Sunday: The last day is always set to be good. You want to send the crowd home in a great mood, so you pick a fun/impressive headliner. Last year it was Nightwish, who certainly fit that bill. This year we had Europe, yes the band that wrote The Final Countdown…but there was plenty more available to enjoy.
All photos used were taken by me. To view the photos in full, simply click the title of the blog. I'm no photographic wizard, and all photos were resized using GameSpot. Hopefully, that sould explain any loss of quality.
Beholder: Originally confirmed to play the Sophie Lancaster Stage, Coventry's Beholder were upgraded to open up the mainstage on the Sunday, apparently on the pretence that they would have an album out by that time, and it had nothing to do with the fact one of the Bloodstock team is a member of the band :roll:
Well, with no album out, Beholder took to the mainstage and gave the hungover crowd a decent wake-up call.
Playing a Thrashy style of Heavy Metal they delivered a powerful performance that was sadly ruined by some terrible vocals. Overall I guess they merited the slot, but there was some hiccups. 6/10
Sabaton: Swedish Power Metal is quite common, but it would be wrong to assume Sabaton are just another HammerFall. It would be most very wrong. Sabaton are a really fun band, although they do not always have such fun themes. No, rather they prefer to talk of various battles in World War II, ranging from the invasion of Poland to the fall of Berlin and everything inbetween, I've had the pleasure of seeing them once before, and it was an astounding performance, so I had high hopes for this one.
And Sabaton surpassed all my expectations. Frontman Joakim Broden ran on stage declaring "There's no intro tape today, our setlist is short enough" and then blasted straight into Ghost Division.
So they play Ghost Division, I'm loving it, so are the other folk at the front, but when the song ends the crowd roar was about 10 times louder than I was expecting. :? Not a bad thing, I just wasn't expecting it.
Another surprise came from the stage presence of Sabaton, last year in Glasgow it was great, but presented with a bigger stage Sabaton excelled themselves in that respect, their stage presence, particularly Joakim's is something to behold. Especially as they were second band on.
Again, Sabaton picked an almost perfect setlist for me. Ghost Division, Art of War, 40:1, Primo Victoria and Metal Machine/Metal Crue. Everything I wanted to hear the most, apart from Wolfpack and Panzer Battalion.
All in all, a great setlist, crowd reaction and performance by the band resulted in Sabaton being one of the bands of the festival. The signing queue was proof of their popularity too. 10/10
Girlschool: Some more NWOBHM, this time being played entirely by women. Girlschool are famous for touring with Motorhead and drinking them under the table, and keeping up with Lemmy's way of life.
And it appears to have taken its toll on them 20 years on. Watching them from afar in the signing queue for Sabaton, they looked really unprofessional, even from that distance. Girlschool were constantly fiddling with guitars and cables and all sorts.
The unprofessionalism was furthered with the fact their set was full of in-jokes and personal jokes that they found funny but no one else did. :?
Despite this, the sloppy NWOBHM sounded good to me at the time. In retrospect, they were rubbish. Not impressed, and I doubt I ever will be. 5/10
Equilibrium: "They'll be great" I was told by a friend. Recorded, I didn't like their brand of Folk/Black at all. But, I thought they might be different live, especially as so many people on the Bloodstock forums claimed they'll be excellent.
I left about two songs in to get some more CDs. It was just bland. Tiresome band for me, but the crowd seemed to lap it up in droves. Damn students. 4/10
Anathema: A band that almost inexplicably went from a Death/Doom sound to Student Rock as I call it. You may call it Atmospheric Rock or something, but it seems to me students are the group that Anathema appeals to most, as well as half of Poland.
But the respite from the Metal onslaught was very welcome. A chance to sit down and chill out. Fragile Dreams started Anathema's set and goddamn it, I was happy with them for playing that :) The rest of the set seemed to just melt together in a wonderfully melodic sound. Some particular songs stuck out in my mind, Fragile Dreams obviously, but there was also a momentary cover of Black Sabbath, for about 4 bars or so.
To finish the set, Anathema played a cover of Iron Maiden's Phantom of the Opera, due to their replacement drummer being able to play it. They nailed it.
I thought they were spectacular at the time, just amazing, but in retrospect that was because it was something more tuneful amongst a Metal onslaught. Despite that, they were still enjoyable. 6/10 but that might be a bit harsh.
Turisas: A Metal Hammer favourite, and you hear people talking about them all the time. With only two albums out, Turisas have done incredibly well for themselves, despite being a decent, but not outstanding band in my opinion. All day it was unavoidable to spot people painted in red and black and shouting "BATTLE METAL!" It was obvious that the crowd were desperate to see them
Sure enough, Turisas were a good live band. Attracting a huge crowd painted from head to toe and clutching Viking weapons, they gave the crowd some of the best 40 minutes of the weekend. But under Turisas' good time drinking music, there lies a large degree of irony and self mockery which I never new existed until Bloodstock, when Warlord got people to fight over his shoes.
That earned them a new respect from me, and coupled with some good tunes from the album I own such as To Holmgard and Beyond and…Rasputin :P proved that they were indeed a great live band. Very enjoyable, the perfect band to watch at Bloodstock 7/10
Moonspell: It's a shame for Portugal's highest selling Metal band. They were billed too high in the opinion of many, and they'd been sandwiched in between Turisas and Amon Amarth. That's an almost impossible slot.
They hadn't impressed me on record, and the crowd had severely reduced for Moonspell. But it wasn't just an empty crowd that spoiled them. They had some poor sound, most of which just became an incoherent mess to me at the back. Their drummer was very talented, but that wasn't enough to keep me there very long. Time to go to the Unsigned stage it seems…. 4/10
Nightmare World: A relatively new creation, featuring Pete Morten from Threshold on vocals. The songs on their MySpace had impressed me, and I did have plans to but their EP, but I though I should just get it at Bloodstock instead. Some top quality British Power/Prog stuff
Goddamn, they were awesome! :D Full of energy and emotion, Nightmare World seemed incredibly happy to be playing, which is always good. Superb musicianship, stage presence and energy resulted in a great performance from Nightmare World…but they never brought that EP with them…8/10
Amon Amarth: One of the most popular bands in Metal today, and it's really merited. Amon Amarth are a fantastic band at the top of their game and top of their genre. One of the few Death Metal (but I'm starting to question that) bands I enjoy. This was bound to be good.
And the Guardians of Asgaard didn't disappoint. The chest-beating Metal onslaught struck a chord with the now re-kindled drunken crowd and they erupted in mosh pits, horns throwing and ehh Viking rowing
The setlist was great, it was filled with every AA song you could want to hear, such as Pursuit of Vikings, Runes to my Memory, Guardians of Asgaard, Twilight of the Thunder God, Death in Fire or maybe it was just my favourites? :? Either way, it was difficult to not be impressed by them.
A great performance from a great band. Their upcoming UK tour is bound to be a victorious march. Amon Amarth really highlighted how bad Moonspell were. Poor Moonspell…but well done Amon Amarth 10/10
Eden's Curse: I had hoped to see Satyricon, but I decided that Eden;s Curse would be better to watch. I had the misfortune of seeing them on tour with Stratovarius and Firewind. Poor sound plagued their performance that night, indeed every band was ruined that night by sound. On CD I was much more impressed. In fact, that doesn't begin to describe it. Eden's Curse are amazing, a fantastic guitar player in Thorsten Kohene and a fantastic bass player in Scotsman Paul Logue, a fantastic vocalist in Michael Eden, a fantastic keyboard player who has just been replaced, and a "meh" drummer. Their "Melodic" Metal is some of the best music to have been made this decade.
Whatever was wrong with them that night in Glasgow was reversed totally. Powerfully opening up with Masquerade Ball, Eden's Curse gave an early indication that this was going to be a night to remember. Following that was going to be difficult, but they did it with such amazing songs as Angels and Demons, Just Like Judas and Fly Away.
It was an almost perfect set, just missing Fallen King. It was almost a prefect gig too, as Eden's Curse had brought along session/live guitarist Jay Parmar who added to their sound no end, making their "Melodic" stylings much heavier.
Michael Eden informed us that he'd travelled 4,000 miles to play this gig, and I seriously think the trip was worth it, as he stated himself. The crowd wasn't big, in fact it was about a quarter of the size of the Celesty crowd from yesterday, but it was a dedicated crowd singing along to every word.
A touching statement about Sophie Lancaster was delivered, and this sparked an unexpectedly warm reaction from the crowd with chants of the charity's name and claps being echoed around the tent. I think Sophie would have been proud.
A great performance from a fantastic band, it was a quick rush over to the merch booth (Which was just t-shirts over a Metal barrier) to pick up a tour tee. They'll be back in December apparently, with Arthemis. I'll be at the Catty, front and centre.10/10
Europe: Do do do dooo Dadada doo doo…the familiar keyboard refrain will forever haunt the legacy of Europe. The Swedish Hard Rock legends are really well known for that song, and indeed it's used in adverts and on crappy compilation CDs. But that song is not Metal, so why should Europe headline a Metal festival? That's the question I asked myself, and figured that Bloodstock would not have let them headline above say, Saxon, if they didn't merit it. I was unfamiliar with their back catalogue beyond Final Countdown and Rock the Night, but I found some of the newer material such as Last Look at Eden good yet frustratingly light, it has the potential to be so much more heavier.
And that's what's wrong with all of Europe's back catalogue. Europe play a great UFO-****of hard rock, but it's just not heavy enough.
So viewing them as a Hard Rock band, Europe were excellent but nothing original. Blasting out hits like Girl from Lebanon, Rock the Night and newer stuff like Last Look at Eden the crowd seemed to react to it better than was expected.
But did they merit the headline slot? Yes, in my opinion. I had a brilliant time watching them and their feel-good rock. Joey Tempest did seem to have an air of arrogance around him, but I don't think it was a prominent as some would suggest. The band (well, Joey) had a good stage presence and a really clear sound.
And of course, they played it. They couldn't not play it now could they? ;) Crowd reaction to that song was good, yet a shame for Europe at the same time. People broke into joke mosh pits, and had been shouting for the song all night. It was obvious they only wanted to hear the one song. Admittedly I did laugh at the bloke with a sign that said "About f****** time!" :lol:
In one way I think Europe would have done better not playing that song, it has tarnished their reputation as a credible band, and it discredited their good performance that night. But all that matters is that I enjoyed them, and that I think they deserved the headline slot. 7/10
So I left the festival in a good mood, having been treated to some of the best Hard Rock out there. Next year I will definitely be making a return. So far bands confirmed for next year are Obituary, Ross the Boss, Rage and Andromeda. I consider Rage and Andromeda "favourite" bands, so I'm well there, especially as it will be Andromeda's first ever UK gig.
See you all in 2010 :twisted: