Bloodstock 2012 - Friday - Catton Hall
After battles with the British road system and a brand new tent, The Music Fix makes its way into this dustbowl of extremity lurking just outside Birmingham, and there are few better bands to set the tone than the mighty Sepultura. They might not be at the heights they once knew, but it is always a pleasure to watch Andreas Kisser in action. Derrick Green is hardly the greatest of frontmen, and is royally shown up by a guesting Tim Owens on ‘Territory’, but the quality of their songs carry them on a wave of adrenaline.
Whilst InMe’s Dave McPherson serenades a handful of adoring fans with some pleasant if somewhat bland numbers at the miniscule Jägermeister stage, the majority of folk continue into the Sophie Lancaster tent to catch the visual delight that is Pythia.
They are a band so ridiculously over the top that they circle back round to something quite good. Pythia are all fantasy heroes and medieval myths, but they kick out a ballsy and energetic set; vocalist Emily Ovenden takes a while to get her voice warmed up, but by ‘Betray My Heart’ is in full, elegant flow.
I can’t have been the only one feeling rather sceptical over the validity and quality that would await us with Dio Disciples, given what a musical giant the little man was, but with the majority of his backing band lending an air of authenticity, they do a damn fine job of bringing his vast body of work to life. Tim Owens and Toby Jepson certainly are not Dio, but they turn in a fine performance between the pair of them to have the crowd rocking to the likes of ‘Stargazer’, ‘Heaven And Hell’ and ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ brilliantly.
They might have one of the more spectacular stage set-ups of the weekend with the innumerable altars, braziers and burning crosses, but as Watain manage to be a whole half hour late to the stage, there is time for no more than a few brief snaps before hot-footing it back to the Sophie tent for the band of the weekend…
are simply breathtaking. Superficially in the same bracket as their competition on the main stage, this is the complete opposite end of the black metal spectrum. No gimmicks or garish get-up here, just the most beautifully heavy music heard all weekend; the soaring hymns, sung in their native French, are gorgeous, otherworldly trips that are rewarded by an ever-swelling crowd drawn in and swept up by their magnificence.
The dark triumvirate is completed by headliners Behemoth, making a long overdue and triumphant appearance on this stage after Nergal’s struggles against leukaemia. And the fans are rewarded with a bombastic and impressive set, executed by four consummate professionals well versed in delivering a good show for the faithful. But once the pyrotechnics have had their moment, there is little to keep the casual onlooker enthralled, and those on the edges begin to disperse in search of bed, or more likely beer.