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BLOODSTOCK – A THERMO NUCLEAR SUNDAY

Having seen two of the relative newcomers take to the headline stage of their UK career, Sunday saw the return of a band who was no stranger to the likes of headline performances. Part of the big four and one of the most influential bands in Thrash Metal, Sunday belonged to Megadeth.

 

Opening Sunday’s absolutely merciless bill are the Mancunian Hardcore stompers Broken Teeth. Fairly new to this level of recognition, the band don’t let it show. Performing tracks from last year’s At Peace Amongst Chaos, the band more than prove their worth for being able to hang with the big boys over here on the main stage. Not a bad achievement for a Sunday morning!

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Following on from their Hardcore brethren, the much hyped Venom Prison take to the MainStage. It’s worth mentioning that this band have seen an almost meteoric rise to fame since their debut Animus was released. Describing themselves as crossover you would be hard pressed to disagree. With a voice that would gobble up Angela Gossow, lead lady Larissa Stupar positively owns the crowd which is fair to admit is of a rather much larger than anticipated nature. Set to head out with Decapitated in the Autumn, Venom Prison are definitely doing something right here. If you missed out, well your loss! Keep your eyes on these guys.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Arguably the fathers of what has now become so close to my heart, Death Metal, Possessed are responsible for so much yet have released so little. After announcing their signing to Nuclear Blast, the band will be no doubt issuing a new album at some point. Getting our dosage of classic Death Metal, Possessed are absolutely fantastic here on the stage. Not only are we treated to the classics but they even slip in a brand new track “Shadowcult” which you can imagine was just as vital as their classic Seven Churches anthems. The perfect easing into Sunday afternoon.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Made up of some of the busiest people in the world, the bringing together of Brujeria is somewhat of a myth. After releasing their new album Pocho Aztlan last year, the Brujeria train has been in full effect. Ensuring that their musical ferocity is matched by their stage presence, the hulking Brujo parades around the stage, machete in hand hurling out what sound like demands. Though of course, being a grindcore band there will be elements that will be harder to distinguish than other but at some points it does begin to just sound like a wall of noise. Despite that however the band keep their sound together and though might appear gimmicky are actually barrelling out some choice cuts! Crowd participation of the “Marijuana” it’s a suitable close.

Returning to a more a serious tone, Florida’s finest Obituary hit the stage when I return from picking up another lovely cocktail from over at the Kraken Rum shack! Given they are promoting their brand new album the band only play two tracks off the self titled ripper! Almost seen as a bit of a shame but having said that I wouldn’t exactly be snitty about hearing the likes of “Chopped In Half” bellow through the speakers or Tardy’s ghostly howl of “Don’t Care” bleeding through the speakers. Obituary don’t need to do any convincing, particularly at a festival the likes of Bloodstock, they’re just here to do exactly what they do best. And boy did they.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Having had two bands where brutality is their bread and butter the tone takes a slight change now with the arrival of theatricality. Hell arrive on stage and aside from a small technical failure with front man David Bower‘s microphone the show kicks off to a roaring start. Somewhat of a distraction to the not so original Power Metal the band put out, the pyro is in full effect for the bands performance today. Conjuring all manner of flames throughout their set, I would bet that the front row had a bloody sun tan after they finished! Though despite their gimmicks the band do triumph pushing us further forward into the final section of this years Bloodstock.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Perhaps a bit of a sore thumb in the list, the likes of Skindred really do stick out. Particularly when pit against Obituary or Brujeria, but know for their eclectic nature this hasn’t disparaged Bloodstock from bringing in the Welsh big guns with Skindred. Amassing a huge crowd it seems that this was indeed a very good move. Though the highlight of the bands set is the ” Newport helicopter” moment where every fan in the audience twirls their shirt in the air, it might sound silly but my god was it brilliant to watch.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

With it being an absolute age since Arch Enemy visited their European neighbours, Alissa and co have returned for main support at this years Bloodstock. With the release of their brand new album imminent, the band showcase heir brand new single “The World Is Yours” a defiant start to their fantastic set. Mixing material from their newer incarnation with the likes of the classic era Arch Enemy bangers “My Apocalype” and of course ending their performance with the heroic “We Will Rise“. It’s simply a testament to the likes of Alissa working the crowd and the dynamic duo of Amott and Loomis, an absolutely fantastic dynamic that will be interesting to see when the new record is out. Announcing a brand new UK tour, Arch Enemy have proven that they are more than just a force to be reckoned with and given their popularity, could even be headline material one day!

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

As the final changeover of Bloodstock 2017 takes place, the anticipation for tonight’s headline act reaches fever pitch. Releasing Dystopia, there’s a small amount that would be forgiven for thinking that the UK might have been neglected since its release. Save for the Wembley Arena show and a handful of others, Dave Mustaine and pals haven’t really bee over to ol Blighty. This of course goes out the window when Megadeth come on. Kicking things off with the signature guitarathon “Hangar 18” eyebrows are singed from just how searing these leads are. With both guitarists peeling out expert licks song after song, highlights “In My Darkest Hour” and new track “Poisonous Shadows” highlight the difference in Megadeth’s sound and make for a particularly theatrical rendition of the song.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

Of course all of the anthem’s are brought out, the likes of “Trust” seeing the inebriated come out in their masses but it’s the double whammy of “Tornado Of Souls” followed by “Dystopia” title track that really get the air guitars going. Having been in the game an for as long as Megadeth, you would forgive them for perhaps sounding a little passé. Now, after having released Dystopia the band are firing on every cylinder. Not to mention the pairing of Dirk Verbeuren and Kiko Loureiro is genius with the two of them working effortlessly together. Bassist Ellefson comes back in for his signature “Peace Sells” riff but it’s the drunken air guitar inducing “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” that (always) steals the show.

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Photo by Katja Ogrin

And thus ends another section of the absolute brilliance that is Bloodstock. With next years headliners all but announced Gojira and Nightwish (well earned) will be headlining Friday and Saturday of the festival, showing that Bloodstock still once again takes a chance on its headliners, it believes in them. With this years festival weekend passes being sold out, there’s only room to grow from this fantastic gathering. Bringing together people from all different walks of life, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, whatever you might think. Metal is the one unifying principle we can always stand by. It saddens me so deeply, particularly with what has happened recently in Charlottesville, that in a day and age where we are so technologically advanced yet so backward in our perception. Luckily for us, Metal brings people together and Bloodstock, I’ll always love you, from a fellow now avid Ghost fan. Thank you to everyone who helped me out with anything, scheduling interviews, PR, info and everything Bloodstock related!

See you next year.

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