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BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2012 Saturday Review

Lyric Lounge Review started off day 2 at Bloodstock over at the Sophie Lancaster stage for some good honest British heavy metal. SAVAGE MESSIAH pulled in quite a crowd for the early morning slot. Any cobwebs or hangovers were swiftly blown away as the young Thrash titans unleashed a rampant set mostly made up of tracks from this years ‘Plague of Conscience’ album. Savage Messiah are the latest in a long line of great ‘new thrash’ bands on the Earache label, but they stand out from the pack with songs as good as ‘Carnival of Souls’. They finished up with an older track ‘Insurrection Rising’ to complete a successful mornings work. We caught up with Joff after the gig, read the interview here!

Z P Theart’s new band I AM I were up next over on the main stage. The ex-Dragonforce man has stepped away from the supersonic guitar wizardry and computer game influence of his previous band to a more straight forward power metal format. The crowd is small and not many seem familiar with the material, but that’s not to say they weren’t any good. There’s plenty of promise here and you can bet they’ll be back at Bloodstock soon.

 Sludge heavyweights and general legends CROWBAR followed and brought the pace down to a steady crawl. Front man and guitarist Kirk Windstein casually strolled out to much appreciation and began the trawl through Crowbars dark and very heavy back catalogue. Sipping on a can of bitter between songs, Kirk looked in his element as he steered his now almost side-project band (due to Down’s increased activity) through a head nodding set filled with Doomy Sludge classics. Latest album ‘Sever the Wicked Hand’ is given a visit for the title track, but it’s the majestic ‘Planets Collide’ which seals the deal and makes sure Crowbar deliver one of the sets of the day. Kirk amusingly apologises for the “gayness” before posing for a band shot with the fist clenched audience in the background, and then they’re gone. Excellent stuff.

 Brighton’s FURYON made a return trip to BOA to play the Sophie stage. They are a band with some high profile fans and are growing from strength to strength at the minute. They have received high praise for their ‘Gravitas’ album and naturally the set is mainly made up of the highlights from the album. The sizeable crowd are however treated to a brand new song. ‘Nothin on Me’ went down a storm, as did everything else Furyon threw out, but more importantly shows there is plenty more hard rock left to come from these guys.

Alexander Milas takes the stage to introduce SANCTUARY to the sun drenched crowd. Describing them as what the words ‘legends’ and ‘classic’ were made for is high praise, considering the company they are in on the Bloodstock bill, and a lot of people turned out to see what the Seattle metallers had to offer. It was clear that a lot of those who turned up had no idea what to expect too as they started to dissapear after a couple of songs. Those who stayed were treated to a good show, although Dane’s dry humour perhaps fell a little flat at times and gave the impression he wasn’t totally into the show. Die-hards fans of the band were clearly overjoyed to see the band back together and there was plenty there for the casual observer too.

Hatebreed weren’t everyone’s idea of a good Saturday afternoon, and that’s why Lyric Lounge Review went to see WITCHSORROW over in the Sophie tent instead. Plain and simple doom metal delivered with no frills. Witchsorrow certainly let the music do the talking, and why not? It is rather good. The 3 piece rumble through the heaviest of sets in the suitably dark tent and prove that there really is no point in moaning about the odd band on the bill that you don’t like…there’s always something else going on!

You can talk about the Big 4 till the cows come home but TESTAMENT are by far the best Thrash band from the original era around at the moment. Their last album ‘Formation…’ and their brand new ‘Dark Roots of the Earth’ album are as good as anything they have ever done. More relevantly, they are also better than anything anyone else is doing. The band hit the stage with beaming smiles and immediately unleash the devastating ‘Rise Up’. From the very start it becomes obvious that this is gonna be a hell of a show as Gene ‘Drum Machine’ Hoglan pounds the skins so hard that those at the front barrier can feel their skin peeling off. Chuck Billy and Alex Skolnick trade mile-wide grins to each other throughout the set, and these are replicated by the fans from the front to the back of Catton Hall. New songs like ‘Dark Roots…’ and especially ‘True American Hate’ are slotted in the set like they’ve been around for years. ‘Into the Pit’, ‘Over the Wall’ and ‘D.N.R.’ create the most pandemonium in the arena however and the depth of material Testament can draw from proves just how underrated they have been for too long.

So it is left to MACHINE HEAD to try and follow a ferocious set from their Californian neighbours. Luckily Machine Head have a pretty epic back-catalogue to raid themselves. Finally having the band headlining a UK festival means that they can unleash all their ‘bangers’ in one go alongside the fan selected ‘Burn my Eyes’ tracks. The opening riff of first track ‘I Am Hell’ literally makes the BOA sound system shake, and this was followed by a colossal  double header of ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ and the huge ‘Imperium’. Where to go from there? How about playing ‘Thousand Lies’, ‘Death Church’ and ‘Blood for Blood’ for the first time in yonks! Machine Head (as ever) take everything at their own pace, Robb Flynn doing his usual game of launching drinks into the crowd and giving a lengthy speech on the dangers of dance music. This coupled with the questionable choice of pumping ‘Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies’ through the PA midway through the set, eats up valuable time where another song played live could have been better. Nobody can complain however at the closing brace of the headbanging ‘Halo’ and the steamrolling ‘Davidian’ to end one hell of a twentieth birthday party for Machine Head.


Words and Pics by Rob W



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