|Iced Earth||The Underworld|
|Evergrey||20th December 2012|
|Dead Shape Figure|
Dead Shape Figure were just completely out of place on this bill. The vast majority of Iced Earth and Evergrey fans aren't going to appreciate a frontman shouting tunelessly into a microphone. Poor songs and lacking vocals didn't make for a good showing. Steel Engraved, on the other hand, were a complete surprise. I'd never heard of them, but they turned out to be very respectable German power metal. The frontman had a decent voice and they had the songs to go with it. I'll be looking into them in more depth after that performance. It had been 6 years since I'd last seen Evergrey, during which time, Englund had replaced the entire band apart from the drummer. Would they be any good? The answer was a resounding yes. The band were tight, and Englund is a great frontman. Highlights were "The masterplan", "Recreation day" and an excellent "A touch of blessing" to end the set.
Iced Earth had been a bit lacklustre at Bloodstock. Maybe that contributed to the poor ticket sales for this show, or maybe it was a combination of the economic climate and the proximity of Christmas. But the show was downgraded from The Electric Ballroom to The Underworld, a venue with less than half the capacity. Not great from the band's point of view, but for a fan experience, it was great to see them in such an intimate location. Further, I suspect it added to the atmosphere, resulting in a better performance than at Bloodstock. I've said before that Stu Block is the perfect frontman for Iced Earth, and he showed that again tonight. Luke also seems at home in the band. Sadly, the sound quality wasn't great which took the shine off the performance a bit (odd, given that it had been better for the previous couple of bands). Although many in the crowd were calling for "Gettysburg (1863)", it didn't feature tonight. Of those that they did play, the highlights were "I died for you", "Melancholy (hly martyr)" and a bonus encore of "Watching over me" which wasn't on the set list, but they decided they had time for one more track at the end of the show.
|Epica||The Electric Ballroom|
|Stream Of Passion||19th December 2012|
Stream Of Passion had greatly impressed me at MFVF. This wasn't quite as good as that performance, but was another decent showing nonetheless. Marcela has a great voice. The highlight for me was a great "In the end". However their cover of Radiohead's "Street spirit" was a little odd and didn't really work for me. In contrast to Stream Of Passion's set, Epica were cursed with very muddy sound, which detracted from their performance. Still, "Cry for the moon" and "Unleashed" were both very good. Marcela came out to guest for a couple of songs near the end of the show, which was a nice touch. A good evening, but both bands are capable of better.
|Winter Fuel||NQ Live, Manchester|
|Absolva||15th December 2012|
|My Wooden Pillow|
Review to follow
|Stormborn||The Intrepid Fox|
|Inner Fire||14th December 2012|
I should hate enkElination for the gratuitously incorrect capitalization of their name. But musically, they were pretty good. Elina's voice is very strong, and the musicians with which she's surrounded herself are more than up to the task. The only real criticism I have is that perhaps the songwriting could use a little work. That said, in the places where it's good, it really works. "Higher ground" was a good example of that. I'd seen Inner Fire supporting Beholder and they were OK, but a bit nondescript. Tonight, however, was much better. They describe themselves as a melodic thrash band, which I wouldn't have said was entirely accurate, but it's not a bad approximate. Cliff's vocals are gruff in a way that reminds me of Peavey Wagner, without descending into full on harsh vocals. The guitars were also particularly strong tonight. Stormborn had been a bit mediocre at Bloodstock and this was basically more of the same. They have that vocal sound typical of Italian power metal bands (even though Carl's Brazilian) which has a quality that just sounds a bit weak, and for me his voice is letting the band down. The band themselves are Maiden wannabees, and are OK. That was shown by a cover of "Hallowed be thy name" in the encore, which was followed by a cover of Steel Panther's "Death to all but metal". Clearly a band that don't take themselves too seriously.
|Voices Of Vixens||The Fiddler's Elbow|
|Training Icarus||30th November 2012|
|The Mariana Hollow|
|Control The Storm|
Review to follow
|Mono Inc||The Underworld|
|Hanging Doll||23rd November 2012|
Review to follow
|Seven||20th November 2012|
Review to follow
|Sorcerer's Spell||The Unicorn|
|Black State Highway||17th November 2012|
Stormbringer were a pleasant surprise. It's rare to see a band that play music as heavy as this but still have a vocalist that can actually sing. The result is something melodic that reminds me at times of Leadfoot and Nightvision. The vocals also had an occasional hint of W Axl Rose, although he's far from an Axl clone. I'll be keeping an eye out for them in the future. I'd seen Black State Highway supporting Blaze Bayley and had been impressed by how big a voice the singer had, given her diminutive size. Tonight was more of the same. In truth, she seemed to be holding back a bit at times and was drowned out a little by the other instruments. However, at other times she was really going for it and belting out the vocals at full volume, and the band were at their best when she did that.
Sorcerer's Spell had undergone a major lineup change since I'd last seen them. With a new vocalist, new guitarist and with Season's End's Dave Stanton on bass, I was curious to see how they'd fare. The net result of the changes was a much more professional appearing band who were much tighter than when I'd seen them at Bloodstock. That could have come from the personnel change or just from the passage of time. Probably a bit of both, but it was very welcome. New vocalist Mitchel Emms has a great voice and plenty of on stage charisma. Highlights were " Lead us to Anthror" and the obligatory set closer, "Jägermeister metal".
|Luca Turilli's Rhapsody||Islington Academy|
|Freedom Call||12th November 2012|
Vexillum kicked off the evening with some power metal. With the band all clad in kilts, it was tempting to bring comparisons to Grave Digger, but in truth, there were few similarities. Musically they were fine. The lead singer had that tone of voice so typical of any number of Italian power metal bands, and was perfectly adequate. But really, they were just too bland. They did little wrong, but also nothing to make me pay particular interest. Orden Ogan had gathered quite a decent reputation among my friends, and I'd heard a few tracks online which sounded promising. It was somewhat disappointing, then, when they turned out to not be a particularly compelling live act. Unlike Vexillum, they're blessed with reasonably strong songwriting skills. But somehow it just didn't work on stage. It's hard to put a finger on exactly what went wrong, but an over reliance on a backing track certainly contributed.
I've seen Freedom Call several times now, and they've yet to put on a bad show. Tonight wasn't as promising as it might have been, with the first couple of songs suffering from an apalling mix. Fortunately the sound quality improved throughout the set. Once again, the set list included some less than stellar songs such as "Power and glory" and the dreadful "Rockstars". Fortunately, however, there was still enough there to make up for that, and highlights included "The quest" and "Warriors".
This was the first UK outing for Luca Turilli's Rhapsody after the split, with the other half of the band continuing as Rhapsody Of Fire. Sadly, they also suffered from a dreadful mix, if anything even worse than Freedom Call. It's hard to see what Luca was intending by splitting off from the rest of the band. The music is good, as you'd expect, but it's not sufficiently different to the other Rhapsody warrant the two camps, particularly given that the split was apparently amicable. It's also hard to see it making sense financially. On his own, he's a considerably smaller draw than the full band, as evidenced by a relatively sparse crowd here. That said, the songs featuring Sassy Bernert were a major improvement on the ones with just Alessandro singing, good though he is, and there were some real high points in the performance, such as "Demonheart", "The village of dwarves" and "Dawn of victory". Once again, the backing track was far too evident, and there was too much messing around between songs. Trying to create a cinematic experience with interludes on the projector is a noble goal, but here it just served to kill the mood between songs, and that was particularly evident when the projector broke! When they were good, they were very good. But there was too much mediocrity in the set as a whole for my tastes.
|Pum's Band||The Middlesex Arms|
|13th October 2012|
A friend's band, playing at his 50th birthday. They weren't sufficiently organised to have come up with a name for the band. But given that they'd only had a very small handful of practice sessions before the show, they were actually quite reasonable. Typical pub rock, playing covers of classic rock songs. The highlights for me were "Comfortably numb" and when Kayleigh, the female vocalist, sang on songs like "Black velvet" and "The chain".
|Astral Doors||The Underworld|
|Stuka Squadron||5th October 2012|
As it turned out, this was one of the band's final shows under the name Stuka Squadron. Legal wrangles over the name following the departure of the bass player resulted in a name change to Iron Nights. Also present tonight was a new guitar player. While not as obviously high quality as his predecessor, he was competent enough, and new drummer Larry Paterson is a big improvement. But absent from tonights show were much of the theatrics of their previous performances. Gone were the skulls and swords, and while this wasn't a bad show, it all felt a bit subdued. The last time I'd seen Astral Doors, the Dio influences had been extremely obvious. Here, though, they were much less apparent. But that didn't prevent them from putting on a strong performance of power tinged traditional metal. The highlight was probably "Quisling". It's just a shame that the audience was as slim as it was. The band deserved better.
|The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay Circuit, Singapore|
|Pretenders||23rd September 2012|
There were several bands playing at the Singapore Grand Prix, but Pretenders were the only one I was interested in seeing. She may be getting on a bit now, but Chrissie still has a great voice. And while Hynde and Chambers may be the only original band members left, the current lineup has been together for over 4 years now, and that's brought with it a tightness borne of familiarity. I left before the end of the set to ensure I caught the start of the race, but it was a decent performance, with my highlight being "Don't get me wrong".
|Amoral||18th September 2012|
Profane Omen started the evening off with a set of what they describe as groove metal, but to my ears had much in common with melodeath. Their studio output features a mix of clean and harsh vocals. Here, though, it was pretty much all the extreme vocals in evidence. Bland. I was expecting Amoral to be more of the same, but actually they were much more interesting. Apparently they started out as a technical death metal band, but over time have changed their sound to the point where some are calling them power metal. I wouldn't quite go that far, but there's evidence of that sound in some of their songs. In truth, they show a mix of both styles, and on the songs with more of the latter style, they were definitely suited to my tastes. Ensiferum's live performances of late haven't been quite up to the standards they set in their early days. But this was a definite step back in the right direction. The sound quality was a bit muddy, which didn't help, but overall, a decent showing. Highlights were "Guardians of fate", "Heather throne" and "Battle song".
|Sarah Jezebel Deva||17th September 2012|
I knew nothing about Sound Storm beforehand, and was somewhat surprised to find not female fronted gothic metal, but male fronted power metal, albeit with an operatic female backing singer. Actually, they were quite reasonable, but a bit generic and they did nothing to stand out. Kells had a good live reputation, but other than that again I knew nothing. It's easy to see where the reputation comes from, and they were full of energy on stage. But while they were heavy, both the song structures and in particular the vocals were a bit too punk and/or alt-rock tinged for my tastes, and they just didn't do it for me. The drummer was good, though.
Sarah Jezebal Deva is something of a figure of hate in the UK rock world, and I really don't understand why. OK, so she might not be the young, slim model frontwoman found in many bands in the genre, but it shouldn't be about looks, it should be about the music, and on that front, she's pretty strong. That said, she made heavier use of a backing track than I'd have liked. Also, the mix was dreadful, and at times her vocals were barely audible. She apologised for having a cold and not being on form, but her voice was still good, and the music was suitably epic and symphonic. I'll keep an eye out for her next London show.
Tonight, though, was all about Tristania. The last time I'd seen them here was one of their first shows with the new lineup and it was an outstanding performance. I was hoping for more of the same tonight, and indeed a setlist they'd posted from a show a couple of days earlier looked promising. But as Sarah Jezebel Deva had done earlier, they suffered from a poor mix, which didn't help. They played a couple of new songs that will appear on the next album. Of the two, "Requiem" was very promising but "Cathedral" didn't grab me as much. Those aside, "Exile" and "Tender trip on earth" were both highlights. I was somewhat disappointed to see them drop both "The shining path" and "Illumination" from the setlist for this show, given that they're two of my favourite tracks. A good performance, then, but they've been better.
|Bloodstock Open Air||Catton Hall, Derbyshire|
|Alice Cooper||12th August 2012|
|Kobra And The Lotus|
|A Thousand Enemies|
|Reign Of Fury|
|Crimes Of Passion|
|Black Dahlia Murder|
|A Thousand Enemies|
|So Da Ko|
|Corrosion Of Conformity|
|Kobra And The Lotus|
Review to follow.
|Bloodstock Open Air||Catton Hall, Derbyshire|
|Machine Head||11th August 2012|
|Gone Til Winter|
|Sight Of Emptiness|
|Reflections In Exile|
|Cosmic Vortex Of Doom|
|Bull Riff Stampede|
|I Am I|
Apollyon were sort of thrashy, but with rubbish vocals. There's nothing much more I can say about them. Splintered Soul had impressed at the London M2TM show, and were significantly better than when I first saw them at Bloodstock a couple of years earlier. Here, they were again good, although perhaps not quite as good as in London. That might have been in part due to the poor sound quality. Benediction were poor at both of their previous Bloodstock appearances. This was better, but they're still a pretty dull live act. From the name and logo, Merciless Fail give every indication that they're going to be black metal. But actually, they were just traditional heavy metal with decent songs and proper vocals. I'll be keeping an eye on them in the future.
Savage Messiah's set continued the poor Sophie stage sound which had afflicted Splintered Soul's performance. I'm not convinced their brand of thrash would have wowed me anyway, but the clean-ish vocals were promising. But it was hard to tell because the sound quality was so bad. Stormborn are European power metal by the numbers, with nothing to make them stand out, and with the "almost good but not quite and slightly out of tune" vocals that seem so prevalent among the genre's less successful bands. I Am I were a very weak booking. There had been much complaining about the lack of melodic bands on the main stage, and this was the response of the organisers. A new band that no one had ever heard of, that had never played live or released an album, but who happened to feature the former lead singer of Dragonforce. That said, they were actually pretty reasonable. ZP's a decent frontman and they played a solid set of melodic metal. But I'd still have rather had a better known band.
Dripback were noisy and mostly tuneless, but I'm sure they were worse last time. Chthonic have plenty of eye candy in the form of Doris Yeh, but musically, their black metal with an oriental slant just didn't really work for me. Still, did I mention that Doris Yeh was very easy on the eyes? Rising Dream were odd. Almost as hard to categorise at Sanguine. In parts, they're just pure power metal. But then there are the parts that are closer to melodeath. The two make for a strange mix. Ines has a voice that varies between an Angela Gossow clone and a decent clean voice, and she switches effortlessly between the two, several times each song. Odd, but I quite liked them. In some ways, the Jägermeister acoustic stage could just be named the Rock Sector Records stage. Fortunately, I like several of their bands, and Triaxis are one of those bands. Much as I would have liked to see a full electric set from them, an acoustic set what they were given at this year's Bloodstock. They're really getting to be a very competent live act these days, and this was no exception, with yet another strong performance. The highlight was once again "Lies".
Mayhem are one of the stalwarts of the Norwegian black metal scene, but they have a reputation for poor live performances. I wasn't convinced they were going to be great, but I wasn't expecting them to be as bad as everyone was claiming. If anything they were worse. It was just a very sloppy wall of noise with virtually no redeeming features, and they came across as very amateurish. Not a trait you'd expect from a band with as much experience as Mayhem. I'd missed Furyon when they'd last played Bloodstock, so I had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, they put on a pretty decent set of melodic metal. My friend Lorri said they were reminiscent of Alter Bridge. She's sort of right, and there are certainly similarities. Bull-Riff Stampede had won the London M2TM final, so I knew to expect some traditional thrash. It was good, but somehow it seemed a bit less intense than it had done at The Underworld.
Winterfylleth had been heralded as one of the leading lights of the new breed of British black/folk metal bands. But their last Bloodstock performance had been dreadful, with very poor songwriting, average musicianship and weak vocals. This was a bit better, with some Ensiferum-style chanting in places, but overall, they've still got a long way to go. Tempus Fusion were better than when I last saw them. Melodic-ish prog metal, but I'm still not convinced by the vocals. Sanctuary appeared to have been booked to cater for all those crying out for Nevermore. I'd never been a huge fan of the band, feeling they were OK, but nothing out of the ordinary. That view was further reinforced by this performance. There were fewer high pitched vocals than I'd remembered. Maybe that's just a reflection of Warrell Dane's increasing age.
Cosmic Vortex Of Doom surprised me by being not particularly doomy, instead playing modern shouty metal. Dreamcatcher's acoustic set was OK. They're melodic enough, but the songs were bland. Hopefully the electric set tomorrow will be better. Witchsorrow played actual doom metal. I sometimes feel they're going a bit overboard with it, but the doom fans I know lap it up, so they're clearly doing something right. Testament had been very good the last time they played Bloodstock and then comparatively weak when supporting Judas Priest in London. Fortunately, this performance was more reminiscent of their previous Bloodstock show. Just plain old Bay area thrash, but they do it well and Chuck Billy is a very capable frontman when he's on form. Highlights were "Into the pit" and "True American hate" from the latest album, which shows they're still relevant. Orange Goblin were exactly what you'd expect. Doomy, stoner metal. I'd only seen them once before and they'd been OK. This was probably a better show, but nothing great for me. But still, that was better than Machine Head, who were vaguely thrashy, but too shouty and generally uninteresting.
|Bloodstock Open Air||Catton Hall, Derbyshire|
|Behemoth||10th August 2012|
|Death Valley Knights|
|Exile The Traitor|
|My Wooden Pillow|
|The Commander In Chief|
|Control The Storm|
I'd seen InComa in Reading, so knew what to expect. Musically, they were probably better here, but the vocals still ruin it all for me. Still, they seemed to be relishing the bigger crowd. I hadn't enjoyed Malefice when I'd seen them a couple of years ago, and this show did nothing to change that opinion. Musically unexceptional with annoying shouty vocals. Control The Storm were another band where I pretty much knew what to expect. If she could sing in tune, they'd be great. But until then, they'll remain also-rans. I'm a big fan of guitar virtuosity, so I was looking forward to The Commander In Chief. She's clearly very talented in that regard, and that showed through here. But I feel she was let down by the songwriting, and her vocals were too screechy to make for an entirely pleasant experience. Freedom Call were much as you'd expect. Good, cheesy power metal fun. The performance was fine, but the setlist wasn't the best they've had. The new album features a couple of comparatively weak songs ("Rockstars" and "Power & glory") that they seem to feel deserve to be heard in their live shows. A bit disappointing, but still good, particularly on "Warriors"
I'd never heard of the bizarrely name Gonoreas before they were booked for Bloodstock, but the video I found online looked very promising. As it turned out, they video only hinted at how good they would be on stage, and I came away very impressed. They play traditional heavy metal with some power metal influences. The guitars and vocals were particularly noteworthy, and combined with some strong songwriting, they delivered one of the stronger performances of the festival. I'll definitely see them again if the come to play anywhere near me. Grand Magus put in a relatively weak performance the first time I'd seen them, but then surprised me by being considerably better the next time. Fortunately, this show was more like the latter than the former. Their sound is gradually changing from doom metal to just plain heavy metal, and for me it's an improvement. The highlight here was "Valhalla rising". Primitai are another band that just play no frills heavy metal. In theory, they should be ideally suited to Bloodstock, but while they deliver a good performance here, complete with Scorpionsesque human pyramid, they've been better in the past.
Moonsorrow were the token nod to folk metal on the main stage, but as the sole representatives of that genre, they did a pretty poor job. The vocals were poor and the band were hampered by poor sound quality, which combined to make for a less than stellar performance. Iced Earth had recruited Into Eternity's Stu Block to replaced Matt Barlow when he left the band for the second time. Further, Luke Appleton from Fury UK had joined the band on bass. In fact, the band was a completely different from the last time I saw them, with the obvious exception of Schaffer. Appleton seem to fit in well, and Block is pretty much the perfect frontman for Iced Earth. He has a great voice and more to the point, he has the right voice for the band. "Watching over me" was the standout track. Death Valley Knights played a pretty good blend of heavy metal and southern rock (the latter being somewhat appropriate given their Texan guitarist). There were occasional Maiden guitar harmonies, and some glam-like vocal harmonies, neither of which did them any harm. Better than I was expecting, and including a cover of "Man on the silver mountain" was always going to go down well with me.
Sepultura were about as bad as I'd expected. If you're going to have vocals you can't understand, you need good music to go along with it. Sepultura had neither. How they ever got to be such a big name in the metal world is beyond me. Scare Tactics played modern metal with gruff vocals that still managed to stay the right side of intelligibility. However, ultimately, they were musically uninspiring and I found them to be a bit dull. Dave McPherson was a strange booking. Apparently he was the lead singer with InMe, but they're not really typical Bloodstock fodder and neither is he. He was performing a set of acoustic songs here which were OK in their own right, but were bland and out of place at a metal festival.
I've seen Pythia a few times now, and as before, they seem to have all of the right ingredients, but are lacking the right recipe to put them all together in a coherent form. No matter how much I want to like them, Emily's voice just doesn't fit the music. Dio Disciples on the other hand, have both all the right ingredients and they very much have the right recipe. They were on stage earlier than expected, having graciously agreed to swap with Watain so the latter could perform in the twilight. As before, Ripper and Jepson worked astonishgly well as a vocal pairing, and Craig Goldy was once more outstanding on guitar. If the musicians are one half of the ingredients, then the material is the other, and that is basically faultless here. There were many, many strong songs, including "The last in line", "Kill the king", "Heaven and hell" and "Rainbow in the dark". But it was "Stargazer" that really made the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Stunning.
When Like Appleton had left Fury UK to join Iced Earth, the remaining members formed a new band, Absolva, to occupy themselves until such time as Luke's Iced Earth duties left him with enough free time to continue with Fury UK. In theory, they were playing on the acoustic stage, but this was a full on electric set of no nonsense heavy metal with some strong lead guitar work. Behemoth had been forced to pull out of their slot in 2010 due to Nergal's leukemia. Fortunately he recovered well, but bizarrely they'd been promoted to headlining status this year, despite the band not having released any new music or toured since their cancelled special guest slot two years earlier. I was unconvinced that they were worthy of the headlining slot, but they certainly did their best to try and justify it, bringing with some interesting looking stage props, as befitting a headlining act. I'm not a fan of the band, though. It feels as though they want to be Dimmu Borgir, but they lack both the songs and the stage presence to do so.
|Bloodstock Open Air||Catton Hall, Derbyshire|
|Viking Skull||9th August 2012|
I'd arrived too late to catch Saturnian, so Bloodshot Dawn were the first band of the festival for me. I'd seen them at Day Of Rockening a couple of weeks earlier, and they were OK, but nothing special. Here, they were cursed with terrible sound, which didn't do them any favours. Again, the music was OK, but the vocals were poor, and this performance was weaker than they'd been a fortnight earlier. Marionette were apparently stuck in Slovenia and unable to make it, so we went straight into Viking Skull. I'd originally gone to see them years ago, knowing nothing about them, solely on the basis of the name. For a band that started out as a spoof, they're actually not too bad. This, however, was an unremarkable set of dirty rock. And Roddy didn't even set himself on fire this time.
|Day Of Rockening||The Royal Oak, Hollywater|
|Season's End||28th July 2012|
|Fall Of Idols|
|Bare Your Scars|
An all day festival at a pub in Hampshire wouldn't normally have attracted my attention, but the addition of Season's End as headliners pretty much guaranteed my attendance. I arrived too late to see the first few bands, so my first band of the day was Bloodworks. They were technically competent, particularly the lead guitars. But they were let down by some uninspired songwriting and needlessly bad death metal vocals. Sinuism continued that trend, with more vocals that sounded like the frontman was vomiting into the mic. The song structures tended more towards handcore punk than metal and the band were certainly heavy but showed little to merit further investigation. Ravenous were somewhat better, playing straightforward heavy metal. The lead singer had sort of Hetfield-style gruff vocals, which worked reasonably well. Their set included a cover of Machine Head's "Davidian".
Headstone Down were pretty poor, with unintelligible harsh vocals and weak songwriting. Nervous Endings weren't quite as bad. They played sort of groove metal, but not quite. The vocals were largely shouty, but sometimes intelligible. Not great and they over ran their timeslot significantly. From the name, I was expecting Hurtcore to be dreadful, but actually they weren't too bad, mixing clean and harsh vocals over heavy (albeit uninspiring) music. Blowgoat were enthusiastic, but that's about the only positive thing I can say about them. Shouty vocals, which sounded better from the bar than they did in front of the stage. They did include an amusing cover of AC/DC's "Dirty deeds", though.
Pravus took a somewhat unusual step of having no bass player, just two guitars, drums and vocals. They played alternative metal, with some proggy sections and both clean and growled vocals. Again, not my thing. Sumer played heavy alternative rock, which was OK, but a bit too subdued and shoegazing for my tastes. Motherload were the first band of the day to make a real impact, playing a blend of glam and sleaze rock that really worked. The band were tight, full of energy and had some great songs. They also had a banner behind the drum kit, which I always like to see. It shows they care enough about the band to try and promote themselves. They included another AC/DC cover, this time "TNT". I'll be keeping an eye out for them in the future.
Alzir played what sounded to me like a doomy brand of southern rock. They were competent and tight and put on a decent show. Unlike Flayed Disciple, who were technically competent enough, but their high speed death metal did nothing for me. I'd managed to miss Alternative Carpark when they'd played Bloodstock, so this was the first time I'd seen them. They played decent straight up heavy metal, with clean vocals and, as a local band, were clearly popular with the crowd here, drawing one of the larger audiences of the day.
Breedapart were another band with a banner, but unlike Motherload, they really didn't impress me. Their brand of modern shouty metal is just not what I want to be listening to. Bloodshot Dawn were headlining the outside stage and played technically proficient thrash. Occasionally the vocals veered a bit towards the shouty end of the spectrum, but they were mostly OK. As mentioned previously, Season's End were the reason I was here. After having the world in their hands in 2005/6, they threw it all away by fading into obscurity rather than releasing a new album and growing the band. Still, they were a great band, and it was good to see them again for their first show in 3 years. Yes, they were unsurprisingly a bit rusty in places. But it didn't matter, and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance. I hope this is a sign that we'll be seeing more of the band in the near future.