The A50 is on our side today, but it seems that the empty bottles of JD & Southern Comfort at Room Thirteen HQ haven’t helped the situation. Staying up until 4am to complete Friday’s coverage has left us arriving with only minutes to spare before our Liquid Sky interview.

Whilst other members of the team seem to be given the easy task of running around chasing bands – some of us have bands to see so it’s a quick run to the Darwin Suite as Rezin 69 walk on stage. They just aren’t the right calibre of band for Bloodstock and leave a mostly empty room with a motionless and silent crowd.

Intense then have the task of taking to the main stage and, thankfully, remind us what Bloodstock is meant to be about. Whilst the Iron Maiden-esque vocals may not be what you expect from a band with their look, they know how to rock in a way that even Iron Maiden themselves would be proud of.

After a long wait, it’s time for Seven Years Dead to take to the second stage and remind a rather despondent crowd how to kick it up a notch. With thrashing guitars, vocals that knock you over and a rumbling low-end to pierce your ear drums – a real standard for the day is set.

Panic Cell then take the main stage by its short and curlys – reminding us that British bands not only have talent, but still drive the true heart and soul of the metal world. Juxtaposing thrashing songs with lighter-in-air intros, you can imagine a few years form now that these guys could headline a main stage at Donington itself.

Newcomers Humanity are the next band that set themselves upon the Darwin Suite’s stage. As their set remains driving and powerful, the crowd remain calm and relaxed; where as Edenbridge’s main stage crowd have packed in to the rafters for a chance to check out Austria’s answer to goth-metal. Whilst they remain in the shadows of operatic-gothers Nightwish, they do show significant potential.

As Room Thirteen favourites Nowhere Near the Garden are next up in the Darwin Suite, very few people have bothered to turn up. Claire from Invey may well be head banging against the front barrier, but they deserve a much larger audience with their funky bass-lines and a front-man that dances half naked in the midst of the crowd itself. Anyone that has missed their set made a big mistake.

Evergrey are the next band in the Assembly Room’s Main Hall and they hammer out their death metal to what seems the biggest crowd of the weekend so far. Their leather-clad-posturing demands the respect that they’re given. The only question that remains is why they were not higher up the day’s bill.

Gutworm are a band with vocals that should carry an environmental health warning as there is a good chance that the second stage crowd are not ready for them. Whilst they may not be designed for those with hangovers – they do cause a frenzied crowd to throw themselves around the room like it was a mass-metal dance-off.

After Evergrey’s truly awesome main stage appearance, it’s time for Balance of Power to try and top it. Not only do they fail to come across as motivated, but consequentially very few members of the small crowd seem to care – particularly when whilst their front-man simply sits down on a stage monitor waving his hand at the crowd.

The Prophecy are the one of the first bands of the weekend that truly create their own style. With slow, deep, dark metal that uses vocals cavernous vocals, you’ll certainly remember seeing them live if you get the chance.

Whilst Edenbridge may have forgotten about our interview and left one of our writers somewhat perturbed, Primal Fear thankfully put that at the back of our minds as they whip through an hour that consists of one of the day’s loudest, most crowded, most powerful sets. As the whole crowd chant the band’s name in unison it becomes obvious that the talent and abilities of every band here increase exponentially by the hour.

It’s a brisk walk to the Darwin Suite, after an interesting excuse for a hot dog, for Ireland’s Cruachan who have never played in the UK before. Whilst native face paints and bare footed electric banjo playing may seem a good idea on CD and paper, it is not always the best way to go when crossing Irish folk music and metal.

Thankfully, Sonata Arctica know what they’re doing and, even if they don’t have a single banjo in sight, they do know how to control a crowd. With a hall that’s singing along to the chaotic, yet powerfully thrashing metal vocals that ring from the PA, they’re always going to be known as one of the highlights of Bloodstock 2004.

With the festival nearing the end of it’s fourth year, Fourwaykill to close the Darwin Suite for the night after hammering through their truly deep, dark, classic metal. There can, however, only be one true headliner of any festival and for Bloodstock 2004 it is Children of Bodom.

With the photographers playing tag to get the opportunity to snap the band, expectations are high as the Finnish band storm out on stage. Prior to their set a stoner on my right informs me that “Children of Bodom will fucking rule” and that “[I] should put that in [my] review. Oh and [his] band rocks”. Whilst his band may, in fact, rock – they wouldn’t be a patch on the Children.

After watching Children of Bodom, you are left feeling that every other band was rubbish by comparison. This is not because they were – but rather because Bodom have such stage presence and axe-skills that they leave the rest of the festival in their own shadow. It seems that, once again, Bloodstock has managed to bring a headline act to the country that mainstream Britain has missed out on for a long time.

Most of Britain may be looking towards Download Festival for a return to Donington metal fests much in the same way that people are looking towards The Darkness as a saviour for rock. It is, however, much more the case that Bloodstock is saving metal – after four years it’s established itself on most metal fan’s annual calendars and next year is set to be the biggest so far.

Roll on Bloodstock 2005, miss it at your peril.