Bloodstock 2012 - Sunday - Catton Hall

The off-tune caterwauling from Kobra Paige doesn't help convince the small Sunday morning crowd that the bland brand of retro metal Kobra And The Lotus is worth sticking around for. A reasonable cover of 'Heaven And Hell' is the only bright spot, but after Friday's rendition on this stage it only shows up the lack of quality on display.

Meanwhile From Ruin are making a better attempt at reviving the spirit of the NWOBHM. An entertaining front woman in the form of Anita Griffin, with some real charisma and stage presence, does go some way to distracting from the fact that the music is a bit stale and unoriginal.

Aethara are up next, and show themselves to be a band to keep a close eye on in the future. Flitting between death metal and a more metalcore sound, with the former certainly being their forte, the Oxford four-piece deliver a brilliant set worthy of much greater attention.

I have always struggled with Nile on record, finding the music weak and lacking, so it is nice (and puzzling) to see that live they pack a much bigger punch, actually sounding like a mean death metal band. This is a no-frills affair, just simple headbanging goodness for all concerned.

The Black Dahlia Murder are nowhere near their best today, not helped by the fact their music is not really suited for the great outdoors. Frontman Trevor Strnad lollops around throwing his usual shapes, but even as a fan of the band I begin to lose interest after twenty minutes, preferring to seek shelter from the rain.

Bloodstock is virtually home to Evile now, what with this being their fourth appearance here. A solid set of some fine thrash tunes is pretty much what is expected, duly delivered with little fuss and a lot of heart.

A quick nose around the smaller stages whilst waiting for the weather to make its mind up sees us catch up with Indian death metal sensation Demonic Resurrection at the Sophie stage, whilst Irish djentlemen Shattered Skies show off their rather impressive chops over in the New Blood tent.

Nick Holmes is in an unusually chatty and humorous mood this evening, very much at odds with the fantastically gloomy offerings from Paradise Lost. Using their hour to good effect and picking from right across their impressive discography, the dour Yorkshire lads unleash a flurry of oppressive yet melodious tunes to beguile those basking in the late sun.

Dimmu Borgir are one of the campest bands still around; underneath all that ridiculous makeup and ludicrous outfits, lovingly adored by a large audience of all ages – watching a four year old throwing the horns from his dad's shoulders a highlight of the weekend – the music is a predictable homage to the early innovators of the black metal scene.

To borrow from the opening of 'Do Not Speak', watching Anaal Nathrakh is akin to "a boot stamping on a human face, forever" such is the extreme violence of their black metal/grindcore bastard offspring. And given the fact people are spilling out the back of the tent to catch a hit of this, I'm not the only one approving of this aural drubbing. We are also treated to a new track from their upcoming record, one that shows no signs of these Brummie noisemongers letting up.

Being late on a Sunday night and with a long drive ahead of us, we stick around only to catch the opening few numbers from the old warrior Alice Cooper. Still trotting out the same shock horror theatrics he has for years, you realise what an influence has been on many who have graced these fields over the last three days. The songs too have stood the test of time as well as the man himself with their infectious melodies and dark humour. A great end to an amazing festival.

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