Event: Bloodstock Open Air

Bands: Rotting Christ, Children of Bodom, Tesseract, Powerwolf, Sabaton, Grand Magnus, Evil Scarecrow, Anthrax, Parkway Drive, Ross The Boss, Cradle of Filth, Batushka, Scorpions, Eluveitie

Venue: Catton Park, Derbyshire

Dates: 8th - 11th August 2019

 

Thursday 8th 

I make a habit of going to Bloodstock every year as it is one of my favorite festival spots. I also like to make sure I am there bloody early to catch as many bands as possible. Unfortunately, the bus en route managed to break down meaning I missed most of Thursdays action! Thankfully, I did manage to make it across to the Sophie Lancaster stage to catch headliners ROTTING CHRIST who put on a dazzling display.  

The Greek black metal gods had the audience in the palm of their hands lashing through choice cuts from their latest studio outing along with back catalogue classics. Personal highlights were ‘Under the name of legion’, King of a ‘Stellar War’ and the finale of ‘Non Serviam’. Clearly enjoying another headline slot on the hallowed grounds of Catton Park Rotting Christ set an incredible benchmark for the weekend.  

Friday 9th 

Clearly pissed from the night before I never managed to make it out of my tent till at least 12’o clock where my day began with DEATH ANGEL.  

The Californian metallers dished out a merciless assault featuring ‘Voracious Souls’, ‘The Moth’ and ‘Humanicide’. Following the thrash metal beating, CHILDREN OF BODOM flew out of the gates with crowd pleaser ‘Are you Dead Yet?’ and kept the levels of extremity on full throttle till the finish of ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’.  

Making their first appearance at Bloodstock TESSERACT were eager to please and didn’t disappoint. Trudging through meaty progressive laden riffs Milton Keyenes finest made sure plenty of heads were banging and fists were pumping.    

POWERWOLF were unquestionably the highlight of Friday sending Bloodstock into a complete power metal frenzy for their hour-long slot.  I am not a personal fan of the band but you cannot ignore how bloody entertaining this band is and how incredibly catchy their songs are. From opener of ‘Fire and Forgive’ one could not help but get carried away to the sing along likes of  ‘Demons are a Girls best Friend’ and ‘Resurrection by Erection’.  

Headliners SABATON were tasked with following and it was a step too far for the Swede’s. As impressive as their stage show looked, something just didn’t translate and they came across sounding incredibly flat. 

Not all was lost as salvation was found on the Sophie Lancaster stage in the form of GRAND MAGUS. Exploding with ‘I, the Jury’ was a total kick up the arse! Settling into their Groove the riff lords launched through cuts such as ‘Dawn of Fire’ and ‘Kinglsayer’ before closing the night with the sing-along classic ‘Hammer of the North’.  

Saturday 10th

EVIL SCARECROW has become synonymous with Bloodstock acting as resident house band that play literally every other year. Not that I am complaining as they are entertaining and every metal head loves a gimmick band. The likes of ‘Robototron’ and ‘Crabulon’ had the crowded main stage area moving in synchronicity to the slapstick lyrics with plenty of jibes amusing the metal masses. As for the rest of Saturday it got a bit dicey as extreme wind conditions threatened the remainder of the performances.   

Cradle of Filth was postponed till the Sunday and it was questionable whether any more bands would be playing. Thankfully, the wind died down just enough to allow ANTHRAX to deliver the greatest hits set to end all greatest hits sets. Ripping through fan favorites such as ‘Caught in a Mosh’, ‘Madhouse’, and ‘I am the Law’ ensued plenty of moshing and revelry. Sing-along classics ‘Got the Time’, ‘Anti-Social’ were also slayed before the finale of ‘Indians’.  

Saturday’s headliners PARKWAY DRIVE were untouchable delivering one of the best performances I have ever seen at Bloodstock . With a stunning light show, enough pyro to match Rammstein concert and a string quartet in tow, the Australian metallers absolutely owned the stage silencing haters within seconds.   

The likes of ‘Prey’, ‘Wild Eyes’, ‘Vice Grip’ & ‘Karma’ had the Bloodstock faithful in a state of frenzy while ‘Shadow Boxing’ and ‘Writings on the Wall’ provided respites from the pandemonium. An encore of ‘Crushed’ and ‘Bottom Feeder’ sent the main arena into a final run of head banging, fist pumping euphoria proving Parkway Drive deserve to be headlining the biggest festival stages in years to come.  

Sunday 11th       

Back on site, ROSS THE BOSS warmed up with a set jammed full of Manowar covers. KK Downing was introduced as a special guest in the latter half before burning through Priest classics ‘The Green Manalishi’ and ‘Breaking the Law’.  

Better late than never CRADLE OF FILTH lead down the narrow path of all things black and macabre. Smashing out belters like ‘Malice through the Looking Glass’, ‘Nymphetamine’ & ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’ prove to be nothing but exhilarating. 

Amidst all the drama surrounding BATUSHKA, it is difficult to disregard just how extraordinary this spectacle is. With an ambitious stage show made up of candles, elaborate costumes & church backdrops it’s like nothing I have ever seen before (think black metal overtones with church chanting at a séance and that’s probably what you have on offer here).    

The SCORPIONS as expected, filled the floor and sounded polished to perfection. Cramming as much of their 50 plus year history into an hour and a half there was stacks on offer. ‘Blackout’, ‘Big City Nights’, ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘The Zoo’ had the crowd going batty and frothing at the mouth. With invincible swagger softer tunes ‘Send me an Angel’ and ‘Wind of Change’ united Catton Park sounding absolutely enormous. In suitable fashion ‘Rock you like a Hurricane’ was the swansong for the evening and was gladly welcomed into a very rewarding set.  

I could not think of a more fitting to close out a festival than with Eluveitie who draw in as much of the main arena into the second stage as humanly possible. Switzerland’s metal heroes were lapped up and expended what was left of the audience’s energy with a folk infused metal party.

Review & Photos by: Rob Herald

 

 

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