In 2002 Bloodstock had moved to the end of August – Saturday 31st to be precise – still held inside the now demolished Assembly Rooms in Derby and was still a one day, two stage affair for a bargain £25.
For the second edition I was intrigued to see German power metal bands Blind Guardian and Gamma Ray. Once again an incarnation of Sabbat were on the line up, as I believe Martin Walkyier was involved in the festival in its infancy. Diamond Head – the band made popular after their heyday by some American upstarts called Metallica – were also playing, and that was about all I knew from that years line up.
Blind Guardian were harangued into playing the festival, which was also their first show in the UK, by renowned metal artist Paul Gregory who had worked with the band for the cover art for A Night At The Opera that was also released that year. If I remember correctly boredom set in quickly with me and I probably left early, or headed to get food at the KFC just around the corner. That was obviously the first time I’d seen them live and I’ve only caught them once since and that was seven years later when they appeared on the outdoor stage.
Following Sabbat probably the band I wanted to see most were fellow Germans Gamma Ray formed by founding Helloween guitarist Kai Hansen. Even though he’d been absent from Helloween for more than a dozen years by the time I got around to seeing them I was hoping for a few classic ‘ween tracks, but for the life of me I can’t recall if they ever did on the day or not.
As with many of the heavy metal bands I was into around that time I drifted away and lost touch with them. Looking through Wikipedia about them I had the first four releases and nothing post 1995. And not for the first time I was surprised to see that he is still working hard with the band almost three decades later. He’s also been busy with other band whether it’s being a permanent member (Unisonic and Iron Saviour) or one of countless collaborations with the likes of Blind Guardian, Hammerfall, Angra or Primal Fear.
Space Eater can be found on the 1990 debut album Heading For Tomorrow and features future Primal Fear frontman Ralf Scheepers on vocals, who’s band had performed on the same fifteen months earlier.