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Bloodstock Festival

Live Review

Venue: Catton Hall, Derby

Rob Zombie and Within Temptation bring the star power to Derby

Bathed in late summer sunshine, a verdant-looking Bloodstock may have once more escaped the UK festival curse, but if that doesn’t fully raise the spirits of the punters who were partying into the early hours last night, groove metallers SILAS [6] prove to be a fine way of shaking those early morning hangovers and getting everyone back into the party mood as they open up the Sophie Lancaster stage.

The oafs in OAF [7] deliver a one-two punch [line] of stripped-down, grinding punk violence, gleefully managing to both amuse and offend the large crowd before them, before things get serious with BAST [8], who elevate the depths of their doom with ravening passages of quickening darkness, an all-consuming atmosphere to become easily lost in. The diminutive audience that greets Germany’s MESSIAH’S KISS [6] doesn’t do their tightly wrought, fantastical tales justice, but they finish on a note as high as their falsetto wails.

Thrash always goes down well at Bloodstock, and the Anthrax-gone-evil stomp of RE-ANIMATOR [6] **is no exception, the Northerners playing to a busy tent that doesn’t seem to mind the long instrumental sections. With a lanky black-clad frontman who looks like he belongs to another band, i.e. one that doesn’t use a violin, **NE OBLIVISCARIS [7] **are a singular experience nonetheless, their elevating dynamics and cathartic crescendos taking them beyond the usual dual clean/growl vocals tech-metal fare as an enthusiastic crowd go along for the ride. **FIRE RED EMPRESS [5] clearly spell the word ‘rock’ R-A-W-K, fitting in as much arena grandstanding and as many solos as possible, but it’s fundamentally lacking in personality. HANG THE BASTARD [7] bully their audience with pared-down, caustic doom. It’s effectively aggressive, traces of hardcore at the fringes upping the animosity, but it’s a tad one-dimensional at times. I AM I’s** [5]** power metal without the power or the metal sounds weak and lame... adjectives you couldn’t apply to CONAN [8]. No, bombers aren’t overhead, that’s the Liverpudlians droning on their steady ascent towards doom’s upper altitudes. It’s powerful, but perhaps too sluggishly intense for a field full of partying drunks. There’s no doubting the vocal dexterity or musical slickness of SL stage headliners DELAIN’s** [6]** symphonic metal, but there’s a lack of zest to their music that stops them capitalising on their obvious skill.

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