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Bloodstock Open Air (Day 1) @ Catton Park Derbyshire, UK

AMON AMARTH/Chelsea Grin/Whitechapel/Soilwork/Decapitated/Testament/Lionize
in Friday, 11 August 2017 at Catton Park
by Emily Coulter & Barney Wain


 
It's the first day of every metalhead's favourite festival and it is a very heavy day indeed, with something for the Deathcore fans, thrashers and people who enjoy drinking from Viking horns. Tonight's headliner is AMON AMARTH, who are expected to pull out a full production for their slot, which has been demanded for years. Here is a run through of some of the best picks of the first day.



CHELSEA GRIN - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 


Opening the main stage at a festival is a tough job for any band, and it is even harder for a band that has never performed there before. Despite some grumbles before the festival, CHELSEA GRIN warm up the hung-over Friday morning crowd with growling Deathcore vocals and heavy guitars.

Emily Coulter
 





 
WHITECHAPEL - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 


Back on the main stage following a crushing performance in 2013, Deathcore collective WHITECHAPEL are back with vengeance. Vocalist Phil Bozeman has gotten even better with age, for he showcases more energy and deeper growls than previous performances as the band plays a crushing set to a growing crowd. WHITECHAPEL has the pits circling and necks aching after the first few songs. The band are constantly proving how unstoppable they are, the only way for the group is ‘up’.

Emily Coulter

 




 
SOILWORK - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 




 
Following a lengthy, nine-year absence, SOILWORK take to the main stage of Bloodstock Open Air once more, with an eagerly awaiting crowd in attendance. With a discography spanning ten studio albums across twenty-two years, the band fit as much variety into a forty-five minute set as is humanly possible, opening with the title track of their latest album “The Ride Majestic” and later belting out early classics such as “Bastard Chain”.
 







 
SOILWORK managed to deliver a high quality set that catered to both new and old fans alike, all whilst maintaining a high level of energy throughout, which was clearly conveyed straight to the audience. Closing with an impressive rendition of “Stabbing the Drama” the crowd gave it their all as the band proved once again that Melodic Death Metal is truly is synonymous with ‘the Swedish sound’.

Barney Wain

 




 
DECAPITATED - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 


Needing no introduction, fresh off the release of their latest album “Anticult”, Polish Technical Death Metallers DECAPITATED take control of not just the stage, but the entire arena from the first note. Opening with new tracks “Deathvaluation” and “Kill the Cult”, fans react as though these songs have been part of the DECAPITATED back catalogue for years, entirely familiar with every song performed and giving it their all.

 




 
With crowdsurfers flying and circle pits growing from start to finish, it becomes obvious that although DECAPITATED’s recent work may differ from their early material, the reception from the audience is as strong as ever, with the band delivering both a technically brilliant and equally brutal performance that’s sure to leave every member of the audience fragile the next morning.

Barney Wain
 

 
TESTAMENT - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 



 
One of the most requested bands to play the festival, thrashers TESTAMENT grace the main stage to a roaring crowd. Vocalist Chuck Billy is the king of crowd engagement as he can pull off stellar thrash vocals whilst running all over the stage.

 



 
The sound may not be of optimal quality for the band but this doesn't pull TESTAMENT down a notch. Guitarist Alex Skolnick throws out riff after riff with classic tracks and new songs, proving why he is one of the best guitarists around.

Emily Coulter
 


LIONIZE - Sophie Lancaster Stage

If variety is the spice of life, then LIONIZE were the ghost chilli of the weekend. With vocalist/guitarist Nathan Bergman adorning a sparkling silver outfit that reflected every light that the Sophie Lancaster stage had to offer, the band laid down a stream of funk-fuelled riffs which, while differing from the majority of the rest of that day’s bands, seemed perfectly suited to Bloodstock Open Air.

Although it may have seemed that some of the crowd were initially unfamiliar with LIONIZE, it was apparent that by the end of the set the variation of Rock-infused genres that the band presented to the crowd, paired with a mix of high energy and enthusiasm, was more than enough to win over every member of the audience inside the Sophie tent, making LIONIZE a significant talking point amongst festival-goers for the rest of the weekend.

Barney Wain


AMON AMARTH - Ronnie James Dio Stage
 

Being the birthplace of AMON AMARTH’s ‘Viking Rowing’, Bloodstock and AMON AMARTH, were clearly already very well acquainted. Unable to look anywhere without seeing a drinking horn and an AMON AMARTH backpatch, those demanding an AMON AMARTH headline set at Bloodstock since their last performance in 2014 were finally about to witness their wishes come to life.
 

 
As the band opened with “The Pursuit of Vikings”, the stage filled with flames and the audience erupted accordingly, whilst drummer Jocke Wallgren sat atop a stage-wide Viking helmet looking on at the sea of people that had turned out to see the weekend’s first headliners.
 




 
Nordic pandemonium ensued, with Viking battles and executions performed onstage alongside a multitude of Viking Melodic Death Metal anthems in the likes of “Father of the Wolf” and “Guardians of Asguard”. As vocalist Johan Hegg emerged from the shadows of the stage, Thor’s hammer in hand, every member of the audience knew what time it was, as the band stormed into a no-holds-barred performance of “Twilight of the Thundergod”, with Hegg sending Thor’s hammer crashing down and releasing a storm of pyrotechnics, setting the bar incredibly high for the rest of the weekend’s headline sets.
 




 
With the screams of Johan Hegg echoing far into the distance, AMON AMARTH released the last of their pyro, giving the Ronnie James Dio stage a true Viking burial, after unquestionably slaying their first Bloodstock Open Air headline set.

Barney Wain
 
 
 

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Edited 18 November 2017
 

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