Taking 'Stock: A Bloodstock Open Air 2012 preview

We preview this weekend's metal fest

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Chris Eustace - 06 August 2012

The hordes are set to descend upon Catton Hall in Derbyshire for four days of mayhem at the UK’s biggest independent metal festival. It’s come a long way since its inception 11 years ago, when 700 fans turned up to watch Saxon headline at the Derby Assembly Rooms.

Dreaming of a return to the traditional metal festival roots of the old Donington Monsters Of Rock events, organisers Paul Gregory and Vince Brotheridge set up Bloodstock – and how it’s grown, moving outdoors in 2005, with the likes of Nightwish, Dragonforce, Children Of Bodom, Lacuna Coil, In Flames, Opeth and W.A.S.P. all gracing the Bloodstock stage over the years as its’ reputation and attendance has soared, with nearly 11,000 in attendance to watch Motorhead close last year’s bash.

2012 boasts an even bigger line-up, with rock legend Alice Cooper closing the festival on Sunday night. In a second coup for the festival, metal titans Machine Head are on Saturday headline duties, with the band throwing open a section of their setlist to fans, asking them to choose five songs from their seminal debut album ‘Burn My Eyes’ to play at the event via Facebook.

Polish Death Metal kings Behemoth make it down to headline on Friday (10 August) after having to pull out two years ago due to singer Nergal’s illness, and it’s Testament (no pun intended) to the thought and enthusiasm put into the line-up as a whole that, with a special Thursday bill for earlycomers on the Sophie Lancaster Stage, there’s representatives from across the spectrum of metal represented over four days.

Here’s five other acts to look out for:

Viking Skull

Headlining the Thursday night line-up, if you’re after a bit of trad, head-down metal, this lot will see you right – there’s traces of early Maiden and a bit of the bar-room swagger of AC/DC here. Raging Speedhorn fans will recognise guitarist Frank Regan, plus, when he’s not on CKY duties, Jess (brother of Bam) Margera plays drums for them.

Dio Disciples

There’s no metal festival with a keener sense of history than Bloodstock, and with the Main Stage now named after late Dio/Black Sabbath icon Ronnie James Dio, it’s appropriate that the band, made up of longtime Dio band members and fans, should be here to keep his memory alive.  

The Cosmic Vortex of Doom

This Leicester sludge metal band still have room for melody and groove amid the face-melting riffs. They’ve previously supported Enter Shikari, and they clearly aim to become festival staples in a similar vein. With echoes of Pantera and Black Sabbath too, they’re well worth a Saturday afternoon visit to the New Blood stage for.


Even those with hearts made of actual metal couldn’t fail to be touched by the acclaimed film “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil”, where the veteran band’s struggles to still ‘make it’ turned into a moving tribute to friendship and never giving up. Cited as inspirations by the likes of Metallica, Motorhead and Guns N’ Roses back in the day, the film indeed had a happy ending with the resulting publicity ensuring the thrash originals have been on festival bills the world over ever since, including making their Bloodstock debut this Sunday.

Paradise Lost

The goth-metallers have been going since 1988, and show no signs of slowing down or getting complacent, drafting in seven-string guitars for their new material to add further layers to their doomy sound. That’s not to say it’s not accessible – there’ll most definitely be sing-alongs if they play ‘Last Regret’, for example – but this band excel at foreboding, dark, heavy anthems.

Want to hear more? Click here for the VF Bloodstock Open Air Spotify playlist!

Testament, Dimmu Borgir, Sepultura, Watain, Hatebreed and Corrosion of Conformity are among the other bands on the bill for this year.

Click for the full Bloodstock 2012 line-up.

Bloodstock Open Air 2012 will take place at Catton Hall, Derbyshire on 9-12 August.

Bloodstock Open Air four-day camping tickets are available now, priced at £115 (plus booking fee), with Child Weekend Tickets at £25 (plus booking fee).

Click here to buy Bloodstock Open Air tickets.

Tickets will also be available on the gate.


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