FESTIVAL REVIEW: BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR 2018 Live at Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, UK – Day 3 (Sunday)
The third and final day was upon us as I made that final walk to the arena down the exhausted muddy path. Sunday promised to have a fierce yet unusual line up with spells of chaos thrown into the mix. Let the journey commence!
Without wasting any time I went straight to the Dio stage for this morning’s opener. Hailing from my neck of the woods was London’s finest heavy metal boys Monument who played a healthy crowd as the rain came down. The squad threw their hardest punch during “Lionheart” which proved to be a hit with the crowd. Peter Ellis’ high pitched vocals mixed with deafening drums work set the mark high for the rest of the day. Catch these guys on tour next year!
Up next was Evergrey who had the crowd engaged with progressive metal, but their energy diminished towards the end of the set. Nevertheless, I was impressed with their musical style and the crowd stayed for the duration, so it can’t be all that bad.
Electronic pop metal band from Sweden featuring a female singer and two male vocalists Amaranthe received a mixed reaction. Modern metal or whatever you want to call it, this should be on Eurovision song contest not on the Dio stage here at Bloodstock! The crowd was divided between metal purists like me cringing and the other open-minded half relishing in this “fun” band…
It was the middle of the afternoon, I dragged my heels out to the stodgy field to see Fozzy close their European leg of the Judas Rising tour. They took the stage by storm and opened with “Judas.” The response was utter insanity when frontman Chris Jericho weaved his way through the pit for anthem “Burn Me Out” leading the crowd to jump along during the chorus.
The American five-piece heavy metal band stamped their way throw the set list, and as their music portrays they are unstoppable. Underrated riffers Rich Ward and Billy Grey displayed a playful yet professional rapport as they crunched out the rhythm. I still find myself humming those memorable riffs! Jericho has a talent for crowd enchantment as they chanted ‘Foz-zy, Foz-zy’ between songs. Jericho’s larger than life stage personality had everyone fixated and conquered the stage when he pulled out the smoking gun for “Do you Want To Start A War.” Another winning performance delivered by the unconstrained musicians who provided pure entertainment to metal fans.
There was a growing buzz in the air for Jasta after the Fozzy frenzy. Hatebreed vocalist Jamie Jasta arrived on stage with friends. Fans were delighted to see riff beasts Dino Cazares of Fear Factory and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar) perform a few Fear Factory anthems like “Replica” and “Edge Crusher” which saw fans jump to the bouncy bass. Jasta introduced vocalist Howard Jones (Killswitch Exchange) on to stage for “Chasing Demons.” Jasta and friends made a serious impression among the attendees demonstrating that they are an unstoppable force. Could this be an upcoming new super group?
Mr Big is an interesting choice for Bloodstock considering the usual line up you would expect to find here. Frontman Eric Martin was well aware remarking “this is the least metal song” before easing into pop classic “Wild World.” With Martin’s charisma and the energy the band oozed they instantly won over the crowd.
Put your middle finger up for DevilDriver! Yes, the blunt force trauma can still be felt after the destruction they caused on stage with Dez Fafara’s tight vocals and solid drumming by Austin D’Amond. Dez skilfully worked the crowd to achieve the raging mosh pit he desired. They started with “End of the Line” and threw in “Sail” (AWOLNATION cover) which proved to be a hit. DevilDriver was a class act. An unmissable live performance that will have you hooked from the onset.
It’s not just the bands that festival goers come for. It is everything else that makes Bloodstock unique and individual from the rest. Bloodstock’s RAM gallery has become an important feature for the festival which consists of art work by founder Paul Gregory, and Cynosure Guitars who has been commissioned to design and build guitars here for the fifth year running. Cynosure, who builds custom guitars for exclusive clients kindly took the time out to speak to me about his experience here at Bloodstock with a heartfelt statement “I owe my entire career to Paul Gregory.” This year he unveiled two Judas Priest themed guitars, as well as Nightwish and Gojira inspired creations, plus two Molly Hachet guitars that were exhibited in the gallery. It is essential that you witness such masterpieces for yourself at the next exhibition.
After the destruction Devil Driver caused, the crowd was rearing to go for this weekend’s penultimate band and eagerly waited for At The Gates to hit the stage. The highly anticipated performance started to the backing track “Der Widerstand” and launched straight into “To Drink From the Night Itself.” They took the stage by storm with vocalist Tomas Lindberg‘s guttural death grunts and strangled shrieks. The legacy of ‘Slaughter of the Soul‘ maintains a tight grip on the metal community, but even new tracks like ” Stare Bound in Stone” was received like a classic as Lindberg shouted, “Are you ready to f*** things up?!” The mixture of crushing riffs and the destructive drumming was an undeniably hypnotic trip comprising of cleaner and calmer parts which quickly picked up the pace. The band did not need the crowd’s approval. Make it your next task to catch these guys in a city near you.
The time had arrived for this weekend’s final headliner Nightwish to bring their Decades Tour to Bloodstock. They opened with the dramatic performance of “End of All Hope.” The well polished, slick production was delivered with perfection. The spectacular visual displays on screens behind lit up Catton Hall Park and the striking pyrotechnics were used to full effect, which had the crowd surprised with every ignition.
Frontwoman Floor Jansen was full of energy throughout. The powerhouse vocalist delivered to an extraordinary level in “Come Over Me” and “Gethsemane” which fired up the crowd as she led them to clap and sing along. The legendary energetic performance by bass player Marco Hietala during “Wish I had An Angel” and guitarist Emmpu Vuorinen’s mesmerising solos were stand-out moments for me, especially in the fan favourite “Nemo.” The earth-shattering experience ended with the evocative performance of “Ghost Love Score” to an array of fireworks.
Finally, those who had fuel left in the tank ran over to the Sophie stage to catch extreme metal band Watain perform a radical, blood curdling show. So, we reached the end of a long weekend full entertainment, excitement and pure metal! Today’s sub-headliner At The Gates obliterated the main stage and Fozzy put on another winning show. Symphonic metallers Nightwish proved yet again that they have what it takes to bring in the crowd with a triumphant set.
Also check out our photo gallery of the day here!