Last year’s Bloodstock Festival was extremely enjoyable and featured a killer line-up, which included headliners Behemoth (making their first appearance at a UK festival), Machine Head (playing a Burn My Eyes focused set due to the gig falling on the 20th anniversary of their first ever gig) and the legendary Alice Cooper, as well as sub-headliners Watain, Testament and Dimmu Borgir. Other legendary bands that played across the weekend were Sepultura, Hatebreed, Mayhem and Paradise Lost among others.
This year’s festival promises to be just as amazing. Friday’s headliners are the Grammy-nominated King Diamond (his first appearance on British soil since 2006 as well as his debut festival appearance), Saturday headliners are groove metal titans Lamb of God (their first gig after singer Randy Blythe’s manslaughter case). Rounding off the weekend on Sunday is the mighty Slayer, their first UK gig after the tragic death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman. After analysing the Thursday line up, I will now be analysing Friday’s Ronnie James Dio Stage (Main Stage).
It is tradition at Bloodstock that a British band opens the main stage on Friday and this year the honour falls to post-metallers Earthtone9. The band which originated from Nottingham is currently celebrating the release of their latest album IV which was released in April. Earthtone9 who also played at the UK’s Download Festival look set to carry on their comeback with a unique set on the main stage which will be one of their only gigs of the year. You can get their new single ‘Horizon’s End’ for free download here.
Jack’s Live Demand: Preacher
Many attendees at Bloodstock 2012 were disappointed by the lack of thrash; luckily for them this year has an abundance of Thrash Metal on the main stage, starting off with legendary Bay Area Thrashers Death Angel who will be making their long awaited Bloodstock debut. The band is currently working hard recording a new album, so expect a ferocious return to the stage on Friday morning. Mark Osegueda and co will be opening the first pits of the weekend with anthems such as ‘Mistress of Pain’ and ‘Thrashers.’ This will be the wakeup call the hung-over masses need.
Jack’s Live Demand: River of Rapture
It’s time for a lesson in history now with Roman Metal band Ex Deo. The band’s slot on Friday marks the first appearance of Kataklysm vocalist Maurizio Iacono during the weekend. This is one of my most anticipated sets of the festival weekend, my love for the band means I will be dressing as a Roman Soldier for their upcoming performance. With sing-alongs, fantastic riffs and an epic sound, Ex Deo will hopefully be one of the highlights of the day. So brush up on your ancient history, the XIII Legion is coming to Bloodstock and they will slay!
Jack’s Live Demand: I Caligvla
When vocalist Nachtgarm left Dark Funeral, the Black Metal icons were without a vocalist for their 20th Anniversary tour. So they decided to ask their original vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula, now a member of Witchery, if he would agree to do the tour. Luckily he said yes, adding even more excitement to Dark Funeral’s pending set. Despite having to play during the day, Dark Funeral will still have the riffs and presence to add some much needed evil to the day. Prepare to be captivated by Dark Funeral’s ritual.
Jack’s Live Demand: The Arrival of Satan’s Empire
Greece’s finest exports Firewind are a band that still hasn’t got the level of attention and fame they deserved outside of their home country. Despite guitarist Gus G finding fame as the touring guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne’s solo outings, Firewind are still alien to a lot of metal heads. Firewind are power metal at its finest, with anthems such as ‘World on Fire,’ and a brilliant cover of Michael Sembello’s song Maniac (from the film Flashdance) in their arsenal, you can expect pandemonium by the devoted. With new singer Kelly Carpenter in tow, Firewind look set to inspire the Bloodstock audience to air guitar along to their killer solos. Ignore the Dragonforce comparison, Firewind are so much better.
Jack’s Live Demand: Maniac
Set the World on Fire featuring new vocalist Kelly Carpenter:
Set to be one of the most enjoyable sets of the weekend, playing their only UK show of the year, the one and only Municipal Waste. Richmond’s thrash crossover heroes are one of the most frequently requested bands to play Bloodstock and anyone who is familiar with the discography of the band can see why. With energetic frontman Tony Foresta leading the crowd, expect a fun show from a band whose sole existence revolves around fun and partying. Expect large moshpits to ‘Headbanger Face Rip’ and ‘The Art of Partying’. The wait is over, Municipal Waste are back in the UK!
Jack’s Live Demand: You’re Cut Off
Admittedly I am not familiar with Voivod as a band and I know little about their history apart from the fact that former Metallica bassist Jason Newstead was a former member. However from what I’ve heard I’ve liked and I will still see them, mainly because of how rare a sighting of Voivod is in the UK. The band, that will hopefully be playing songs off this year’s Target Earth album, will play a much anticipated set in the late afternoon.
Jack’s Live Demand: Voivod
When this band was announced on my birthday along with Firewind and Fozzy I was ecstatic, I would finally be able to see the legendary Accept. Despite many Accept fans still being upset over the fact iconic vocalist Udo Dirkschneider is no longer with Accept, Mark Tornillo is a fantastic replacement. His two albums so far with the band, Blood of the Nations and Stalingrad, are fine albums in the Accept pantheon. Accept will no doubt have the honour of the first large sing-alongs of the weekend to the hits such as ‘Fast as a Shark,’ ‘Metal Heart’ and everyone’s favourite ‘Balls to the Wall,’ as well as material from the newer albums such as ‘Teutonic Terror.’ So raise a drink and sing your (Metal) heart out, Accept are here.
Jack’s Live Demand: Teutonic Terror
The infamous King Diamond has returned to the UK after a six year absence following a herniated disk in 2007 and triple-bypass surgery in 2010. After an appearance with his original band Mercyful Fate at Metallica’s 30th Anniversary show in 2011, two festival comeback shows in 2012 and an appearance on Volbeat’s latest album Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies on the track ‘Room 24,’ the King is back! King Diamond’s appearance has been in the pipeline for a long time and as the King himself said for getting announced for Bloodstock: “I’m looking so much forward to this, we all are. Finally back in England! The people at Bloodstock have gone the extra mile to make this possible, and will be expanding the stage to fit our full production. This is gonna be DARK and very HEAVY!”
One of my favourite stories of King Diamond was in 2011 when at Sonisphere Knebworth I remember someone who was hoping to see him at the festival, but instead of seeing King Diamond, he saw British cult heroes Diamond Head! I personally hope the King plays his hits, such as ‘Welcome Home,’ and ‘Halloween,’ as well as Mercyful Fate material such as ‘Evil’ and ‘Come to the Sabbath.’ It’s time for one generation to rediscover King Diamond, while for another generation to discover the Falsetto wonders of one of Denmark’s finest. So put on your corpse paint, his majesty King Diamond has returned!
Jack’s Mercyful Fate Live Demand: Come to the Sabbath
Jack’s King Diamond Live Demand: Welcome Home
Room 24 by Volbeat ft King Diamond