Bloodstock 2016: Day Three Review
The third and final day of Bloodstock brings with it a hefty dose of evil. Things are about to get heavy.
Eyes are blurry, memories are hazy, and everyone's tent is buggered after three nights of drunken idiocy – it can only be the last day of a festival. But don't expect everyone to be lazing around waiting for their lift home, energy is still sky high as some of the biggest and best bands in metal roll into Catton Hall.
Ghost Bath’s  challenging exploration and mournful black metal textures are a surprising hit with the early Sunday morning attendees. The nameless vocalist's sole communication comes courtesy of his piercing wails, which provoke a cacophony of imitators in the crowd that helps cut through the emotional atmosphere created onstage. (AR)
If playing before midday is a difficult ask then no one's told Heart Of A Coward  who roll on to the stage like they own the place. The muscular Hollow and Deadweight sound absolutely massive with Jamie Graham revelling in his role as chief conductor of synchronised headbanging. (AR)
Unearth  come out with all guns blazing, old hands at winning over sceptical crowds. Always a heavier and more brutal prospect than most of their metalcore peers, their intensity sees them through with room to spare and, perhaps surprisingly, Zombie Autopilot is greeted with a deafening cheer. (DL)
Metal Allegiance  are an endearing shambles, as members of Testament, Anthrax and Death Angel and (for two songs) Slayer's Gary Holt plough through a few originals and a generous helping of covers, bassist and Mastermind mark Menghi grinning proudly throughout. Okay, so they do terrible things to David Bowie's Suffragette City, but the rest is solid, celebratory fun. (DL)
Illness has made the past year testing for Satyricon  frontman Satyr, but he stands here today triumphant, proud of the 20 year legacy of their landmark album Nemesis Divina, tracks from which forming the bulk of their set. Initially their icy black metal suffers from poor sound, drowned out by the relentless assault of legendary drummer Frost, but all comes right in time for imperious renditions of favourites Mother North and Fuel For Hatred. (TO)
Whispered  are every bit as entertaining as you'd expect from a Finnish symphonic melodeath band with a collective hard-on for ancient samurai kitsch. Bewildering and ever so slightly barking mad, they're prime Bloodstock fodder to the core and have the audacity to conquer on bigger stages than this. (DL)
People are chanting Vektor's  name before they even begin: proof that the underground is still producing bands with the power to excite and inspire. The sci-fi thrash quartet more than live up to expectations with a blistering set that simply confirms how mind-bendingly brilliant latest album Terminal Redux really is. They're a bit special, this lot. (DL)
It's an inauspicious start for Anthrax  with new opener You Gotta Believe stuttering out of the gates. However, from the exhilarating chug of Caught In A Mosh onwards it's business as usual for the thrash legends. New tracks Breathing Lightning and Evil Twin fit in amongst the esteemed company of Antisocial and Got The Time, while the band's evergreen appeal is underlined by the rapturous scenes both on stage and in the crowd during Indians. (AR)
Three years ago Slayer  were still visibly shell shocked by Jeff Hanneman's death and were a little guilty of phoning in their first Bloodstock headlining set. Tonight is far better, peppered with old school gems – including an unexpected but thrilling Fight Till Death – and peaking with a version of Angel Of Death that lives up to its reputation as the greatest thrash metal song ever written. In truth, Tom Araya seems somewhat detached from his band mates' efforts and not overly bothered about chatting with the crowd, but Slayer have more than enough charisma to weather a few mid-set lulls and let's be honest, there is nothing cooler than giant inverted crucifix made of Marshall stacks that spouts fire into the night sky. Slayer still rule. (DL)
After the wealth of evil bastards attempting to make Bloodstock their own this weekend, it's fitting that Goatwhore  have the final chance to raise their flag. As well as being hellishly vicious there's also a celebratory air to their blackened death that befits the Sophie Lancaster Stage's biggest crowd of the week. Louis Benjamin Falgoust II lives for every note, while the rhythm section lay a fiery groundwork for Sammy Duet to peel off his incendiary leads and devilish riffs. When Steel And Bone Meet and Fucked By Satan are a fucking riot, ever retiring security guards join in the crowd surfing bedlam. (AR)
Words by Dom Lawson, Tom O'Boyle and Adam Rees. Photos by: Will Ireland.