FESTIVAL REVIEW: Bloodstock Festival 2016 – Day 2 (Saturday)

Distorted Sound‘s coverage of Bloodstock Festival 2016 continues! If you missed part one then visit here to recap the Friday coverage! Now, we recap day two of the action featuring some enormous names in metal.

CAMBION – Ronnie James Dio Stage 

Cambion live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal
Cambion live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

After winning metal to the masses and moving their way up each respective stage at the festival, CAMBION final get the chance to play the main stage as they play first thing on the Saturday. Bring their progressive take on technical metal, the band certainly have kick as tracks like Heterodox and Countdown To Extinction hit hard, but it’s the two newer tracks played that steal the show and add a gentle reminder that when this band drop their debut it’s probably gonna be bloody brilliant. All in all an incredibly tight performance from one of Britain’s best new wave acts.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Eddie Sims

THE HERETIC ORDER – Sophie Lancaster Stage

The Heretic Order live at Bloodstock Festival. Photo Credit: James Weaver
The Heretic Order live at Bloodstock Festival. Photo Credit: James Weaver

It may be early in the day, but for THE HERETIC ORDER they grace the Sophie Lancaster Stage in full fury. Through their bluesy-esque riffs and eye-catching visuals THE HERETIC ORDER entice those in attendance. Lord Ragnar Wagner‘s vocals were interesting for their style, and added a nice touch of aggression to the riffs on show. With their final track, Burn Witch Burn, things truly became interesting. Two women dressed in white appeared either side to Lord Ragnar Wagner and danced captivating the feel of the track, concluding with a on stage ritual. It’s a gimmick sure, but THE HERETIC ORDER did enough to leave a lasting impression to the performance at Bloodstock Festival.

Rating: 8/10

Words: James Weaver

KILL II THIS – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Kill II This live Bloodstock Festival 2016
Kill II This live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Katja Ogrin

The weirdest band to be appearing on this whole bill, not sonically but in terms of fitting in at a festival like this with the crowd it is perceived to have, are the recently reformed KILL II THIS. There’s a good reason why all of the most successful nu metal acts were from the other side of the Atlantic. While the likes of KORN or SYSTEM OF A DOWN, or even someone like MUDVAYNE if they were to return who were a lot more technically minded than many remember, have at least some relevance in 2016, KILL II THIS are all of the clichés of their era incarnate. It’s unprecedented then that here at what is a bastion of heavy metal in its purest forms KILL II THIS do really rather well. There’s a throng of people who clearly remember them fondly from the first time around, and their members are far more lively than those of many other bands in showing genuine energy and excitement to be here. The ridiculous siren sound atop the opening This World and the vocal hooks in Faith Rape and Kill Your Gods are unquestionably hilarious, but it’s all so silly it’s hard not to enjoy it at least a little bit. This set is more than a little bit stupid, but at least it’s not boring.

Rating: 6/10

Words: Perran Helyes

VALLENFYRE – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Vallenfyre live at Bloodstock Festival 2016
Vallenfyre live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

Black metal in the sun is rarely a good combination. VALLENFYRE make the best of a bad job at shortly after midday on the Saturday however and put on a solid show. Their all-too-short set features a good mixture of the band heavy material with time for the frontman Gregor to engage in a good amount of stage banter, including calling for the slowest pit of the weekend. A good show, hamstrung by the short set time and the sun.

Rating: 7/10

Words: Tim Redman

AKERCOCKE – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Akercocke live Bloodstock Festival 2016
Akercocke live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

For a lot of people, the initial announcement of AKERCOCKE’s return was enough to induce frothing at the mouth and excited squealing and while there have been bumps in the road, their comeback show at Bloodstock is one of the most highly anticipated moments of the festival. Opening with a song as exceedingly brilliant as Leviathan makes this worth any wait within seconds. AKERCOCKE are back with a vengeance, as brutal, unsettling and deeply wrong as they have ever been. The diehards in Choronzon shirts at the front proceed to lose their minds in an outpouring of all kinds of emotions, Leviathan receiving the kind of singalong that more conventionally catchy bands would be proud of. Son of the Morning and The Dark Inside which they unexpectedly wheel out are spine-tingling, and their first new song fits right in alongside them. Musically they are unreal, David Gray’s phenomenal drumming, Paul Scanlan’s twisted guitar work and Jason Mendonça’s scathing vocals alongside his own guitar playing all being hugely impressive. The brilliance of AKERCOCKE among many other things is that while so many black and death metal bands are po-faced in their attempts to be evil, AKERCOCKE give off a sense of taking real joy in the depravity. It’s so good to see Jason in particular who unlike some of the other members has spent the hiatus out of the limelight and not in other bands being visibly ecstatic to be playing up on stage again. The chants of “welcome back” from the audience put an even bigger smile on his face, and confirm just how good it is to have such a special band back in our midst.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Perran Helyes

ROTTING CHRIST – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Rotting Christ live Bloodstock Festival 2016
Rotting Christ live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

Closing out the old school of metal on the main stage for the day very early ROTTING CHRIST certainly have their work cut out to impress more than the previous two bands. But impress they do. With a well-balanced setlist taken mostly from the three most recent albums but featuring enough classic material to keep purists happy the bands three-quarters of an hour set seems to be over almost as soon as it’s begun. With no let-up in the quality and an intense stage presence the crowd are left roaring for more as the band leaves. A highlight of the day.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Tim Redman

THE KING IS BLIND – Sophie Lancaster Stage

The King Is Blind live at Bloodstock Festival. Photo Credit: James Weaver
The King Is Blind live at Bloodstock Festival. Photo Credit: James Weaver

THE KING IS BLIND have been making a huge name in the UK metal scene for some time now. Following successful performances around the UK and Download FestivalTHE KING IS BLIND had a enormous expectations for Bloodstock Festival. For the most part, the band squashed those expectations and delivered a truly monstrous performance. The tent of the Sophie Lancaster Stage made great atmosphere for their doom-tinged death metal; the riffs of Fragility Becomes Wrath dazzled, the blasts of Barnaby Monger‘s drums kept the rhythm at top speed and Steve Tovey‘s vocal performance was, for the most part, consistent throughout. A few sound issues reared their ugly head but it didn’t detract from the crushing performance from one of the UK’s most exciting bands.

Rating: 9/10

Words: James Weaver

VODUN – Sophie Lancaster Stage

Vodun live Bloodstock Festival 2016
Vodun live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Katja Ogrin

Another hot band that’s won over the ears of many a metal fan, inviting one of their biggest crowds yet at Bloodstock to embrace their musical voodoo ceremonies. While they may only be a three piece band, this does not hamper their stage presence. To the contrary, not one inch of the stage went unused or explored, with singer Chantelle putting as much energy into the show as her fellow bandmates were by making use of many different percussion instruments as well as her singing. The heavily distorted and boosted tones of the guitar work filled every inch of their wall of sound, as well as the crisp clear psychedelic licks. So much energy and tenacity being exerted onstage only meant that the audience reciprocated their appreciation clearly through singing, headbanging and dancing along. A powerful live force to be reckoned with indeed.

Rating: 9/10

Words: David Creamer

CONJURER – Hobgoblin New Blood Stage

Another powerhouse of a doom band that’s creeping its way up the ranks and quickly establishing its’ place in the UK metal scene graces a fairly crowded Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on Saturday night. But don’t let the mention of the word doom strike fears of a droning performance, but rather quite an eccentric embrace of what it means to be dark and heavy. Commanding an imposing stage presence whilst fluently playing along their downtuned grooves, for which the gothic tinge of atmosphere was only be enhanced by the shadowed environment of the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage. Melancholy, but totally evil whilst still retaining the slower is heavier side of music. Should the opportunity to see CONJURER live arises, indulge yourself as soon as possible!

Rating: 8/10

Words: David Creamer

FEAR FACTORY – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Fear Factory live Bloodstock Festival 2016
Fear Factory live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

FEAR FACTORY have dominated the industrial metal scene for years now and now, whilst recent albums haven’t had the same impact as their earlier material, there was an air of anticipation before the band took the stage. With the band dedicating their entire set to performing Demanufacture in it’s entirety, the crowd was treated to a wealth of classic material. Through the huge stage, the combination of Dino Cazares‘ iconic riffs and the blasts from Mike Heller on the drums, FEAR FACTORY battered the swelling crowd. Replica sounded enormous and New Breed had fans singing in the thousands. For the most part, the vocal deliveries of frontman Burton C. Bell were acceptable, whose growls powered over the powerful bass tones. Unfortunately his clean vocals sounded off key, and were at times, painful to digest. This dampened the impact of FEAR FACTORY, but despite this, the band still had a strong stage presence and produced a fine performance.

Rating: 7/10

Words: James Weaver

PARADISE LOST – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Paradise Lost live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal
Paradise Lost live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

PARADISE LOST’s status as a British metal institution by this stage in their career makes them wholly suited to these grounds, and the critical acclaim that greeted last year’s The Plague Within puts them in a very strong position this time around. A healthy mix of cuts from that record, crowd-pleasing classics, and rarer material from their earliest days makes their setlist a huge success. Unfortunately as they open with No Hope In Sight they suffer somewhat from sound issues, Greg Mackintosh’s lead guitar being low in the mix meaning that they possess all of their chug but none of their nuance. Thankfully things improve, and the likes of The Enemy and a heart-wrenching Eternal emerging later on sound excellent. Nick Holmes as a frontman is charming as ever, joking about selecting songs appropriate for the scorching heat before the band begin to crawl through a monolithic and miserable rendition of Beneath Broken Earth. The Last Time and Say Just Words prove that they have choruses alongside the gloom, and they leave having not blown away expectations but reaffirmed their position as a consistently great proposition.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Perran Helyes

REGULUS – Hobgoblin New Blood Stage

Fresh off their Metal 2 the Masses victory, Sheffield stoner rockers REGULUS took to the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage to bring their grooves to the Bloodstock crowd. Although given a short set, as is to be expected from the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage, REGULUS managed to knock it out of the park with the time they were given. Drawing in a large crowd despite the difficult clash with PARADISE LOST on the main stage, the four piece ripped through a bluesy, riff heavy show perfect for fans of the likes of KYUSS or ORANGE GOBLIN. While the UK stoner rock scene is one with a fair amount of competition, with the likes of DESERT STORM also appearing at the festival, REGULUS proved that could be a force in the genre for some time to come.

Rating: 8/10

Words: Oli Saville

GOJIRA – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Gojira live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal
Gojira live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

GOJIRA‘s rise in the metal world has been something short of sensational. With the band’s latest record, Magma, you get the feeling GOJIRA have kicked it up a gear and their sub-headlining performance at Bloodstock oozed quality from start to finish. The Heaviest Matter of the Universe sounded enormous, Stranded‘s iconic riffs got the crowd bouncing and Flying Whales was met with thunderous reception. Musically, the band worked in tight unison, Mario Duplantier never missed a beat, Jean-Michel Labadie was a character who got right in the face of the swelling audience and Joe Duplantier‘s vocals matched their studio sound effortlessly. Backed with a full production and pyro, GOJIRA smashed all expectations and made their mark as one of metal’s fastst rising stars.

Rating: 9/10

Words: James Weaver

MASTODON – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Mastodon live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal
Mastodon live at Bloodstock Festival 2016. Photo Credit: Sabrina Ramdoyal

And so it comes to MASTODON, a band with a huge legacy already headlining a UK festival for the first time but with something of a reputation for lacklustre live performances. It’s true that in crowd interaction and raucous energy the list of bands lapping MASTODON is a lengthy one, and despite this being their first ever festival headlining slot here they don’t deviate from that. Worth noting here though is that due to their position on the bill, they’re afforded tricks to get around that. The sun no longer highlights their every move and instead visual focus is placed on an impressive light show. This would be cheap if used by itself, but luckily it’s coupled with the sound of a band who are totally in command of their frankly outrageous abilities. The setlist is a thing of beauty. Of course much is played off their most recent albums and High Road and especially The Motherload are fully festival-ready anthems. The older material is what sends things through the roof though. Iron Tusk runs into Mother Puncher,The Wolf is Loose runs into Crystal Skull, and Colony of Birchmen runs into Blood and Thunder as MASTODON remind us exactly why they’ve reached this position. Even the ten minute prog epic of The Czar gets an airing, each twist and turn as enthralling as the last. Musically MASTODON on this form is something you cannot mess with, and if these are the kind of positions they live within now they are very up to the task.

Rating: 9/10

Words: Perran Helyes

That about wraps up our coverage of Day Two of Bloodstock Festival 2016! Stick with Distorted Sound as we unveil our final day of coverage very soon!

Check out our photo gallery of Day Two of Bloodstock Festival 2016 from photographers Katja Ogrin and Sabrina Ramdoyal:

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