So, the final day arrives and the amount of Slayer shirts seen around the site would indicate that, for all their appearances at Download and Sonisphere, Bloodstock is their rightful home and this is their crowd.
Before that though there is another day of metal and mayhem ahead of us with Irish thrashers Gama Bomb kicking things off. “We’re going to play a bunch of songs that all sound the same!” they joke but, in all seriousness, they’re not far off the mark with their drunken thrashing getting the first crowd surfers of the day over the barrier. Sacred Mother Tongue on the other hand suffer from performing to a slightly less enthusiastic crowd but put in a set that will certainly have won them over a few more punters alongside the faithful who have battled up to the barrier for their set.
It all gets a bit heavy now as US deathcore mob Whitechapel take to the stage and smash through their set with the brutality that you’d expect from the American outfit. One of the few “modern” heavy bands on the bill, Whitechapel are like a sledgehammer to the more traditional element of the Bloodstock crowd who greet the technical fury like a long-lost friend. Following that onslaught Rich Ward, Chris Jericho and the rest of Fozzy bring a touch of glamour to Bloodstock even dragging Motorhead legend Phil Campbell out for a few songs much to the appreciation of the Bloodstock faithful.
Over on the Sophie Lancaster stage, technical difficulties bring a halt to the Gormathon set however, when business resumes, it’s obvious to see how they managed to blow the power. Breed 77 on the other hand have no such problems with this familiar face on the UK circuit putting in another high-energy performance and, with smiles on their faces are still clearly enjoying every moment they’re on stage. There is no smiling though for the death metal tank that is Belfagor who rattle through their set with little fuss on a stage littered with goats heads.
Back on the main stage Amorphis bring a little folk-metal to proceedings with a highly enjoyable slot that sits nicely on their mid-afternoon position however, the remainder of the day is handed over to the full fury of the metal hard hitters starting with Exodus who tear up the main stage giving everyone a proper lesson in violence. DevilDriver follow that and, with their crushing new album about to drop, it’s time for Dez Fafara to show Bloodstock what a treat they’re in for. Blasting through their set, Fafara and his bandmates headbang their way through the likes of “Dead To Rights” causing all sorts of metal thrashing carnage in the mosh pit as the finishing line is almost in sight for Bloodstock 2013.
With two of the big four closing up the weekend, thrash institution Anthrax hit the stage with a blistering rendition of “Caught In A Mosh” and from there on in, the skater/speed metal legends deliver classic after classic after classic. Okay, so the line-up might not be the ‘thrax line-up we all know and love but how can you argue with a set littered with gems like “NFL”, “I Am The Law” and “Antisocial”? On the subject of institutions local shitheads Wolfsbane work their drunken magic to a small but appreciative local crowd however there are times when you watch Blaze Bayley flailing around the stage and wonder if this is the same Blaze Bayley that fronted heavy metal legends Iron Maiden?
Obviously the rest of the night belonged to one band but before we discuss Slayer, hats off to Dying Fetus for going head to head with the band as they closed the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Not a task for the faint of heart especially when Slayer are showing the kind of form they showed tonight. Raging through “World Painted Blood”, “Disciple” and “War Ensemble”, this is Slayer at their finest. Guitarist Gary Holt has made the guitarist position his own while Tom Araya and Kerry King simply go about their business like only Slayer can.
“Dead Skin Mask”, “Mandatory Suicide”, “Post Mortem”, “Raining Blood” – the classics just keep raining down on a crowd who are lapping up every minute of it. A huge roar goes up as a Hanneman backdrop unfolds and, while the band have made very little reference to their fallen brother throughout the set, this moment and the opening notes of “South Of Heaven” say everything that needs to be said.
Unsurprisingly a raging “Angel of Death” brings the night and the weekend to a thunderous climax and, with the previous announcement that Emperor would be one of the headliners for the 2014 Bloodstock, thousands of metal fans file out into the night having enjoyed a weekend of the finest heavy music the scene has to offer. See you next year!
Check out Slayer playing a bunch of songs live