Bloodstock Festival – Catton Hall, Derbyshire – Friday 9th August 2013

King Diamond
King Diamond


Review by Chop, photos by Sean Larkin

After the merriment of the opening performances in the Sophie Lancaster tent on the opening day (Thursday), and the ensuing merriment in the V.I.P. bar into the early hours, the first full day of Bloodstock had much to offer. A plethora of unsigned bands attempting to impress all and sundry alongside seasoned campaigners keen to enhance their reputation, not forgetting the first UK festival performance from today’s headliner. What more could an open-minded metal-head desire? Beer? Good weather? Let the games commence…

Cruel Humanity had the nerve-shredding task of getting the day off to a flying start. Judging by the sizeable attendance clearly there were plenty prepared to dust off the cobwebs by being pummelled by a band who were a hybrid of symphonic black metal and old school death metal. Apparently they’ve had a few line-up changes recently but it certainly didn’t show as they stuck to their appointed task and warmed the crowd up well.

Earthtone9 @ Bloodstock 2013

Earthtone9 were suitably impressive at Damnation Festival a couple of years ago, and I suspect at this year’s Download too. What I saw of their set – as the first of the weekend’s hectic interviewing schedule loomed –  was at least on a par with the Damnation display, intricate songs made to seem effortless whilst incorporating high levels of both fluidity and groove. Pity I couldn’t have seen more, but you can only be in one place at a time.

Death Angel went for the jugular from the word go with a jaw dropping opening duo of ‘Evil Priest’ and ‘Voracious Souls’ from the debut album, which evoked gleeful memories of buying it on vinyl back in the day. Thereafter the remainder of their set – outro excluded – was taken from their two most recent offerings. If proof were needed that Death Angel were – and still are – a potent force in the thrash world then this stint confirmed it, a blistering ‘follow that’ statement to the remaining thrash acts to come over the rest of the weekend.

Dark Funeral were nothing short of stunning at Hammerfest II when they laid waste to the second stage. Back to the here and now, this set was somewhat underwhelming. Nothing inherently wrong with it, yet there was nothing engaging or indeed noteworthy either. Delivered at usual breakneck speed, all menace was lost by being on stage shortly after 2pm in bright sunlight. Perhaps the Sophie Lancaster tent may well have been a more appropriate setting? Black metal in daylight? Clearly I’m turning into a kvltist…

The absence of a time machine, and with the Midlands Rocks’ cloning programme not yet fully approved, interviewing duties then held court. If I missed one of your favourite bands, or indeed a candidate for set of the day, feel free to vent your spleen. Entertaining chats conducted, the main arena beckoned to check out tonight’s two main attractions.

Accept @ Bloodstock 2013

As I’m rapidly approaching grumpy old git territory – or at the very least disgruntled bald middle age – it should come as no surprise to hear that Accept were the first live metal band I saw, supporting Judas Priest, back in 1981. At the Birmingham Odeon no less. Now there was a venue! Nostalgia trip over it was heart-warming to again witness that the modern Accept can still dish it out with the best. They may have a different sticksman, and Udo may not be with them anymore, but the current outfit is as aggressive and potent a force as ever. Early on the back to back quartet of ‘Restless And Wild’, ‘Breaker’, ‘Princess Of The Dawn’, and ‘Losers and Winners’ set the tone prior to the rousing finale of ‘Metal Heart’ and ‘Balls To The Wall’. And before you could get your breath back that intro gave due notice that ‘Fast As a Shark’ was about to complete the assault. Quality.

After a lengthy stage rebuild – much of which it transpired involved a sizeable iron fence at the front of the stage –  it was time. Time to see a living legend, a man who I’d admired since his early work with Mercyful Fate and respected to this day. Step into the spotlight please – drum roll, drum roll – King Diamond. What followed was an hour and a half that left me increasingly nonplussed. Perhaps the expectation I had could never be matched, or maybe it was the clinical nature of it all. Certainly my vantage point round by the mixing desk was too far from the stage to truly be involved. Musically it was faultless and his vocals were incredible, but… It’s difficult to put my finger on it. Only two Mercyful Fate tracks wasn’t great, although hearing ‘Come To The Sabbath’ and ‘Evil’ played live – at long last – certainly made me grin. Hopefully he’ll return to these shores again soon and he’ll change my opinion somewhat. Evidently I was in the minority though as just about everyone I spoke to for the rest of the weekend thought that what they saw was extraordinary. Now what was I saying about being a grumpy old git? Still two days left to redeem myself…


View all of our Bloodstock photos here…



  1. Not published…an exert from Chops Bloodstock Diary.

    Friday Morning:-
    Awoke to a pulsating skull whilst seeking comfort in the form of ‘spooning’ a friendly photographer chap in my tent. Everyone keeps pointing at me and asking if I’m ok? Is it my wookie like love hugs they’re all missing from last night or has someone drawn a massive penis on my head?
    Found the cause of my skull pain…my eye resembles Mr.T’s left ass cheek in colour. Conclusion:- Jägermeister, cider, loose tent lines and a 6ft + stature results in a damn long way to fall when tripped. At least I didn’t get stung on my top lip by a wasp like that Siren FM guy, Kev!!!

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