Bloodstock Open Air 2010: Day Two - Catton Hall, Derbyshire

After the aural fireworks of last night, day two begins rather unimpressively as Andromeda make their long-awaited UK debut. The power-prog theatrics are nothing more than a vehicle for guitarist Johan Reinholdz and his sycophantic love of the cheesier Dream Theater material – everything even down to the gear and hairstyle scream John Petrucci fanboy. Bloodstock doesn’t see a better vocalist all weekend than Leaves’ Eyes’ Liv Kristine and her truly stunning soprano soaring above the sodden crowd. The actual music the band play is not bad, if a little bland, but no one cares as we are all entranced by the utterly gorgeous emanations from Ms Kristine for the entire half hour.

Having seemingly continually bumped into the guys from Achren all weekend (whose band name was spelt wrong on all the official paraphernalia) I thought I should at least go along and see their set over on the New Blood stage; the fact that they’re on at midday is an excuse only so far, but their derisive blackened death metal gets the muted response from the thinning crowd it deserves.

Evile owe a lot of their success to this festival, and may well be unique in being back here for the third time. Their emotionally charged set, with an sombre piece by Matt Drake for both RJD and fallen bassist Mike Alexander, was lapped up by the frenetic afternoon audience as they blasted through some of the finest thrash this side of Seasons In The Abyss. Evile may sound an awful lot like old school Metallica, but they do it a damn site better than Metallica do these days. After the new boys, it’s time for a dose of the old as reunited thrashers Onslaught hit the main stage; as rocking as the set is, the age is beginning to show in the rounded bellies and the propensity for sloppiness throughout.

Edguy subject us to the most turgid of European power metal that has me scrambling for the off button and a stiff drink. Thankfully order is soon restored as Obituary are an absolute powerhouse this afternoon as they tear through 45 minutes of pure brutal death metal of the highest, most punishing quality; closer ‘Slowly We Rot’ still stands up today as a lesson to all the youngsters.

A “misunderstanding” at customs has meant that Devin Townsend has no gear here today with which to perform, but thanks to a massive effort backstage, a mere twenty minutes later he's able to perform a fine set, after the intervening time is filled with much juvenile hilarity from the man himself acting the fool as the crew get everything plugged in. By comparison to the rest of the music on display this weekend, the Devin Townsend Project is positively laidback, but is no less special for it as the sparkling prog is a definite highlight.

Today is rather a day of contrasts, as Fear Factory are as heavy as DTP are relaxed; yet another highlight of the whole shebang, FF are in devastating form tonight as they smash through something of a greatest hits set, finishing with no less than five tracks from the seminal Demanufacture that pleases the baying crowd no end.

It’s no secret that Children Of Bodom can be a bit hit and miss at times, but happily for all concerned they are very much on target tonight, rattling through what can only be described as a massively fun set – there’s even a conga at one point! Yes, every song sounds roughly the same, but tonight no-one cares and we all just enjoy it for what it is and share a drink with the boys and 11,000 other like-minded nutters.

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