Bloostock 2010 Day 1: Cathedral, Gorgoroth, Mesuggah and Opeth
The overcast skies and threat of soul-damping rain bearing down on Catton Hall, would normally be the perfect backdrop for a doom band, but Cathedra have a knack for turning very British bleakness into psychedelic abandon.
The overcast skies and threat of soul-damping rain bearing down on Catton Hall, would normally be the perfect backdrop for a doom band, but CATHEDRAL have a knack for turning very British bleakness into psychedelic abandon, and it’s becoming increasingly potent as they approach their 20th anniversary. Now that they’ve indulged themselves with the beguiling, gaudy psychedelia of their last album, The Guessing Game, Cathedral’s hit-and-miss live reputation is a thing of the past, and this afternoon they sound utterly liberated, the quizzical wonder of Funeral Of Dreams, bumping up against the doleful grandeur of earlier tracks such as Vampire Sun as Lee Dorrian looks more in his element than ever before. Giving Bloodstock props for earning the right to call itself a metal festival, he leads into Ride and Hopkins (The Witchfinder General), two songs to resonate across the aeons, in full orgiastic glory.
This year’s sole, corpsepainted emissaries, the recently rejigged, Gaahl-less and spike-covered GORGOROTH have a point to prove. Overcoming an iffy sound that makes returning frontman Pest’s more imperious vocals sound distinctly wobbly, the band persevere on their route-one old-school blast-frenzy, conviction contorting band leader Infernus’s face until their sheer force starts to mop up any remaining doubters in the wake.
Considering how fertile their alien DNA has proven amongst the metal scene, seeing the almighty MESHUGGAH live is like witnessing the unimaginably advanced mothership return to earth, and it’s still an experience beyond all compare and rational thought. Mainlining into your nervous system, then forcing it through more rapid-fire mutations that you can feasibly contain, the massive, fibrillating grooves of Electric Red and Stengah‘s multi-spatial probes lock you into the moment, then splice and dice it with the finesse of an army of sushi chefs on fast forward, the only constant being an overwhelming sense of the estatic.
OPETH are the perfect balm for post-Meshuggah jangled nerves, and indeed one of the few acts who could follow such a devastating performance. Offering atmosphere, introspection and dare we say cerebral stimulation, the contrast is striking, and while it may be a less energetic experience it is certainly no less satisfying. Michael’s between stage chat remains as random, cryptic and self-depreciating as ever (“I’m a cock. And a twat”) but then Opeth were have never been a band who attempted to win listeners over with anything other than their music. And clearly that’s enough judging by the huge crowd gathered here, soaking up each epic number. With a steadily improving sound, the group provide an apt closer to the first day, the cover of Rainbow’s Catch A Rainbow standing as a touching tribute to Dio, who the Swedes replaced today.