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BLOODSTOCK – A SPOOKY SATURDAY

Having no sympathy for those who might have celebrated Amon Amarth’s success last night a little too heavily, Saturday proved to be even more reason to rally the troops for a headline performance from Ghost but there was quite a bit before that…

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Recently, you might have heard that there has been change in camp Fallujah. Owing to the decision of long time singer Alex Hoffman leaving the band. Not deterring their performance at Bloodstock, instead Fallujah do more than what would be asked of most people at 10:45 on a Saturday morning and simply blow the stage away. Taking no prisoners with opener “Catastrophic Hybridization” the band lay their cards out to Technicality in an instant, however as the set continues its clear to see there is more than meets the eye with Fallujah. Having brought together a sizeable crowd, particularly for their early morning slot, the slams of “Amber Gaze” and solos of “Sapphire” don’t go amiss. Not to mention stand in singer does a fantastic job and judging by the dropped jaws all over the grounds, I’m not the only one to think so. Expect big things from this band.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Despite it threatening to get warmer, Winterfylleth ensure that it remains icy over on the main stage as they appear as their second act today. Brandishing their own blend of Black Metal, the Mancunians deliver their usual flavours today with a sense of added vehemence. Though it always strikes me as odd seeing the likes of Black Metal in the day time, despite this the band work around the weather ensuring that all is Black.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Trading frost for fire now, Havok have been particularly busy this year. Releasing their brand new album Conformicide, the band have since not stopped touring. Bringing their own brand of Thrash to the masses all over the UK previous we had a second chance to catch the fast rising band. Tracks the likes of “Ingsoc” showcased not only bands brilliant writing ability but their cohesive element in being a live band with Schendzielos almost stealing the show!

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

However all the hubbub surrounded the Flint based King 810, the band on the tip of everyone’s tongue. With speculation that the show might not have gone ahead owing to the recent charges against guitarist Andrew Beal some were worried that King 810 might not even make it. No doubt spurring them on David Gunn and co stalked the stage from the moment they arrived. The accusatory machismo tones of “Alpha Omega” oozing through the PA coupled with huge sub bass drops created a massive weight in the bands sound, even if they were a member down. Honestly one of my biggest surprises of the festival, the mood was sombre for the most part of the bands set. They might not be up for having a good drink and a laugh but Gunn’s words truly resonated in the crowd making their performance arguably the afternoon’s set piece.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Returning soon after back to the battle jacket sporting Thrash, Annihilator are next up to dish out their own flavours of speed. Though frontman Jeff Waters might be great with the crowd, his guitar tone does let the band down ever so slightly. Giving the likes of classic “King of The Kill” and a personal favourite of “Alice In Hell” slightly less of an impact than perhaps the band had wanted. Despite this however the group managed to pull it off whilst also saving face of course.

Municipal Waste

Known to be partial to a little bit of a party, the arrival of Municipal Waste on the main stage signals all hell breaking loose. Promoting their brand new ripper Slime and Punishment the band belt out tracks the likes of “Breathe Grease” that sit just as well as classics “Sadistic Magician” or “Terror Shark“. Municipal Waste have this inescapable idea of just having a laugh, the perfect embodiment of the festival ethos. With almost half of Bloodstock turning up on the side of the stage, they’re clearly an industry and fan favourite. Not to mention smashing their crowd surfing goal at a whopping 711 crowd surfers in just one song is a feat in itself. Next time they’re in town, make sure that you party.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Proving that the sense of unity at Bloodstock is well and truly alive, PMA advocate Jamey Jasta and his colleagues arrive for their coveted main stage performance. Suitably kicking up the dust, the crowd positively explodes when the likes of the circle pit conjuring “Last Breath” or the groove of “Live For This” are belted out. This is where Hatebreed are like no other. Bringing this energy every time they come to town, giving a REAL sense of the Hardcore brotherhood bands so often preach but do not practice. Wanting even more from the crowd “Honour Never Dies” hurtles from the stage a million miles an hour before being forcefully thrown back at the band from the crowd. It’s grand finale of “Destroy Everything” though that would put most bands in their place. Leaving a trail of positive attitude devastation, Hatebreed prove once again that they have no equal, if you needed convincing that is!

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

With the Germans once more being our host, tonight’s main support came in the form of the absolutely fantastic Kreator. For those who might have missed the UK run the band did at the beginning of the year this is a sore reminder to not skip out on Kreator again. Absolutely inundating the press area with red confetti the cannons boomed almost as loud as the crowd when the band launched into “Hordes of Chaos“. Keeping a level head throughout the set list, Kreator would cater to both fledgling fans off the back of their brilliant Gods of Violence right the way back to their Pleasure To Kill era. I still think that the guitar riff in “Satan Is Real” is one of the best they’ve written in a long time.

Mid-way through the band’s set I nipped over to the brilliant Kraken Tiki Bar, which if you haven’t indulged yourself already, I highly recommend for next year and picked up a Perfect Storm. Seemingly understanding my train of thought, Kreator burst into “Army of Storms” followed by a triumphant “Enemy Of God“. Not quite content with their performance Kreator wanted to push themselves further still and instead flit up the stage along with their iconic head. Mille Petrozza’s signature yell bursting out of the speakers signaled the final curtain for the band and the end to an absolutely fantastic performance from the German’s.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Worming it’s way through the site, there were rumours of an announcement imminent following Kreator’s performance and as predicted the TV screens turned on and Bloodstock 2018’s headliners were revealed! Unveiling both Nightwish and Gojira as respective headliners the crowd positively went mad. Well I know I did!

One of the many reasons to love Bloodstock is the fact that they have BALLS! They have the faith in a band to say, “let’s try them out“. Touring all over the world, Ghost are a band quite like no other. Formed of Papa Emeratus and his ghouls, which are on rotational line up I might add, the band have a slight kitsch value to them which has to no end aided their very quick rise to popularity. Having never seen the band before I truly didn’t know what to expect. After the lights went out immediately “Square Hammer” burst into action. Rallying together his ghouls the band performed absolutely perfectly. The sound, at last, not being temperamental everything worked for the band that you would want to. As they made headway during their set Papa’s reparte with the crowd was brilliant. Not breaking character once being just as cheeky as you would expect but hitting the likes of “From The Pinnacle To The Pit” or “Cirice” with expert precision.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Not one ounce of theatricality wasted, from the moment the band took to the stage the audience was transfixed. Hearing the chorus of “He Is” sung back, makes worshipping the devil never sound more sweet. The hurdle that lies with becoming a Festival headliner lies in the band themselves. Understanding the crowd, using the production but not replying on it and most importantly just having fun! Which, coincidentally, is exactly what happens tonight. Smiles are seen ear to ear particularly when the boyish humour of singing a song about an orgasm is brought forward in “Monstrance Clock” complete with twenty person strong choir! What Ghost have managed to do is simultaneously create a cult figure that represents the band as the unattainable, yet at the same time feel strangely relatable and incredibly human contrary to the likes of the usual rockstar personas that have been seen. To say that Ghost’s performance was a triumph would be a cruel understatement. Using every ounce of their energy this was an absolutely fantastic performance, enthralling myself and then entire crowd from the moment they hit the stage. Congratulations Ghost. A show like that was truly haunting.

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