All style over substance

There were big questions over Deathstars' inclusion on the Bloodstock bill. Many Metal fans were concerned that the band's popular gothic mainstream style of rock was an intrusion into a traditional and true metal festival. I can understand the attitude up to a point, personally I'd rather see bands such as Nevermore, Cellador, Benedictum, Powerquest, Biomechanical etc... before Deathstars, for the basic reason that the aforementioned bands are just more metal! That said, I can't sit high in my tower saying the band shouldn't be on the bill, the addition of such a band keeps the festival varied and interesting. I shudder at the thought of two days worth of crass European power metal bands. Perhaps Deathstars shouldn't have been given the accolade of special guests because this meant they had to follow Onslaught, and after their blistering set, there was little chance Deathstars were going to equal such ardency.

And of course the Swedish gothers failed to build on Onslaught's onslaught. The band stuck out like a sore thumb. War paint, tunics and armour were more fitting for Bloodstock than singer Andreas Bergh's feather boa. This doesn't mean Deathstars were bad, just out of place. It would be similar to Helloween playing second on the bill at a Sisters of Mercy or Marilyn Manson gig. I can't deny that for all the talk prior to the festival, there was a good section of the crowd waiting for the band to take the stage (albeit after another intro tape). Deathstars have the image side of the music business sewn up. They looked great. Guitarists Emil and Cat stayed regimented at the rear of the stage whilst bass player Jonas filled the space to Andreas's right. Deathstars looked like a quality act before even a note was played.

Unfortunately a note was played and shattered the illusion. What was spat out of the speakers was some half baked industrial nonsense mixing some Rammstein riffs with a little of Sisters of Mercy. It doesn't help matters when Andreas's voice is almost a carbon copy of Sisters' front man Andrew Eldritch. The guitars were shamefully quiet and Andreas's intersong mumbling just gave the impression he wasn't really interested. The zip on his leather pants kept falling down, (or at least this was the excuse) and he kept, mid-song because he wasn't shy, trying to pull the zip back up. One could argue it was just an excuse for him to fondle himself as he was blatantly sexual in his moves trying to allure himself to all the 14-18 year old girls in the audience. It was this cock-sure confidence that probably grated with the traditional metal fan and resulted in some missile throwing and heckling (the best heckle being a girl reaching over the balcony shouting, "You're so gay!").

I can't condone such behaviour, it was only a short trip out of the hall for those who didn't like the band's style. But it was a show of the true passion of the metal fan, and their over-protective attitude to one of the few true metal celebrations in the music calendar. The problem I had with Deathstars is they were so boring. They seemed to play the same song over and over and over. The one trick they had went thus: keyboard intro, kick into a chord driven riff, guitars stop when Andreas starts to croon. Repeat for every song. I'm sure they're much better on CD, but live they were just a reminder of how much my feet and knees were aching.