Home > News & Reviews > Bloodstock

Bloodstock Festival - Catton Hall, Derby - August 9-11 2013 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 Written by Jon Stickler

Arriving at Bloodstock for the second time, it's again easy to see why the festival is the highlight of the summer for many metalheads. Based in the Derbyshire countryside, the 10,000-capacity event is better organised than many of the larger festivals on the UK calendar.

Unlike other major rock and metal festivals, Bloodstock focuses more on the underground scenes. Over three full days, bands that you will never see at the likes of Download and Sonisphere are able to unleash hell at a festival that is organised by metal fans, for metal fans. 

Absolva kick off the weekend with a full assault of great British heavy metal. Although performing to a surprisingly sparse Sophie tent, the band deliver their set at full force, blasting the hangover from those alive enough to venture from camp. A tip of the hat also to '80s thrashers Dark Angel on the main stage, who still sounded extremely fast and extremely heavy. Next up, Canada's Ex Deo became the highlight of the morning. The first of many PA let-downs only slightly tarnishes their ground-shaking, sprawling tales of the Roman Empire.

Other bands to suffer at the hands of the PA included Dark Funeral, who followed Ex Deo on the Ronnie James Dio stage. Playing their black hearts out, they brought out the first taste of corpse paint and bawled through The Arrival of Satan’s Empire, Open the Gates, Stigmata The Fire Eternal and My Funeral among others.

Gus G, on the road with Firewind now Ozzy is wrapped-up with the reformed Sabbath, shouted out "How the fuck are you Bloodstock?" before the ascending vocals of Set The World On Fire and Till the End of Time soared across the main stage. Again, the PA system throws a spanner in the works but in general it's a masterclass of melodic heavy metal.

What can said about Municipal Waste that hasn’t been said before? They throw down everything you expect from a rowdy thrash band, sending the hardcore masses wild. Thrashing through select cuts including Drunk As Shit and The Inebriator, as well as a taster of their imminent new record 'Massive Aggressive', Waste's high-speed set sends countless numbers of fans over the top, including a dude in a wheelchair, for an insane crowd surfing session. Panic stations for the stage security team.

Over at the Sophie tent, once one of the leading lights of the British thrash movement, Xentrix shred through a solid set of material and the sound for the enclosed stage is so much better. After a 20 year break, Xentrix are back and sounding better than ever following support shows with Kreator and Evile earlier this year. With new material on the way, we have a lot to look forward to.

Main stage sub-headliners Accept put on a familiar polished performance. The denim, the leather, the studs are all present. Riffing through a set of classic Accept anthems, including Metal Heart and Balls To The Wall, the German crew are the perfect band to wind-up the Friday night party atmosphere.

After a vast black curtain is lifted from the stage, King Diamond, complete with the familiar top hat, tails and corpse paint, howls out top-range vocals across an unusually sparse crowd for a headline act. The gothic church stage set is pretty impressive but the steel bars between the band and the crowd gives an indication of how he feels about the audience. Whether it's his vocal style or the bars, it just doesn’t seem to work with the majority of the crowd. While the King Diamond fanatics continue to lap up the performance, a dwindling crowd gives the main stage arena an unusual feel to it – this place should be buzzing with energy right now.

The sun welcomes in Saturday at Bloodstock and also Beholder, who rev up the main stage mosh machine, demanding that “Everybody put your middle fingers in the air, even you – pit crew, get ‘em up!”. They shred through a rumbling set of politically-influenced tracks, but unfortunately for 3 Inches Of Blood, the PA decides to throw its toys again and slightly hinders their Judas Priest-esque heavy metal. Following that, Hell are awesome with their late morning slot. The NWOBH legends once again used their theatrical experience to take their show to a new level. Satanic frontman David Bower emerges on stilts as a giant faun/beast and blast after blast of pyro sees him ask us, “Can anyone smell burning? That’s your souls that is!”

French metal titans Gojira are then colossal during their early evening return to Bloodstock. A band that can do no wrong right now, their chest-pounding anthems still reign high above their contemporaries on the bill, despite a lot of their gear and stage equipment being held at customs on their journey over to the festival. We even get a guest appearance from Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe.

Sabaton's war music brings out melodic riffs, crowd participation and ultimately a memorable set, while German power metallers Avantasia follow with an unusual performance that's somewhat alienating. The supergroup, led by Tobias Sammet, sound incredible and open their set to a decent crowd, but the change in momentum sees the masses dwindle to discuss why Gojira weren’t billed for this slot, instead of earlier.

Following the main stage announcement that Emperor will headline Bloodstock 2014, its the turn of this year's Saturday headliners Lamb of God to raise the horns, arriving on stage to the call of “Get your hands in the air motherfuckers!” Everything starts well enough, but their set is riddled by problems with the crowd barrier at the front of the stage and frustratingly the band are forced to stop on a few occasions. Blythe wisely reminds the crowd of his recent court case: “This is our first tour since we had some legal problems last year. If someone falls down tonight, pick 'em up, okay? We have to take a break, everybody take three steps back. We can’t play unless they fix this barricade." A strong message to the bods behind Bloodstock. Something to sort out for 2014.

It's understandable that the stoppages hinder Lamb Of God's momentum - especially after the last 12 months - and things don’t quite get up to the usual roaring standard that we come to expect from the Virginia band. The set is too quiet, the guitars are lost and Randy's voice overpowers everything. Disappointingly, it's not quite the iconic moment that we were all expecting.

Blinking into the sunny spells of Sunday morning, wheels are a bit slow to get in motion. As with all festivals, Sunday does require a bit of effort to see through and British outfit Sacred Mother Tongue do their best to entertain a crowd that are either half asleep or half cut. The four-piece display some blistering guitar work through tracks from one of the best metal albums of the year so far, 'Out Of The Darkness.'

If any man can snap us out of that mid-afternoon nap, its Chris Jericho and his band Fozzy. Hauling bags of energy, Jericho bursts onto the stage to unleash live favourites She’s My Addiction and God Pounds His Nails. For the next hour Jericho bounds across the boards, including a climb halfway up one of the stage's supporting pillars. The added bonus of a guest spot from Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell, as well as fire-breathing ladies, all makes for a thoroughly entertaining show.

Having helped define a genre, it comes as no surprised that Bloodstockers are primed and ready for the arrival of Bay Area thrashers Exodus. A huge crowd meet the legends as they arrive on stage and proceed to smash out the likes of Lesson In Violence and Bonded By Blood, the latter dedicated to Paul Baloff and Jeff Hanneman. Arguably one of the highlights of the weekend.

As we draw ever-closer to headliners Slayer, sorry 'SLAAAAAAYYYERRRR', who else is better to warm up the cabs than fellow Big Four outfit Anthrax. As with all 'thrax gigs, the band proceed with their familiar approach of just belting out no-frills thrash. Most of the live staples are there, Caught In A Mosh, N.F.L, Got The Time, Indians and Antisocial, as well as a heartfelt tribute to both Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag. Dredd even made an appearance for I Am The Law too.

The main stage headliners need no introduction. This is what Bloodstock 2013 comes down to. Slayer. While the excitement builds ahead of the show, fans ready themselves for the band's first major UK slot since the sad death of Jeff Hanneman in May. There is definitely an air of sadness.

The thrash icons arrive on stage and launch straight into things. No messing about, which is basically the format for the entire set. World Painted Blood kicks off the assault and the sound is frustratingly quiet again to begin with. It's not until the third track in, War Ensemble, that Slayer really get their hands around the throat of the gig.

As Slayer have always been, the performance is all about the music. There is little, if any production and the band rarely stop to address the crowd. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise though, and nobody expects an outpouring of feelings from Slayer even after the recent tragedy associated with the band. Even the lack of on-stage connection between Tom Araya and Kerry King seems a bit off. They just get on with the show, no fuss, no hassle.

Mandatory Suicide, Jesus Saves, Postmortem, Snuff, Hate Worldwide and Seasons in the Abyss induce feral roars from the huge crowd, while Hell Awaits, Dead Skin Mask and Raining Bloodset up the encore. Despite the lack of emotion from the band, ending with South Of Heaven and Angel Of Death is the best Hanneman tribute you can ask for. An abrupt ending has a lot of fans scratching their heads but isn’t that what Slayer are and have always been about, straight-up thrash metal and nothing more? It's what they've been doing for the last 30 years.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

Tue 29 Nov 2022
Meshuggah And Helloween Join Bloodstock 2023 Line-Up
Tue 05 Jul 2022
Bloodstock Reveal More Metal 2 The Masses Winners For Line-Up
< Prev   Next >