FESTIVAL REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2018 Live at Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, UK – Day 2 (Saturday)
The glorious sun is shining this Saturday morning as fresh-faced revellers made their way from campsites to the arena for day 2 of metal. With bands already on stage before 11am and interviews taking place, today was looking like it was going to be a fun day. Looking around I could tell it was definitely a Gojira and Cannibal Corpse kind of day as metalheads donned Gojira tees and Hawaiian shirts.
Unfortunately, I missed today’s opener Nailed to Obscurity and made it just on time for Dallas’ very own Power Trip who delivered a punchy, no frills performance of crossover thrash and the early stage time did not stop the constant whirlpool of mosh pit action. It was raw and real and fuelled the adrenaline-pumped bodies when vocalist Riley Gale jumped over the safety barrier into the crowd.
I needed a breather, so I took a wonder over to the New Blood stage where new talent Cadence Noir played to a good crowd and delivered some real rock’n’roll with an added classical twist with the violin. However, they were drowned out by Power Trip on the main stage as their set was just ear-splitting.
If you like death metal, then you are probably already into Septicflesh. The meticulous guitars played at an unleashed speed by Sotiris Vayenas during “Martyr” cranked up the energy in the pit. The intensity and raging aggression bludgeoned the crowd.
I managed to catch the last song of Irish death metal band Dead Label. I’m guessing they had several rowdy songs to fill the set list as the trio had the crowd jumping along to the bouncy bass lines and catchy riffs on the Sophie stage.
Black metallers VENOM INC treated die-hard fans with Venom classics ”Welcome to Hell” and “Witching Hour.” The hour-long heart pounding, non-stop set of pulsating double bass drumming by Jeramie and the Demolition Man destroyed the stage with a monster of a show! Their stage presence was uncompromising, and I am certain fans do not want to be waiting so long to see them again. This is the heart and soul of true Venom.
The most energetic performance of the day so far came from American industrial party metal band Combichrist. Singer Andy LaPlegua built an instant rapport with the crowd forcing everyone to move and jump during “Get Your Body Beat” where everyone let it rip! The combination of angry guitars and two drummers seriously packed a punch. The massive pit party ended with “What The Fuck Is Wrong With You” and keyboardist Z Marr destroying his equipment.
Sailing the seven seas party band Alestorm reached Bloodstock to bring us a giant duck and pirate metal, to drink your beer and steal your rum. The excited crowd were bouncing huge inflatable articles in the air as I approached the stage during set opener “Keelhauled.” The piratefest featured special guests on acoustic guitar and joker of the band- singer Christopher Bowles introduced ‘Captain Yar Face’ onto stage for “Hangover” (Taio Cruz cover) triggering a chorus of cheers and a mass sing-along.
The titans of death metal Cannibal Corpse hit the stage with a monstrous shocker of a set full of probably the most offensive style of extreme metal based on their lyrical themes, but that didn’t stop true metalheads from aggressively headbanging the whole time while paying homage to Ace Ventura. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher battered our aural receptors with his demonic vocal ability and possessed fans with old tracks like “Stripped, Raped and Strangled” and latest offering “Code of the Slashers.”
Gojira made their way back to Bloodstock after two years and this time took the stage as tonight’s headliner. The lights dimmed as venue-shaking Gojira chants erupt, the band opened the hellacious set with “Only Pain.” Four songs in and it was utter pandemonium in the pit with waves of crowd surfers and flying whales. In addition to their crashing sound came the spectacular and hypnotic visual effects, colourful strobe lighting and the pyro engulfed stage production made it the most explosive set so far of the weekend.
The show was divided well between new tracks and old fan favourites like “Stranded” and “Silvera.” The earth-shattering performance of “L’Enfant Sauvage” took Catton Hall Park to unimaginable heights. Everything truly characterised their overall performance from frontman Joe Duplantier extreme vocals and stellar guitar work by Christian Andreu coupled with Mario Duplantier’s explosive drum work. Fans were treated to a plethora of beats during the drum solo which effortlessly played into “The Shooting Star.” They closed the show with one encore song “Vacuity” to an explosion of fireworks and a roaring applause.
Considering that they just landed in the UK and went straight on stage and delivered a massive gut-wrenching dose of emotive metal can put critics to rest for questioning Gojira’s capability of headlining a festival. The French quartet once again proved they are in a league of their own when it comes to death metal breaking boundaries and creating a unique sound recognisable only to them.
Overall, Day 2 of Bloodstock finished with an epic bang and having Gojira headlining tonight seemed fitting as they delivered a triumphant blinder of a show. An outstanding performance came from Combichrist today and I was blown away by the unforgettable set by Venom Inc , which is something we would love to see very soon.
Also check out our photo gallery of the event here!