Hailing as one of the, if not the, best medium-sized festivals within the UK at the moment, Music @ The Digital Fix attended this year’s festival held at Catton Park, Derbyshire. Headlined by Power Metal Warlords Sabaton, Aussie Metalcore crew Parkway Drive and rock veterans Scorpions, the weekend was filled with the best music can offer.
Soulfly, the prodigal son of leader Max Caveleras former band, Sepultura are up for it today. Veterans of the mid-table festival slot, they use their time effectively pummeling the audience with their cauldrons brew of metal blended with world music influences. A hard-hitting ‘Dead Behind The Eyes’ from latest album Ritual is a standout moment.
Sabaton have made the Power Metal genre all their own over their 20- year career and tonight’s headline slot is well deserved. Having played here three times before the band know this stage like the back of their hand. Lead singer Joakim Broden strides on to the stage like the band are going ‘over the top’ and in a way that’s how to perfectly sum up the bands slot this evening. From the pyrotechnics to the drum riser in the form of a tank the band stride through their back catalogue like their lives depend on it. It may be naff in some peoples eyes but tonight the crowd lap up every pyro burst, choral chant and great big riff. A blast of a set.
Whether in a basement club, arena or festival stage Cancer Bats are good value for money. Vocalist Liam Cormier commands the stage like the pro that he is. The band behind him steamroller through their greatest hits from across their back catalogue and a trio of songs from latest record The Spark That Moves ending on a cover of ‘War Pigs’ by Black Sabbath show just where they get their influence from.
Evil Scarecrow have probably played this festival more than any other band over its nearly 20 years. Having played the outer stages over their time at the festival, the band deservedly stride onto the stage and get the rather windy stage a party like no other. With stage props akin to something left over from the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers show surrounding lead singer Dr. Hell has the crowd in the palm of his hand whether doing the Robotron of the song of the same name or even the Crabulon to finish the show. All sandwiched in between bedsheet ghosts and the shredding of guest lead guitarist Alfie Wood who at 11 years old could hold his own quite well against the big boys.
Thy Art Is Murder have really stepped up their game (if they needed to at all) with recent album Human Target. The band play their short compact set like their lives depend on it and lead vocalist CJ performing his Michael Jackson ‘Earth Song’ moment is a sight to behold.
The Wildhearts are quite frankly a strange band to have in place at a predominantly ‘Metal’ festival. A quick replacement for Code Orange after they cancelled at the last moment the band quickly dispel any nerves like the road-hardened professionals that they are. Lead singer/guitarist Ginger Wildheart conducts the band through their quite considerable back catalogue bringing out a sprinkling of songs from their recent (and frankly best for quite some time) new album Renaissance Men alongside classics like set closer ‘I Wanna Go Where The People Go’.
With the wind whipping up in the main arena the call is put out to delay Anthrax’s set and this puts a knock-on effect for Parkway Drive’s headlining set. The boy’s from Byron Bay take it on the chin as they enter like prizefighters through the crowd just like they did in their UK arena shows back in February. As a few boo’s ring out around the crowd (really?!)as the band get on with what they do best, namely absolutely level the Catton park stage which has trouble trying to contain their whole stage show package. From a string quartet raised on platforms on a bruising ‘Shadow Boxing’, flames galore across every surface and a back catalogue steeped in quality, the band yet again plant their flag at the top of the mountain. Snap your neck to this indeed.
Mid-afternoon on a Sunday is a better time than any to see former Manowar guitarist Ross The Boss and his rowdy brotherhood showcase the back catalogue of the greatest True Metal band of the 80’s. As a surprise and special guest the one, the only and iconic axeman K.K Downing bounds from the wings like a coiled spring. Having not graced a stage for the best part of 10 years, just like riding a bike the former Judas Priest is back to doing what he does best. With his Flying V hanging off him like a second shadow he shows the baying crowd just what they have been missing as he runs through classic after classic from the back catalogue of his former band. A triumph!
From one icon to another former Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider bounds on to the stage like a man possessed and one of someone half his age as well. With a setlist made up half of his former bands biggest hits, a quite frankly blinding ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ goes down well and songs from recent solo album For The Love Of Metal the shadow of his former band is slowly peeling away. May it long continue!
Scorpions have been there and done that having recently played in the UK at last year’s Stone Free Festival, the setlist tonight is a carbon copy of that one but for the capacity crowd, it doesn’t matter. From the golden oldies (yes ‘Wind of Change’ and ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ is played, quite apt for the gusts felt across the weekend) but newer tracks like ‘We Built This House’ show just how iconic this 50-year-old band are and will be for some time to come.