It’s day two of Bloodstock 2015 and those that have managed to drag themselves out of their (possibly puke soaked) tents are out for another day of full on metal and debauched fun in the now blistering sun.
Considering that it’s still only some ungodly early hour in the morning, there’s a fair few out to greet Pist  as they go about easing into the day with some fine stoner grooves. If that hadn’t quite helped shake off those hangovers though, sweating them out in the pits that UK old school thrashers Anihilated  manage to whip up with their twin guitar attack would have certainly done the trick, and then some.
1349. Pic: Kevin Nixon
While the bright blue skies and roasting sun above the Ronnie James Dio stage may not exactly be the most ideal situation to witness the black metal of 1349 , the Norwegians still manage to conjure the Northern wastes as Ravn spits out the likes of Postmortem and Atomic Chapel amid a flurry of blastbeats. As a matter of point, does anyone know what the sun protection factor corpsepaint is?
Korpiklaani. Pic: Kevin Nixon
On the other hand, Korpiklaani  feels almost tailor made for an afternoon with weather like this. With barely a cloud in the sky, and the beer in full flow, the Finns put on what proves to be an infectiously fun 45 minutes of folk metal stomp that sees dancing aplenty among gathered mass.
Much like South America, the socially harsh environments of South East Asia have a a tendency to produce bands whose dedication to the metal cause can make even the most familiar of subgenres sound like a revelation, and in the Sophie Lancaster stage Indonesia’s Jasad  are doing just that. Turning death/grind into a super-precise and irresistibly engaging aural battery, their subtle but effective tempo changes lay down grooves that has everyone in the tent losing their shit while their frontman’s paint-melting vocals have a force of purpose that reach far beyond the norm into a universal and crowd-uniting sense of urgency.
Napalm Death. Pic: Kevin Nixon
As if anyone really needed reminding, but grindcore legends Napalm Death  prove once again why after some thirty-odd years in the business they are still one of the most important exponents of extreme music out there. It’s testament to just how relevant they still are that the place goes equally as apeshit for classics such as When All Is Said And Done, Scum and Suffer The Children as they do for new tracks the likes of Smash A Single Digit and Cesspits. Perhaps more than that though, it’s the genuine integrity of the Brummies and their message that still makes them one of the most special bands the world of metal has seen.
It’s been 25 years since Dark Angel  last hit British soil, and the US thrashers certainly don’t seem to want to waste a moment of their return as they hit the stage. ‘We’re here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and we’re all out of bubblegum’, exclaims frontman Ron Rinehart as he dedicates the pit bothering The Burning Of Sodom to the late Rowdy Roddy Piper, and he’s certainly true to his word as they go about stirring up some hefty circle pits and inciting a stream of bodies over the barrier throughout what is a pretty faultless display of classic thrash anthems.
Burgerkill. Pic: Kevin Nixon
Given that Death DTA are currently paying homage to the late great Chuck Schuldiner over on the Ronnie James Dio stage, it is heartening to see that so many have turned out to greet Hammer’s Metal As Fuck award winners Burgerkill , who have travelled from Indonesia for their first performance on British soil. The five-piece are obviously as psyched to be here as everyone is to see them, and they’re all ear to ear grins as they smash out their groove laden thrash to great effect. If this set once again proves anything, it’s that metal is alive and well - and it’s everywhere!
Opeth. Pic: Kevin Nixon
There are a few magical moments that happen from time to time in life, and watching a mesmerising Opeth  in the open air as the sun slowly dips over the horizon radiating golden glow has to be one of them. Talk between songs is kept to a minimum, Mikael Akerfeldt and co preferring to let their music do the talking, and as the likes of The Devil’s Orchard ring out perfectly across Catton Park, it’s reiterated once again just what an important band this is.
Within Temptation. Pic: Kevin Nixon
It’s been ten years since Within Temptation  first headlined Bloodstock, back when it was an indoor event. Their return is every bit what you would expect from a headline show as Sharon den Adel leads the band through a faultless display of massive symphonic melodic metal anthems drawn from across the band’s career. The likes of Our Solemn Hour and Stand My Ground are performed by a band that are at the top of their game, den Adel in particular sounding better than ever - and not even an onstage fault that kills the sound dead three times in a row can spoil the atmosphere. If anything, it warms the packed out main stage to the Dutch metallers even more as Covered By Roses and Mother Earth bring things to a rousing close.
Fleshgod Apocalypse. Pic: Kevin Nixon
It’s a much darker affair that sees Fleshgod Apocalypse  headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage to close out day two of the festival. The Italians have really come into their own in recent times, and boosted by a live operatic backing provided by Veronica Bordaccini tonight, their brand of technical, symphonic blackened metal is blasted out with a precision ferocity and dark beauty that all bears witness to a band on top form.