The third day of a festival is always hard work! You’re more than sick of drinking, you ache from walking from stage to stage all day, you’re bruised from sleeping on an paper thin camping mattress for several nights and there’s that horrible feeling that the festival is drawing to a close soon. This is made much easier when you have a plethora of bands like bloodstock presented for us on the Sunday.
It’s fair to say that not everyone who turned up to see CORROSION OF CONFORMITY had kept up to date with their recent history. Pepper Keenan is not in the fold at the moment due to increasing commitments with Down. COC have therefore almost come full circle, returning to their roots as a more hardcore punky type outfit rather than the southern stoner vibe Keenan gave them through the late nineties/early 2000’s. It’s a shame more people aren’t aware of this because this years self titled album was fantastic and a real standout for me so far in 2012. It is indeed this latest album where a lot of the set is drawn from, songs like ‘Psychic Vampire‘ and in particular ‘Rat City‘ translate well to the live show. The airing of the twisted ‘The Doom’ was no doubt enough to display the vast differences between the two versions of COC to those unfamiliar with recent line-up streamlining. Some Keenan material is visited in the shape of ‘Deliverance’ but it’s purposely made almost unrecognisable. Quite a few were left slightly confused as to what they saw then, for the rest of us it was very goofy but enjoyable wake-up call.
NILE are a completely different package, low, heavy and err.. very heavy. Judging by the volume of the band’s t-shirts being worn at the festival, not a lot of people would have complained if Nile headlined the whole thing. It is a lunch time slot however for the American Death legends and as the opening bars of ‘Sacrifice unto Sebek’ are churned out, the rain appropriately begins to pour. After all the pantomime from some of the bands onstage during the weekend, it’s refreshing and slightly amusing, to see guitarist Karl Sanders deliver his low end doomy growl one minute and then reel out some expert guitar work the next with a massive smile on his face. For such a heavy band they certainly are both a cheerful and geeky lot! They cover as much of their career as they can in their short time. ‘Ithyphallic’ and ‘Sarcophagus’ demonstrate exactly what Nile are about and the final farewell of ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’ leaves you desperate for more. By the time Nile had packed up, so had the rain. Coincidence?
Some say ANVIL were an underrated band of the thrash movement. The movie that documented their struggle and which put them back in the limelight a few years back often begged the question; Why did they never make it like all the other bands? Well, having seen Testament this weekend it’s not hard to work out really. Don’t get me wrong, Anvil are fun. They are a goofy bunch of metal lunatics who have written a handful of decent songs, but not world class, far from it. Hitting the stage with ‘666’ captures the crowd’s imagination well, and the band reel off some highlights of their career in quick succession. New track ‘Juggernaut of Justice’ sounds like a winner and then we get to playtime. The usual fun and games are unleashed with a lengthy guitar jam, played with a dildo, soon followed by a drum solo and a bit of a stand-up routine from Lips. Then it’s on to metal’s “national anthem” which is apparently ‘Metal on Metal’. I could think of a few dozen tracks more worthy of that introduction, but I guess it’s all tongue-in-cheek and part of the fun of Anvil, who are an ideal addition to any festival bill.
PARADISE LOST and ‘fun and games’ are not seen together very often. The doomy Yorkshire men are in better spirits than when Lyric Lounge Review last caught up with them at Hammerfest however. Front man Nick Holmes shares a few dry jokes and requests a fajita to brought to him from one of the stands, not sure he got it though! An hour isn’t really enough to showcase a career like that of Paradise Lost but the band do themselves justice by playing a good spread of tunes. New track ‘Tragic Idol’ is simplistic and more reminiscent of the older stuff they play today. The noticeably increased crowd are spoiled with classic tracks such as ‘Forever Failure’, ‘One Second’ and ‘Just Say Words’ before the band depart from the sun lit stage. Paradise Lost shouldn’t really work on a hot summers day, but they manage to make their songs come alive with atmosphere easily, even on a bright Sunday afternoon.
DIMMU BORGIR are also a band we are used to seeing in the black of night at BOA. They’ve headlined the main stage before, but the fact that they are supporting Alice Cooper tonight just shows how far this festival has come in a short time. They will hit the stage in full corpse paint and customary outfits no matter what their billing. Shagrath had tassels on his leather coat down to the floor which made him look more like a zombie rodeo rider than a black metal legend, but the show is faultess. The biggest cheers are saved for ‘The Serpentine Offering’ which perhaps suggests that some are less familiar with the newer material. Or it may be just that is’s a great song. ‘Progenies of the Great Apocalypse’ nearly raises the roof just as high before the band step aside for the arrival of the festival closer…
ALICE COOPER is the latest in a long line of fantastic festival closers at Bloodstock. We’ve had the metal conga with Europe, Motorhead were a band everyone likes and now for 2012 we have one of the greatest showmen in rock. After a lengthy break to set up the show, the curtain falls and reveals Alice nearly up in the lights on a giant pulpit. ‘Black Widow’ is the first of many of Alice’s greatest hits to be aired tonight, and they come thick and fast. ‘Hey Stoopid’, ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ and newer track ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ all get played early on, but when you have as many hits as this man, there’s always plenty for later. Alice controls his band like puppets on a string, conducting them with his cane, ordering them around in turn to play guitar solos all while performing his own theatrical duties. Of course it wouldn’t be an Alice Cooper show without the man himself being beheaded, and we are not let down. Fan favourite ‘Poison’ brings the crowd to a frenzy and ‘Schools Out’ has excerpts of Pink Floyds ‘Another Brick…’ nicely mixed in. He comes back for an encore of ‘Elected’ before the lights go down on BOA for another year.
The line-up this year promised a great show, and we were not disappointed. Some fantastic performances from bands young and old (and very old). Roll on next year!
Words and Pics by Rob W