Bloodstock Open Air 2013 - Sunday review

Slayer, Anthrax and more round things off

Bloodstock Open Air 2013 - Sunday review

Photographer:Virtual Festivals

Anna Hyams - 12 August 2013

Whitechapel (6/10) herd a sizeable crowd, and gain respect on their first Bloodstock outing, with onlookers clapping appreciatively – if not actually joining in. It’s one of those weird times when everyone seems only mildly interested until it’s time for applause. With deep guttural growls and speedy drums, maybe it’s a case of market saturation indifference, BOA is definitely a thrash/death metal dominated place this year. Sacred Mother Tongue (7/10) only manage half those numbers but have some really nice guitar work, and unfortunately fall folly of the mid-afternoon nap crowd.

The ‘grassy-knoll’ on the left of the stage is strewn with half-baked bodies in various stages of drunken stupor and sleep, but it’s up with a start as Fozzy (8/10) burst onto the stage with some much needed energy. Fronted by American pro-wrestler (and all-round nutcase) Chris Jericho, Fozzy are a breath of fresh, real rock metal air. ‘She’s My Addiction’ and ‘God Pounds His Nails’ are both singalong songs, added to Jericho’s wild abandon, the firebreathing, bloodied and skimpily dressed ladies as well as a guest spot from Phil Campbell of Motörhead – Fozzy have something for everyone. Yelling “We’ve always called England our second home”, Jericho endears himself to the crowd before leaping up onto the front barrier to meet people, as speakers are dumped off the stage in a rock-and-roll fashion.

Amorphis’ (8/10) dark and foreboding entrance entices a decent audience as frontman Tomi Joutsen grips a gun/claw shaped microphone and whips his long dreadlocks around the stage. Turning out to be much more melodic and sort of summery (if a metal band can be) they’re on at the perfect time and pull off a great set.

Stand out performance of the day goes to the mighty Exodus (10/10) who tear Bloodstock apart with dangerously exciting thrash metal madness. Frontman Rob Dukes grimaces and roars his way through a few songs before demanding a gigantic circle pit that has sprung up in the middle, is made even bigger. “You guys are the craziest motherfuckers we’ve had on tour yet” yells Dukes, and ‘Black List’ starts the frenzy again, before the epic ‘Bonded By Blood’ is dedicated to the late great Mr. Jeff Hanneman of Slayer. Dukes asks “I wanna see the biggests wall of death, all the way back” and splits the crowd in two down the centre line. As the drums kick in, a stampede of wild bodies fly at each other, all fists and elbows, and a small boy from the front barrier is hoisted on stage to play guitar with the named responsibility “This is the next wave of metal” thrust upon him. Exodus manage to be a thrash band in a predominantly ‘heavy’ lineup but still be completely memorable and extraordinary, no mean feat.

Devildriver (7/10) fall into the same trap as some of the other heavy bands, becoming a bit samey, but their determination to stand out has them engaging with an already amped up crowd and joking around “We don’t do encores. We have three minutes and fifty seconds left and I mean business. Take your girlfriend and move to the left, I can only warn you once” before another wall of death ensues, and new track ‘Ruthless’ seems to be fairly well received. On the Jagermeister stage, Phil Campbell’s Allstars are rocking out, carrying quite a lot of clout considering the size of the stage, with ‘Born to Raise Hell’.

The much anticipated announcement from last year; Anthrax (8/10) are next up on the main stage, with the obligatory pentagrams and no-muss-no-fuss, get down to business metal. ‘N.F.L’ proves presence is everything, they perform the way only legendary pro’s perform, like the stage is their second skin, and a heartfelt tribute to Dimebag Darrell and Ronnie James Dio comes in the form of dropped photo banners over the stage. Calling “Can we do a war dance? Revv those engines, move your ass!” Anthrax drop into ‘Cry For The Indians’ (complete with feather head-dress) followed by a guest appearance from a surly looking Judge Dredd for ‘I Am The Law’.

As the skies dip red through to night and the crowd fills in, Californian thrash legends Slayer (9/10) come full force onto the main stage with no warning. It’s only been a few short months since the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, but Slayer kept their BOA date and rise in tribute to their friend and bandmate, but there definitely is an air of sadness surrounding the performance – if only from the fans themselves. ‘World Painted Blood’ is the opener, with Kerry King sporting a blood spattered white guitar, and ‘Mandatory Suicide’ elicits a feral roar from the crowd. Fit inducing strobe lighting designed to mirror the drums during ‘Post Mortem’ creates an eerie view of the mosh pit and hair is flying as heads are banging, but the real show-stopper is final number ‘Raining Blood’, whose refrain is instantly recognisable by even non-Slayer fans.

The encore sees anthemic ‘South of Heaven’ and a rowdy close with ‘Angel of Death’ but it’s an extremely clipped ending where the band just up and leave that have the crowd scratching their heads. Slayer undoubtedly put on a great performance as expected, but the niggling feeling that it was all a bit forced, does seem to resonate.

Photo by Paul Lucas

Catch up with Bloodstock highlights from across the weekend here, and remember to follow Virtual Festivals on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest festival news.


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