Archive for Bloodstock

Akercocke set to no longer play Bloodstock

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 25th May 2016 by Nico Davidson

In a bizarre turn of events, Akercocke, who recently reformed, have announced on their Facebook page that they will no longer be playing at this year’s Bloodstock Festival. The announcement reads:

Dear friends and fiends,

Owing to politics we neither understand nor participate in, we have been pulled from the Bloodstock 2016 line up.

Akercocke

Understandably some Akercocke fans have voiced their displeasure at this news, with some of them referring to the festival as being petty and a joke. While the exact reason is unknown to Akercocke being pulled from the billing, it appears that it has something to do with the organisers of Bloodstock trying to keep an illusion of exclusivity as the band have been confirmed to play Damnation in November and will be touring the UK later this year.

At the moment, Bloodstock have not made a statement to as why Akercocke are no longer on the bill.

***UPDATE***

Adam Gregory, one of the organisers of Bloodstock left the following comment on the band’s post:

As much as we would like to answer your questions with our reasons for being forced to cancel the bands appearance, out of respect for the band, we wont air our laundry in public, but rest assured Bloodstock was left without any option on this occasion.

Akercocke online:

http://facebook.com/akercockeofficial

Dakesis Confirmed As First Co-Headliner at Northern Symphony

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 8th May 2016 by Nico Davidson

Birmingham’s premier power metal quartet Dakesis have been announced as one of two co-headliners at Northern Symphony 2017, the UK’s premier festival for all things symphonic metal. With the release of A New Dawn and their recent tours last month in both Finland and the UK, Dakesis are set to reach new heights.

Dakesis are a four piece Progressive Power Metal band from Birmingham, UK. Formed in 2008, with the release of a limited edition four track E.P they soon followed on with their debut album Trial By Fire in 2011 to much critical acclaim. Following on from their success of this album and extensive touring and festival appearances throughout the UK, the band went on to record their second full length album The New Dawn which was released in March 2016.

Their latest release was recorded at Carbon Studios in Birmingham and mixed by Nino Laurenne at Sonic Pump Studios based in Finland (Ensiferum, Wintersun, Stratovarious and Firewind) and sees a marked change in the direction of the band. With more progressive influences and the addition of powerfully epic orchestral backing alongside new session keyboard player Jacob Underwood, Dakesis have sculpted a vast instrumental soundscape alongside the heavier metal influences.

The band have toured the UK extensively and have enjoyed prestigious support and festival slots including playing with Edguy, Thunderstone, Blaze Bayley and Pagan’s Mind and performing at Glastonbudget, Bloodstock Open Air 2012, Valkyrian Festival and headlining the Cackblabbath Stage at Wildfire Festival in 2015.

Northern Symphony will take place at The Venue in Selby on Saturday 15th April 2017. Early bird tickets are set at the low price of £4 and are available from either Northern Wynter Music’s BigCartel store or Skiddle.com.

More bands are set to be announced in the coming months.

Dakesis online:
http://dakesis.com
http://facebook.com/dakesis

Within Temptation announced to headline Bloodstock plus Opeth announced as special guests

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 9th September 2014 by Nico Davidson

In a surprise announcement earlier today, Bloodstock Festival have announced Within Temptation as one of the main stage headliners. This marks a triumphant return for the Dutch symphonic metal legends, following their UK tour earlier this year with Delain and the band’s first ever UK festival appearance at Bloodstock 2005! Frontwoman Sharen den Adel enthusiastically comments:

We’re thrilled to play Bloodstock again!  We had such a great time before and can’t wait to take Hydra to the stage at Catton Park.  It’s a really exciting time for us right now and we’re looking forward to bringing the fire!!

Slotting in to the Saturday night special guest slot are Swedish progmeisters, Opeth.  Having landed at #14 on the UK album charts last week, their highest chart position to date for new studio album, Pale Communion, OPETH are looking forward to returning to Bloodstock.  Comments frontman Mikael Akerfeldt:

We’re happy to confirm that we’ll be back at the Bloodstock festival next year!  I don’t know how many times we’ve played there now, but it’s a real great place, a nice festival run by nice people.  Too bad it’s like….a year or so away!?

Early bird weekend tickets with camping are on sale now, priced £120 (plus booking fee) from this location.  Campervan pitches are also already on sale and these move very quickly, so pick yours up ASAP to avoid disappointment.

Bloodstock will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 6th-9th August 2015.  Keep up to date with the very latest info on Bloodstock’s official sites at Blodostock’s Facebook and the festival’s official website.

Primordial confirmed for Bloodstock 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gaelic metal warriors Primordial have announced that they’ll be playing Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2014, with bands such as Carcass, Lacuna Coil, Emperor, Megadeth and more, as well as label mates Amon Amarth.

Bloodstock will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 7th-10th August 2014. Keep up to date with the very latest info on Bloodstock’s official sites at this location (Official Facebook) and this location (Official Website).

Primordial online:

http://primordialweb.com
http://facebook.com/primordialofficial

 

Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta discusses returning to Bloodstock Open Air

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Nico Davidson

Hatebreed were recently announced to play Bloodstock 2014 and since the band were recently in the UK for the Vans Warped Tour, Nuclear Blast’s UK team decided to quiz frontman Jamey Jasta about his favourite memories from the band’s 2012 appearance at the renowned festival. The video interview can be viewed down below.

Bloodstock will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 7th-10th August 2014. Tickets for 2014’s event are still on sale at special EARLY BIRD prices – a total snip at £115 for a 4-day weekend ticket with camping. There is only a limited number of early bird tickets left. When they’re gone, they’re gone, and tickets revert to full price! Get your tickets at this location.

With the three 2014 headliners already announced, the event is shaping up to be the strongest yet. Friday night’s bill toppers are New Orleans sludgemeisters, Down. Joining them to head up Saturday night are black metal overlords, Emperor and closing out proceedings on Sunday are the mighty thrash legends, Megadeth. Also announced so far are Carcass, Hatebreed, Children Of Bodom, Decapitated, Lacuna Coil, Primordial, Amon Amarth, Obituary, Crowbar, Saxon, Prong, Flotsam & Jetsam and Evil Scarecrow. 

 

Hatebreed online:

http://hatebreed.com
http://facebook.com/hatebreed

 

Bloodstock Amon Amarth Exclusive!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th November 2013 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air 2014 continue their run of amazing announcements with three more great bands added to the bill. Swedish melo-death giants Amon Amarth have been announced as filling the Sunday Special Guest slot, with their BOA performance a UK-exclusive show for the year. Joining them over the weekend will be metalcore stalwarts Hatebreed, returning after their triumphant 2012 performance, and Prong, who will be making their BOA debut performance. Running order is still unconfirmed as the BOA website is currently down for maintenance, but you can be assured as soon as we at Valkyrian HQ know the updated order of ceremonies we will let you know!

The date for the start of VIP Serpent’s Lair ticket sales has been confirmed as being the 16th of December, and ordinary weekend camping tickets are onsale now. BOA 2014 is looking to be an unmissable metal experience, with three solid headliners in the shape of Down, Emperor and Megadeth, and an array of fantastic bands during the weekend. Valkyrian will, as always, be in attendance and we hope to see you there!

Bloodstock 2014 Announcements

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 8th November 2013 by Hannah

The bill for Bloodstock 2014 is further heating up following the announcement of two exclusive UK-only appearances and one only UK-festival appearance. Metal giants Children of Bodom have been announced for the Ronnie James Dio stage, who along with legends of death metal Obituary are performing their only UK show of 2014 at Catton Hall, as well as the announcement of a UK-festival exclusive performance by sludge-titans Crowbar. Bloodstock also announced the long awaited main stage debut of long term fan favourites and parody-metal connoisseurs Evil Scarecrow, who will be opening the festivities on Saturday. Already on the bill are headliners Megadeth (also performing their only UK show of 2014), Down and a reunited Emperor, along with British NWOBHM legends Saxon, Flotsam & Jetsam and Decapitated.

Many more bands are still to be announced, as well as the dates for the 2014 Metal to the Masses competition, in order to find a band to perform at Bloodstock as well as a number of other European festivals, including Wacken. Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2014 will fall over the 7th-14th of August, and tickets are available from the Bloodstock website now.

Emperor Announced as Bloodstock Open Air 2014 Headliners

Posted in News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 13th August 2013 by Hannah

Legendary reforming black metal giants Emperor have been announced as the first confirmed headliners for Bloodstock Open Air festival, 2014. The buzz in the arena at Catton Hall was electric on Saturday night as the hordes descended upon the main stage, both to await headliners Lamb of God and the promised announcement, and roars of delight erupted amongst the masses as the infamous ‘E’ shield logo and a promise of the ‘hordes’ returning flashed upon the screens.

Emperor, who have recently revealed their reformation in order to coincide with Wacken Open Air’s 25th anniversary celebrations, last played British shores in 2006, though Ihsahn brought his progressive-tinged solo project to Bloodstock in 2011. Their headlining performance will surely be a roaring success, and the BOA team’s coup of booking them seems like a gift to the throngs of dedicated metalheads who descend upon Derby each summer. Conversely, however, it seems that the increasing quality of acts booked have pushed ticked prices skyward, with 2014 Early Bird tickets retailing at over £120, already £20 up from last year. Even so, many would say with yet another gigantic name on offer, Bloodstock are proving their reputation as the UK’s best metal festival.

Incassum confirmed for Bloodstock and announce winter 2013 dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 29th July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Manchester’s top melodic metal act Incassum have been confirmed for this year’s Bloodstock where they’ll play the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at 6:40pm on Saturday 10th August. Incassum have also announced their first dates for the winter of 2013 including a special Hallowe’en show in their hometown of Manchester with Evil Scarecrow.

As well as Bloodstock and the Winter shows, the band also has a small number of other summer festival appearances. The schedule so far is as follows, with plenty more dates to be added….

August

3rd : Rotherham, Khaos Festival
10th : Derby, Bloodstock Open Air
23rd : Bromsgrove, Beermageddon

October

5th : Great Yarmouth, The Oakwood (w/Babylon Fire)
18th : Birmingham, Asylum 2 (w/Triaxis)
30th : Manchester, Grand Central (w/Evil Scarecrow and Bloodyard)

November

3rd : Lancaster, Yorkshire House (w/Bloodyard)

Incassum online:

http://www.incassum.com
http://www.facebook.com/Incassum

 

Absolva confirmed for Bloodstock and reveal artwork for new release

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 29th July 2013 by Nico Davidson

British metallers Absolva have just been confirmed for this year’s Bloodstock Open Air, making it their second Bloodstock appearance two years running. The band originally appeared on  the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at last year’s Bloodstock, shortly after their formation and a successful string of Irish and Scottish tour dates as special guests to Iced Earth.

This year, Absolva will be playing the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Friday 9th August before they dash to Belgium on Saturday 10th August for Summerrock. The band have also revealed the artwork for their upcoming Beyond Live CD and DVD release.

 

Absolva were born in May 2012, in the wake of Fury UK bassist Luke Appleton joining Iced Earth, and from inception the new band earned a reputation as an inspiring live act. Following the 2012 Bloodstock and Iced Earth shows, the band released debut album Flames Of Justice in November to critical acclaim and set about a rigorous touring schedule with a 16 date European Tour towards the end of the year, followed by a further 33 date European Tour early in 2013. The later tour included 8 shows as special guests on the Michael Schenker Temple of Rock and Lovedrive Reunion Tour. Absolva‘s impact on the British and European scene has therefore been immediate.

Absolva online:

http://www.absolva.com
http://www.facebook.com/absolva

 

Ravenage release lyric video plus announced for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd June 2013 by Nico Davidson

Heathen metal band Ravenage have recently released the lyric video for their song The Road To Retribution (Northbound Part II) that will be featured on their upcoming album which is currently untitled. The song is inspired by Bernard Cornwell‘s Saxon Stories series which follows the tale of Uhtred Bebbanberg. The video can be viewed below.

In related Ravenage news the band have been confirmed to play on the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air. This will be the band’s first Bloodstock appearance in five years. Ravenage will also headline the first night of Valkyrian Festival in November.

Ravenage online:

http://www.officialravenage.com
https://www.facebook.com/officialravenage/

 

Hell on Earth… At Bloodstock

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 17th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

NWOBHM legends Hell have been confirmed for Bloodstock 2013. The announcement came only a couple of hours ago when they were announced alongside Belphegor for the Ronnie James Dio stage on Saturday 10th August.

Bloodstock is set to take place on 8th-11th August at Catton Hall in Derby. Other bands already confirmed for Bloodstock 2013 include Lamb of God, Firewind, King Diamond, Whitechapel, Ex Deo and Kataklysm, with many more to be announced. Tickets and further info can be found here.

 

Whitechapel confirmed for Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 5th December 2012 by Nico Davidson

Whitechapel have just been announced for Bloodstock 2013 along with Kataklysm, Avantasia and Ex Deo.

They will join headliners Lamb of God and King Diamond and special guests Anthrax.

Friday August 9th

Ronnie Jame Dio Stage

King Diamond
Accept
Municipal Waste
Dark Funeral
Firewind
Ex Deo
 

Saturday August 10th

Ronnie James Dio Stage

Lamb of God
Avantasia
Kataklysm

Sunday August 11th

Ronnie James Dio Stage

Anthrax
Devil Driver
Amorphis
Fozzy
Whitechapel

Whitechapel’s self-titled fourth album was released in June through Metal Blade, and the band spent the summer melting tarmac on the Mayhem Festival tour in the US (alongside Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead… and Bloodstock compadres, Anthrax).

Check out the new video for Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence here.

Bloodstock 2013 will be held in Catton Park, Derbyshire on August 8th to 11th. Tickets for the festival are on sale now and can be purchased from the official website: http://www.bloodstock.uk.com

The Greatest Show On Earth–UK legends Hell announce special one-off show for 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , on 13th November 2012 by Nico Davidson

UK metal legends Hell are putting on one hell of a show, to celebrate the start of the recording of album two.

This special performance coined as The Greatest Show On Earth, will be filled with “fire, brimstone and pyrotechnical madness”, with support coming from the epic Winterfylleth and A Thousand Enemies. The show will also be filmed live and mixed in 5.1 for a special DVD release, later in 2013. Next year, on February 23rd, the UK will see HELL stage their full ‘Church Of Hell‘  at Derby Assembly Rooms, Darwin Suite.

Over the last year and a half with HELL, we’ve always put on as much of a show as possible, but with limitations due to festival billings, Health and Safety and venue size”, says guitarist Andy Sneap.”We felt it time to unleash the band’s full potential to the UK as it’s something we feel is missing more and more.The theatrics and the bombastic stage productions of old remain with the Monsters of Rock, but is something a lot of the newer breed of bands seem to overlook whilst onstage staring at the floor.

The first Headline show I ever saw was ‘Iron Maiden’ on ‘The Beast On The Road Tour’ at Derby Assembly Rooms. It used to be a regular Midlands show on every bands touring schedule when they passed through the UK and anyone frequenting the first couple of indoor Bloodstock festivals will know how great a venue for metal this is. We can’t wait to bring a full on, unashamedly over the top metal show back to the Assembly Rooms on Feb 23rd 2013.

Tickets can be found here.

Cited as a huge indirect influence, and as one of the true founding fathers of occult metal, Hell formed in 1982 from the carcasses of UK metal bands Race Against Time and Paralex, whose White Lightning EP was listed by Metallica as a favourite, and which was subsequently included on the Lars Ulrich, Geoff Barton  ‘NWOBHM ’79 Revisited’ sampler album. Despite over five years of constant touring, the band were cruelly overlooked by the ’80’s music press, who just didn’t get it. Hell were too different, too extreme, too musically intelligent and far too thought-provoking for all but the most enlightened to understand them. A teenage Andy Sneap was a permanent fixture on the front row of almost every show Hell played and went on to form Sabbat and become a renowned metal producer. Upon meeting again, the remaining members of Hell – Kev Bower (guitar/keys), Tony Speakman (bass) and Tim Bowler (drums) talked with Andy about re-recording the old material to release in conjunction with the old demos. With Sneap replacing Halliday on guitar and David Bower on vocals, the band recorded 10 Hell classics from the 80’s that became their 2011 debut ‘Human Remains’.

 

Lamb Of God confirmed for Bloodstock as headliner

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 7th November 2012 by Nico Davidson

lamb-of-god-wallpaper-10

US metallers Lamb Of God have been announced for Bloodstock next year as the Saturday night headliner. This will be their only UK festival appearance and they will join the likes of previously announced headliner King Diamond plus thrash metal icons Anthrax, Greek power metallers Firewind and WWE superstar Chris Jericho’s band Fozzy! Lamb Of God will also be joined by new additions Dark Funeral and Amorphis.

Bloodstock Open Air will take place 8th-11th August 2013 at Catton Hall, Derbyshire. Tickets are available from the official Bloodstock site which can be found here.

 

Triaxis – Rage & Retribution

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 23rd October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Triaxis
Rage And Retribution
Released: October 2012
Metal
Released via Rocksector

It’s been a busy year for Welsh quintet Triaxis, performing at SOS Festival and Bloodstock this year followed by the release of their second album, Rage And Retribution. While not a band I’m familiar with, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about them over at the Black Phoenix Rising forums and on several other webzines, so I have been waiting on the second album, Rage And Retribution so I can give Triaxis a proper listen.

The powerful and punchy riffs of Sand & Silver start the album with a furious frenzy of hard hittin’ metal and strong, belting vocals with some poetic licks thrown in for good measure. Black Trinity makes itself known by screaming out with its grandoise sound, that echoes majestically through the lyrically played guitars and acute drum work. The vocals float sail near perfectly on the sea of modern sounding riffs and intelligent drumming, completing the song and making it one of the most prominent tracks on the album. The Infected really did take me by surprise as the riffs come charging out like a bull that’s seen red but in a more beautiful written manner while Asunder brings a gentler approach which gradually builds into a heavier sound.

And Shadows Creep displays the more melodic stylings of the band’s music, firing out a barrage of stalwart and dulcet riffs that carry the vocals efficiently while on the other hand XGP combines a fast and furious style with an expertly played dramatic sound that later on yields a unique audio vision of melodic guitar playing before the crisp battering of Under Blood Red Skies comes into play with a dashing od Doro-esque vocals. Sker Point balances out perfectly the use of heavy and beautifully played riffs, allowing the rhythm sections to dance along with a certain grace. Reunion takes the album down a path of pure blitzkreig drumming and violent riffing, as well as a storming use of vocals that really do shine out on the track.

The Butcher beckons a certain NWOBHM sound with a heap of modern influences to create a fresh sound that could easily be a pioneering factor in today’s metal scene. The vocals boom out over the fierce roaring of guitars that offer up some truly meaty riffs for you to sink your teeth into while at the same time, keeping their crisp and clean sound. The album finishes off with the solemn sounds of Some Things Are Worth Dying For. Beginning with an alluring acoustic opening, the track soon fires out the heavy drum work and austere riffs. Gradually the song begins to develop a more uplifting sound but avoiding being overly hearty.

I’m rarely impressed these days by bands with a female vocalist but Triaxis have proven to be one of the few that can impress me with Rage And Retribution. Triaxis have displayed an ability for good songwriting as well as a talent for pulling off some seriously sweet solos, so it’s safe to say that Rage And Retribution is one of those albums that will no doubt become a classic in the years to come and that the UK has found its answer to Warlock.

5/5

Nico Davidson

 

King Diamond to play Bloodstock 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 12th October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Minutes ago, the Bloodstock announced over Facebook that King Diamond has been confirmed as the Friday night headliner for an exclusive UK show. The metal legend himself will be performing a number of Mercyful Fate classics as well as several numbers from his solo career.

King Diamond joins the likes of Anthrax, Accept, Firewind and Fozzy for next year’s festival, which takes place from August 8-11 2013 at Catton Hall, Derby. Tickets for Bloodstock can be purchased here.

 

Valk-Fest venue change plus final line-up details

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 4th October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Shades Nightclub in Bridlington will be the host for this year’s Valkyrian Festival, following the closure of The Lamp in Hull earlier this year. The annual event, organised by Bridlington-based webzine Valkyrian Music, is in aid of UK charity Autism Plus.

Valkyrian Festival will take place on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th November, with doors on the Friday night opening at 6pm and at 2:30 pm on the Saturday. Bridlington’s own deathcore titans in the making Sea Of Giants will headline the Friday night, with support from Riff-X, Illflower, Dead Pools and Gloomlurker, whom supported ex-Cradle of Filth backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva, earlier this year in Grimsby.

Saturday will be headlined by Birmingham prop-power metallers Dakesis, who supported Edguy earlier this year and played an exclusive acoustic set at Bloodstock back in August. Joining them, as main support will be Ziyos and fresh from Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage, will be Hull’s premier misanthropic black metal outfit Infernal Creation, who blasted their way through Bloodstock this year on the New Blood Stage, along with special guests Sanguine,whom rocked Download back in June. North-west metal bands Nitronein and Shades of Avalon will also be joining Dakesis as supports, along with female fronted operatic metal outfit Aonia who will be playing a rare and exclusive acoustic set. Engraved in Blood and Organized K-Hos will be completing the line-up for Saturday, as well Apparition, who will be playing with their new frontwoman, following the break after their tour with ex-CoF backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva.

Weekend tickets are priced at the low, low, low price of £4 and are available here. Day tickets will be available on the door. All proceeds will go to Autism Plus (Register charity no. 518591). The event is all ages, with alcohol available from the pub above the venue.

Poster designed by Dark Creative 32.

NWOBHM legends Salem to guest at Metieval Winterfest

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th August 2012 by Nico Davidson

528149_10151142549724216_1850475730_nHull-based NWOBHM Salem have been confirmed to play as special guests at the revived Metieval festival, now known as Metieval Winterfest, on 16th December in Hull. Salem will be joining the likes of Alice In Thunderland, Innersylum, Pastel Jack and Infernal Creation, who later this month played Bloodstock.

Headlining the festival are none other the UK’s own power metal titans Power Quest.

The Metieval Winterfest will take place at The Piper in Hull. Tickets will be available on the door for a mere £10 pounds with doors opening at 12pm. Full line-up to be announced.

Bloodstock Open Air 2012 Review

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 21st August 2012 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2012 [Behemoth, Machine Head, Alice Cooper & more]
Catton Hall, Derbyshire
9th-12th August, 2012

So, another year, another Bloodstock. This year was probably one of the most controversial for a good number of years; mainly based around line up. Not only was there a massive furore over the choice of Machine Head as Saturday’s headliners, there was also much discussion of the line up, in general, being poor. Swathes of apparent regulars made it clear that the line up meant they were not purchasing tickets. This didn’t affect Bloodstock in any way, mind. There were over 11,000 people in attendance- the biggest number to date- and the organisers were able to enjoy the fact that their VIP packages totally sold out, and there were not many regular passes left by the time the weekend came around. This year’s Bloodstock was also notable for another, more special reason. Over the course of the weekend, many of the live performances were streamed world wide for the first time ever, and this decision proved to be a resounding success; over 200,000 people across the globe tuned in to watch live footage of the festival throughout the duration of the weekend. In terms of ticket sales, bums on seats and world domination, Bloodstock outdid themselves this year. But what of the festival itself?

Friday started off with a ridiculous heat wave. The fields of Catton Hall overflowed with sweaty, melting metal heads, most of them sweltering in the commonly worn uniform of black band shirt and jeans or camouflage trousers. But this sudden appearance by the sun did not stop them from turning out in multitudes to check out all three stages (four, if we count the Jagermeister Truck acoustic stage). With a cold one in my hand (one of 60+ real cask ales and ciders on sale in the Serpent’s Lair; the extra £100 odd was worth it just for that selection) I trudged to the main stage to enjoy the first few bands. Reading’s Malefice started proceedings with a valiant performance, filled with power and energy and determined to make a name for themselves. These newcomers pulled in a respectable crowd for the first slot of the day, and in my opinion started the festival off well. Followers Freedom Call kept up the energy with forty minutes of pure, cheesy German power metal, and I’m not ashamed to report that it was glorious. Their set was certainly a ‘happy metal party’ and they got the crowd jumping along to most of their songs. With their upbeat melodies and cheerful yet clumsy, Olympics centred banter, almost everyone watching their set had a stupid grin on their faces by their closer. Grand Magus were predictably epic, and the freshness of their material and stage presence makes it easy to forgot how long they have been around for. The Swedish stalwarts showed how thumping heavy metal is meant to be done.

Unfortunately for myself, I was unable to see most of the second half of Moonsorrow’s set as I quickly fell ill with what I now recognise as heatstroke, but the first half I did see was fantastic. They played a good selection of their material, and managed to put on a great performance, despite the fact that much of the crowd was flagging in the somewhat unexpected heat by this point. Their set was also far too short, especially considering most of their songs hit the nine minute mark, and it can only be hoped that they don’t leave it too long til they tour the UK as headliners. I have it on good authority, thanks to my temporary co-correspondent Joe (my brother) that Iced Earth absolutely slayed it. In three words, they were pounding, soaring and epic. The screams of ‘Iced Fucking Earth’ that echoed around the arena barely needed any encouragement from the band themselves, and they left the crowds begging for more. In complete contrast, and in a somewhat controversial claim, Joe felt that Sepultura were a massive disappointment. Clumsy and clunky, they played a set that didn’t contain enough new stuff to be purely Derrick Green era-stuff, nor enough classics to be a ‘classic Sepultura’ show, even despite the inclusion of songs such as ‘Refuse/Resist’ and ‘Roots’. I was back to the arena in time for Dio’s Disciples, the special tribute set up in memory of the late, great Ronnie James Dio, metal legend and namesake of Bloodstock’s main stage. And what a tribute it was. Each and every member of the band put their heart and soul into the performance, and it showed. Nearly every member of the band was almost in tears during their set, and they gave rousing renditions of some of Dio’s best known songs, including ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Stargazer’ and ‘Rainbow in the Dark’. We still love you, Ronnie. Whilst Dio’s Disciples got all emotional on the main stage, mention must be made of Hull’s Infernal Creation, who tore up the New Blood stage in the same slot. Bastard, Neiphrobous and Sin were joined by Cryptic Age’s Tom Keeley for the performance, due to bassist Beleth’s recent ill health (swift recovery, dude!) and they laid down their black metal credentials for all to see. Neiphrobous had the disappointingly small crowd in the palm of his outstretched claw, and whilst they deserved to pull a far greater number of people, those that were in attendance were treated to a thirty minute long aural assault of the highest calibre. A fantastic performance by a brutal underground band, deserving of greater success.

The atmosphere in the main arena grew noticeably chillier during the set up for Watain, and it wasn’t just the onset of the evening. There was almost as much of a buzz for these guys as there was for Friday headliners Behemoth. When asked about who they were here to see, countless people answered ‘Fucking Watain!’. All inverted crosses, flaming sigils and fire, Watain were truly a spectacle. Frontman Erik Danielsson (E) soaked the crowd- and pre-prepared, poncho and cagoule wearing security- with blood from a silver chalice, as ominous red lights zoomed over the crowd. They delivered their special blend of hauntingly beautiful and brutal black metal to the masses assembled in the fields of Catton Hall. Their stage show was uncompromising, being the masters of the theatrical and experts in creating an atmosphere both electric and somewhat unsettling. I managed to grab E for a quick chat on Saturday evening, and he summed their performance up in a concise way:

            I think it was very beautiful, it was during the sunset, and the sun came down in a very fitting way I would say. As far as Bloodstock goes, it’s another one of those places where two-leggers gather in the same place. I have an extremely hard time dealing with that, and it’s getting to the point of nausea, but at the same time it’s a good place.

All hail the black priests of metal!

After being suitably roused into a black, unholy frenzy, headliners Behemoth materialised on the stage in a flash of blue light and fog like a furious quartet of Cenobites. It is so, SO good to be finally writing a review of a performance by Behemoth at Bloodstock, and just as good to see Nergal, victorious in his battle with leukaemia, absolutely ripping Bloodstock a new one. The truck full of pyro they commissioned to trek across Europe from Poland meant that they were fully able to flex their blackened muscles and deliver a full Behemoth show to the baying crowds. Ferocious and uncompromising, they delivered a spectacle that will stay in the minds of all those assembled for a long time to come. On the visual front, they did not disappoint. Burning crosses, hooded monks, and a brilliantly clever use of fog and lighting to create a massive, Ronnie James Dio stage sized Polish flag, they looked spectacular. They sounded spectacular, too. With a set list that included fearsome renditions of songs old and new, including my personal highlights ‘Christians to the Lions’ and ‘Slaves to Serve’, Nergal, Orion, Inferno and Seth were the masters of the hordes as Friday evening closed in an infernal frenzy of blackened death metal. Behemoth fucking ruled.

On to Saturday, then, and after catching the end of what proved to be an energetic set by Benediction, on came ZP Theart of ex-Dragonforce fame, and his new band IamI. Theart had a lot to prove today, and even though his distinctive vocals strained a little at times, their raw sort of power metal worked quite well. He obviously loved being on the stage, and whilst it has to be said that their material bordered on repetitive, they gave a commendable performance. Following the power metal was Taiwan’s ChthoniC, who were, in a word, brilliant. They brought their folk-inspired, mythologically-powered black metal to the assembled crowds and performed beautifully. Freddy Lim, erhu in hand, made firm friends with the crowd and inspired an anti-Chinese roar of ‘Taiwan! Taiwan!’ to erupt among the arena. Even though many of them may not have understood the significance of Lim’s impassioned tirade against the Chinese occupation of Taiwan, they sympathised with ‘Chinese Taipei’ and were intensely receptive to the band’s atmospheric sound. The less said about Mayhem, the better. I was intensely disappointed with their lack of performance and the overall sloppy state of their set. Even Attila was boring. They came onto the stage and seemed to leave again soon after, without much fuss. So very anti-climactic. In contrast, the newly reformed Sanctuary were a surprising success. Even though their reformation will probably be at the expense of the fantastic Nevermore, it’s good to see Sanctuary back together. They really entertained the crowd with an energetic and upbeat set, satisfying both old and new fans. One band that personally surprised me were Hatebreed. I did not expect to enjoy the Connecticut hardcore maniacs, but I really did. They gave a performance full of energy and proved themselves to be very proficient at what they do. With Hatebreed, circle pits were always guaranteed but what was good to see was that the pits, orchestrated by frontman Jamey Jasta with safety on his mind, were instructed to help anyone that fell back up to their feet. Hatebreed are a brotherhood, and no one gets left behind or forgotten, as was evident with their touching dedication to the recently fallen, including the Rev, Dimebag, Dio and Paul Gray. Due to other commitments, I wasn’t able to catch much of Testament’s set, but the view from Joe was that they were sick. They played a good selection of old and new and more than satisfied the crowds.

Saturday’s controversial headliners Machine Head came onstage will everything bared and a mentality of proving to everyone present that they deserved to be there. They were there for their fans, but also for every single person who would have rather seen someone else take their place. In my opinion, they more than deserved that headline slot, and proved so with a visceral, rib shaking performance. Clearly humbled and in awe of Bloodstock as a whole, Machine Head plunged into their set with no holds barred. They spattered their set with a good selection of tunes, including fan favourites ‘Imperium’ and ‘Darkness Within’. As had been advertised since their announcement, they also played the 5 ‘Burn My Eyes’ tracks that had been voted for by the fans, in honour of the 20th anniversary of the first live show they ever played, in Mike Scum’s house, for a ‘destroy the house’ kegger party. Fantastic. The tracks chosen- ‘Death Church’, ‘A Thousand Lies’, ‘Blood for Blood’, ‘Block’ and ‘Davidian’– were received with an almost rabid response; a personal highlight was definitely ‘Block’, a track that absolutely slayed the crowd with its chugging intensity. Robb Flynn also proved that his reputation as one of the ‘nice guys’ of metal is more than apt, with a touchingly heartfelt speech about the true, accepting spirit of metal and how stoked he was to be playing on the stage with so many of his metal brothers in attendance. He also showed how much of an expert he is at creating a rapport with the crowd, and even instigated some sort of epic battle between Wolverine and Banana-man. Machine Head’s headliner slot will go down in history as one of the most divisive but brutal sets in Bloodstock history.

There were a number of fantastic performances on both the S.O.P.H.I.E. and New Blood stages on Saturday as well. Witch Sorrow and Winterfylleth both put on fantastic performances; Witch Sorrow’s sludgey, droney doom metal shaking the bowels of all those cooped up in the sweaty, beer soaked S.O.P.H.I.E. tent, and Winterfylleth delivered a set full of competent, slick black metal. But the day has to be given to the mighty Orange Goblin. The fact that the crowd literally spilled out of the tent and created lines at least seven men deep as a huge number of people struggled to watch them can probably attest to the Goblin’s strength on Saturday night. Sludgey, sleazy and soaked in booze and weed, the Goblin were on form and should have been on the main stage. However, the underdog status of the second stage suited them well. Their performance was painfully effortless, and they delivered a strong, sublime set, filling the S.O.P.H.I.E. tent to the rafters with stoner madness. There were also strong performances over at the New Blood stage. Newcastle’s Reflection in Exile were brilliant, and better than many of the bands on the main and S.O.P.H.I.E. stages. Dare I say that they were better than Mayhem? Regardless, they gave their all in the performance and were rewarded with the total attention of a sizeable crowd, pulled into the New Blood stage and away from main stagers Hatebreed. Reflection in Exile are worth watching out for. Saturday’s New Blood headliners, Manchester’s Gone Til Winter, served up a slice of brilliant, dark power metal. Stealing a good size crowd in from Testament– though they deserved many, many more- they performed with their hearts on their sleeves. Vocalist  Talena is a fantastic front woman, with an easy and likeable demeanour and a good amount of stage presence. Their set list included a number of tasters from their upcoming debut LP, Hiding From The Sun. I wish them every success in the future; and good luck to Talena on the forthcoming birth of her baby!

The final day of Bloodstock 2012 dawned with a brilliant performance from epic Canadian metallers Kobra And The Lotus. I think it’s safe to say that Kobra Paige and her troupe of heavy metal warriors won over a new legion of fans on Sunday. And holy hell, can Kobra Paige sing! KATL were a fantastic way to start the final day of BOA, and served up a delightful portion of soaring, traditional heavy metal. Corrosion of Conformity were much better than I thought they would be. I didn’t expect their groovy, sludge metal to be as good as it was, but I was pleasantly surprised. Good set, despite the need for a bass amp half way through! All that can really be said about Nile is that they were fucking brutal. They played a good mix of their stuff, from older material to brand new tracks. My personal highlights were the brutal Sacrifice Unto Sobek, Execration Text and Lashed To The Slave Stick. Their mystical, Egyptological, brutal death metal crushed the arena, and their show was so intensely amazing that it didn’t even matter that the heavens opened part way through. It would be hard for any band to follow such a flawless set, but it could have proven disastrous for Black Dahlia Murder. So many people didn’t want them to be here, and so BDM had an awful lot to prove. But prove it they did. By the end, the crowd had grown into a respectable size and enjoyed their unapologetic brand of death metal mayhem. There were two people in the crowd who certainly enjoyed their set, as their doggy style adventures proved. I think BDM proved many of the haters wrong, and showed that they deserve their place on the line up as much as anyone else. I also dearly hope that Brian Eschbach got his cheesy chips with gravy. As was expected, Bloodstock favourites Evile played to an incredibly enthusiastic crowd and did not disappoint. Even though they seemed endearingly puzzled at the fact that this year saw their fourth year on the line up, they clearly loved being back on the main stage, as did the crowd. The Huddersfield troupe performed a really strong set, including the rabidly received ‘Cult’. Metal underdogs Anvil gave a roaringly successful, and somewhat poignant, performance. They were clearly enthused to just still be performing, and were well received. The success of their story was evident by the number of Anvil patches that could be seen on denim and leather jackets throughout the arena, standing side by side with big names such as Judas Priest, Megadeth and Iron Maiden. Well done, Anvil!

Goth/doom veterans Paradise Lost seemed to delight the crowds with a competent set that entertained whilst being slightly sloppy. Their set list spanned their whole career fairly well, so there was guaranteed to be something there for everyone. From a selection that included game changing album Draconian Times, Nick Holmes and his gloomy troupe played reasonably well, and finished with crowd pleaser Say Just Words. Paradise Lost could have been so much better, but with all said and done they were more than satisfactory. A band that did not disappoint was 2008 headliners and ‘special guests’ Dimmu Borgir. I’m not ashamed to say that Dimmu were probably one of the bands I was looking forward to the most all weekend, and they were astounding. They returned to the main stage with a triumphant performance, full of characteristic bombast and malignantly beautiful orchestrations, and oozing with dark charisma. They had the crowd lapping up every single note and ravenously devouring each morsel proffered, from ‘Gateways’ and ‘Dimmu Borgir’ to ‘Puritania’ and ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’, with surprise appearances from ‘Vredesbyrd’ and closer ‘Mourning Palace’. It’s good to see that they have not lost any of the atmosphere brought by ICS Vortex’s clean vocals; in fact, the majestic choral recording created sweeping, epic atmosphere that melted with the brutal nature of the rest of the performance perfectly. A darkly beautiful, flawless set from one of the most professional and well-oiled bands in the industry.

What can I say about Sunday night headliner Alice Cooper? It’s been just over a week since I returned from BOA and I’m still getting over the spectacle of it all. Alice is 64 years old, and he wiped the floor with most of the other people who had been up on that stage before him. He has still got exactly what it is that made everyone fall in love with him back in the seventies, and I hope he never loses it, because he is fantastic. The anticipation started to build from the moment the vast, opaque banner was pulled up in front of the stage, obscuring the set up and preparations underway behind it, and the time it took to get the stage ready to be Coop’d seemed to fly by. The atmosphere in the arena, as Vincent Price boomed out from the speakers, was electrifying with excitement. Everyone was shoulder to shoulder as people squeezed in, trying to get the best view possible of what was to come. And what did come? A performance that showed everyone exactly how it is done. Starting with ‘Black Widow’, the man himself appeared atop a vast, cobwebbed lectern, resplendent in his spider suit, every single audience member dancing on his hands like puppets. A showman to the very end, Alice proceeded to entertain and beguile for an hour and a half that was stuffed with hits, favourites and rare titbits. I can honestly say that Cooper’s set was the best thing I have ever seen. Unlike the normal, pared down festival performances many bands deliver, Alice Cooper put on a full show, complete with guillotine, skewered paparazzo, pyrotechnics, dead dolls and a giant, guitarist chasing Frankenstein’s monster. I don’t think it would be possible for me to choose a favourite track, but the moment Alice donned a white lab coat and red, elbow length gloves during the opening chords of ‘Feed My Frankenstein’, I knew that Bloodstock 2012 had turned into an ‘I was there’ event. I was there to see Alice Cooper conquer, and prove that he is at the absolute pinnacle of rock showmanship. Almost every single band on the line up, from Watain and Dimmu Borgir to Machine Head and Black Dahlia Murder owe something to Cooper. Without Cooper, the rock concert as we know it would not exist. Theatricality and performance in concert would not exist. Without Cooper, the metal world would be a much less colourful place. Catton Hall turned into a cacophony of noise as every person present hoarsely shouted along with ‘Poison’, ‘Hey Stoopid’ and ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’, and whooped with delight as the unmistakable opening riff for ‘School’s Out’ rang out through the arena. Alice finished his set by striding onto the stage, Union Jack in hand, for a fittingly ferocious ‘(I wanna be) Elected’. Alice Cooper was absolutely phenomenal, and I will remember the feeling I got when I was watching him, a man I have looked up to and admired since I was seven years old and first heard ‘Poison’, for the rest of my life.

Bloodstock 2012 was an incredible achievement, crushing records and paying homage to some of the greatest names in modern metal. I’ll see you in 2013.

Hannah O’Flanagan, 2012