To call this a review would be incorrect, it’s more of a brief rundown of the bands I saw over the weekend. The main reason for this is because much of the weekend was spent consuming cider (with the occasional Hobgoblin) and so I am pretty much unable to remember the names of the songs each band played. Apart from Alice Cooper’s set anyway
Each band will be given a mark out of 10 next to their name – like this: Lou’s Awesome Band of Awesomeness . So you’ll have some idea of how excellent they were.
Friday arrived complete with hangover… and it was at this point that I really regretted not bringing some bananas (my new favourite hangover cure). But, I powered through and with the help of a cup of tea, some cider and a chilli bowl, I recovered enough to enjoy the rest of the day.
The first band I witnessed was Freedom Call . Since I’m not a massive Power Metal fan, I don’t really follow what’s happening within the genre, so this was the first time I’d heard the band. Basically Freedom Call are a terrifically cheesy Power Metal band that ooze fun. I liked them a lot. C’mon, who doesn’t like a Happy Metal Party?
Next up for me were Grand Magus  and they were AMAZING! Definitely one of the highlights from the weekend (ok, so I had many highlights). I’d seen the band a couple of years ago supporting Arch Enemy and thought they were good, but this performance has made me love them. Truly fantastic!
Moonsorrow  were suitably epic and had me mesmerised from start to finish. Their latest album was one of my favourites from last year, and so I’m pleased to say that they are equally awesome live as they are on record.
Then it was time to get a CD signed by Watain (complete with blood) followed by food and beer at the campsite. After a quick dash back to the signing tent to meet Behemoth, I jumped (and skipped – I was very happy) into the Sophie Tent to see Eastern Front . I’ve seen Eastern Front a couple of times now and they always impress me. In fact, after the excitment of the previous bands and having the chance to meet Behemoth and Watain, seeing Eastern Front’s set was like having my birthday and Christmas at the same time. If you like Black Metal and you haven’t listened to Eastern Front yet – do it now! Their album, “Blood on Snow”, is superb (you can read my thoughts on it here). On this occasion, due to the temperature of the tent and the amount of people in it, the band’s set was like being in a very hot, sweaty, battle… Not so much blood on snow – maybe more blood on ice cream… That aside, they were shockingly good.
After a quick dash over the main stage (and a stop at the Hobgoblin bar) it was time for the mighty Watain . I’ve been waiting to see Watain for a while and they did not disappoint. Their set was part occult ceremony and part gig. They played flawlessly and succeeded in bringing down the sun in Derby. Just in case you missed it, I have included a video below:
If that wasn’t enough, we were then treated to Behemoth . It was brilliant to see Nergal back on stage and he seemed genuinely happy to be there. Prior to the festival, there were some mutterings by online folk stating that Behemoth were ‘not big enough to headline’. I think they proved those people wrong. Their set was strong, powerful and filled with fire. If I think back to it now, it still brings a MASSIVE grin to my face. If I had a time machine I would go back and watch it again… but I don’t… but I do have access to a YouTube video! Yay! Check it out below:
Saturday was always going to be a pretty quiet day for me (especially after the excitment of Friday), but I did manage to find a number of bands to watch.
I watched I Am I  whilst basking in the sun with a pint. These guys are pretty good, but I can’t decide if I find ZP Theart annoyingly arrogant or suitably rock stary. It’s a tough call. That aside, it was a strong set and they are a band that I will look into more in the future. Chthonic  were crazily good and were definitely my favourite band of the day.
I found myself back in the Sophie Tent for Winterfylleth , who – quite predictably – played beautifully. Then I went over to the New Blood Stage for Cosmic Vortex of Doom [n/a]. I’d been excited about seeing these guys because I thought their name was a work of genius. Sadly when I got to the tent, I discovered that they really weren’t my cup of tea at all. Reflection in Exile  were up next. I’d seen their flyers and stickers all over the place since I’d arrived at BOA, so I was excited to see them (I had even renamed them Sad Panda). For whatever reason, I just couldn’t get into them. I suppose it could be because I was expecting a straight-up Black Metal band, but instead we got a Black Metal/Death Metal band with Death Metal vocals. Perhaps if I’d gone in with no pre-conceived ideas things would have been different? Now that I know what to expect, I may try again in the future. Either way, those two bands have shown me that you shouldn’t judge a book – or a band – by its cover.
After some lovely food it was time for Testament . Unfortunately I didn’t get to witness all of their set (as I really wanted to see Orange Goblin), but the part I did see was brilliant. The band were definitely on good form.
I’ve been wanting to check out Orange Goblin  for a while and Saturday was my chance. They were terrific and the atmosphere in the Sophie Tent was absolutely electric. I’m certainly going to have to invest in a few Orange Goblin albums in the not too distant future.
My Sunday started pretty late, but it started with Nile  – which is always a good thing. Their set was plagued with a couple of sound issues at the start, but the kinks were worked out after a couple of songs. Other than that it was a killer set!
Ancient Ascendant  were bloody good! Are these guys the future of British Metal? Quite possibly. A stellar set!
Then I paid a quick visit to the Jager stage to hear a couple of songs from the extremely talented Orianthi . The tracks I heard were brilliant, but I was in the mood for something heavier by this point.
I’m still not sure where I stand with Anvil . They’re somewhat amusing, but I really can’t take them seriously. Still, their set was entertaining and kept me amused until the next band…
Demonic Resurrection  were stupidly good. Completely and utterly mind-blowing. For the benefit of those who haven’t heard them, they’re a bit Death Metal, a bit Black Metal, a bit Symphonic and a bit Power Metal. No matter how you define them, they are awe-inspiring.
Despite having to use a backing track for some vocals and the orchestra, Dimmu Borgir  were excellent. Great showmanship and the music to back it up. Once they had finished, I made my way back over to the Sophie Tent to see Anaal Nathrakh . I still wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a fan, but they did put on a good show. Perhaps I shall investigate them further…
The night finished with Alice Cooper  who was AWESOME. The setlist was great – even though there was no sign of “The Ballad of Dwight Fry” – and the crowd lapped it up. I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the guy who was standing in front of me as I think I spent the entire gig either singing or screaming in his ear. Alice really knows how to put on a show.
Now it’s time to countdown to Bloodstock 2013. This weekend really is the high point of my year. I’d like to give a big thanks to everyone involved in making Bloodstock so awesome.
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