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Bloodstock 2012 - Saturday | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bloodstock 2012 - Saturday



As with the friday review, apologies to any bands I missed or cover here with a one-line review - seeing so many bands means that to do them all justice would lead to this review being ridiculously long.

Saturday at Bloodstock got off to an early start with Apollyon on the New Blood stage. Some great heavy guitar work helped the coffee to wake me up, but all too soon it was over to the Sophie Lancaster stage for one of the bands I'd been looking foward to seeing - Splintered Soul. They played the New Blood stage back in 2010 but since then have undergone lineup changes, including a new vocalist. Well they were definitely worth the wait - a really good performance. The addition of a violin to the guitars makes a huge difference to how a band sounds and with Splintered Soul it works amazingly well in a live setting. The band all put in a great performance, and singer Erica Mengold, showed what a great voice she has. A thoroughly impressive band and after seeing them at Bloodstock I've already ordered their forthcoming album (Lore).
Next it was time for something quite a bit heavier - Savage Messiah, who put in a good performance, but sadly I didnt get to stay for long before I had to dash to the main stage for I am I.
I am I is the new band formed by ZP Theart - the former singer of Dragonforce. If you're expecting 400 mile per hour guitar playing then you're out of luck - instead you get great music that in my opinion blows Dragonforce away. The slower pace allows more attention to be paid to things like a tune, and also allows ZP's vocals a chance to really shine, and mot importantly the songs don't all sound the same. ZP Theart is a superb frontman who really knows how to work a crowd, and during his set he quickly decided that the front row of fans was too far from the stage so he jumped down into the photo pit (and that's probably an 8 foot drop) and came over to the fans - the only singer of the weekend to get up close with the fans at the main stage. A great performance.
Next on the Sophie Lancaster stage was Dripback. Hardcore isnt usually a genre I'm a big fan of (although I do enjoy some bands in the genre), but Dripback are damn good, and are one of the best live bands around in terms of their performance. I can't think of many bands who put so much energy into their performance - they are all constantly leaping around, running around the stage and generally being hyperactive (I suspect someone force feeds them red bull before they go on stage until they are hyper enough). A great performance as always.
Back at the main stage are Taiwanese black metal band Chthonic (pronounced Thonic). They're a great live band that I've seen a couple of times in the last year or two when they've toured with Arch Enemy. Their use of a traditional Taiwanese violin helps give their music a unique sound. Bassist Doris may look like a model but she is far more than a pretty face - she certainly knows how to rock. Freddie on the vocals puts in a great performance too (as do the whole band). Today they have a stand-in drummer as their drummer is currently unavailable, but you wouldnt know it from listening to them play. Another great performance from Chthonic.

From Ruin on the Jaegermeister stage were next and put in a great set. Anita has a great voice and the acoustic set really allows her voice a chance to shine. A band I made a mental note to watch the next day for their main set, on the New Blood stage.

Over on the main stage, Crowbar were next up. A band with an impressive lineup including members of Down, Black Label Society and more, these guys have a great reputation and playing here today they show why they deserve that reputation.

After Crowbar it was off to the Jaegermeister stage again, this time for Welsh metallers Triaxis. This is a band I've seen a number of times over the years and they just keep on getting better. Today was no exception and they proved that they can handle an acoustic set just as well as their usual electric sets. Judging by today I can't wait to hear their new album which is due out later this year.

Furyon on the Sophie stage are another band I've seen quite a few times and they put in an excellent performance as usual.

Bull Riff Stampede were one of the bands I'd heard good things about before the festival. Did they live up to expectations? Hell yes - in fact they by far exceeded them with one of the best sets of the weekend on the New Blood stage. They're certainly the only band I saw there to get a circle pit going, and certainly the only band to get Beholder/Bloodstock man Simon Hall taking a break from work to wreak havoc in the circle pit! A band that we're going to be hearing a lot more from over the next few months/years.

Over on the Jaegermeister stage, Kyrbgrinder put in a great performance - although they seem to have missed the word "acoustic" and instead opted for a full electric set. They certainly pulled in a large crowd. A band well worth seeing if you get the chance.

Hardcore band Hatebreed may have been a controversial choice among Bloodstock regulars, but there's no argument about the fact that on the day they were a very popular choice with a big crowd that thoroughly enjoyed their main stage set.

On the Jaegermeister stage after hatebreed finished, ZP Theart was playing. Efectively it was I am I, but was billed as ZP Theart, presumably to reflect the fact that this wasnt a set of I am I songs - instead we were treated to cover versions including Bon Jovi's "Wanted dead or alive"

Testament on the main stage were one of the big bands I'd been really looking forward to seeing as their latest album (Dark Roots of Earth) is superb, and when I saw them a few years ago at Download they were great live. They definitely lived up to my expectations tonight with a superb set. Bone crushingly powerful riffs and Chuck Billy's vocals combine to make some seriously good thrash metal.

The night ended with Machine head on the main stage. A sea of red light plus flames and CO2 jets may have looked ok from a distance but it did a pretty good job of ensuring not many photographers liked them. Machine Head are another band that Bloodstock forum users had slated, but the audience proved it was a damn good choice by the organisers as they pulled in the biggest crowd by far of the festival. Machine Head are a great live band and put on a great set that left the crowd happy.

Photos of Saturday bands:

Bull riff stampede:
From ruin:
Gone till winter:
I am I:
Infernal Tenebra:
Machine head:
Orange Goblin:
Savage Messiah:
Splintered Soul:
Zp Theart:


Writer: Anthony May
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