arena for Cambion, who are regarded as dark horses for a main stage slot. Anyone who was asked what they were like all said the same thing: “Dunno mate – never seen ‘em live. But their stuff online is great”. Cheers – it’s not like I wasn’t aware of that particular statement already. They played BOA 2012, but I wasn’t there for that. But I’m in for a treat. Frontman Elliot Alderman-Broom gives a gut-punching delivery of fury when playing the band’s EP collection “Virus”, “City of Ember”, and “Last Rites”.  ‘Heterodox’ blows out the ear-holes afresh and follow quickly up with ‘Mechanics of Extinction’. I hope these lads play Ireland soon, because they will level any venue they get invited to. 4/5


Back at the New Blood a sizeable crowd are gathering for the anticipated performance from Chelmsford four piece. From the get-go they waste no time in dropping a delightfully heavy sound. As they proceed to blow sand-mans dust from the punters ears, Bearfist just destroy. With elements of Lamb of God and Cancer Bats here and there, the Essex lads own that New Blood Stage from the moment they struck the first chords; to the final smash of the crash symbol. Again, let us remind you that these guys are unsigned!! If we were to gauge the future of metal purely on today performance from Bearfist, it’s safe to say we have nothing to worry about. 4/5

Having played Bloodstock back in 2014 on the Jägermeister Stage, The Heretic Order have the pleasure of opening the Sophie Lancaster Stage on this fine Saturday morning. With a half full tent, the London based four piece are a feast not just for the ears but visually also. With a live show that would no doubt have the full effect in a dark bong-lit club. Elements of NWOBHM, laced with a trace of sinister stoner / doom, provides a highly entertaining and memorable performance. Closing track ‘Burn Witch Burn’ see’s vocalist ‘Lord Ragnar Wagner’ welcome two sultry witches to the stage, where they proceed with their hypnotic dance of the dead; all the while dousing themselves with chalices filled with blood. Fantastic! 4.5/5

The Heretic Order

Making their first big appearance on a UK stage in 12 years, Manchester’s Kill II This seem perfectly suited to an early afternoon slot on the main stage and for this set they stick mainly to material from the Deviate album; which is no bad thing at all. There is a decent sized crowd in attendance, as there has been for every band over the weekend. It has to be said, punters have been getting out of their tents early in the day and making their way to the arena to cheer on all the bands which warms the heart. From the fans reaction, this is  a welcome return for a band that were getting pretty big in their heyday. It’s quite crazy to think that this is the first show in the UK with the band for Simon (Vocals), but they sound tight considering they’ve been off the scene so long and are clearly loving it up there, which is great to see.

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Tracks like “Freedom Of Speech”, “Crucified” and “Kill Your Gods” are and example of what they are all about. We get a veritable mix of styles/genres with these guys ranging from elements of Rock, Metal, Electronica and a bit of Industrial thrown into the mix for good measure. Guitarist and founding member Mark Mynett, is making good use of the onstage furniture, leaping from amps and showing just creating a visual focal point. The guys finish out the set with the crowd singing “God On Drugs”, back at them and a strong version of “The Flood” and it’s done. A no doubt successful return for the guys but sadly the afterthoughts didn’t do a huge amount for me personally. But hey!, That puts me in the minority today I think as they crowd lapped up every note. A UK tour is planned for later in the year; so things are moving once more in the Kill II This camp and good luck to them. 3/5

Winners of the Irish Metal 2 The Masses competition in Dublin last May take to the New Blood Stage at high noon, while the sun is splitting the rocks in the main area. But never mind any of that, because the “Slug” has awoken.  As Ten Ton Slug begin their assault on Bloodstock 2016, the are literally hordes of punters making their way to the dark confines of the New Blood tent.

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Vocalist Rónán O ‘hArrachtáin engulfs the tent with his magnanimous praise for BOA (who he describes as ‘metal as fuck!’), Overdrive, Jetrocker Events, Down the Barrel Photography and everyone else who was behind them in prepping for this gig get a mention. O ‘hArrachtáin dedicates ‘Subterranean Soldier’ to everyone that helped them get to where they are and to all that stand before them. The New Blood tent is now packed to capacity (drawing the biggest crowd over the whole weekend), and as Ten Ton Slug rumble though a set-list that is heavier than the titanic dipped in concrete, the crowd lap up every doom / stoner drenched morsel; with unbridled enthusiasm and genuine appreciation.

Axemen Sean Sullivan and Adomas Trakumas, lay the riffs down and bury those beneath their weight, leaving a trail of beautiful destruction. Drumming with all his might, Micheal Sullivan booms the toms with gusto and the pressure-wave hits you like a bomb. But bassist Eoghan Wynne is losing his shit completely and bounces all over the place providing a glorious sight on this fine Saturday afternoon. The lads fire everything into their performance which thunders across the interior of the tent and out across the main arena. There’s a bright future here…  The Slug will conquer all! Overdrive scored an interview with the lads afterwards – keep your eyes on this site for what was a truely inspirational chinwag! 5/5

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As Vallenfyre take to the Ronnie James Dio stage in the searing sunshine, vocalist and Paradise Lost guitarist, Gregor Mackintosh wastes no time in addressing the crowd with his sarcastic tongue before opening with ‘Scabs’. Credit to the sound engineers today, as Vallenfyre sound crushing, filthy and sharp-as-fuck! Also pulling double duties today is drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) whose remarkable talent directs the bands pace through elements of glorious doom-paced goodness to blast-beat hell! “We are here to bring the filth to this festival” proclaims Mackintosh, as they wade through their set. The overall image of Vallenfyre on stage is a powerful one. Dressed in ragged black and looking like a cast of vicious bastards from a post-apocalyptic future, they proceed to level the main stage and bring a sense of anarchic chaos early on in the day. ‘Cathedrals of Dread’ see’s the guys totally at home with their surroundings and as they execute the remainder of the forty minute set, they simply do no wrong! Superb stuff! 4.5/5

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The Raven Age who have just come off the back of supporting Iron Maiden on date of the Book Of Souls Tour take to the Sophie Stage are are unfortunately experiencing a few technical glitches. There is no doubt that The Raven Age are a polished that have picked up a thing or two from their brief experience with Maiden and it shows. With temporary stand guitarist (Dion) for the show, it’s business as usual for the lads and they pull off one hell of a performance. Vocalist, Michael Burrough has a great level of confidence on stage backed with great melody to his voice and can hit the power with ease when needed. One of the set highlights is “The Death March”, taken from that 2014 self-titled EP which goes down a storm. It’s going to get the briefest of mentions here but George Harris definitely stands on his own name in this band, he seems to love what he does and in conjunction with Matt Cox (Bass) they hit pretty much every inch of the stage, the band demands reactions from the crowd and it’s readily available to them as they sound great and the songs are going down really well. It’s not too hard to see why these guys are steadily building a good following. Excellent set. 4/5

The Raven Age

Before arriving at Bloodstock this year, one of the most intriguing bands for me personally was Ramage INC, who took to the New Blood Stage this aftternoon. Having checked them out prior to festiva,l their progressive metal sound really connected with me and with that I was hoping that their live show can match the recorded presence. Hailing from Edinburgh, the quartet is undoubtedly a very tight unit of excellent musicians. It seems crazy that they are a name I don’t know very well, as they’ve played at Prog Power Europe a few years back, have a couple of full length albums out and are rather excellent indeed!

This is one of the pleasant surprises of the weekend, as said musically they are excellent.  Heavier than most Prog Metal bands out there but balanced really well with Ramage’s vocals at the forefront. Providing a staggering range, Ramage’s presence blends perfectly with what the band are doing. It takes a couple of minutes for the crowd to connect with the band, but once it all clicks into place, people are loving it. The band are clearly very passionate about what they do, if anything they are more suited to a larger stage and it would be no surprise if we were to see them back at Bloodstock in the near future. Anyone that got to see this set; or has had a listen to their music can’t fail to be impressed by what they see and hear. Tracks like “Guardian” just ooze class. Ramage INC, remember the name. 4/5

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Akercocke are a welcome returning force to the live stage, with this being their first major performance in five years. Offering a massive wake-up for the sleepyheads on Saturday afternoon, they drown the hum of the audience with their sheer brutality. Opening with ‘Leviathan’, and ‘Scapegoat’, the circle pit opens wider and wider. The beats get heavier and more fierce, as drum beast David Gray and vocalist Jason Mendonça corrupt the fragile young minds, with their satanic wizardry. Bassist Nathaniel Underwood, fucking THUNDERS out the backbone of ‘Inner Sanctum’ and tears another gash into the belly of Bloodstock with ‘The Dark Inside’.  It is furious in the pit, with Mendonça fanning the flames even more; with every line he growls. In the hot British sun, the black attire can only make things even hotter, so the sweatbands handed out by the Bloodstock crew are getting used up like helium at a kid’s party. ‘Becoming the Adversary’ finishes the bloodbath off and Akercocke retreat from a bruising encounter. 4/5


As we head towards the Sophie tent, we are greeted with the stunning sounds of Vodun, who are simply blowing the roof off the place. Fronted by Oya, her mind-blowing vocal capacity is something that needs to be seen to be believed! Describing themselves as the very appropriate mix of Afro, Heavy Psych, Soul, Vodun are one of the most eclectic bands on the Bloodstock 2016 roster. Just a three piece (only two of which play instruments) they create one hell of a powerful sound. Drummer Ogoun, literally smashes the shit out of her kit like it was the last show she will ever play, while guitarist Marassa bugs out in a frenzied bizarre manor. Folks…… Vodun is a band that you simply need in your life! If you don’t believe us, check out one of their live shows and come back to read this. Yea.. told you so! 4.5/5

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Meanwhile back over on the New Blood Stage, Famyne just launch into classic groove based vibe packed with powerhouse vocals from Tom Vane. With what can only be described as instantly catchy and captivating melodies, Famyne are a great find and are a band that I will be keeping track of moving forward. Hailing from Canterbury U.K, the refreshing thing about Famyne is their blend of clean vocals with the melodic doom-smothered riffs, which just wash over you like a wave. With most bands that play the ‘doom card’, Famyne have so much power under the hood, it’s simply impossible to resist their devilish anthems. More please! 5/5

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Slap-bang in the middle of the arena we find Zlatanera on the Jagermiester stage, undergoing their first ever performance outside of their hometown of Belfast! Bringing their brand of groove / doom / rock to the Bloodstock punters during the sunny afternoon’s entertainment, is a pleasant surprise and one that goes down well judging by the increasing crowd. Vocalist Andy Campbell takes command of the performance and drives the Zlatanera message far and wide thought the Bloodstock arena. With their first full length album Legerdemain released, there is simply no excuse for you not to check these guys out! 3.5/5

Greek legends Rotting Christ have been one of the most consistent of extreme bands over their close to 30 year existence. Has it really been 25 years since the release of the Passage To Arcturo EP ? Throughout their career they have never been afraid to attempt to evolve, change their sound and expand their musical boundaries, but at the end of the day they have always been able to create interesting albums of a very high quality.

With the mid-afternoon sun blazing onto the main stage, they bring the expectant and large crowd to a state of euphoria, covering old and new material. Sakis (Guitar/Vocals) commands proceedings from the center of the stage, flanked by his able lieutenants Van Ace (Bass) and George (Lead Guitar), whose duel-frenzied windmilling looks awesome and metal-as-fuck!

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With a legion of horns and chants of “Rotting Christ“, heads are moving all over the arena, oblivious to the scorching weather. The variety in the set is great too, but when you get to 10 minutes of sheer blacken’d deathly bliss, it just blows you away The wonderful “The Sign Of Evil Existence” from Thy Mighty Contract, runs straight into the classic “The Forest Of N’Gai” from Passage To Arcturo , but the version they play live these days is such a monster! There seems to be a much beefier more aggressive presence to the song than the original which just slay the Bloodstock crowd today. Rounding off the final 10 minutes of their set is their excellent cover of Thou Art Lord’s “Societas Satanas” that rips through the crowd and takes Bloodstock all the way to the depths of hell.

Rotting Christ 3Nobody wants this set to end now, but sadly that time approaches and the guys finish off with a track each off the two more recent albums, the powerful “In Yumen-Xibalba” (Katá ton Daímona Eaf̱toú) rips along with bodies still moving over the barrier and the deeper “Noctis Era” from the excellent Aealo album, and with as little fuss as they arrived they leave the stage. Rotting Christ are a band that don’t require a massive stage setup, pyro or gimmicks. They create the atmosphere and theater from their music and that should always be more than enough. Thank you Bloodstock for once again bringing Rotting Christ to grace that stage. 4.5/5

If you have not heard the name “The King is Blind” over the last few months, then you have most likely been living under a rock! Hailed as being one of the most exciting extreme metal bands to emerge from the UK underground in recent years, the East Anglia five piece, waste absolutely no time in destroying Bloodstock. Brutality is served box-fresh here, with all manor of chaos unfolding in the pit. Former bassist / front-man turned full time vocalist, Steve Tovey incites a relentless attack on the senses, with instant gems such as ‘For All Daemons are Here’ from their skin-peeling Our Father, which was just released back in late July. Having played Bloodstock back in 2014, the new addition of New Model Army bassist Ceri Monger, brings a definite new dimension to the bands live performance and judging by the massacre of sweat, circle pits and all kinds of tom-fuckery in the crowd, The King is Blind own it from start to finish! 4.5/5

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On the back of a very successful tour and album last year it’s great to see Fear Factory on the stages of major festivals once again. They appear to have a renewed zest and passion about themselves and having caught them on the Demanufacture 20th Anniversary Tour last year, this was another set we had high hopes for; to which they certainly met those expectations. It always gives you a lift watching the joy in Dino’s face when he’s shredding on a guitar, not to mention vocalist Burton C. Bell who seems to be very much in the zone these days. Kicking off with ‘Demanufacture’ gets the place rocking from front to back, side to side and beyond, proving that it’s still a cracking track build to destroy. To be honest; I had thought there would be a couple of additional / different tracks rather than the whole Demanufacture album but what the hell, it’s a great album and works really well at Bloodstock.

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As the guys have been playing this album constantly for the last 8 months it’s no surprise it sounds so well. The fact that it fits almost perfectly into their one hour slot may have made up their mind for them anyway. Perhaps the only slight let down is that mere fact that there are no surprises in the set, Mike Heller is an animal behind the kit and although you can never replaced a legend like Gene Hoglan, he fits in the band very well and nails everything in the set, he also looks like he loves being in that hot seat. 3.5/5

Flying out onto the Sophie Stage donning an orange monster squid hat, Chris Hawkins is not one of those shy and retiring front-men that says little and just goes about their business. In fact he rarely takes a breath throughout the whole set but he’s a hell of a singer and it would be unlikely that One Machine would be able to work as well as they do without him. The band play fast thrash metal under Hawkins mammoth vocals which are high and with a wide range. It’s a perfect fit for this band, which is the brainchild of former Forbidden/Vicious Rumors/Nevermore/Testament guitarist Steve Smyth.

The dual guitar attack from Smyth and Jamie Hunt (ex-Biomechanical) totally light up the stage making the performance every bit as captivating for the large crowd. With a couple of really good albums under their belt, it’s no surprise they are slick, but there have been lineup changes over their relatively short career, which does spark a concern; as to the longevity of the band. However today, this particular lineup looks and sounds unbeatable. The songs rip along and like the title track off their debut The Distortion of Lies and the Overdriven Truth” or “The Final Cull” from the 2015 album of the same name. Churning out punchy, heavy metal with a vocalist like Hawkins, (who has the ability to turn their visions into a vivid landscape), is a winning combination and proves to be a triumphant performance from all involved. A great band that pull a very impressive crowd; considering Paradise Lost are currently decimating the main stage. Keep an eye on One Machine as they are likely to release their most epic album yet!  3.5/5

While One Machine are hammering out their weirs over on the Sophie Stage, we turn to the Jägermeister tent to catch some of Broken‘s set, which has all the power of a nuclear plant meltdown! It’s not often you see a circle pit over at this tent, but the lads from Wakefield UK are not here to fuck spiders. They mean business and proceed to level that tiny Jägermeister stage for their short set. A pleasant surprise and one that I’ll be keeping an eye on for sure. 3.5/5

With the wind carrying the sound of fuzzy guitars through the summer air, we make our way over to the New Blood Stage to catch the Sheffield four piece, Regulus. With a refreshing sound that differs from the bone-crushing array of bands on this years Bloodstock bill, Regulus offer a blend of southern style classic riffs, drenched with a heavy dose of psyche and a nod towards the likes of Clutch, High on Fire and even Kadavar at times. They pound out an impressive performance; that has me wanting more. Go check out ‘Blunderbuss’ on line and see for yourself. 3/5

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Back on the main stage, Paradise Lost follow the mighty Fear Factory, for another line-out of a truly (monu)mental day of metal and festival festivities. It’s been a while since I saw PL last (Download 2007, right before Napalm Death), but it was every bit as heavy now as it was then. Singer Nick Holmes (taking a time out from replacing Mikael Akerfelt in Bloodbath), has lost none of his fire and his penchant for mischief. He is goaded to stand on the monitors on the RJD stage (by his band mates no less) and you’re not really not supposed to… but he does anyway. I don’t think they’ve ever been shy about acting the maggot on tour. ‘Hallowed Land’ is seriously enjoyed by all pairs of ears here, as is ‘Rapture’ Old-school fans of gothic metal are here in droves to see a band who have been pushing the limits of the doom/goth scene since 1988. There’s no sign of them stopping here, and they are on tour in Europe until October, where they jet off to Brazil to cause more mayhem. 3/5

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Scurrying over to catch Bull Riff Stampede, I position myself nicely in front of the Sophie Lancaster Stage. With pounding drums and a serious set of lung and guitar ferocity, BRS beat the eardrums of the Sophie stage attendees. Taking shade from the heat outside, the heat inside is muggy and sweaty. Playing music from their first album, Scatter the Ground, has more than enough fodder for the hardest of head-bangers. Thrash metal from the East of England, they have a certain malevolent approach to their set at BOA. Their pit encouragement is remarkable, ushering more and more participants to throw caution to the wind and flail themselves into a world of hurt. Playing thrashing tunes from their debut album like ‘Thrashing Machine’, ‘Bled to the Arena’ and ‘Minotaur’, their reception gives them a confidence boost that few other things can manage. They are on tour in September and I would seriously encourage you to check them out. I may go so far as to state that I can guarantee you’ll have a new favourite band. 3/5

Closing the Jägermeister stage for the Saturday is Vicious Nature, who drill out a sound that is kind of a hybrid of old school NWOBHM with a contemporary twist. There is a lot of melody in what these guys do, with tracks that seem to be built for the live stage; rather than record. Opening track ‘Fight for your Life’ has a huge chorus that would not be out of place on the main stage. As each song works it’s way from the stage, the crowd swells around the modest Jägermeister tent and soaks in the sounds. Guitarist Andrew Southwell rips off solo’s like there’s no tomorrow, while bassist Marc Cully holds it all together with a serious low end sound, that dominates the groove. Killer stuff! Get on board with Vicious Nature and be sure to check them out, if they are in your neighborhood. 3/5

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The stage is set, the backdrop is in place, the sun is bright (but not as hot as it was a few hours ago, thankfully), and the pyro is positioned. EVERYONE is here at the main arena to see French metal monsters Gojira! Joe Duplantier walks out like he just woke up from a nap, followed by his brother Mario (drums), Christian Andreu on lead guitar, and Jean-Michel Labadie on bass. But when his face changes from ‘smiling’, to ‘down-to-business’, all hell breaks loose. And I mean that sincerely. The vibe from the crowd feeds from the stage and every single note is perfect. Duplantier and his cohort are nothing short of mesmerising and throughout their set-list opening with ‘Toxic Garbage Island’ from the magnificent The Way of All Flesh, before launching straight into ‘L’Entfant Sauvage’. Highlight of the set is the spine tingling ‘Flying Whales’, which levels the place completely.

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The sound emanating from the stage is second to none, with crystal clear mix which travels across the evening’s blood-red sunset. Material from the bands latest release Magma get a look in, with singles ‘Silvera’ and ‘Stranded’ being received with all the power the crowd the Bloodstock crowd had to offer. Having seen Gojira many times, this was by far one of the most captivating. Their majestic performance topped off with a regular blasting of pyro made the experience that little more intense. Mario has the backbone of the rhythm section nailed down completely and professionalism oozes from each band member, as they go about their business. The bands performance is on another level and with their inclusion of ‘Rememberance’ outro at the end of ‘Backbone’; just pushed things over the edge. They finish with ‘Vacuity’ as an encore, giving a truly awesome performance. There is no question that Gojira are a headlining band and if I were part of the Mastodon camp backstage, I would be just a little be worried about now! 5/5

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While the mighty Gojira are pulling off a spectacular performance on the main stage Norways Shining are executing their unique combination of sounds and sensory overload! A band that is more Jazz/Metal than Metal/Jazz this evening, Shining pull off a mind-blowing set on the Sophie Stage.

Tonight’s performance is a step up from when I’ve seen them before, but today they they seem to take a considerable amount of command from the minute they hit the stage and go about obliterating the tent. Starting their set while Gojira were still destroying the arena  was never going to be an easy task and knowing Mastodon are scheduled to start as they were set to finish, was making things even more difficult for the tents capacity. However this was not  going to hold back Jorgen (Vocals/Guitar/Sax) and the guys for even a moment. Their particular genre of “black jazz” would be ripped apart had it not been for the fact that it was just that damn good. There’s no member of this band that doesn’t contribute to the beautiful madness and their standing in the UK seems to be growing all the time.

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With the numbers increasing during the bands powerful set, there is no denying that Shining are a fearless Rock ‘N’ Roll beast, who simply don’t give a fuck! Jorgen’s like a Tasmanian devil unwound, as he owns the stage. However his finest moment would have to be when when he flips a monitor on it’s side to use as a stand while playing the Sax. It’s just cool-as-fuck! Everyone in the band gets their chance to shine, but there’s no doubting Jorgen is the star of this show. His energy seems to push the rest of the guys into a different place, as they push through the ever so slightly Rammstein sounding “Fisheye”, which sounds incredible live.

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One of their more heavier tracks “Thousand Eyes” generates a mass amount of movement, jumping, headbanging and the reaction of the excited front of stage crowd is reaching fever pitch. Checking out the crowd from the side of the stage on the barrier it was quite obvious that the crowd has swelled significantly before they finish off the set with “Need” from last years excellent International Blackjazz Society and the brilliant “The Madness And The Damage Done” from the seminal 2010 album Blackjazz. Without doubt one of the sets of the weekend, Shining have elevated themselves to another level this evening and a return to the the main stage next time out would certainly not be undeserved. 5/5

We have finally arrived at the point in the evening where the Saturday headliners are about ready to do their thing in the main arena and with the crowd still buzzing from the breath-taking performance from Gojira, it’s to bring our attention and focus to the Bloodstock closing band on the Ronnie James Dio stage for Saturday August 13th.

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Mastodon are one of those bands that evolve between a few different genres: prog, stoner, rock, doom  and so on… every album sounds different from the last. But their live shows are always a blizzard of sound and stunning visual effects. Their headlining slot on Saturday night is no different. Five LCD screens adorn the backstage area with interweaving spirographical displays. Troy, Brent, Brann and Bill have their own groove, and if you ain’t with it, GTFO. ‘High Road’, ‘Iron Tusk’, ‘Bladecatcher’ and others from a rich selection of 6 albums in their 90-minute set, push the last of the fuel from people’s tanks, as the movement and furious moshing up front is obviously clear.

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There isn’t much talking from Bill or Brent other than thanking everyone from BOA for having them there tonight and give kudos to all of the other bands. The sun has gone down and the light show is illuminating the entire arena like a Christmas tree – it’s spectacular. Mastodon 5As Mastodon rampage through their dazzling set, they chuck another golden one to us from their stand-out album Leviathan, as ‘Megalodon’ and ‘Blood and Thunder’ get the fists pumping right before they end. The lights carry on for a few more minutes and we expect an encore but one doesn’t come… it’s a pity because everyone is on a high after that and baying for more. But we forget that we have other day left to get through. And that’s when shit gets real – that’s when you find out how you are built for a metal festival. You use it or lose it. 3.5/5

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Finally capping off a tremendous day of metal is non other than Acid Reign who undergo a set that is loaded with old school thrash anthems. Opening to a massive crowd with ‘Phantasm / Creative Restraint’ the UK five piece fucking destroy from the outset! As fontman Howard Smith asks us “who wants to feel 18 years old again?” before launching into ‘Humanoia’, which sends the places all the way to the mental asylum! Regardless if you care for Acid Reign or not, they are smashing it here tonight with bangers such as Blind Aggression’, ‘Chaos’ and ‘Bullyboy’ before closing the live music on this Saturday night at Bloodstock 2016 with the awesome ‘Motherly Love’! Not a moment of a lull in their set, Acid Reign prove that not only can the older guys do it in style, they dame near wipe the floor with some of the younger bands that have been playing this weekend! Now come get some!!!!!5/5

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As the nights Dj’s strike into action and the late night partying unfolds across the campsites, we can only prepare ourselves for another day of top class metal on what will be the last day of Bloodstock 2016. For now we get a beer or three and marinate in what we have witnessed today.

Don’t forget to check out our reviews of Bloodstock Thursday August 11th here and Friday August 12th here. Keep your eyes open for our look at Sunday’s highlights in the coming days.


Oran O’Beirne

Stephen Brophy

Shaun Martin

Photography: Down The Barrel Photography © 2016

**Please do NOT use any images from this gallery before asked for permission **


Check out the full gallery from Bloodstock Open Air  – Saturday August 13th Highlights

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