Out For Blood

With Arch Enemy and Inflames completing the last two bands of Bloodstock 2007 it felt more like a double header as either band could've headlined the Saturday. The support for both bands were very similar in terms of size and excitement and I wish, in hindsight of course, it was Arch Enemy who took top spot as they proved themselves to be a world class act.

'Out for blood' kicked off the show and the sound deficiencies were soon ironed out. The front of the Bloodstock crowd went mental as Angela strode onto the stage in a fearsome manner and belted out her unique growl. Having seen the band in Manchester at the end of 2005 and was suitably impressed, I was surprised that even after a couple of songs the band were looking like topping that performance.

The band have some great songs at their disposal, 'Ravenous', 'Doomsday Machine' and the awesome 'Enemy Within', all hammered home with death metal fury. Angela was a woman possessed seemingly putting every ounce of venom and hatred into her vocals. She commanded the crowd well, didn't waste time preaching down the mic and thrashed out whenever them moment took her, which was quite frequent. It also sounded like she was trying clean vocals, occasionally of course, but these moments were so low in the mix they were drowned out and I still can't clarify whether she was adopting a non-growl style. A cardinal sin you may think, but whatever it takes for the band to stay fresh and progress is fine with me as long as it isn't detrimental to the music. By the sound of new track 'Blood On Your Hands' I don't think we've got anything to worry about.

As the saying goes, 'God takes with one hand yet gives with the other'. Just as Testament suffered from the silhouette lighting effect so did Arch Enemy which masked the bands appearance somewhat. But the rain had stopped which meant you stopped caring about such things.

The aspect that elevates Arch Enemy over such contemporaries as In Flames is the dual and duel axe-work of the Amott brothers. Christopher Amott has recently returned to the band after a brief hiatus and it was obvious the rest of the performers were rejuvenated because of this. Maybe this was the defining element that rates this performance over the Manchester gig, who knows, but it was great to watch and collectively appreciate some truly wonderful guitar trade-offs.

An hour was far too short for Arch Enemy and they signed off with a brutal version of 'We Will Rise' to great rapture. It was such a powerful show that the audience were left wanting more which is perhaps the best way to leave a gig. From my point of view I would have quite happily gone home there and then as it was a fitting climax to the three days. But Inflames were waiting in the wings and it was going to take a superhero performance to follow Arch Enemy. Did they succeed? From the above I'm sure you can work it out.