Sunday night, and that’s a wrap. Once again, Bloodstock has shown that it is a festival that is sheer quality on and off stage. It’s been a blast. We have got through the heat, and everyone from the organisers, security, traders and crew has been top class. Tonight everyone is looking forward to Lamb Of God.
All the stages are starting to draw to a close now, and it’s been a weekend to see legends in the field, from Machine Head and Latin Metallers Ill Nino and a whole raft of tried and trusted performers. It’s been an unusually Black and Thrash-dominated weekend which has caused some controversy but look carefully, and you would find something for every Metalhead.
Up and coming bands from the New Blood and Jäegermeister stages have impressed too – Prolapse A.D. deserve an honourable mention for the delicious homemade chocolate marshmallow treats they distributed in the press tent. Thrash Metal takes a lot of energy, and it’s important to keep your sugar levels up.
Cutting their own distinctive groove, Killing Joke might have seen an off-kilter choice for the penultimate act on the RJD stage, but their heady brand of one-of-a-kind anarchic rock got the place on fire. Led, as ever, by the individual showmanship of Jaz Coleman, the veterans showed that their outstanding and individual take on the world is still as uniquely furious as ever.
Powered by the licks of Geordie Walker and the precision groove of Youth and Paul Ferguson, songs like opener The War Dance, I am The Virus and 80s had their own nuclear-powered core that radiated its own strange, irresistible glow.
A wide-eyed and face-painted Coleman acted part ringleader, part madman in this earth-shaking chorus, his every move mesmeric. They broke the mould when they created Killing Joke, the four men of the apocalypse saving the world, one song at a time.
Belphegor, the self-styled Supreme Death/ Black Metal Art band, brought an ominous reputation and a thirty-year back catalogue to the Sophie stage.
Who knows whether they actually summoned the demon they are named after with their chants and incantations, but this blend of Austrian savagery was a remarkable, ultra-heavy, dark pleasure.
With infernal themes of death, devils and diabolical deeds, it’s clear to see why Belphegor are established as alphas of the pack, as they had a go at sonically blasting the tent off its ropes.
Whatever pigeonhole you want to put Lamb Of God in, whether thrash, death or Metalcore is irrelevant, really. What’s important is the Virginians create one hell of a groove. And their logo remains the only acceptable use of Papyrus font.
Headlining here for the first time since 2013, they brought an explosive mix of fiery, raging, unrelenting intensity.
Frontman Randy Blythe got the crowd going from the off, flinging himself around the set, whirling those arse-length dreadlocks and commanding the stage with infectious enthusiasm.
This fervour was reciprocated by the crowd, who still had plenty of steam to release. It was the last chance for the pit runners to make a mark – shout out to the solitary occupant of a giant air bed who was lifted aloft in the sunset and sailed through the entire gathering before being brought safely ashore by an undignified haul over the barrier.
With a lineup little changed since the 1990s, LoG have almost telepathic communication and machine gun precision to match. Crowd pleasers such Walk With Me To Hell, complete with flames, hit a sweet spot, and there was no lull in the frantic set until closers Laid To Rest and Redneck.
And with that, the main proceedings were brought to a close, leaving those – and there were many – who fancied the joyous melodic AOR of Night Flight Orchestra to head over the Sophie stage.
Extreme weather, extreme Metal, extreme enjoyment. Wonder what next year will bring?
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