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Bloodstock 2016 live review – Catton Hall, Derby

Live Review

Venue: Catton Hall, Derby

Slayer and Mastodon head up Bloodstock – summer’s celebration of heavy

THURSDAY

What do we want? A heavy metal festival with no mud. When do we want it? Now would be good. And so Bloodstock begins, bathed in sunshine and soggy with beer. This promises to be a special and very metal weekend. Norway’s SUBLIME EYES [7] ensure that Bloodstock hits the ground running with a noisily received splurge of groovy melo-death grit and huge bags of enthusiasm. KARYBDIS [8] once again confirm their status as unsung UK metal heroes: their time will surely come, but until then they keep making new friends. SUMER [5] let the party atmosphere slip, though, their slick but familiar post-Tool meanderings never quite catching fire. Thankfully, Ireland’s PSYKOSIS [8] are on hand to shake things up again with their fast and fiery beer-drenched thrash attack. Drunken order restored. The opening night ends with PHIL CAMPBELL’S ALL-STARR BAND [8] and no one needs to restate the poignancy of the occasion, with Lemmy’s Bar newly opened and no justification needed for more tributes to the late, great man. The highlight of a raucous set of covers and jams comes when Dee Snider joins the band for Born To Raise Hell and the entire tent goes absolutely fucking berserk. A fitting rock’n’roll celebration.

FRIDAY

The sun is blazing as HARK [8] wake everyone up on the Ronnie James Dio stage with some of the biggest riffs Catton Hall has ever heard. And some of the best beards too. GLORYHAMMER [6] are ridiculous in the best possible way and go down a storm, even though there’s a strong sense that a joke is being ironed wafer thin here. In contrast, EVIL SCARECROW [8] just get funnier and more irresistible as time goes on. Bigger venues await them, but judging by the response to Robototron, Crabulon and new anthem Hurricanado, the Notts nuts have nothing to fear. Daft bastards.

The gloomy but grand industrial stomp of Sweden’s MISERY LOVES CO [7] lives up to the name, but vocalist Patrik Wiren finds it hard to suppress his excitement at being back after a 16-year absence. STUCK MOJO [5] aren’t going to win any prizes for the most intelligent or subtle band at Bloodstock, with Rape Whistle and Charles Bronson baffling inclusions at best. Yet there’s enough character and commitment from guitarist Rich Ward to see his new recruits home. There are few things that make more sense than CORROSION OF CONFORMITY’s [7] rugged riffs being blasted out over a sun-baked field, with Pepper Keenan and co impressing whether they’re playing it straight down the line on Albatross or during the elongated jam of Clean My Wounds.

Kicking off the Sophie Lancaster stage, FURY’s [5] 80s power metal is better at full clip than at a clumsy mid-tempo, killing the mood with the bloated patriotism of ballad Britannia. BOSS KELOID [8] are more like it, their molten doom and engaging interludes raising the temperature on an already hot day. Londoners BRUTAI [6] reach frequently for the epic with their ever undulating melodic prog metal, but too often feel lacklustre. The nu metal circus is in town with ANTI-CLONE [5], who remember their gimp masks and blunt aggression, but forget to pack any decent tunes. Dressed like post-apocalyptic asylum escapees META-STASIS [7] drag you into their man cave, such is the primal nature of their testosterone-fuelled assault, creating a raging pit.

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