Archive for August, 2009


Bloodstock Open Air – 2009

August 21, 2009

2009, and the festival season is drawing to the end. With quite “meh” inducing line ups across the board, Bloodstock Open Air is standing out at the moment as having both an eclectic and strong line-up (Europe-Cradle-Carcass…..wat!?), that should have appealed to metal fans pretty much across the whole board. Maybe some more hardcore type bands wouldn’t have gone amiss, but I guess that would be in opposition to the festivals stance as being a “true” metal festival. Still, there was a huge range of bands here, with plenty going on to ensure that there was never a dull moment. Definitely one of the best line ups this summer.

Bloodstock has continued to grow considerably year upon year, and it’s definitely nothing like the festival it was back in its inception in 2005. However, more people, more size, and bigger bands has bought new trouble and obstacles for the festival. Not only was there an epidemic of theft in the campsites, with many people having reported money being stolen from inside their very tents while they slept, and the possibility of an organized “raid” on the sites by an outside group who were able to scale the security and make it in being raised, but there was also the very concerning event of a band being targeted by some serious projectiles. Bottle throwings are pretty much accepted at festivals now, but this was an everlasting gobstopper, which, despite sounding pretty hilarious as a missile, was actually very heavy, and could have potentially seriously injured someone.

The organizers have their work cut out and some serious security issues to address, before the reputation of the festival takes a serious fall. After all that the festival has gone through, it would be a shame for it to have to suffer this.

Anyway, enough of the gloom, the Headbang team, and many other people we know who were there, had a fantastic time, and so with no further ado, here is the overview of the festival and most importantly, the heavy f***ing metal.

Kicking off the festival for us, Blitzkrieg are the quintessential dad band. Pretty generic everything really, apart from their front man that is. Unfortunately in this case that’s not a good thing, the singer ruined for me what was a perfectly adequate band musically, with his unusual moshing and frankly disturbing kneeslaps I couldn’t help but feel I was watching the very personification of Peter Kay’s Uncle Knobhead up on stage. I swiftly left and got a beer. (5/10)

I’ve seen Insomnium before, so I’m aware they can definitely do much better than this. Maybe it was the sterile sound and poor levelling, maybe the sound guys hadn’t quite calibrated everything; it was still a pretty sub par performance. The Finns just lacked something. One guitar way louder than the other, vocals too high in the mix, pretty untight performance. Lacklustre. (4/10)

Something you can always rely on to get the party started anywhere, is Municipal Waste. The nu-thrashers kick the afternoon something fierce, with pits, crowd surfing, walls of death and all kinds of fun carnage. Token Municipal Waste fans as always make an appearance with beach inflatables to surf the waves upon waves of humans, adding to the flesh landfill. Highlight of the set was Tony Foresta calling for the crowd to break the world record for crowd surfers in one song, resulting in something that looked like the helms deep scene from Lord Of the Rings, with something like 400 odd crowd surfers in one song. (8/10)

Despite being a self-admitted ‘rock band not metal band’ Alternative Carpark rip up the B.O.A unsigned stage. If you haven’t seen these guys yet…you’re missing out! (8/10)

For a first UK show in 20 years you’d expect Sodom to have longer than 45 minutes…but then again this a UK festival…The band however overlook this small detail and show us what we’ve missed. Considering that a large amount of the audience were either still in nappies or swimming around as little sperm the last time Sodom set foot on UK soil. A common ‘patch favorite’ the band leave us all wanting more and hoping they don’t wait another two decades. Opening with “Napalm in the Morning” to rapturous applause, the band thrashed though what felt like a very well thought out and inclusive set. Even bass failure couldn’t stop them, Tom Angelripper switching mid song at the beginning of the set, to another bass with the same pictured ridiculous wide strap. While Municipal Waste may have had youth and energy, Sodom have experience and wisdom (whatever that means in thrash metal), and frankly better written songs to choose from. Felt special man! (9/10)

The Sophie Lancaster stage played host to the smallest number of acts but also some of the best performances. Young brit metallers Malefice are fully on top of their game, within 30 seconds of opener ‘The Midas Effect’ the tent is already packed to the brim. Roll on October… (8/10)
Arch Enemy surprised me with their performance this year, having seen them play a mediocre set in 2007 I was questioning whether I should bother wasting my carcass energy watching them, I was glad I did though. They put on a belting performance, with frontwoman Angela Gossow holding the audience in the palm of her hand (I heard the fat spotty guy next to me whisper ‘I’d do her’ to his similarly greasy friend-I though ‘you’d probably do Michael Ammott if he was covered in whipped cream tubsy’), but that’s another story. All in all a belting performance, and for me put Carcass into the shade a little.(10/10)

As a long time Carcass fan, they could probably take to the stage and play a set of Proclaimers covers and I’d still give them a 10 and say it’s the best I’ve seen them in the last couple of years. They were definitely as good as all the other shows they played since reforming, albeit with a more gory slideshow this time, which made me giggle with glee. Deformed penises, autopsies, and gore aplenty. Jeff Walker and his token cynicism makes for a brilliant frontman, and seems pretty down to earth for someone who spent the best part of a decade stealing medical references from text books and writing about bodily functions that seem nasty even when you have no idea what the hell they’re describing. All the classics were there, “Rotten to the Gore”, “Corporeal Jigsore Quandary”, “Reek of Putrefaction” et al, and as always, Ken Owen made an appearance to play a drum solo. Its nice to see that the solo gets better each time I see them, showing progress in his recovery from the 1999 brain haemorrhage he suffered. He even played a blast beat, which was probably about on par with the quality of drums on an early Morbid Angel demo. After the set they projected a film of a female body being cut open to classical music. (10/10)

Seeming like a self-admitting Anvil tribute act (they all wore Anvil shirts for one) Wolf are enjoyable but well just enjoyable really. There’s not much more to say. (6/10)

The Haunted were a lovely wake up call on a bright and breezy Saturday afternoon, after a brew and a bacon butty we wandered down to catch a very aggressive set which left all the crowd with their previous nights hangovers forgotten and there forthcoming drunkenness eagerly anticipated. The only downer for me was that some knobhead stood next to me had made it his business to personally inform all 10,000 BOA festival goers that he owned the same guitar head as the two guitarists from the Haunted. It wouldn’t have been so bad were it not that it was HB’s own Eyelicker! (8/10)

It may sound conceited to say that Entombed are unappreciated..but its true. Literally hundreds of band’s owe their existence to the likes of these guys and the music they created in the latter end of the 80’s. (8/10)

Candlemass even if they are ‘slow dad metal’ are superb. Seamlessly mixing old with new the doom metal veterans make even a beautiful day sound gloomy and melancholic. (8/10)

On the way back to the tent, I was walking past the unsigned stage and heard some sick drumming. Being one to always try new things, I popped in to witness Sanctorum. They play a kind of extreme thrash metal, with wicked technicality. Every member of the band held his own incredibly well, most notably the bassist with his 7 string behemoth of an instrument. A thoroughly enjoyable set, check them out! (7/10)

With a reputation for hit and miss live performances its difficult to know what to expect from German thrash overlords Kreator however we must have caught Mike and co on a good day. Tearing through ‘Hordes Of Chaos’, ‘Pleasure To Kill’ and ‘Flag Of Hate’ its thrash metal heaven. (9/10)

I’d been waiting to see Apocalyptica for a long time. Having fully got over the ‘novelty act’ these Finnish cellists put a performance that makes you think they’re headlining. Mixing covers (‘Refuse/ Resist’, ‘Whever I May Roam’ the list goes on) with some stunning original material it’s a honour to watch. Set highlights? The ‘One’ solo played note for note on cello and the band’s own adaption of ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’. (10/10)

I’ve played with Severed Heaven before, so had to check them out. Glad to see that the girls can still kick it with their brand of gothic death metal, full of subtle melodies and harmonies. I think there may have even been a couple of sly breakdowns in there too. Last band of the day on the stage, and they played like they were headlining! (8/10)

The Rotted’s position as a favored “cult” band, in the English extreme metal scene seems to be proven by the huge crowd that packs into the humble Sophie Lancaster stage. From the beginning they slay the place with insanely fast blastbeats and Ben McCrow’s harsh, almost punk like vocals. The band are as animated as the crowd, and doesn’t let anyone rest for a second. Beginning with “Nothin’ but a Nosebleed”, possibly the best song ever for smashing into a crowd, and throwing in a Gorerotted classic “Only Tools and Corpses”, everyone leaves having had several shades of shit beat out of them, and with huge smiles. (10/10)

The apprehension for Cradle Of Filth was…tense…to say the least. Largely shunned by the wider “scene”, as being too mainstream/not Kvlt enough or whatever myriad of reasons they have, I was hoping that the set would play out without incidence. Unfortunately, this was not so, as you’ve probably heard by now, some knobead took out one of their guitarists with an everlasting gobstopper, another victory for metalhead bigotry and puritania. In the 40 or so minutes before this cutting their set short however, they put on a surprisingly solid set. I’ve heard that they are terrible live, so found what I did see quite a pleasant surprise. Alright levelling, Dani’s vocals sounded pretty good, and some tight drumming. Just a big shame about the crowd of knobeads! Even before the gobstopper there were plenty of bottles, but the band played on and didn’t seem rankled in the slightest. “If you’re going to throw bottles, at least make sure they’re full” Could have been a really good set. (5/10)

After a surprisingly good nights sleep in the back of my van I was up eagerly anticipating seeing Sabaton for the first time since Wacken 08, ( a performance incidentally, of which I remember very little), despite the one guy who was severely packed into his Sabaton ‘costume’ I still enjoyed being in the crowd for a band that is one of the few power metal bands I enjoy. And boy did they put on a great show, for me half hour was a disgrace and the fact that their signing session went on for well over 45 minutes after it was scheduled to stop galvanises my view. They played all the classics and some of their best off the brilliant ‘Art of War’ and whilst I loved the show it was soured a bit when I found out that they were to be touring the UK beneath Dragonforce later in the year, aside from that shutout they were brilliant. (10/10)

Equilibrium received a very warm welcome for their first ever UK show, with plenty of fans turning out to show the Germans some love. This isn’t a massive surprise, considering the Bloodstock demograph’s love of folk metal, but they milked it well to play an awesome show. (8/10)

It’s true that Turisas can certainly work a crowd like putty but with what seems like a self-inflicted ‘encore’ you’re left with a sour taste that the band have gotten too big for their (fur skin) boots. (7/10)

With a somewhat flat sound and a slightly apathetic audience Anterior struggle, fantastic on record, their eclectic mix of influences doesn’t quite cut it with the B.O.A crowd. (6/10)

The last band I gave a balls about was Amon Amarth who put on a typically solid tight performance which had the whole crowd bouncing, to be frank I’ve seen these lads more times than I’ve changed my socks, (at the last count it was five) and they do seem to improve with every wash, as it were. Very enjoyable and well received and singer Johan Hegg somehow manages to look quite hard considering he is a fat bloke in a tight black tanktop. (9/10)

It was a shame that there was practically no one in the Sophie Lancaster stage to witness Darkness Dynamite, a practically unknown over here French band who play a kind of rocky deathcore, that refuses to be pigeonholed. The band however didn’t seem to really care about the lack of people though, and played a great energetic set, for the few who were there to lap up as their own little secret. Detuned, tight and heavy, this band deserves to be bigger than this, French metal is grossly under represented! (9/10)

Quite why black metal legends Satyricon are playing now isn’t clear, but that doesn’t matter, what does matter is that Saytr and Frost are back with a new band, a new(ish) album, and a crowd who’ve certainly missed them. A mere hour set doesn’t do them justice. (9/10)

Many eyebrows were raised (and have remained so) at the billing of Europe as festival headliners. Nevertheless the band use their 90 minutes well and by the time it gets round to playing that song (yes you know the one I mean) the crowd go wild. As a LED lightboard declares that its ‘About f**king time!’ we retire to our tents with the sound of classic rock still ringing in our ears. (8/10)

As well as the music, there were plenty of other great things on display. Comedians, a set by the infamous “fuel girls”, who we last saw breathing fire at Motorhead’s Wacken set, a motorbike being driven round the inside of a metal ball courtesy of monster energy drinks, as well as a pleasant enough chippie, a shisha café, and everyone’s favorite brew stop, Mr Tea.

Despite being ‘bigger than ever’ this year Bloodstock is still relatively small for the band’s it attracts and it never ceases to amaze that you can turn up and buy tickets on the door…still its everyone who didn’t go’s loss! Throughout the weekend band’s declared B.O.A to be a ‘true f**king metal festival, non of that fashion bulls**t’ *cough*Download*cough*. the metal faithful remain true. So thanks it is to the press guys, the crew, the bands and course…the one and only…hero of the weekend…MR TEA!

James Hodgeson, Eyelicker and Mr Bogle

Thanks also to John Wilson and Alicia Rovira-Parker

Special thanks as well to Adam Sagir of the Noise Cartel, for hitting us up with the press passes, and the opportunities to hang out with members of The Rotted, Municipal Waste and The Haunted, as well as the interview with Equilibrium!


Wacken Open Air 2009

August 10, 2009

The following may appear to be a somewhat protracted and ill thought out review, and in many ways it is, but after minutes of deliberation we decided that the best way for you to see if Wacken is for you is to see as many different opinions as possible on it, so here are four peoples seperate reviews of Wacken all mashed into one, and much like peas, whilst seperate reviews are nice on there own, they’re far superior when they’re mushy. I know, my imaginitive literary skills are extraordinary.

Der W

So this was some pretty old German band that me, Harry and Paul caught while harry was trying to get a wacken t shirt and buy me a towel at the official merch stand. Germans seem to know and love them, but if like me you aren’t fortunate enough to have Prussian blood in your veins, they are most likely completely alien to you. Now, I mensioned that they’re old, however they don’t actually sound that dated. Although the start was rather shaky, and there was some pretty obvious last minute level checking going on, once they got going they churned out some pretty damn good rock. Catchy vocals, nice interesting guitar work, energetic performance….these guys would have probably been huge if they were English or American. Plus the decent song writing makes it sound like it could have come from anytime in the past few decades. Solid Stuff. 7/10


I checked this band out because I was in the area, buying a kebab (if there is any reason to go to Wacken, it’s the donner kebabs there. Proper well mixed, good amount of meat and salad, and the thick bread that you can hold the whole thing with and it won’t soak through or break, its good bread and all!). I also feel the need to check out every Asian band I can when I’m at a festival…don’t ask why, I guess I’m a closet weaboo. Anyway, after I finished the kebab, I found the party stage with these feminine Asian guys playing music that was like a heavyer, more hardcore Bullet For My Valentine. They were pretty good to be honest, I’m just glad they were slightly out of the way on the party stage, or some of the more puritanical metalheads present may have bottled them for being so feminine and metalcore or emo or whatever. The singer was proper camp too. They did have some pretty extreme fringes going on. The crowd of people there though loved them, and after their set they even got quite a large chant of “Zu Gabel”, the german encore of the moment. Very tightly played, with some decent instrumental work. The bassist was sick too, and played an awesome 6-string, as well as being the least feminine of the bunch (not saying much I know). 8/10

Walls of Jericho

First hardcore styled band of the festival was always going to be good. From pretty much the get go, Walls was a melee of pits, hardcore dancing and walls of death, and I’m proud to say I was a part of all of these. Until you’ve seen Walls live, you can’t really appreciate what a beast singer Candace Kucsulain really is. With strong arms to put most male frontmen to shame, and a devastating scream, she was probably the best frontperson of the festival. And she started a wicked if not slightly questionable chant of “Fuck!, Fuck!, Fuck!” by the end of which I was pretty much in love with her. The sound was perhaps a little muddy, and quite a lot of subtleties were most likely lost, but at least it worked really well on the breakdowns. And some good breakdowns seemed to be what most people were looking forward to. They played lots of new material too, which all went down a treat. 9/10

Bullet For My Valentine

I was kind of apprehensive about this, as I knew a lot of people were resentful of them being here, them being an “Emo” band or whatever, but watching them you would never have guessed the stigma attached to them. They played a really tight set, with one of the best sounds of the whole festival, and got an incredible reaction, right back to the beer trucks. “Tears don’t fall” was probably the best song, being a guilty pleasure of me and almost everyone I know. It was a weird feeling being there with thousands of people watching a song we all secretly loved but are normally too ashamed to admit, being able to finally let rip. Kind of like a thousand people simultaneously coming out of the closet together. In many ways, seeing Bullet for my Valentine live was the closest I will ever get to participating in a gay pride parade. And having them playing at a festival that’s normally stringently traditionalist only emphasized the feeling. 9/10


For a first time seeing them, it was enjoyable whether or not I will bother next time…still they know how to rock and they know how to roll. A band still worthy of their status. [8/10]

In Flames

Flanked by a stunning light and pyro display the Swedes can always be relied on for a great performance. No great setlist surprises but solid as a rock and tight as a knot. [7/10]


Testament played a very tight, well eq’ed, energetic set, with all the classics and a nice cross section through their career, and all was good. However, I feel that the biggest point of the set was the curious spectacle of Chuck Billy, now bloated to the size of a full grown bull manatee, sporting for some odd reason half a mic stand, which he clutched like a chubby RPG player would a staff of warding or something. And if the spectacle of a large adult male with long graying hair and a not fully put together mic stand wasn’t odd enough, whenever not singing, he would play said half stand like it was a guitar, with a scary degree of accuracy to the actual guitar. Sometimes you would confuse him with one of the 2 real guitarists. So I spent most of the set curiously squinting at Chuck, or moshing my balls off. 8/10

Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH always seem to have a terrible live sound, and this gig was no exception. Throughout the whole set you could barely pick out a single riff, just mush, interspersed with breakdowns. The best part of the gig was no doubt the crowd, who kept the spirit high through the whole set, and even engineered a wall of death in the cramped (piss) W.E.T (through) stage. The crowd made this one, the band I have to admit, even though I would call myself a fan, kind of phoned this one in. 6/10

Heaven Shall Burn

Possibly the best intro to a set was heaven shall burn, milking the gentle pre recorded intro before destroying everything. The biggest circle pit of the festival engulfed all. The sound was kind of raw, and they weren’t the tightest band on display, but in terms of raw brutality they gave most a run for their money. 8/10


Go against a cloud of doubt and show us all that they truly deserve their mainstage slot. [8/10]

Lacuna Coil

Played an impressive set, mixing old with new and even gave us a taster of some new material. Closing with their always good Depeche Mode cover. Superb. [7/10]

Machine Head

I’m pretty sure everyone agreed that Machine Head was the best band of the festival. Opening with Imperium, possibly one of the best live songs I’ve ever seen, set the bar for the rest of the night. I’m pretty lucky that my New Era cap stayed on through the whole set, and even now it feels slightly sweat drenched. This was however an empty victory, as Jim had earlier dropped it in Ravioli juice. They played an even cross section through their catalogue, and even a few surprises I thought they wouldn’t do live, like the Burning Red, and 9 minute epic Halo from The Blackening. The energy pretty much never abated, and for me, it was a perfect ending to the festival. One of the best live bands I’ve seen. 10/10

Axel Rudi Pell

I was with relief that I saw Axel Rudi Pell take the stage, seeing as they’ve cancelled the last 2 wackens in a row I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see them here, but I did and they were very enjoyable. They were a break from the norm and, whilst playing to a surprisingly low crowd turnout, still got a great reaction. The man himself is a great guitarist and the musicians he’s surrounded himself with are all equally good, especially singer Johnny Gioeli and it was a fun energetic set combining old songs with new (not that there’s ever been any real difference.) 8/10

Heaven and Hell

The stage went red, the band sauntered on with confidence and energy, Dio burst onto the stage with precision and vigour! ‘Mob Rules’ kicked in and from there it was a ‘best of’ Dio’s Sabbath set. Every song from the bands title track all the way to the awesome new ‘Bible Black’ and the exceptionally powerful ‘I’! This band had a presence that only very few bands over the weekend had, it was a well performed set with a basic stage set that suited the band and feel very well, although I couldn’t help but wish the devil beast with multiple tongues would have been made as a stage set rather than just a video. Overall, one of my favs of the weekend – 10/10


Wow. Superb set, fantastically performed by the Queen of metal. Some amazing tracks, all well preformed and with a brilliant stage set, with ‘Night Of The Warlock’ stealing the show with the amazing moving stage set of the Warlock with its red eyes and huge hands looming over the stage. Doro was obviously happy to be there, the song list was a great mix of old and new material with Herzblut generating great emotion, this was true Doro, much better than she had been at the beginning of the weekend singing the weirdly annoying ‘We Are The Metalheads’ Wacken theme song, she sang ‘We Are’, the real song, they even made a mistake and put the lyrics for ‘We Are The Metalheads’ on the screen, but the crowd didn’t sing it, it was very funny and fitting, We Are is much better! Another of my favourite sets – 9.5/10


Surprising, I got hammered in a pit, for HF, a real big frigging pit that just burst out during the second song, and again during ‘Glory To The Brave’, No I am not joking, during that quite track, it was amazing, mind bogging and intense… I have been told that from a distance it was not great as sets go, but from up close and in pits and the massive crush at the front it was fantastic, topped the amazing ‘Hearts On Fire’. It was a fantastic experience where I bust my lip, and one that I will not forget in a hurry. I plan to catch them next time they play, just to see if this atmosphere could be rekindled – 8/10


AC/DC can be so easily referenced, but actually I will avoid it. The band played heartily, great stage presence and a fantastic power with a great vocalist and guitarist. The obvious tracks of note were ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ and ‘Running Wild’ both of which were fantastic. The crowd were very into their energetic antics, like the guitarist climbing the stage rig and hanging off playing the guitar, it was superb to enjoy the set. – 9/10


Despite a rather disappointing appearance at Hammerfest these brits celebrate their 30th anniversary in style. Seeming genuinely stunned Biff accepts an award and the band even throw a rarely heard ‘Crusader’ for good measure.[8/10]

Running Wild

You’d think when its your ‘Last Show Forever’ you’d throw a few quid at it surely…a largely inaccessible show to the non-fans and even those who know the music felt let down. A somewhat mediocre end.[5/10]


With music that is almost unbearable to listen to outside of the show GWAR do what they do best, mock politicians and celebrities, shoot various body fluids everywhere and are just downright funny.[7/10]


Quite why Cathedral are billed at half 3 in the afternoon on the massive stage is an utter mystery. Much better suited to the intimate, dark environment its just a bit of a let down. Poor billing, poor setting and sadly a pretty poor show. [4/10]

Grand Magus

Never a letdown live, these guys were simply fantastic, powerful songs, searing vocals and a sound that is far heavier than anything you could expect 3 musicians to create. [9/10]


I am going to make this simple, I was looking forward to them alot as I have wanted to see them for ages… Not the worst band ever technically but for me personally: they sucked, truly boring and disappointing – 2/10

Bon Scott

What can really be said, they were a great AC/DC tribute act, played some great songs very well for a tribute act. The tent was packed full for the first night, It was a squeeze to get in but worth the effort. Very fun but to be honest it was a little pale in comparison to AC/DC a few months before. Can’t beat ‘Highway’ or ‘Hell’s Bells’ or ‘Back In Black’, great stuff – 7/10

Baz’s Verdict – In all the festival was superb, the atmosphere was great however my camp had too many early sleepers for my liking, but such is life, would have loved not to get a migraine for Saxon as they sounded amazing from the site, but alas, can’t get everything you want. Loved the antics of killing an inflatable Simpson’s sofa by diving off a van onto it, yeah, some being more naked in the act than others. Yeah, The leaning tower of gazebo. Yeah, The weird drunk German pissing on the van while I stood there dumb-founded calling him a douche. Yeah, The annoying bastards in the next camp repeating the same absolute shite all over and again. Yeah, Certain odd situations with obsessive 14 year old German girls. Yeah, The Yorkshire bastards in the camp next door with their drinking dickery and having a laugh. Yeah, Telling women that their job was Anal, Swallowing loads and shutting up, apparently it says so in the Bible! Overall it, yeah, all added to the amazing experience that was the, yeah, 20th Anniversary of Wacken!

Mr Bogle’s Verdict-The only real disappo int of the weekend was missing the mighty Amon Amarth. A stage slot of 2am and a swollen foot on my part prevented me from seeing them

Eyelicker’s Verdict – I wasn’t particularly keen on the line up this year at first, due to there being, in my humble opinion, too much classic rock and unknown German bands. Many complained that because they sold out almost straight away they didn’t bother getting a decent line up, and this may possibly be true. There were other disasters as well, such as Jim getting tomato sauce form a Ravioli tin on my New Era cap, and none of my CDs or MP3 player working in Jims van, rendering us without brokeNCYDE or Attack Attack! For a week. Nevertheless, a great time was still had by all, and it was nice for the whole headbang team to finally do something together for the first time. We made friends, got f***ed up, and got crunk! Bloodstock has its work cut out!