As the hottest part of the day slowly began to cool there was but one chant in the air – “ICE! CREAM! ICE! CREAM!” OK, that didn’t happen, but it might have done were the next band set to take to the main stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2012 not one of the finest heavy metal bands to emerge from the last 20 years about to take to the stage.

Iced Earth are not about any scene or sub-genre, but simply about playing good old fashioned heavy metal whilst wearing denim. A lot of denim.

Kicking things off with ‘Dystopia’, the title track of their latest album featuring new singer Stu Block, the crowd practically salivate over the fact the band is here. Not a regular at UK festivals, or even UK gig venues, Iced Earth are a band loved many, but seen by few, so it is a genuine thrill that they have chosen to cater the setlist to showcase their history as well as plug the new record.

‘Burning Times’ and ‘Angels Holocaust’ had thousands in attendance raise their devil horns in the air, until Stu addressed the crowd to introduce a song written about the best friend of guitarist and principle songwriter Jon Schaffer, which the fans knew meant ‘Watching Over Me’. As a fanboy, I found this a genuine thrill as I didn’t get to hear it on the short UK tour Iced Earth played last year and it was the song that got me into the band in the first place.

As the band began to step it up a notch, so did the crowd, who eagerly thrust arms into the air ready for the return to material from “Dystopa” and the track ‘V’, about the character/events of V For Vendetta, before peeling off ‘My Own Savior’ and ‘Anthem’.

I’m not sure why Iced Earth played an hour set when they had a relatively early slot (particularly when Sepultura were up next and only had 40 minutes), but it may have had something to do with the introduction of ‘Damien’ – the ten minute epic with the pant wettingly evil spoken word bridge. Sadly, this then signalled the end of the set with a killer performance of the track ‘Iced Earth’.

There may have been too much daylight for the band to put on a show, there may have been insufficient time to play all the hits and there may have been a distinct lack of the much hoped for invitation for previous singer Tim “Ripper” Owens to join them on stage, but one thing that was there in abundance was some kick ass, balls to the wall, heavy metal by a band who never get the recognition they deserve.

Iced Earth, we salute you and come back soon. See you down the front.

Iced Earth – Facebook Page

Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal