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BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2008
www.bloodstock.uk.com
SATURDAY PART 2 BELOW
DATE:
VENUE:
Friday 15th August - Sunday 17th August 2008
Catton Hall in Derbyshire, UK
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
DIMMU BORGIR; ICED EARTH; SOILWORK; NAPALM DEATH; MOONSORROW; COMMUNIC; SWALLOW THE SUN; ELUVEITIE; RISE TO REMAIN; CLOUDSCAPE
SUNDAY
NIGHTWISH; AT THE GATES; OVERKILL; AS I LAY DYING; KATAKLYSM; MOB RULES; GRAND MAGUS; ALESTORM; CROWNING GLORY; HEAVEN'S BASEMENT
OPETH; HELLOWEEN; SOULFLY; PRIMAL FEAR; DESTRUCTION; AKERCOCKE; TYR; PRAYING MANTIS; EVILE; SAINT DEAMON
CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY PART 1
CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY PART 2
SATURDAY PART 2 REVIEW ABOVE - CLICK HERE FOR PART 1
(FOLLOW LINKS AT TOP OF THIS PAGE FOR OTHER DAYS)
CLICK HERE FOR SATURDAY PART 1
CLICK HERE FOR SATURDAY PART 2
CLICK HERE FOR SUNDAY PART 1
CLICK HERE FOR SUNDAY PART 2
MOONSORROW
www.moonsorrow.com
Completing a trio of Paganfest bands on this year's Bloodstock bill (along with Tr who played Friday and Eluveitie earlier today), Moonsorrow are next on the main stage. Having been a fan for a few years now, and blown away by their live show at the Koko in London in April, I am therefore disappointed to be still waiting in the VIP/hospitality area to interview Napalm Death (who are running late with their press commitments) when I hear the Finnish progressive black/folk metallers commence playing. In fact, I unfortunately end up waiting back stage for the majority of Moonsorrow's set, and only complete my Napalm interview in time to catch their final song - the closing ten or so minutes of 'Tulimyrsky', title track from the new EP (I understand they also started their set with the first half of the song). What I'm able to witness of Moonsorrow is nothing short of spectacular, and judging by audience reactions when they finish playing, I have missed something special. Further, by missing the start of Moonsorrow, I also miss out on the allotted time for photographers in the photopit (I run immediately into the photopit upon finishing my Napalm interview, although security won't waiver the shooting time in my favour). A huge cheers to my good friend Graham Hilling of The Concrete Shell (www.the-concrete-shell.com) for the use of his Moonsorrow photos on here.
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
SATURDAY 16th AUGUST - PART 2
NAPALM DEATH
www.napalmdeath.org
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SOILWORK
www.soilwork.org
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ICED EARTH
www.icedearth.com
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DIMMU BORGIR
www.dimmu-borgir.com
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Penultimate band of Bloodstock's second day are American prog/thrash/power metallers Iced Earth. Appearing on stage just after 8:20pm, more or less at their scheduled time, they commence an hour long set with two tracks from 1996 release 'The Dark Saga' - the album's mid-tempo title track followed by the faster paced 'Vengeance Is Mine' - before proceeding to play a feast of material from their 17 year back catalogue. With incessant lineup changes over the years, only founding member, Jon Schaffer, remains from the band's original formation and, tonight, he is blessed with the best guitar sound of the festival so far through the PA with richly resonant chords and palm muted riffing cutting through the night air with incisive bite, and a lead sound that oozes tonally warm sonance. Vocalist Matt Barlow, with the band for a nine year stint before leaving in 2003, rejoined last year and is clearly relishing his reprised role of fronting Iced Earth, delivering a magnificent vocal performance while simultaneously effective in engendering significant movement from the Bloodstock crowd. I've never been hugely into Iced Earth over the years although, after tonight's impressive display of thrash inspired prog-power, I'll most certainly be making more of an effort to check out the American metallers. And, as a bonus during their set, the rain eventually stops!
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When I saw Napalm Death at the end of May this year headlining the first day of Holland's Neurotic Deathfest in Tilburg, it was the first time in nearly 10 years (the previous occasion being a support slot for Cradle of Filth back in 1998), and I was pleasantly surprised by how good and efficaciously heavy they still are after all these years. Transgressing beyond their very early punk roots into grindcore territory, a scene they helped engender with debut album 'Scum' in 1987 and sophomore release 'From Enslavement to Obliteration' a year later, then their death/grindcore output during most of the 90s, before settling into a groove infused deathgrind sound on their latter day releases, Napalm Death are legendary and continue to be a hugely influential band. It is, therefore, pleasing to see that they can still cut it live, and today is no exception, storming on stage like they have everything to prove with one of the most dynamic performances of the day. Frontman Mark 'Barney' Greenway runs around, grunting and growling in his inimitable style, shaking his head as if thrown into a seizure, and simultaneously resembling a man who has forgotten to use the toilet before coming on stage and fending off an invisible enemy! Shane Embury, still with his trademark frizzy hair (the Brian May of extreme metal?!), pounds away at his bass with serious intent - the expression on his face is one of integrity; of a man who regards his music as important today as when he first joined the band in 1987. Mitch Harris is also on fine form with his tonally disparate backing growls complimenting Greenway's effectively such as on 'When All Is Said And Done', and is fortunately free from technical glitches with his guitar at Bloodstock unlike the Deathfest in May. And then there's the skilful drumming of Danny Herrera, never more impressive this afternoon than on 'Continuing War on Stupidity', nailing its fairly complex patterns perfectly. Playing a 40 minute set incorporating material from their vast back catalogue, it's still great to hear the likes of 'You Suffer', a succinct composition if ever there was one at not much longer than a second for which I believe they still hold the record for the world's shortest song! Napalm Death are the epitome of extreme music, and with a new album currently being recorded and due for release soon, look set to continue for many years to come, for they have lost none of their passion for performing live.
As Soilwork take to the stage around 6:45pm, darkened skies pervade over Catton Hall and the rain finally arrives. However, no-one allows this to dampen their enjoyment of the Swedes' prog-edged take on melodic death metal as, a short way into their set, huge circle pits erupt in the crowd. With three quarters of tracks aired today lifted from the previous two albums, 2007's 'Sworn To A Great Divide' and 2005's 'Stabbing The Drama', there are also a few nods towards earlier material in the form of 'Bastard Chain' from 2001 release 'A Predator's Portrait'; 'As We Speak' from 2002's 'Natural Born Chaos'; and two songs from 'Figure Number Five' (2003). With a fully resonant sound through the PA, perhaps the best of the day so far, guitars, keyboards, bass, drums, and vocals are mixed into a coherently intense sound as tracks such as the mid-tempo 'Exile' and the cacophonically heavy 'The Pittsburgh Syndrome' are delivered with forceful gusto. Frontman Bjrn 'Speed' Strid (Soilwork's only surviving member from their former guise as Inferior Breed back in 1995 before changing their name in 1996), impresses with his varied styles of vocals, alternating between the growled and melodically clean parts with evident ease, and does a fine job at pumping up the crowd into mass movement. Exiting the stage to huge cheers and applause, it is only a relatively short while before Soilwork come back to these shores for 10 UK dates in November and, after today's powerful metal assault on Bloodstock's audience, I'm sure many will be eagerly anticipating their return.
A UK 2008 exclusive for Bloodstock, Norwegian black metal stalwarts Dimmu Borgir close the second day of the festival in what is their only live show in this country during the year. Last over in the UK for a few dates late September/early October 2007 with Amon Amarth and Engel in tow, people turned out en masse to witness the undisputed lords, and originators, of darkly melodic, grandiosely orchestral black metal in action, and with the largest crowd of the day gathered in front of the main stage, it appears their loyal fanbase are hungry for more. I managed to catch their show at Nottingham Rock City last year, although the early part of their performance was slightly marred, and interrupted, by unexpected sound problems, resulting the entire band storming off stage at one point in frustrated rage! (check out the review elsewhere on this site). Fortunately, Dimmu suffer no such glitches this evening, and are on devastatingly intense form with a varied setlist incorporating both older 'classics' and new material from last year's impressive 'In Sorte Diaboli'. With an efficacious use of pyros to accompany their epically orchestrated compositions at key moments, the overall effect is quite breathtaking. Billowing flames and propellant fireworks abound as concomitant loud bangs accentuate the vehemence of the Norwegians' black metal discharge as they perform in front of animated images and video footage on a wide projected backdrop. From surprise opener 'Spellbound (by the devil)' to the likes of 'The Maelstrom Mephisto', 'The Insight & The Catharsis', 'In Death's Embrace' and newer tracks such as 'The Serpentine Offering' and 'The Sinister Awakening', Dimmu's style of music is apposite for the big, open air stage as they deliver a flawless, convincing show to thousands of Bloodstock punters lapping up the commanding sonic assault and spectacle on offer. I have never seen frontman Shagrath so animated and dynamic in his performance as tonight while I remain perpetually impressed by bassist ICS Vortex's powerfully captivating clean vocals. After encore tracks 'Progenies of the Great Apocalypse' and 'Mourning Palace', Dimmu have only been playing for not much longer than an hour, and their set falls rather short of the published one and a half hour headline slot, although with such a phenomenally good performance, I guess no-one is feeling short changed as they exit the stage. Dimmu Borgir are Bloodstock's first black metal headliners in the festival's eight year history, and never has a band proved themselves more worthy of headline status as much as the Norwegians do tonight. Absolutely stunning.
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Reviews & Photography by Mark Holmes
Moonsorrow photos by Graham Hilling -
www.the-concrete-shell.com