Bloodstock 2023 – Friday. Due to logistical difficulties, Sacred Reich had to swap sets slots with Gatecreeper (all credit to them for dropping a place down the bill), yet this certainly did not faze them. This actually enabled Sacred Reich to play a little further up the bill, and in my opinion, a higher slot was more than fair to these veterans of the U.S. Thrash Metal scene.
Bloodstock – Sacred Reich
Having had to pull out of Bloodstock the previous year, they were most definitely one of the bigger pulls of the weekend and though playing a mid-afternoon slot, there were plenty of punters awaiting them when they arrived.
Having been active since 1985, albeit with a small break in the early noughties, these sons of Arizona brought all their years of experience to bear and produced one of the most enjoyable sets of the weekend.
Though they are not the most prolific of bands, having only released five studio albums and three EP’s in that time, the quality of the material that they have more than makes up for the lack of it. Quality over quantity applies here.
Though never classified as one of the big four Thrash bands, they more than hold their own in this ‘old skool’ genre and were definite crowd pleasers. With the sun coming out for their set, they provided the perfect blend of material for their festival slot and a little taste of the Arizona sun.
Entering to an intro tape of Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back In Town, they opened up with old favourite The American Way from their second album before bringing us more up-to-date with a trilogy of songs from the latest album, 2019’s Awakening.
Though considered as newer songs, these are now as well known as the classic older material and are received with the right level of appreciation and adoration from the moshing and headbanging hordes. Starting with Manifest Reality and following with Salvation and a brutal onslaught of Divide & Conquer, they had the audience eating out of their hands.
Standing in the middle of the crowd with my Welsh friends, I could only smile at Tom’s yelling, ‘”I fucking love Thrash Metal’ and quite simply, who could disagree with him on this showing.
After all, what more could you ask for from a Thrash band? Thunderous drumming, tick; driving bass, tick; great riffing, tick and screaming guitar solos, double tick.
Sacred Reich quite simply brought everything to the Bloodstock table and left it on the sweat-drenched stage. With crowd surfers aplenty, this was quite simply an absolutely outstanding set, and it was so worth the wait.
Salvation saw the obligatory clap-along from the crowd before they closed the set by rolling the years right back to the very earliest days with Death Squad from the first album, Ignorance, followed by set closer Surf Nicaragua from the same-titled EP from 1988.
If the surfing and the moshing had been intense earlier, then this sent it up another level.
Sadly, as often with festival slots, the time was over far too quickly. Let’s hope it’s not too long until they revisit our shores again.
They may be old heads, but they know how to entertain and are more than capable of putting the new and upcoming bands back in their place.
Quite simply outstanding.
Bloodstock Festival 2023 is held over the weekend of 10-13 August 2023. MetalTalk’s Paul Hutchings and Adrian Stonley report from Catton Park.
All MetalTalk Bloodstock Festival 2023 coverage can be found at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2023.
Weekend early bird tickets for Bloodstock 2024 will be available to purchase at the box office on-site for £165. This is the cheapest way to buy a 2024 ticket, minus any online booking or admin fees.
Bloodstock 2022 can be relived at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022.