Bloodstock 2012 - Saturday - Catton Hall
11am might seem a little early for some extreme metal, but it is the Benediction Breakfast Club over at the main stage that awaits those awake enough to brave the hour. And for those that aren’t, these forty minutes of punishing death metal hammered out in style means that they are by the end of it all. The sheer size of the crowd for these local boys made good is outstanding, and won’t be matched until again until well into the evening.
Unfortunately it is followed up by a double of dose of dreary power metal of the cheesiest order; both Stormborn at the New Blood stage and I Am I on the main are met by diminishing crowds of the bored and most go in search of some nourishment.
It appears every photographer has made it out to the Sophie stage as PR turns artist in the form of Dripback. Adam Sagir and his cohorts turn it up with a delicious slab of violent hardcore in what seems like the loudest set of the festival.
The masses begin returning to epicentre as NOLA heavyweights Crowbar saunter out to unleash a dose of the dirtiest, sludgiest doom upon the great unwashed. The swampy riffs might be slow, but their sheer weight turns this small corner of Derbyshire into a slice of Louisiana.
Watching Mayhem in full daylight is more than a little odd, and it really does need the darkest night to fully appreciate their dark magicks. Bereft of silly makeup and ostentatious props, this is purely about the spooky, haunting black metal; to the younger folk it might appear staid and derivative, but here are the original masters at work.
From the old to the young, Winterfylleth bring their epic black metal anthems to the Sophie stage, and are met with a raucous response. Stretching out in furious sprawls, the music is soaked in the ancient blood and iron forged in these very fields.
The legendary Sanctuary have returned, but this afternoon they are decidedly flat. They are welcomed with open arms by those desperate for the comeback, the band fail to match the hype as they turn in an uninspiring and mediocre performance full of tired metal clichés left over from the Eighties.
It's a blast of old school doom back over on the Sophie stage as Witchsorrow draw heavily on the likes of Black Sabbath and Cathedral in a bid to create a truly depressing atmosphere. Ultimately though, they are too monotonous, sending the crowd into something of a miserable stupor.
So we return to the daylight to let Hatebreed well and truly kick us out of the lethargy. A brash and energetic maelstrom of hate and bile, with the circle pits to match, there are few better at whipping an audience up into a rabid beast of flaying arms and flying hair.
It's twenty years to the day since Machine Head played their first ever gig, and they've come some way from that little basement. Playing no less than five tracks voted for by the fans from their debut Burn My Eyes to celebrate, including the first outing since '95 for 'Death Church', they silence most of the doubters with a fantastically heavy set that thrashes and rages through two decades of malevolence. And the more recent material such as 'Halo' and 'Darkness Within' prove this band still has a vast amount to over those with a predilection for the fast and furious.