Bloodstock Open Air // The Ronnie James Dio Stage // Main Stage // Friday August 11th // Pt.3

As we hit the last three bands of the day, it’s time for Heaven Shall Burn to hit the stage. The German Extreme Metal band are the first of the day to have a production with huge lighting rigs taking over the back of the stage. As the lights flash and flicker in time with the frantic riffs and beats, it’s an impressive sight to see although I can only think how much bigger it would have been had it been just a touch darker however for once we have wonderful sunshine so we shouldn’t knock it. Still, for their first UK festival performance, these guys are bringing out all the tricks with pyro at both the front and back of the stage. As for the band themselves, frontman Marcus Bischoff seems to barely stop moving as he puts his all into the performance and makes the most of the space on the stage. By the fourth song, he’s up on the front speakers and interacting with the crowd between singing. It’s during this that he also gets a circle pit going with a ‘Yoshi’ character right in the middle who had previously been crowd surfing so I think it’s safe to say that these guys appeal to all kinds of characters! The rest of the band holds the line on stage as hair flies back and forth. In terms of kicking off the last chapter of the day, these guys have certainly set the bar high.



With a huge crowd gathered in the main arena and a smoke-filled main stage, it must mean it’s time for In Flames. As excitement builds during their intro track, the crowd erupts when the band hits the stage. Vocalist Anders Fridén explodes right from the start with an incredible amount of energy setting the tone for the rest of the performance. His alternating clean and guttural vocals translate perfectly from record to live performance as his face reflects his passion. Between songs, he interacts with the crowd, even calling out to someone heard playing the trumpet to crowd surf down to the front and join the band on stage. The newly named ‘Pirate Trumpet Guy’ remains on the stage during “Behind Space” with incredible confidence while the rest of the crowd continue to crowd surf and open a circle pit. Back to the band themselves and founding guitarist Björn Gelotte, is impressive to watch as he plays both the melodic and driving riffs that have always made this band stand out on their own. The whole band is putting on the performance of their lives and the crowd are loving every second of it as shoes fly from the middle of the crowd to the raised horns and headbanging. There’s no standing back to enjoy it though as Fridén makes sure that everyone from the front to the back gets involved. As the night draws in, it’s been a hell of a ride with In Flames who have raised the energy levels ready for the headlining act.



As soon as the last set finishes, the crowd remains in place as the first announcement for next year’s festival is released on the screens. It’s always one of my favourite moments being in the middle of the excitement and anticipation for what’s to come the following year. As the whole crowd counted down to the announcement it’s one of those moments you are glad to be a part of. With a whole host of amazing bands announced, the biggest cheers rang for the return of The Night Flight Orchestra and Malevolence along with the announcements for Clutch and Flogging Molly. The biggest out of them all of course came for the 2 headlining acts with alumni Amon Amarthe and new to the stage, Architects. It’s looking like a strong line up for next year already but we’ve still got plenty more to come over the next few days.

We’ve waited all day, watched a whole host of metal but it’s finally time for our Friday headliner, Killswitch Engage! With everyone gathered in front of the main stage, the whole crowd erupts as the intro to ‘My Curse” plays and the band head straight into possibly their most well known track. It’s easily the biggest singalong so far and an incredible start to the set as flames shoot from the stage. The energy coming from the band charges the whole arena with a new wave of electricity and excitement for the rest of the show. With frontman Jesse Leach’s distinct vocals ringing aloud as he bounds about the stage to hits such as “Reckoning” he’s enthralling to watch. Between songs, the guys bring even more fun to the night as they joke with the crowd about the weekend, clearly glad to be back and performing. The set itself is the perfect festival compilation of hit after hit with “The Arms of Sorrow”, “In Due Time”, “The Signal Fire” and “Hate by Design”. All of this is laced with a healthy dose of pyro which the band joke is due to them not havimg had it before so they were playing as many songs as they could to do with fire! Their seemingly never-ending energy makes it a killer headline performance. As we unfortunately draw to a close though, there’s time for some last big hits with “The End of Heartache” and “My Last Serenade”.

To truly end the set though their impressive version of “Holy Diver” is only fitting given its the Ronnie James Dio Stage with confetti cannons and of course as many flames as they can possibly fit in. Closing the night with a bang, it’s been an amazing first day and we’re raring to go for day 2 tomorrow.

Photography: Mark Ellis

Review: Emmie Ellis