To say things have warmed up at Bloodstock is an understatement. It’s hotter than hell here, but Heavy Metal stops for no temperature, so we don’t either.
Photography: John Inglis
The arena is filled with Vikings, monsters, and Metallers in full regalia. Massive applause for the superb effort everyone is putting in on the style stakes, and thankfully there is plenty of cold beer on tap, too, as all that rubber, leather, and steel isn’t the best material for keeping cool.
Up on the Ronnie James Dio stage, Doyle was making his mark, having built up quite a fearsome reputation, his work with The Misfits legendary and his solo work equally as abrasive and ground-shaking. There’s a snarling and formidable presence to the tall guitarist, his pumped physique and famous white make-up giving him a presence that few others can match.
His no-compromise brand of rambunctious punk rock ‘n’ roll was compromised with a mix that lost his guitar at times, and the normal whirlpool of their shows reduced to a heat-stroked acceptance rather than a full-blooded embrace. Doyle, the band and the man, deserved more, but maybe next time, they will get the welcome they deserved.
Surprises are always good, and the teasers had been out all week with a mystery slot on the Sophie stage. Who could it be? Only Californian groovers Machine Head, packing out the Sophie tent till it burst at the seams.
They played as a trio today as guitarist Wacław Kiełtyka was absent, but there was no slacking in performance from the others. With a couple of tracks from the forthcoming album Of Kingdom And Crown to go along with the run-through of classics, anyone seeing the band on their September tour with Amon Amarth is guaranteed a good time.
Talking of a good time, it’s time for GWAR. It’s difficult to beat an hour of blood-spurting theatrics, good old-fashioned camp traditional fun with a side order of grotesque and graphic violence. Our superstar photographer John Inglis returned from the pit with body and cameras unscathed. Not all were so lucky.
It’s not all style over substance with GWAR, of course, and they do have songs you can sing along to while getting drenched. While Let Us Slay, Berserker Mode and Immortal Corrupter went down particularly well, the whole set was a spectacular riot.
Thrash pioneers Exodus are well into their fifth decade together, their effect on the genre nothing short of incendiary since they first formed in 1979. With the nascent line-up featuring a young Kirk Hammett (what became of him?) the band grew rapidly, their debut Bonded In Blood practically defining thrash.
It’s been a sometimes rocky road since, but the Californians have battled through, their fighter spirit triumphant. In a way, Bloodstock is their spiritual home, the building blocks of all that’s here created by the band.
Despite the sweltering heat, the band and audience put 100% into it, the quintet showing just how it’s done, age having no barrier when you’re fired by Metal. As sharp as they ever were.
With Gary Holt’s massive riffs and the propulsive power of Tom Hunting’s drums, both new material and old classics like the titular Bonded By Blood and The Toxic Waltz sounded just as feral as they always have. By the time closer Strike Of The Beast had caused a massive pit in front of the stage, it was game, set and match to the veterans.
The Bay Area has been well represented this afternoon as while Exodus were slaying on the main stage, an energetic Heathen enthralled over on the Sophie stage. Bringing their latest opus, Empire Of The Blind, to larger-than-life proportions, it was clear to see that the eleven-year hiatus between albums has resulted in no loss of quality.
Dirty riffs topped with David White’s soaring vocals ricocheted their way around the tent, shredding through any resistance.
We are set up for a tremendous Friday night.
Bloodstock 2022 will be held over the long weekend of 11-14 August 2022. MetalTalk’s Liz Medhurst, John Inglis and Paul Monkhouse will be reporting from Catton Park.
VIP and campervan tickets are sold out. Standard weekend camping tickets (just £145 + fees for 4 days of Heavy Metal glory) plus day and child tickets are also available. Children under 4 can come for free.
You can read all the MetalTalk Bloodstock coverage at metaltalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022