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Catton Hall, Walton on Trent, Derbyshire, UK.
14th, 15th, 16th August 2009
Bloodstock Open Air Festival Day 1: Blitzkrieg, Million $ Reload, Insomnium, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Municipal Waste, Katatonia, Sodom, Saxon, Arch Enemy, Carcass

If you ever attend Bloodstock Open Air, the first thing you’re likely to notice is that you have no trouble whatsoever getting there, for the event is signed for miles in every conceivable direction. I was greeted by helpful staff who directed me to the camping area and my first impression was one of efficiency and friendliness. Where I was camped was next to the main showground so I can’t speak for the general campsite, but the areas I did see were all level and well provided for with toilets and showers which remained in good order throughout the festival.

Once through the main gate everything is at your fingertips in one very large and well organised arena, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from clothes to smoking paraphernalia and a huge range of diverse food outlets which were all surprisingly reasonably priced. The “Unsigned Stage” and the “Sophie Lancaster Stage” were slap bang next to the bar areas and the atmosphere was great all weekend, with families happily stretched out on the grass enjoying the sunshine for the duration. Excepting one incident involving one of the bands (more of that later) I saw absolutely no trouble whatsoever and I can happily say it’s an ideal metal festival to attend with kids or family.

Blitzkrieg (11.00-11.30)

In a swap round of running order (Million $ Reload were supposed to be first) veteran rockers BLITZKRIEG from nearby Leicester kicked off the main stage for the day. They have been going since 1979 and are probably best known for the fact that METALLICA covered their final track, the self titled ‘Blitzkrieg’, back in the day.

Music & Performance
The fact that they are so veteran, showed in ways both good and bad. They were totally at ease and bass player Paul Brewis, showed some considerable flair and skill, interacting with the audience who were stone cold at this point until they were nicely warmed up. The slightly more negative side to them being so seasoned was you really did have a feeling that they’d done it all before and I felt that, some slight sound problems aside, the lead singer was maybe not feeling it quite as much as I’d have liked. All in all though a good solid band who have stood the test of time and I imagine will continue to do so. Their latest offering is ‘Theatre of the Damned’, an album that despite my slight misgivings about enthusiasm live, is well worth checking out.

01. The Phantom
02. Dark City
03. Theatre of the Damned
04. My Life Is My Own
05. Escape from the Village
06. Blitzkrieg

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7 / 10

Million $ Reload (12.00- 12.30)

As the crowd began to swell it was time for MILLION $ RELOAD, hard rockers from Ireland, with an exuberant and impressively confident front man in the form of Phil Conalane. I like this band a lot and apparently so did the crowd, as it grew and grew not only in size but in cheering appreciation. With rumours last year that the aforesaid Mr Conalane was about to jump ship and front Velvet Revolver, we should all be very glad that they’re here and we got to enjoy them. /

Music: 7
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.6 / 10

Insomnium (12.55-13.35)

Melodic death metallers INSOMNIUM held the fort for Finland well with the greeting “Show us your fucking horns, Bloodstock” and inspired the crowd still further, who seem to like this quaint Scandinavian hello. The crowd was peppered with obviously ardent fans who were chorusing ‘Where the last wave broke’ as though their very lives depended upon it and even with those not obvious fans, their solid set went down well. If you like miserable Finnish Death Metal then these guys are definitely your men, giving a good tight set that held the crowd well for so early in the day. /

01. The Gale
02. Mortal Share
03. Where the Last Wave Broke
04. Daughter of the Moon
05. The Killjoy
06. Drawn to Black
07. Devoid of Caring
08. Weighed Down With Sorrow

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.7 / 10

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter (14.00 – 14.40)

Now everything cheered up as one of my favourite bands arrived to give England a taste of why they are a force to be reckoned with in their native Germany. There was no lack of enthusiasm here as this great band took hold of the audience by the scruff of their necks and forced them to have the time of their lives. /

Music & Performance
It's fair to say that there was a slightly bemused air of English aloofness from those unfamiliar with their work in the audience, but their stage show is infectiously enjoyable and soon the crowd had grown to a happy cheering swell, as we were treated to flag waving, a gimp on a garden swing and a girl who was dragged up from the audience to be danced with and then set sail in a rubber dingy across the top of the crowd. A tight and slick performance, this was certainly one of the best bands of the Festival and I hope they return with a higher billing next year. Good fun stuff.

01. Wir sind das Licht
02. Revolution
03. Riders on the Storm
04. Es wird schlimmer
05. Adrenalin
06. Nach der Ebbe
07. Der Seemann
08. Der Adler
09. We Will Never Die

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

Municipal Waste (15.05-15.50)

Likewise deserving of a far higher billing was the ever popular MUNICIPAL WASTE. They have a new album out shortly 'Massive Aggressive' and peppered a great brain numbing thrash punk set of old favourites with lots of material from their new offering. Highlight of their set has to be the attempt to break the world crowd surfing record during one song. At the behest of their excellent lead singer a new world record was allegedly set (now 428, thank you Tony Forester). Great band, great setlist, great performance, almost worth the price of a ticket on their own!

01. Mind Eraser
02. Headbanger Face Rip
03. The Thrashin' Of Christ
04. Thrashing Is My Business
05. Terror Shark
06. Wrong Answer
07. Sadistic Magician
08. Black Ice
09. Beer Pressure (Additional Information: Broke the Guinness World Record for largest number of crowd surfers during one song.)
10. I Want to Kill the President (Additional Information: Lyrics changed to "I Want To Chill With The President" for Obama.Lyrics)
11. Unleash the Bastards
12. Blood Drive
13. (Unknown)
14. Acid Sentence
15. The Inebriator
16. Bangover

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.3 / 10

Katatonia (16.20-17.05)

It took this doom mongering collective from Sweden a couple of songs to get the sound right, but in my humble opinion it was well worth hanging around for because to my eyes they are unparalleled in their particular genre. Melancholy emotive vocals from Jonas Renkse sit provokingly against hard hitting riffs and soul searching melodies. Perfect. /

01. Consternation
02. Soils Song
03. Teargas
04. Deadhouse
05. Ghost of the Sun
06. My Twin
07. July
08. Evidence
09. Murde

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8.4 / 10

Sodom (17.35- 18.20)

Oh I love SODOM, so this is going to be a tad impartial, but they really are as good as all that. This was their first UK date for over 20 years and there were a lot of people waiting with baited breath and they didn't disappoint at all. They aren't the youngest of gentlemen anymore but that didn't mar their boundless energy and enthusiasm as they rampaged through a blisteringly good set with all the glee of some heavy metal naughty child raiding his Christmas presents. The crowd were nothing less than blown away and showed their appreciation with raucous yells of delight whilst they waited to see if veteran Englishmen SAXON could match the level of sheer adrenaline that their Teutonic brothers managed to achieve. /

01. Napalm in the Morning
02. Surfin' Bird (The Trashmen cover)
03. Outbreak of Evil
04. City Of God
05. The Saw Is The Law
06. Agent Orange
07. Blasphemer
08. Obsessed
09. M16
10. Sodomy & Lust
11. Remember the Fallen

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8 / 10

Saxon (18.50-19.50)

And just as SODOM had shown us all how they do it in Germany, SAXON replied with an equally good set. Biff head banged and strutted his way through an hour of pure energised entertainment, taking time out to laugh with the audience, poke fun at the metal scene in general and generally muck about as though every member of the audience was his best mate. Musically they were tight and enthusiastic, leaving nothing amiss; to prove they are still very much on top of their game.

01. Battalions of Steel
02. Heavy Metal Thunder
03. Demon Sweeney Todd
04. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
05. Let Me Feel Your Power
06. Crusader
07. And the Bands Played On
08. Wheels of Steel
09. Live to Rock
10. Princess of the Night
11. Denim & Leather

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 7.7 / 10

Arch Enemy (20.25- 21.40)

If I could be one person on the current metal scene it would be without a doubt Angela Gossow, inspired and electric front of ARCH ENEMY. Entering to a sinister dark overture she soon let rip into 'Blood on your hands' with all the usual dichotic strangeness of someone so ethereally beautiful with the voice of a demon. Everything about this band is exactly as it should be: charismatic and totally different front, competent and engaging musicians, excellent choice of songs and brilliant stage presence. One of the highlights of the whole festival! /

01. Blood on Your Hands
02. Ravenous
03. Taking Back My Soul
04. Dead Eyes See No Future
05. My Apocalypse
06. Revolution Begins
07. Burning Angel
08. Drum Solo
09. The Last Enemy
10. I Will Live Again
11. Intermezzo Liberté
12. Dead Bury Their Dead
13. We Will Rise
14. Enter the Machine
15. Nemesis

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10

Carcass (22.15-23.30)

CARCASS and ARCH ENEMY share some band members, so it was hard, hard work for Michael Ammott who re-appeared about half an hour after ARCH ENEMY's set finished with the other boys from CARCASS to resounding applause. Kicking into heavy old school black metal, CARCASS just kept coming at you, as the crowd swelled to more and more fervent appreciation of them. A mind numbingly good set which left me and the crowd wanting more long after they'd quit the stage. Excellent!

01. Inpropagation
02. Buried Dreams
03. Corporal Jigsore Quandary
04. Carnal Forge
05. Empathological Necroticism
06. Incarnated Solvent Abuse
07. No Love Lost
08. Edge of Darkness
09. This Mortal Coil
10. Embodiment
11. Reek of Putrefaction
12. Keep on Rotting
13. Genital Grinder
14. Rotten to the Gore
15. Death Certificate
16. Exhume To Consume
17. Ruptured In Purulence / Heartwork / Carneous Cacoffiny

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

All pictures by Maddi Isaacs

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