Bloodstock Open Air 2012 @ Catton Hall, Derbyshire – Sunday 12th August


Review by Lucy Gliddon and photos by Sean Larkin

Kicking off Sunday was Canada’s Kobra and the Lotus; a prog-infused old-school metal outfit, topped off with killer female vocals. Frontwoman Kobra Paige’s voice was pitch perfect throughout, as she showcased her range to the growing main stage crowd. The rest of the band can hold their own too; notably guitarists Timothy Vega and Jasio Kulakowski, trading solos back and forth. The crowd responds well to Kobra and the Lotus’ own material, particularly single “Welcome to My Funeral”, and livened up even more once they recognised a song they knew. They sing along to the familiar riff of Dio-era Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell”, as the band pay homage to one of their heroes on a fitting stage.

Next up was Corrosion of Conformity, with a re-union of their Animosity-era lineup. Because of this fact, the set derived of mainly older material from the 80’s, along with some tracks from their most recent release. The band was tight and heavy, unleashing seemingly endless riffs unto a well receiving crowd. The set was somewhat marred by technical difficulties, but fans were undeterred, and the sheer numbers that turned out reflected the impact that the band have made on the metal scene during their 30 year career. ­­­­­­

Playing in the slot following a stunning performance from Nile was to be no mean feat for any band, but Michigan’s Black Dahlia Murder certainly stepped up, tearing through a tightly delivered selection of technical metalcore tracks. Charismatic frontman Trevor Strnad engaged fans with his between-song banter; at one point shouting “It’s a boy!” as a naked crowd surfer made his way over the front barrier.

Returning to Bloodstock for the fourth time since their first appearance in 2006, Huddersfield thrash heroes Evile took to the mainstage to display a slick set comprised of tracks spanning all three of their albums to date. Circle pits were rife as the Bloodstock veterans played tracks like “Infected Nation”, and closer “Thrasher”, but even the biggest thrash fans slowed down to pay respect to Mike Alexander, during “In Memoriam”. Evile are incredibly tight live, appearing as professional and experienced on stage as many of the “bigger” metal bands across the weekend. Already having accomplished so much during their 9 years together, the band shows no signs of slowing just yet.

Next up is Canadian heavy metal band Anvil. Instantly I was hit by the fact that they were totally out of tune, with poor timing and a lack of professionalism…but oddly, they were brilliantly entertaining. Frontman and guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow wouldn’t be out of place in Spinal Tap, goofing around on stage throughout the set (at one point producing a vibrator to assist with a solo…), and constantly grinning like a madman. What the man lacks in skill, he certainly makes up for with showmanship (or comedy value), and he has the crowd singing along, punching their fists in the air, and laughing for the duration of the 45-minute set. The highlight of the set had to be “Metal on Metal”. They were perhaps a little high on the bill, particularly as fan favourites Nile were three slots below with a slightly shorter set, but of course that’s no fault of Anvil, who clearly enjoyed every moment of it.

Within the first few moments of Alice Cooper and his band taking to the stage, they had already buried the somewhat lacklustre performance from 2011 festival closers Motorhead. Complete with his famous stage show featuring guillotines, fake blood, mannequins and a live boa constrictor, the crowd was thrilled by a set list blending material old and new. It’s a great booking by Bloodstock, ending the festival on a high by selecting an act which appeals to metalheads young and mature, which really does offer something to everyone. Classic tracks “Poison”, “Feed My Frankenstein” and “School’s Out” receive a particularly good reaction from the festival goers, but less famous tracks also go down a treat, each song’s story told through a unique part of the stage show. Alice shows no signs of slowing down even after a career spanning four decades, and as he runs across the stage, flees from a giant Frankenstein, and gets decapitated (well, sort of), it’s easy to forget that the showman is 64 years old. The festival is wrapped up with a performance of “Elected”, where giant confetti-filled balloons were thrown into the crowd.

Alice Cooper left the stage to conclude another year of Britain’s best metal festival – and what a year it has been. With Anthrax already confirmed for 2013 and organisers promising a bigger and better festival, I for one can’t wait.

See more photos from Saturday below: