Bloodstock 2016 – Main Stage – Saturday

8. Vodun3

It was day three, the breeze was blowing nicely and the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds; it looked like it was going to be another warm day. There were many hairs of the dog going on around us, the full English brekkies were looking as enticing as ever and to the random metal heads met in hotel car parks offering JD Honey to BOA attendees, cheers – I’m sure your Cambion mates will be proud of you for supplying the golden nectar to fellow fans. You gotta love the metal community!

Cambion

It was a true success story for the previous New Blooders to open the Ronnie Dio stage. Cambion brought their dark progressive groove to the masses and the masses were indeed out once again for this very early slot. The time certainly didn’t deter the crowd building and then as you watched around the grounds themselves, you could see the queues for hearty nosh nodding away to the dark groove riffs. Cambion gave the gathering a good solid set with new material being showcased much to the joy of the audience, and they showed that British Heavy Metal is still very much alive and kicking and with an incredible future regardless of what some may say. AE

Kill II This

Combining the elements of all types of metal music, Kill II This transcends genres and can’t be put into a box. They gave a taste of all types of metal in one basket, defying the modern metal scene with their eclectic equation of styles and it worked a treat. Hopefully  they won’t suffer this time around for the variety of musical styles, but going off the bouncing crowd I think they’re safe in the knowledge we’re ready for them. This was a sign of gaining proper recognition and rightly so; the sound was huge and in typical fashion Bloodstock they really made it their own. The bouncing riffs mixed with progressive chords and the aggression of hardcore that were amalgamated into a metalcore unit full of fiery riffs and outstanding samples meant that Kill II This brought the full package of what heavy metal is all about; I mean there were even hints of hip-hop in the beats, this was just outstanding stuff. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Vallenfyre

 Although they played a short but extremely intense set on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, Vallenfyre still did an excellent job of waking the crowd up and setting the tone for the rest of the music for the day. From slow and melancholic tracks like ‘Bereft’ and ‘Splinters’ through to aggressive and speed-driven tracks like ‘Savages Arise’, ‘Instinct Slaughter’ and ‘Desecration’, this was an incredibly eclectic set that showcased a lot of the best music the band has to offer, and it’s a shame that this set couldn’t have been longer so that the crowd could have heard more of it. DS

Photos: Heather Mc

Akercocke

The Dark Blues Metal of Akercoke that we were all looking forward to, the crowd was huge but from start to finish, but it has to be said that they weren’t the best that they’ve been. The sound quality was out of their control but  the body language of the quartet showed little in the way of enthusiasm as if they weren’t bothered and overall it was very disappointing for a band I was really looking forward to seeing live. This was their first show in 5 years which may explain some of the issues they had, so here’s hoping if they stay on the scene this time around the show quality improves. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Rotting Christ

If there was anything about Rotting Christ that hasn’t been seen by the Bloodstock faithful then clearly you’ve missed then in the past; once again they played a really solid set, comprised of some brilliantly epic Extreme Metal. A few choice cuts from ‘Rituals’ had made their way into their set amongst established fan favourites, and it was hard not to be blown away by just how grandiose this set was. It was odd watching a set by a band so dark and mysterious as Rotting Christ in the scorching mid-afternoon sun, but nonetheless, this was one of the highlights of the day, and indeed the weekend for me. DS

Photos: Heather Mc

Fear Factory

Pioneers of Industrial metal, founders of the genre and the giants of the 90’s and noughties, Fear Factory are legends in their own right and with the anniversary of their first major album, Demanufacture, last year it was the perfect opportunity for them to play the album in its entirety – I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years, doesn’t feel like it… this was the stuff of dreams for us fanboys of the Industrial metalists. Burton was on form for quite some part of the set, occasionally sound issues continued with the mic constantly cutting out which was damned frustrating for the massive gathering, but getting to hear ‘Dog Day Sunrise’ and ‘New Breed’ live and of course witnessing Jesus crowd surfing to ‘Pisschrist’ with “where is your saviour now” being hauntingly belted out was simply spectacular. Here’s hoping for a full UK Demanufacture anniversary show in the near future. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Paradise Lost

Gracing the Ronnie Dio Stage again, Paradise Lost showed just how it’s done. Some sound issues continued to plague the stage but in typical fashion the Yorkshire boys used it to their advantage, and luckily for Paradise Lost those gremlins only lasted the first song or two before they were ushered away. The veterans showed their professional slick set and yet still had time to banter with the crowd as well as have a little dig at themselves. The crowd were enormous, channelling the doom style of the old material that mixed so brilliantly with the newer more popular material and it was no surprise that they brought their A game to the festival once again. Their interaction with the crowd was incredible and to end on the high that is ‘Just Say Words’ set the tone for the entire set; it was brilliant and the crowd knew it. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Gojira

Hyped to be the next generation of headliners, Gojira made headline grooves and massive waves as the Ronnie James Dio stage area was packed to the last grass blades waiting to see what they could bring. Well, they certainly brought down the house; in the sunshine their progressive doom metal really brought a smile to the face. The epic groove of their riffs rang out with precision with the crowd absorbing it all with relish. It was dark and brooding and full of all the things you were looking for in metal tracks; they were so energetic, bouncing around the stage like demons on crack. If anyone stood out it was bassist Labadie, spinning around like a man possessed, I was expecting exorcist projectile vomiting at one point- he just didn’t stop moving. This was a great performance and for the first time watching Gojira and only recently having got into them thanks to their incredible latest album, Magma, I was mightily impressed and I can definitely see why they are touted as the next generation of headliners… and I expect it will be sooner than we think; bloody awesome live show. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Mastodon

Well it was that time in the evening for the main event and Mastodon took that slot; this was a major boon for the Atlantian quartet, yet with no new release and the latest album being 2014, it was going to be interesting to see what they would bring. Mastodon’s technicality of the progressive doom was astounding to hear. There had been some controversy over them headlining and it sometimes showed why; they were solid enough but the odd cut outs of sound as well as the stop start aspects of the set started to become a little tiring, and although the cut outs were not their fault it didn’t help their cause. However they used all aspects at their disposal from all three vocals ripping out and when they were in full form they were majestic. They went through their collection of music really well, giving us some really old masterpieces mixed in with some more recent material to whet the appetite and the crowd reacted incredibly well to what was on offer. Whether they were a good choice for the headliner is up for debate as with every headliner that’s ever graced the stage at BOA, but what they did produce was well rounded and full of their usual passion. AE

Photos: Heather Mc

Reviews: Aaron Emerson + Danny Sanderson


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