Waking up on the second day of the festival after a day of great heavy metal was surprisingly energetic and not hungover (maybe it was for some though). After a nice morning cup of tea to prepare us for another day of metal, the Moshville crew got stuck in.
First band of the day opening the New Blood stage was Black Ink Sun (6). The sound in the New Blood tent was particularly good all weekend and first thing in the morning it allowed for Black Ink Sun’s sound to be very heavy. The band exhibited some rather frantic rhythms which sounded pretty cool and got a few headbangs here and there. However the energy levels both onstage and off it seemed rather weak (perhaps there were a fair few hungover punters present?) which overall made the performance come across rather lacklustre.
Opening the Ronnie James Dio stage on the Saturday was Cambion (6). From what I saw the music was tight and heavy but the excesses of Friday night seemed to persist with the crowd’s lukewarm reaction which in turn was detrimental to the show. Heading over to the Sophie Lancaster stage I watched a fair bit of The Heretic Order (7). The band showcased a more classic sound reminiscent of the darker side of the NWOBHM era (think Venom, Angel Witch and Witchfinder General blended together) with a dash of some Ghost-esque gimmicky drama from the band’s 50s Hammer Horror inspired vibe and imagery. The was a much more energetic vibe in the tent and everyone seemed much more into the music. The only complaint would be that the band would be much more effective playing at night with some more creative lighting, background and smoke to give the impression of being in an old horror movie with the band. Very promising stuff in my opinion and definitely a band to look out for.
Heading back to the main stage throughout the afternoon I caught the end of Akercocke (7). Despite only seeing a little bit of their set, their extreme sound came across well and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. I only wish I saw a bit more of them. Next up on the New Blood stage was Scottish homegrown heavyweights Ramage Inc (7). There was plenty of nodding heads to their heavy sound and the band were clearly having a great time onstage which resonated with the crowd. Definitely another great upcoming Scottish band to look out for in the future.
I returned to the main stage to see Rotting Christ (8). Arguably one of the most extreme bands of the weekend, their brand of black metal went down extremely well with the large crowd. There was a good energy in the arena during their set and the sound and atmosphere were great, especially since the band performed in the middle of the day (for me, there’s always something that spoils the atmosphere of a black metal show when the backdrop is glorious sunshine as opposed to a freezing moon). After only catching them briefly when they headlined the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bloodstock two years ago, I’m glad I saw more this year and I definitely think they’ve earned a new fan.
Going through teatime to later on in the evening I made a point of seeing Fear Factory (9). Given that the band are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their iconic album Demanufacture, the album has been performed in full on recent tours. I missed the show in Glasgow last December but the Bloodstock performance made up for it. It seems the metal crowd can’t get enough of Demanufacture given the huge crowd that we’re loving the band’s performance. The mosh pit went crazy through high energy numbers like “Demanufacture” and “New Breed” and the audience screamed along with classic tracks like “Replica” and “Pisschrist”. The arena echoed with the everlasting refrains of “I don’t want to live that way!” and “Where is your saviour now?” and you could see the band clearly enjoying the energy generated by the crowd.
Headlining the main stage was progressive band Mastodon (7). The band’s mix of styles and sounds seemed to go down well with the crowd though there seemed to be a lack of energy (though high speed heavy hitters might not always be the band’s speciality) amongst the moshers. The audience was huge but seemed to be entranced by the trippy psychedelic visuals in the background. The trance was reminiscent of how I felt the time I saw Black Sabbath at a festival a few years ago. A comparison like that is never really a bad thing but I suppose I felt as if Mastodon were rather out of place at Bloodstock. Granted they’re great at what they do, and some of their music makes for a cool listening experience from time to time, but ultimately for me their live performance wasn’t my cup of tea.
Closing the Saturday night of Bloodstock 2016 on the Sophie Lancaster were legendary UK thrashers Acid Reign (9). After seeing the band perform in Glasgow last year, and frontman Howard “H” Smith’s guest performance with fellow UK thrashers Re-Animator at last year’s Bloodstock, I knew Acid Reign were going to smash it. They packed the tent full of eager square-dancers with their upbeat brand of UKAC (United Kingdom Apple Core) and the energy in the air was electric from the get-go. From punky numbers like “Bully Boy” and “Two-Minded Takeover” to all-out thrashers like “Humanoia” and “Goddess”, H and the lads bounded across the stage like madmen and the crowd followed suit. The audience formed what I thought was the biggest mosh pit of the weekend so far and an uncountable number of crowd surfers went over the barrier to the photo pit over and over again [in excess of 500, a Bloodstock all-time record – Mosh]. A final mental mosh went down to the band’s calling card, “Motherly Love” confirming that I’ll never get bored of seeing Acid Reign time and time again.
The night ended on an immense high at Bloodstock Open Air 2016 and after another drink back at camp Moshville before bedtime, the final day of awesome metal lay ahead.