The first full day proper at Bloodstock 2013 is welcomed in with sunshine, a slight hangover and Earthtone9. The resurrected Nottingham rockers look more than chuffed to be opening up the main stage activities. Vocalist Karl shows his appreciation with a “Thanks for checking out these ageing has-beens” before tearing into their nu-metal meets Brit rock catalogue. It’s a good way to ease into the day and the new material sounds spot on.
Over on the Sophie stage, CackBlabbath favourites Absolva are also working the early morning shift. Now down to a three-piece, having lost their second guitarist earlier in the year, they sound as awesome as ever. Chris has a chuckle as he roars “Good morning Bloodstock” and they tear into what already seem like old favourites in the form of ‘Code Red’ and ‘Flames of Justice’. It’s easier to lose half of your guitar attack when you’re as quick on the fretboard as Chris but not to be left out, Martin gets the first drum solo in of the day, even if it is only a mini one.
Death Angel hit the main stage complete with backdrops and lights fitting a headline band. Frontman Mark has dreads that sweep the floor when he headbangs and the whole band look thrilled to be part of the festival; their first open air show in the UK. The crowd react well to some lunch time Bay Area thrash too, especially the lightning quick solos from cuts such as ‘Thrown to the Wolves’.
Bloodbound arrive in the UK for the first time in their long power metal career and judging by the reaction, it’s long overdue. They play a fist pumping and clap-along aplenty set of slightly cheesy power metal. ‘In The Name of Metal’ has the crowd singing along from the first opportunity with no prompting and even when the lead guitar cuts out for a whole song, the atmosphere never lulls. A very successful UK debut for the Swedes and they should be welcomed back anytime.
You don’t have to wait very long at Bloodstock for a corpse painted band to appear. Dark Funeral soon pop up on the main stage to fit that bill just after lunch. Black Metal may lack a little bit of punch on a sunny Friday afternoon but these Swedes do their best to convey the atmosphere of their dark and viscous musical assault.
One of Greece’s most successful exports of late are Firewind. They drag in quite a crowd these days thanks to having one of the hottest properties on the guitar, in the shape of Gus G. Firewind hold their own just fine however and their power metal is top notch despite the persistent sound issues dogging the vocals today. These problems – massive thuds that don’t sit well with hangovers – do allow Firewind a chance to throw in some extended guitar solos. No complaints from down here, but tracks like ‘Losing my Mind’ go down just as well.
Municipal Waste are the sort of band that test your security out for you. The party thrash band are old favourites to the Bloodstock crowd and usually cause some sort of mayhem when they arrive at Catton Hall. Today it’s a world record attempt for most crowd surfers during a song. The song is ‘Beer Pressure’ and the amount of crowd surfers amounts to 428, but during the set there was 673; including the legendary wheelchair surfer! They sprint through some old favourites such as ‘Headbanger Face Rip’ but are keen to show the new stuff is just as good too. ‘You’re Cut Off’ and ‘The Fatal Feast’ slip into the set nicely.
There will be a large percentage of the Bloodstock faithful that won’t own a single King Diamond album. That doesn’t matter though as he is a legendary figure in heavy metal and that alone means people are going to turn up to experience the show. Of course there are plenty of King fans present too; many of them dressed up as the man himself complete with top hats and face paint. The stage is set up for an impressive show, with iron railings across the front of the band and plenty of platforms for King Diamond to strut his stuff on. His supersonic high pitched vocals may not be a usual ingredient for a heavy metal band but the rest of the pieces are pretty much the norm. Well normal as in they are awesome heavy metallers anyway; the classics roll out one after the other. ‘The Candle’ and the black magic inspiring ‘Voodoo’ count as early highlights and just when we think King Diamond has security issues, the fence finally comes down. ‘Eye of the Witch’ closes the main set before he returns for a few more. Last up is ‘Evil’ from Mercyful Fate, a song that most in attendance will know of mainly thanks to Metallica, and then he’s gone.
A cracking day all round, CB would love to slag someone off, but we just haven’t had the opportunity yet!