With two days of torrential rain pelting down upon Derbyshire prior to arrival, I was concerned that this year’s festival was to be more Mudstock than Bloodstock, although upon arrival onsite it was pleasing to note that I couldn’t see any shambling, dripping mudbeasts — at least not until GWAR’s performance on Sunday that is.
An encounter with Mr Jobby McJobsworth on security meant that I missed the lions share of Finnish power metal troupe Sonata Arctica, although my personal disdain for the vast majority of power metal meant that I wasn’t particularly worried, and instead had a browse through the festival site before setting up my position for my most anticipated band of the weekend, futuristic head-manglers MESHUGGAH.
Having been a fan of these Swedish bruisers since 1998’s ‘Chaosphere’ record, it’s almost pathetic that I had up until today only seen them live once, and the large crowd that had gathered at the main stage shared a huge roar to greet their arrival. With the stage almost bare due to the bands insistence on playing through Pods and effects racks rather than stacks of amplifiers, the quintet dropped their heads and ploughed immediately into the car-crash ridiculousness of ‘Rational Gaze’. Guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagstrom wrung their anfractuous riffs from their trademark 8-string guitars, with the extra baritone afforded by them ensured that whilst the sound was crisp and sharp (itself a shock for any festival), it was above all ludicrously fucking heavy.
For those left uninformed by the two-decade plus career of Meshuggah, they combine elements of death metal, industrial, thrash and progressive, although they slot nicely into neither of those categories. Instead, they have continually ploughed their own furrow, with their output immediately recognisable due to the dense, bottom-heavy riffs but mostly due to their wildly inventive polyrhythmic song constructions. Whilst the band are, in their own right, virtuosos on their respective instruments, they neglect the temptation to turn their music into an exercise in penis-measuring and instead aim for the jugular, as exemplified by ‘Bleed’ with the frenetic double-bass assault of Tomas Haake most noticeable.
Vocalist Jens Kidman egged on the crowd to join him in either attempting to fruitlessly headbang in time with the tumultuous rhythms, or instead follow his malfunctioning-robot careening, with most of Thursday night act Hospital of Death attempting the latter to much hilarity in the crowd.
Storming through a set leaning more towards their latter three albums, ‘Nothing’, ‘Catch 33’ and ‘Obzen’(Alas! No ‘New Millenium Cyanide Christ’!), their appearance was nothing short of a success. I remember reading an interview years back with Mr. Bungle’s Trey Spruance, who bigged up Meshuggah by claiming that listening to them was ‘like being in a fight where you don’t know where the next punch is coming from’. That quote has always stayed with me, although the term ‘fight’ seems just a little primitive, as the majority of the crowd staggering out of the moshpit looked more like the lucky survivors of a 30th Century threshing accident.
And so it fell to headliners OPETH to follow them, who were added to the bill in the wake of the utterly tragic loss of Ronnie James Dio and subsequently, Heaven & Hell. Thankfully, Opeth command a devoted fanbase, and it appeared that virtually the whole festival had camped in front of the stage in praise of the band, having recently played a sell-out show at the Royal Albert Hall no less. Mikael Akerfeldt’s mob successfully laid a blanket of atmospheric, dark metal over the ever-dimming evening light with their signature
sound – carefully refined over their twenty-year career with the care of a master craftsman.
With the ever-amiable Akerfeldt a genial host, their career-spanning set showcased their musical output with a number of disparate reference points on display, from sixties prog songs aired tonight clocking well past the ten-minute mark.
‘The Drapery Falls’ is still the quintessential Opeth track, a year zero for the band in terms of coining their identity; it’s dreamy, folk-influenced opening slowly, methodically giving way to a tense, aggressive climax punctuated by aggressive DM vocals and double-bass work whilst the distinctive, ominous motifs and African-influenced rhythms of ‘The Great Conjuration’ show how far the band have come in terms of songwriting, an epic, elegiac study in musical open-mindedness.
Conversely, it’s worth pointing out that not all of the crowd were as enamoured with Opeth’s performance as I, as their lengthy progressive excursions demand a certain degree of attentiveness from the audience, and Bloodstock isn’t really renowned for the studious nature of its audience. That said, an entirely appropriate cover of ‘Catch a Rainbow’ made the crowd come alive in tribute to it’s fallen brother, before ‘Demon of the Fall’ made a welcome appearance to finish proceedings in a more fiery manner.
And so the first day came to a close, and in time-honoured tradition it inspired even more ridiculous amounts of boozing and general arsing-about that even this reviewer awoke with a start in the wee hours of Saturday morning in his tent, having last remembered drinking cider from a box at around midnight. This was a theme that would continue throughout the weekend.
First up on the Saturday were thrashers EVILE making a triumphant return to the festival that broke them, this time armed with two well-received platters of contemporary thrash metal, a Metal Hammer award under their belts, and a slot on the main stage rather than the unsigned bands tent.
With vocalist/guitarist Ol Drake doing his damndest to rouse the few thousand bleary-eyed revellers present at this ungodly hour, the material taken from albums ‘Enter the Grave’ and ‘Infected Nation’ ensured that any nagging headaches from the night before were multiplied tenfold with their irresistible headbangability.
With the outpouring of goodwill generated from the pit almost tangible in light of the passing of original bassist Mike Alexander last year, Evile could have took to the stage and performed a half hour drone experiment and gone down a storm regardless. However, with the likes of the aptly titled ‘Thrasher’ radiating with the youthful, frenetic exuberance of early-period Metallica, it was clear that the audience cared only about the business end of their music, and with thrashin’ as their business, business is clearly looking up.
Following up the vim and spunk of the youngsters, ONSLAUGHT, the old guard of UK thrash metal swiftly followed, and they made an interesting contrast to their more youthful counterparts. Having enjoyed relative success in the early eighties with their renowned 1986 album, ‘The Force’, they split in the early nineties until reforming with their comeback ‘Killing Peace’ album in 2007.
Their set consisted of tracks from both eras, with the earlier material boasting an almost punkish aggression, whilst the newer tracks boasting a more professional sheen, and the news that the band are to decamp to write their second, post-reunion album tentatively titled ‘Sounds of Violence’ was met with widespread enthusiasm. Onslaught will be playing the Birmingham Asylum in October this year, so those into thrash — especially thrash with a particularly Satanic bent — would be advised to add that date to their diaries.
And so to OBITUARY, Florida’s swamp dwelling purveyors of the dirtiest, grooviest Death Metal around, who enjoyed a heroes welcome despite a recent trawl of the UK circuit this past March. Opening with ‘Redneck Stomp’ the low growl of the bands guitars seemed to struggle to cut through the mix, although with John Tardy’s iconic roar lolloping out alongside it, they still made a serious impact upon the crowd, most of whom seemed giddy to headbang along to some of the vilest riffs in DM history.
That said, the mid-afternoon slot afforded them little in the way of atmosphere, and having seen them in the darkened confines of the Academy earlier in the year, the insistent sunlight definitely detracted from the turgid, swampy riffing and video-nasty atmosphere the band create so well when on form. Despite a closing romp through a ‘Cause of Death’ medley and ‘Slowly We Rot’, you couldn’t escape the underlying feeling that this was simply an average performance by an above-average band.
Alas, the technical demons really came out to play before DEVIN TOWNSEND’s set, although the crowd were lucky in a sense given that the eccentric musical alchemist is possibly the one man you’d pray gremlins upon. This was evidenced by his hilarious stage banter — a blend of inspired lunacy, bullshit and extreme obscenity — making the potentially infuriating twiddling of knobs and glancing at speakers less of a chore to sit through as you’d think.
Once matters were resolved, he and his band — The Devin Townsend Project – commenced their abridged set with ‘Addicted!’, from last year’s album of the same name. Coming from a more melodic base than his most popular project Strapping Young Lad, his solo work carries a punchier emotional weight, and is performed with the frontmans signature charisma.
Having decided to jettison any SYL material from his set, he instead concentrated on his solo career, with the closing ‘Life’, from the first Ocean Machine LP (yet another of his myriad projects) going down a storm. Unfamiliarity with Devin’s solo work meant that I didn’t connect quite so much as the converted did. However, it’s certainly comforting to realise that even after all these years, and god knows how many musical projects later we’re still none the wiser as to whether Devin is a bona fide musical genius, or just a stark raving lunatic.
Having pulled out of last years festival due to — depending on who you talk to – the recording of their last album, or due to the legal issues that arose from the lineup changes that took place, FEAR FACTORY were granted a lofty slot on the main stage this year, and it certainly felt as if they had something to prove.
Uniformly clad in black, the latest version of the lineup features ex-Strapping Young Lad/ Zimmers Hole bassist Byron Stroud and Testament / Death / Dark Angel drum monolith Gene Hoglan alongside original duo Burton C.Bell on vocals and Dino Cazares on guitar. It’s certainly a mouthwatering prospect on paper — although it’s difficult not to feel a shred of sympathy for the ousted rhythm section of Christian Olde Wolbers and Ray Herrera.
The early part of their set is taken from their later period, with the likes of newies ‘Mechanize’ and ‘Fear Campaign’ jostling with such mid-period classics as ‘Shock’ and ‘Edgecrusher’. Personally, the highlight of their set was ‘Martyr’, taken from their oft- overlooked debut album, ‘Soul of a New Machine’, with the haunting refrain of “suffer, bastard” sending me on all manner of trips down memory lane on a wave of nostalgia.
It wasn’t to end there either, with Burton announcing about half-way through the set that its remainder would be dedicated to tracks pulled from their 1995 classic ‘Demanufacture’. At the time, the release of this album was met with widespread acclaim, sounding at least a decade ahead of its time, and was partly responsible — along with the likes of Machine Head, Pantera and Sepultura — for aggressive, contemporary metal being allowed to develop, and most importantly survive during the metal-lite years of the mid-nineties.
So with a closing salvo including the likes of ‘Demanufacture’, ‘Self Bias Resistor’ and ‘Zero Signal’, the only area of concern seemed to be the vocal chords of Mr Bell, noticeably straining at points during his much-aped melodic parts. Musically however, the rejuvenated lineup were tight as you like, sounding as if an army of Terminators had taken up the art of metal, their heavily-science-fiction-indebted material as steely as a cyborg and as precise as the three laser targetting dots of the Predator. Closing their set with ‘Replica’, fans of the band were enraptured, although I felt that booking Fear Factory on a different day to Meshuggah and Gojira was a savvy move on behalf of the organisers, as it could have quite possibly been a case of the pupils upstaging the teachers.
A swift return to Bloodstock was made by Birmingham’s favourite DM sons, BENEDICTION, trumping a mid-afternoon appearance in 2007 with a coveted slot headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage. Despite enjoying steady success in Europe over the past decade or so, their profile in the UK remained, shall we say, a little selective, much to the chagrin of both the band and the fans. Over the past few years however, the band have made headway upping their notoriety and fanbase, with well-received slots at the UK’s Deathfest and Damnation festivals leading to the tent being rammed for their performance this evening.
With the set being recorded for an upcoming live album, the main stage sound problems swiftly transported themselves to the second stage, leaving ‘Benny’ with a turgid mess of a sound that not even the hardiest kvlt black metaller could stomach. Thankfully after the first couple of songs the levels reverted to as they should be, and the five-piece soldiered on through a triumphant set, led ably from the front by vocalist Dave Hunt.
With Benediction, you’d be mistaken if you’re looking for flashy guitar pyrotechnics or multiple tempo changes — their sound is an avalanche of straight-ahead punk-infused traditional DM, with the likes of ‘Magnificat’ and ‘Burying the Hatchet’ aiming for nothing more than pure neck damage. Despite bassist Frank ‘Mr Bastard’ Healy’s day-long promise to drink himself into a stupor by the time they took to the stage, the band were solid, tight, and finished the remainder of their set with no further issues with the sound. Or indeed, over- inebriated bassists.
It’s also prudent at this stage to point out that Bloodstock is a haven for the hearty drinkers out there. With the ‘Bloodstock Arms’ serving a myriad of real ales, plus high-percentage cider and perries; there was little danger of being served the watered-down piddle-drippery par for the course at so many higher-profile, corporate-endorsed festivals.
So just to put you in the picture, at this point I’m thunder-pissed, and CHILDREN OF BODOM are playing their headline set. Admittedly, I’ve never been a massive fan of CoB over the years despite their impressive and dedicated fanbase, so with the exception of ‘Needled 24-7’ and ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’, the majority of their set washed over me, failing to force a change in my outlook towards them. Their hyper-melodic blend of power metal, death and thrash was lapped up by the adoring faithful, with frontman Alexi Laiho pulling off all manner of guitar hero fretboard gymnastics with aplomb, but the super-tight, polished sheen of the material seemed to detract from any soul the music may have contained.
I’m happy that their fans seemed to love the set, and in all honesty I’m not the best man to review this particular band, so I left the arena early in this case to further punish my body in the confines of the campsite before passing out, albeit with the cheers of thousands of CoB fans rolling over the hills and into my ears, almost mocking me for my lack of faith.
With a throbbing Sunday-morning head and queasy stomach, I made my way to the main stage where Bloodstock had magnanimously provided us with the ultimate hangover cure, namely a half-hour dose of SUFFOCATION. 11am may not have been the ideal slot on paper for these NYDM legends, but they roused a surprisingly large number of woozy punters and proceeded to stake their claim for band of the day, even at such an ungodly hour.
With precious little time afforded them, the band set about their set with the bloody-minded precision of a carpet-bombing, with super-amiable frontman Frank Mullen leading the charge with charm and self-deprecating wit. Over the course of their allotted six songs, the band proved exactly why they are revered to such an extent with their complex yet brawny DM setting the guidelines that inspired copyists over the course of two different generations.
Numbers from 1995’s ‘Pierced From Within’ jostled against a couple from latest album ‘Blood Oath’, with their discordant tremolo-picking and deathcore-influencing breakdowns a reminder of their constant pushing of the envelope within the DM sphere — certainly no reinventing of wheels going on, but their commitment to the pursuit of unwavering and constant punishing heaviness is to be applauded.
Finishing with ‘Infecting the Crypts’ from their 1991 debut ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’, Suffocation played a blinder today, but you couldn’t escape the persistent thought that the band were deserving of a jump of at least three or four places higher on this bill, a position befitting of such a legendary band.
Insipid thrashers HOLY MOSES were up next and were notable for inspiring the only bowel movement of the weekend and little else, with their female-fronted thrash failing to win over the majority of the crowd, most of whom had left for acts elsewhere after Suffocation.
Blonde-haired frontwoman? Hailing from Germany? It could be argued that Holy Moses worked best as a dress rehearsal for the real deal, none other than DORO PESCH, who managed to inspire a few more punters to fill up the area in front of the main stage.
Despite having operated as a solo artist for a number of years, her set focussed mostly on classics from her Warlock days, with ‘Burning the Witches’ and ‘Metal Racer’ raising cheers of recognition from those familiar with her work over the years. For those not in the know, she managed to win the majority over with her infectious stage presence and jubilant enthusiasm. More friends were made with a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Breaking the Law’, with Holy Moses’ Sabina sharing vocals with Ms. Pesch.
Closing with ‘All We Are’, which again was from her Warlock days but was especially notable given that it managed to lodge itself in my consciousness like that ear-worm thing out of Star Trek II, and has had trouble dislodging itself ever since. For such exemplary work in the field of sheer catchiness, there’s no danger of a bad review here, even considering my low pain threshold for trad/power metal.
On the heels of Sonata Arctica and Children of Bodom, the weekend-long Finnish invasion continued with professional piss-artists KORPIKLAANI. Peddling a Folk Metal sound with authentic traditional instrumentation (violin, accordion etc) they were definitely one of the more unique bands on this bill — no mean feat considering the competition includes semen-drenched space aliens — and attracted a sizable crowd, many of whom were in the correct state of mind (i.e blind wankered) with which to appreciate Korpiklaani’s material.
With 90% of their tracks concerning booze, boozing, or being under the influence of booze, the six-piece would need an epic fail of galactic proportions not to get the party started today, but as soon as the crowd start jigging like complete loons, such concerns prove to be wholly unjustified.
With the stage decorated with antlers and animal bones, it’s as if the band are inviting the crowd to join them in some traditional tavern from the homeland, and anthems such as ‘Vodka’, ‘Beer Beer’ and ‘Happy Little Boozer (I told you there was a theme) inspire the crowd to drink and be merry, and then some.
A little too quaint and way too jaunty for me on record, it’s blatantly obvious from this performance that Korpiklaani at a festival is surely the optimum place to see them, as confirmed by the grown men drowning their sorrows and weeping into their tankards once these boozehounds had fin(n)ished.
Now we all know it’s almost a festival tradition to end up head to toe in mud, vomit, and other assorted bodily fluids before the weekend is over. But how many have come back from a festival covered in Adolf Hitler’s green semen? Judging from the dazed throng shuffling out from the pit at the conclusion of GWARs set, that number has jumped up exponentially after this weekend.
Having dropped out of last years festival, thankfully Oderus Urungus and his Scumdogs of the Universe made it across the galaxy to assault our senses of decency and good taste in an orgiastic explosion of murder, sodomy, ropey thrash metal and day-glo bodily secretions.
This was my first time witnessing GWAR and it’s not something I’m ever likely to forget.
Musically, the band are a ragtag mix of thrash metal and hardcore, but their tunes have always remained in the background to their gaudy live show, a mixture of pro-wrestling and a Peter Jackson-directed bukkake flick. Within the first few minutes, a poor sap had been decapitated, sending relentless, arcing jets of blood into the crowd before Hitler makes an appearance during ‘Ham on the Bone’, ostensibly to commence wanking into the crowd. His unnatural spraying of the audience in torrents of luminous green jitler made a mockery of his mono- testicular status.
And it didn’t stop. A traffic cop gets attacked, chopped up and spit-roasted; stage-mounted cannons firing fountains of viscera, hell, there’s even a Nazi Pope. And by the time Oderus gets his chopper out (no, not his axe) — affectionately dubbed the Cuttlefish of Cthulu —to drench the front rows during closer ‘Sick of You’, everyone is either too drenched or doubled up in hysterics to care.
I’m sure some humourless sod out there would bemoan the somewhat lacking musical basis of the band, but honestly, with a live show as fun as this, who really cares? By way of sheer invention in the name of bad taste, this performance was memorable and a real winner. It made me crack a wistful smile too, thinking that somewhere out there, Beavis and Butthead were being sent apoplectic with glee.
After the stage was cleared of all remaining detritus, matters shifted from one extreme to the other, with the arrival of French eco-warriors GOJIRA. Having seemingly nestled themselves in the consciousness of metallers across the world simply through old-fashioned word-of-mouth on the back of two phenomenal long-players, it meant that the crowd were in the palm of Gojira’s collective mitt before a note had even been played.
The four-piece commence their all-too-brief performance with ‘Oroborus’, taken from latest LP ‘The Way of All Flesh’. Its main riff is grounded by proggy hammer-ons as cyclical as its serpentine namesake, with a contradictory undercurrent of both teeth-grinding tension and free-spirited, cosmic infinity. In full flight, the band are a joy to behold, with technical prowess tethered to intelligent, dynamic songwriting, all played with a confident, yet exuberant air.
Gojira take elements from the likes of Morbid Angel, Meshuggah and Strapping Young Lad, and use these bases as a springboard with which to launch their ecologically-aware compositions into the stratosphere. The likes of ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe’ and the startling ‘Backbone’ both succeed in drawing you in with their immediate, sickening riffs — and in the case of the latter, it’s unfuckwithable staccato grooves — before crafting soundscapes around you as you listen, with insidious melodies creeping into your psyche. You could argue that stage presence could be lacking in places, with vocalist Joe Duplaintier lashed to his mic stand, although bassist Jean-Michel Labadie does his damndest to make up for it with a real champs performance, at times trying to fold himself vertically in two with the velocity of his headbanging.
Their set succeeded in rewarding fans with an almost flawless setlist (although the omission of ‘From the Sky’ gave me the grumps for all of a minute), as well as being impressive enough to win over those not familiar with their output. Easily one of the triumphs of the day and in the face of such elemental power, Bloodstock is Gojira’s Tokyo for half an hour.
Gojira’s performance brings an end to contemporary DM for the festival, and Sweden’s BLOODBATH arrive hot on their heels, with an arsenal of old-school death metal that celebrates it’s rough-hewn, unwashed appeal. Hoary of riff and hairy of arse, this is DM from a time before such oddities as technical abilities and complex structures were introduced to the genre, and the fact it’s played by somewhat of a supergroup is not lost on the appreciative audience.
With bassist Jonas Renkse and guitarist Anders Nystrom also of Katatonia fame, the biggest cheers are reserved for frontman Mikael Akerfeldt, performing for the second time this weekend having fronted Opeth way back on Friday night. Leaving behind his sensible slacks and Comus shirt for a change and instead clad in crusty leathers and Aviator shades, he transformed himself into a hardy death metal warrior for the day. The rest of the band also appeared to be sporting a few wounds and blood spatters, although whether this is theatrics or sharing a dressing room with GWAR is open for discussion.
Drawing from tracks from throughout their back catalogue, the band played with a frenetic energy, yet remained good-humoured throughout, for example when Nystrom taking the opportunity to throw a few 12”s into the crowd, noted vinyl enthusiast Akerfeldt responded with mock horror at the treatment of his beloved format. With the likes of ‘Breeding Death’, ‘Mock the Cross’ and ‘Like Fire’ revelling in their unashamed Entombed worship and Grave-isms, it was ‘Eaten’ that closed the set to much acclaim, and ensured that old school was still to be feared.
The old-school DM one-two punch was completed by the arrival of the legendary CANNIBAL CORPSE. The worlds biggest selling DM act ever, the ‘Corpse could easily have headlined this festival and noone would have batted an eyelid, such is the enthusiasm and unadulterated joy that welcomed them onto the main stage. With the exception of a huge CC banner, there was little in the way of stage decoration or other additional distractions, instead the five New Yorkers took to the stage, planted their feet into optimum banging positions, and blasted straight into ‘Scalding Hail’, from most recent offering ‘Evisceration Plague’.
The set contained cuts from throughout their twenty-year history, played with dizzying speed
and jaw-dropping technicality, with Alex Webster in particular cementing his place at the
forefront of DM bassists. The non-stop output of putrid, high-speed violence generated the
most intense crowd reaction of the weekend with multiple moshpits breaking out sporadically
throughout the crowd. Vocalist George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher conducted the mayhem
from centre-stage, frantically windmilling throughout, blatantly exhibiting the origins of his
ridiculously thick neck.
A giant inflatable penis bouncing around inside the pit gave a nice visual accompaniment to ‘I Cum Blood’ (although a guest appearance from Oderus Urungus at this point was arguably the festivals one great missed opportunity), and the multiple pits were forced to coalesce into one at the behest of Mr Corpsegrinder for the closing stretch of ‘Devoured By Vermin’ and the timeless ‘Hammer Smashed Face’. At this point, the crowd were beaten down, tired and spent after an hour in the company of conceivably DMs most identifiable band before Fisher evoked the spirit of John Matrix to state “when I told you that was the last song…I lied”. ‘Stripped, Raped and Strangled’ from their classic ‘The Bleeding’ opus terminates proceedings with their signature dual harmonised hammer-ons and modus operandi of “All I know is I love to kill”, and kill, they most certainly did.
With the night falling over Bloodstock, there was still time to catch much-hyped UKBM act WINTERFYLLETH, headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage in the absence of October File, and the darkening skies added to the atmospheric black metal pouring forth from within the marquee. Having served time in the underbelly of the UK scene in various bands over the years, the Manchester four-piece have honed their collective skills to spawn Winterfylleth.
With moody lighting and stage backdrops providing an unexpected level of visual flair, their relentless BM onslaught was wholly impressive, with the likes of Drudkh and Burzum especially being brought to mind. Their latest album ‘The Mercian Sphere’ has been lauded from all corners of the extreme metal spectrum, and their performance suggested they could yet be big players in their field, should they successfully be able to avoid or deflect the controversy that has followed them since pretty much their inception.
Work commitments in the morning meant that I didn’t catch the remainder of Winterfylleth, instead I had a few songs worth of TWISTED SISTER to catch before the tent was to be dismantled and trains were to be caught. With an attentive, full field of completely knackered revellers to entertain, these vanguards of good-time heavy metal / hard rock were in their element, and pulled out a performance that surprised a lot of people.
With the hard-partying spirit of tracks like ‘The Kids are Back’ and ‘You Can’t Stop Rock n’Roll’ coupled with the darker likes of ‘Captain Howdy’ — taken from Dee Snider’s ‘Strangeland’ movie — the set was enjoyable enough for even those without any background knowledge of the band. Forgetting the fact that Snyder now resembles Sarah Jessica Parker mixed with a testicle, the energy and enthusiasm extorted by the band was surprising given their advanced years on the circuit.
The second half of the set was experienced whilst trying to take my tent down in the pitch black campsite, but even blasting over the field, the unmistakable drum tattoo of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ heralded cheers that could probably be heard over the Atlantic, never mind the campsite. The closing stretch of the set, including ‘I Wanna Rock’ and another Rainbow cover — this time ‘Long Live Rock n’ Roll’ – summed up this years instalment perfectly; a three-day binge of partying and heavy metal, albeit touched by an unwavering sense of sadness at the loss of Ronnie James Dio, whose presence was felt throughout the weekend. RIP.
Review – Duncan Wilkins
Photos – Katja Ogrin