The heavens opened on Sunday and with torrential rain and high winds predicted to last the rest of the day, it looked like Bloodstock was in danger of ended up a bit of a wash out. Still, that didn't stop Italian thrash metallers Arthemis from having an absolute blast on the main stage. The rain lashed down on the band as they shredded through their thirty minute set but, judging by the smile plastered across the face of frontman Fabio, it looked like the Italians loved every minute of it.
"Do you want to hear some blast beats? Well I couldn't give a fuck if you do..." scowls Aborted gurgler Sven. For the next thirty minutes, the Belgian grindcore heavyweights perform a set that is nothing short of flawless. Combining hardcore breakdowns with pure, unadulterated gore metal, the Belgian butchers smash the life out of Bloodstock 2014 with one of the highlights of the weekend. Dutch outfit Revamp have the unenviable task of following Aborted and, with the heaven's opening yet again, you do have to feel sorry for the band who put in a sterling performance. Fronted by Nightwish vocalist Floor Jansen, the Dutch metallers battle against the elements eventually coming out on top with the sun cracking through the clouds as the band head towards the climax of their impressive set.
Biohazard are well, they're Biohazard. The New York veterans are old hands at this festival game now and as frontman Billy Graziadei roars "there is no black, there is no white, there is only shades of grey," the pit in front of the stage turns into a mudbath. Onstage the band deliver the kind of performance you'd expect from the New York hardcore veterans and, as they drag up a load of fans on stage for the finale of their set, you're reminded just how much chaos this band can still cause. Due to problems with Graveyard getting to the site, Gothenburg freakshow Avatar are bumped up to the main stage and certainly do themselves no harm with their catchy, groovy melodic death metal. With Johannes Eckerström leading the show from the front like some kind of Marilyn Manson circus ringleader, the Swedish band have no trouble in getting the mud and rain soaked punters in the pit banging their heads and pounding their fists to the Gothenburg groove.
Florida death metal sludge fiends are the perfect band for the Bloodstock crowd. Legends in the death metal scene, the Tardy brothers smash through a slime-drenched set mixing up both old classics and yet to be released new tracks. From Tardy's vomit-inducing vocals to the grinding, groaning riffs of classics like "Slowly We Rot," Obituary live up to their foul reputation with a crushing performance. British heavy metal legends Saxon have to follow that and, despite having driven nineteen hours to get here, Biff Byford and his Saxon cohorts put a hundred percent into their set. Blasting through classics like "The Power And The Glory" and "Heavy Metal Thunder," the band top off their set by dragging out Dave Mustaine from headliners Megadeth for set closer "Denim And Leather".
Amon Amarth are dwarfed by two massive dragon heads spouting smoke and pyrotechnics throughout their set. Novelty stage props aside, the Viking-obsessed Swedes are simply phenomenal as they power through their anthemic death metal. Conjuring up all sorts of imagery as Johan Hegg bellows through the likes of "Father Of The Wolf" and "Twilight Of The Thunder God," Amon Amarth are heavy metal at its finest. They're loud, they're fronted by a mountain of vocalist and they're ridiculously over the top. Unsurprisingly then, Bloodstock loves them.
So, we come to the end of Bloodstock 2014 – a weekend full of riffs, rain and controversy. Now it lands at the feet of speed metal legends Megadeth to bring the weekend to a finale and, thankfully, they do not disappoint. Blasting through three classics in a row to open the set – "Hangar 18," "Wake Up Dead" and "In My Darkest Hour" - Mustaine and the rest of the band are clearly on top form. More animated than he has been in recent years, the outspoken frontman delivers one of the best shows I've personally seen him play in a long time and, as the weekend thrashes to a conclusion with thrash classics "Symphony Of Destruction," "Peace Sells" and "Holy Wars The Punishment Due" (the latter preceeded by a Thin Lizzy cover), Megadeth and Bloodstock 2014 sign out in glorious style. See you all in 2015.