The festival’s quality lineup this year provides an eclectic mix of almost all genres of metal with everything from black, thrash, folk, Viking, hard rock, hardcore, metalcore, sludge, doom, stoner and more with Friday offering a sensational array of choices that please most if not all of this years sold out attendee’s!
Overdrive brings you the full review for EVERY BAND that performed across the Bloodstock weekend with our focus now on Friday. Get stuck in…..
Forever Still – There was a decent amount of people already crawling on the festival ground this sunny Friday morning. The soundscape that heralded the band was haunting and set the mood. Forever Still, a four piece from Copenhagen are the first band to play on the Ronnie James Dio Stage this year. The first few minutes of their set seemed to be used to build sovereignty, as their presence needed to fill out this big stage.
Forever Still are playing songs that are easy to follow and are partly reminiscent of Evanescence. The vocal abilities of the front-woman are very convincing in her midrange and she was pushing her borders, which is always great to see in a live performance, whilst the rest of the band seemed to remain in their comfort zone. There is potential in this band, it just needs to be pushed a little bit more. 2/5
Chelsea Grin – Every year, the headlining acts of Bloodstock dwell more on the classic heavy metal side, but scattered over the weekend are bands that appeal to the appetite of the more specific metalheads. The crowd for brutal deathcore heroes Chelsea Grin grew and the band was well received. The stage presence of this band is forceful and you immediately sense that this band is well used to playing massive festivals. The motivation of the crowd may have taken a little longer at this relatively small festival, but Chelsea Grin got the people up front to exorcise demons with hardcore dancing. The music this band plays is not for the melody lover.
Experiencing this band on a Friday morning makes your stomach hive, and not because of the battle with the hangover. They conjure the feeling of explosively excreting anything inside of you and the discomfort of drilling teeth. Chelsea Grin are owning the stage and encourage the audience to put the middle finger up, but this band is also well able to show glimpses of musicality – the racing melodies of occasional twin guitars are actually a quite beautiful touch to the ugliness and chaos. The bass waves are washing over the audience and when Chelsea Grin play with suspense, it feels like you are hundreds of meters under water and the pressure on your rib cage is slowly collapsing your lungs. 4/5
Whitechapel – Whitechapel owned the Ronnie James Dio Stage on Friday! They absolutely annihilated. Having never seen Whitechapel live before, it was great to finally get the opportunity to do so and boy, did they deliver! Playing the main stage at 12.45 is no easy job, however, Whitechapel drew in a great crowd how lapped up every last second of their electrifying set. The energy they gave to their performance was spectacular. They delivered tracks like ‘Let me Burn’, and ‘Our Endless War’, with unwavering ferocity.
Obviously given that Ben Harclerode had left the band I wondered if it would affect their performance but to be honest, I completely forgot that the drummer had left. Whoever was standing in/has replaced Ben, did an amazing job. 4/5
Devilment – Dani Filth’s side-project, Devilment brings the first of the days theatrics to Bloodstock with an abundance of dry ice and Dani’s trademark makeup. Although visually entertaining, Devilment’s gothic-metal presence seemed to drag at times, with the Cradle of Filth frontman looking a little out of breath during the set but overall pulled off a captivation set with highlights ‘Full Dark, No Stars‘ and the crushing ‘Under the Thunder‘. 3/5
Soilwork – Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid is in a particularly good mood today and why not? The Swedish death metal crew are unleashing all manner of box-fresh chaos to the Bloodstock masses and the sun is shining! We are treated to a beautifully brutal set list of bangers featuring ‘Nerve‘, ‘Bastard Chain‘ and ‘Stabbing the Drama‘ all the while Strid baits the area, demanding ‘show me what you got?’ while signaling the universal sign for circle pits to which the crowd are more than happy to oblige. A perfect warm-up for the mighty Decapitated and a worthy band for a return slot in the future. 3.5/5
Decapitated – With ‘Anticult‘ establishing itself as one of the great albums of 2017, Decapitated’s return to Bloodstock is met with an almost deafening roar from the packed arena. Frontman Rasta, stone-faced and ready for battle, takes command of the audience and unleashes a sonic onslaught that is damn near flawless! Opening with ‘Deathvaulation‘ the Polish death metal titans rip through a beastly set list featuring ‘Kill the Cult‘, ‘Spheres of Madness‘ and ‘Homo Sum‘ which sets off a frenzy of circle pits, crowd surfers and general good ol’ fashioned violent pit action! 4.5/5
Testament – Bay Area legends Testament are back at Bloodstock with the punishing new album ‘Brotherhood of the Snake‘ under their collective belts, much to the delight of the waiting crowd. Having seen Testament many times, there is a certain level of expectation from the thrash veterans which normally hits the mark every time, however, there is something a little off with their performance today.
The blustering winds did not help the situation as at times, it was damn near impossible to hear Chuck Billy’s vocals amongst the shoddy mix of guitars and drums. Moments of brilliance shone through with the iconic ‘Into the Pit’ ‘Practice What you Preach’ and ‘The Formation of Damnation‘. By Testament’s standards, they were average at best, however, still a force to be reckoned with when compared to most other bands. 3/5
Blind Guardian – As the evening clouds creep over the Ronnie James Dio stage, Blind Guardian take to the stage amidst the understandably stressed journey to the festival site to which their stage production and backline got lost in transit.
Making the best of an unfortunate situation, Blind Guardian get down to business, opening with ‘The Ninth Wave‘ taken from 2015’s ‘Beyond the Red Mirror‘ much to the delight of the masses of punters that fill the main arena. The mass sing along to the infectious ‘Nightfall‘, opened up the much-needed energy between stage and crowd, which thankfully managed to stick around throughout the duration of the bands set. Vocalist Hansi Kürsch, leads the crusade of the Germans on the main stage with a slighted muted presence and instead lets the music do the talking for the most part.
By the time we are treated to ‘Mirror Mirror‘ and the anthem that is ‘Bard’s Song‘, Bloodstock is in full song with a mass of swaging punters hugging and guzzling beer as they air out their lungs to the best of their ability. 3/5
Amon Amarth – Bloodstock veterans Amon Amarth return for their triumphant headline slot on the Ronnie James Dio stage and with a production that’s not shy of Maiden’s infamous Live after Death monstrosity, we all know that we are in for one hell of a treat!
As ‘The Pursuit of Vikings” explodes in a flurry of pyro and magnificence from the main stage, the Bloodstock punters are transported to the rough seas and ice capped mountains of Norse mythology thanks to the impeccable talents of vocalist/frontman Johan Hegg who commands the audience with all the showmanship of a Viking lord of war!
The sheer size of Amon Amarth’s production is a sight to behold in its own right (matched only by Hell & Kreator across the weekend) with explosions, fire, sword fights, a fucking huge Viking helmet drum stand and of course Thor’s Hammer which, if you’ve ever witnessed the majestic live performance from the Stockholm natives, triggers a sensational burst of pyro during ‘Twilight of the Thunder God‘!
The sight of thousands of punters embracing the task of attempting to pull off the worlds largest Viking Row during ‘Varyags of Miklagaard‘ was the winning moment for me. To be standing in an environment such as Bloodstock with countless thousands of people on the ground imaginary rowing all around you into the darkness is a memory that will stick with me forever. A formidable force of power from the Viking warriors! 5/5
It’s bright and early on Friday morning and officially the first full day of live music across all stages in the Bloodstock Arena.
The air is buzzing with excitement as the Sophie tent fills up for the early morning wake up call from Iron Rat who kick off Bloodstock 2017 for me with a bang. They were the first band I saw perform on the Sophie stage and the first band I saw over the weekend.
Iron Rat – Iron Rat had a really great energy about them, they really got into the performance and got the most from the crowd in my opinion. They have these really grungy, heavy riffs and the vocalists clean singing really compliments the burly sounds of guitar and drums. Songs like Weed Machine go down well with the crowd as you can imagine. 3/5
Internal Conflict – The Leicester Internal Conflict give a lively, spirited performance to a growing crowd as they go about pummeling us with some heavy, heavy breakdowns and songs with some really ferocious parts to them. I would describe them as a kind of hardcore/deathcore band with an abundance of attitude. Heavy for the most part with some clean vocal sections thrown in for good measure, just to keep things interesting.
A highlight for me was a track called Catharsis which really packed a punch and pretty much levelled the place. A fine start to the day indeed! 4/5
Endeavour – Pulling in a huge crowd to the Sophie tent, Endeavour waste no time in smashing out a cascade of jaw-dropping riffs that are rinsed in the bands self-proclaimed ‘progressive metal’ approach. Hailing from Bristol and winners of that very region’s Metal 2 The Masses last year, the four-piece led by vocalist Chris Hawkins, Iain Davies (guitars and backing vocals), Jake Stone (drums) and Ben Hands (bass) launch one slab of magnificence after another to the now rammed tent. Keep an eye out for these guys as the sky’s the limit for Endeavour. Superb stuff! 4/5
Corpsing – Corpsing, a Death Metal band – which you probably could have guessed from the name – took to the Sophie stage Friday afternoon and they were the perfect band to offer some breathing space between the Thrash bands.
They offered fast and intrusive sounds that made a lasting impact on the crowds. True to their death metal genre they were aggressive, and they were loud. They were one of the more extreme bands to take over the Sophie stage over the course of the weekend. I would highly recommend checking these guys out if a more intense level metal is your deal. 3/5
Morass of Molasses – The mighty sound of this three piece is streaked with the sarcastic and humorous in between chatter of the front man, for instance, the singer introduced the next song by saying “It’s about an arrogant cunt. It might look like it’s about me, but it’s actually about him”, while he points at his band mate. Or when he dedicates a song to everybody who likes cock, because like booze, everybody secretly likes it!
The groove is buzzing out of their Orange amps, which is pulling in more people over the course of their 30-minute set. A slight melancholic touch to their stoner and doom metal embarks the general ‘fuck-it’ attitude and was amplified when they had a guest singer for the last couple of songs. They seem to be able to tell a lot with few means and due to their good crowd involvement, Morass of Molasses lived up to the hype that I had been hearing and earned their moment in the spotlight. Here’s to seeing them on the main stage in the coming years. 3.5/5
Dendera – This band rests and draws clear influence from NWOBHM in the likes of Iron Maiden and Saxon. Their music is filled with fist-pumping back-beat surprises and their technical finesses shine whilst relying heavily on the pulsing beat. The vocals were sometimes not quite in conjunction with the band, but this proved not to be a major drawback. Later on in the set, a small humorous discrepancy happened with the metronome for the song that was introduced as “heavy as fuck”, but Dendera solved this professionally. 3/5
Seasons End –
Atmospheric aquarelle of sound, the edges of the sound are washed out and fade into another, but not muddy. Seasons End produces a dreamy state, which plunges into heaviness at times. This band projected the feeling of having had a lot of life experience. The song of the front-woman was captivating and quite mesmerizing. The band pulled the drifting state of mind back into focus with progressive sequences. Seasons End’s stage presence is calm and the members are responding to their music in union. There was very little chatter in between the songs, as they used their time well. It was not necessary as the music spoke for itself. A lovely excursion. 4/5
Black Moth – Black Moth celebrates the music the likes of the godfathers of heavy metal with their dripping sludgy riffs. The voice of front-woman, Harriet Hyde, is not alluring in common sense, but it has a piercing ring to it that contrasts the heaviness of the band in a way that makes their sound bewitching. Songs of doom and groove are playing with expectations and their music is straight up without unnecessary gadgets. The general stage presence of Black Moth is honest and has a deeply rooted blues stance. 4/5
Lionize – The band dressed in red and gold grooved the tent with their Hard Rock celebratory sound. Sweaty and balls to the wall, Lionize are not depending on frills and lace but lure the crowd with the excursion their sound is taking. From hard rock to heavy metal to dips into reggae, funk and soul, the musicians did not cease to interest and are calling loudly from the underground. Variety and play with tempo are their working tools, laced with blazing guitar and keyboard solos that left a burning trail on the heads of the audience. 4/5
Inquisition -With the mighty force of Amon Amarth’s main stage performance closing off the evenings’ main arena, a gleeful thong of beer soaked punters make their way to the packed Sophie Lancaster tent under the twinkle of fairground rides for a lesson in brutal black metal from Seattle’s Inquisition, who transport the Catton Hall estate to the very depths of hell itself.
There is no question that Bloodstock are lapping up the bands blend of nasty early thrash marinated in rusty, raw, flesh-ripping black metal.
Having been in the band since its conception back in 1988, guitarist Dagon looks very much at home on this UK stage tonight as he and his cohorts unleash all manner of hell with the likes of ‘From Chaos They Came‘ and it just get’s better and better. A perfect way to round off a tremendous day of metal. 3.8/5
Merithian – Swindon’s Metal 2 The Masses winners Merithian take to the stage at the un-Godly hour of 10.30am to a blurry-eyed mass of punters who were soon wide-eyed thanks to the frenzied energy from vocalist Liam Engel who (wearing a creepy style Roman Centurian mask) works up a storm with his band-mates, slamming out tunes such as ‘Grow‘ and ‘State of Mind‘ which saw the days first wall of death! Excellent stuff! 3.7/5
K-Lacura – The energy continues with K-Lucura who smash the New Blood Stage with a relentless attack of savage riffs, dripping with catchy hooks and tractor-beam tempos. The Oxfordshire five-piece waste no time in flexing their muscles to the modest early morning crowd and have ended up earning themselves another fan right here! 3.9/5
Embodiment – Hailing from the Bath/Bristol regions, UK’s Embodiment pulls in an impressive crowd to the New Blood Stage with their tasty offerings of melodic tech metal. Vocalist Harry Smithson stalks the lip of the stage like a crazed man on the verge of crushing anything in his path as he instigates a sea of banging heads! Remember folks, it’s not even lunch time yet! A beast of a band that you need to keep your ears pegged for! 4.2/5
Thuum – I can never resist a bit of doom/sludge and in today case, Bournemouth’s Thuum are doing the genre some justice! Having supported the mighty Crowbar earlier this year, we know that we are in for some good aural company and boy, did they do well! Let’s get this straight, there are bands that can do this genre well and then there are bands that are simply mind-blowing and Thuum are filed under the latter! Simply known to us as ‘Bear’ the vocalist/guitarist drives the band deep into cranium with honey dripping riffs as well as unexpected changes in temp, offering plenty of dynamic to the bands sound. A real gem of a find at this year’s Bloodstock! 4.6/5
Ashen Crown – Low and slow! Ashen Crown don’t fuck around when it comes to looking for a low-end that can literally turn your entrails into mush! Their sound is dark, nasty and delightfully brutal and judging by the large crowd that are in attendance this Friday lunchtime, they can do no wrong! 3.9/5
Blood Thread – Scottish death metal crew, Blood Thread bring back the nasty to the New Blood stage this Friday afternoon with large helpings of sonic face-punches! Vocalist/Guitarist Tony Mitchell punishes the mic with guttural primal screams that could wake the dead! The bands latest EP ‘Era of Corruption‘ gets an airing today, earning the four-piece some new fans, as well as a respected tip of the hat from the curious passers by that, popped into the New Blood stage for a look! 3.4/5
Raze the Void – A new band that has only been together since 2016! Raze the Void take to the New Blood Stage with an aura of confidence and when they kick things off, it’s apparent as to where they get their confidence from! Prog laced metal with impressive hooks and quality musicianship are the ingredients for Raze The Void. With elements of Megadeth and Devin Townsend Project, subtlely working in the background, the overall frontline of Raze The Void is very much a unique experience more live than that of their recorded material. A quality addition to the New Blood Stage and we hope to see them back again on a bigger stage. 3.9/4
Devil’s Playground – Coventry Metal 2 The Masses winners, Devils Playground erupt with the power of a hurricane. The twin vocals take a little getting used to, thanks to the mix but eventually translates well a few tracks into their set. Based in Birmingham the five-piece bring the party to the stage with a varied mix of styles embedded into their sound. With tracks like ‘Unlost‘, The Devils Playground’s groove factor is prominent and doing what is says on the tin. There is a definite nod to the early millennium’s nu-metal explosion woven into the bands sound which works well with their contemporary influenced songwriting. 3.2/5
Seek Solace in Ruin – With their self-confessed ‘death-groove’ sound, UK based Seek Solace in Ruin take to the New Blood stage with a vengeance and proceed to rightly fuck the place up! Drummer known only as ‘Luke’ on the band’s social media, is a beast behind the kit and a powerhouse ace up the sleeve for the band. Pulling in droves of punters like moths to a flame, Seek Solace in Ruin continue to smash the place apart and have been one of the highlights of the day on the New Blood stage. Damn good stuff indeed! 4.5/5
Enslavement – The first thing you notice about Brighton’s Enslavement is vocalist Harry Jones guttural register. The man sound’s like Baphomet himself being disembowelled and it’s fucking glorious! So, so heavy and utterly compelling from start to finish, Enslavement bring shards of razor sharp riffs raining down on the Bloodstock punters and while the main arena prepares to be treated to some classic Bay Area thrash courtesy of Testament, the sonic gold can be found under the roof of the New Blood stage in the form of Enslavement. A band that simply has to be seen live. Fantastic! 4.7/5
Blood Oath – Twin guitars, filthy evil riffs and snarling vocals are on the menu for Blood Oath and we are hungry-as-fuck for all of it! With a sea of drinking horns, studded wrist bands and the odd rubber sword (ha ha), the atmosphere in the New Blood is in full festival swing and gagging for the pure-fucking evil brilliance of Blood Oath. Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson is a tremendous frontman who brings a level of intensity to the evening’s proceedings with ease. Do your self a favour and get this band into your playlist/record/tape/CD collection! You won’t be sorry. 4.9/5
Mantra – Mixing a little old with some new styles is what Mantra seem to be all about. With touches of Children of Bodom and elements of Sylosos here and there the Devon based UK crew get their performance underway as punters make their way in from the main arena for curiosity and general interest in delving into the great “unknown” (ha ha).
Mantra are not reinventing the wheel by any means and bring a little flavour to the evening. The bands blend of genres seems at loggerheads in places but overall an energetic and consistent performance from the Cornwall natives. A little fine tuning here and there could prove to be a positive move for the five-piece. 2.4/5
Nordjevel – Norway’s occult scene is alive and well thanks to Nordjevel who bring arctic blasts of perfection to Catton Hall. Birthed from members of Marduk and Ragnarok in 2015, Nordjevel are as black as can be and proceed to drag us all straight to the blackest corners of hell with their gloriously, nasty sound of Fredrik Widigs drumming talents are simply mind-blowing and need to be seen to be believed. Finishing off the day’s performances on the New Blood Stage, Nordjevel leave nothing to chance as they weave from blast-beats of sonic chaos to melodic bridges dripping with malice. Magnificent stuff! 4.9/5
Electric Mother – Hailing from the Northern Isles of Scotland, Electric Mother bring a glorious noise to the Jagermeister stage which is situated smack in the centre of the main arena. Like a boisterous love child as a result of Alice in Chains and early Clutch getting it on! Electric Mother do themselves proud as they win punters over one tune at a time! By the end of the bands set, their shirtless vocalist is guzzling from a bottle of Jim Beam and loving every minute of it! Electric Mother has taken Bloodstock by the bollocks and proven to be one hell of a band! Without a doubt a highlight of the weekend! Check them out and thank me later! 4.2/5
Hung Daddy – With tracks such as ‘Go See a Doctor’ and ‘Sammy Squirrel Made a Sex Tape‘, we know that we’re not in for the next Tool to hit the Jagermeister stage and that’s just fine because we ALL want to just party and let go of the world outside for a few days. That’s just what Hung Daddy specialise in! Forget your problems, grab a beer and have some fucking fun! Describing themselves as ‘The best worst band you will ever see‘, it’s clear that the lads from Nottingham have one hell of a sense of humour and as they lash out one ridiculous tune after another, it’s damn near impossible not to have a smile from ear to ear! Sure, they are sloppy and can at times resemble the sound of some ally cats going at it on bin night, but that’s just how they like it! 3.4/5
Trendkill – With a solid thrash base present throughout, Trendkill opens up their set with a ferocious proclamation of just how important this gig is for them. With the front barrier lined with banging heads, vocalist Elliot Bartram does his very best to lead his band mates into battle with an arsenal of belters! With elements of Pantera and Megadeth (circa Rust in Peace), the Teeside four-piece proceed to pummel the large crowd that gathers around the circumference of the tent. It’s clear that these young lads are hungry for more and hopefully, we will see them not only return to Bloodstock but will see them feature at a lot more festival stages and prominent support slots for touring bands in the near future! 3.9/5
Biggus Riffus – Biggus Riffus by name, Biggus Riffus by nature! The first thing that gets my attention about the Warrington five-piece is the phenomenal vocal talent of Mike Pilat. This guy has a fantastic set of gravelly pipes that are loaded with power and melody. They deal out riffs as fast as wood chippings in a loggers cabin! Twin vocals and low-end hard rock heaven is plentiful with Biggus Riffus and we are loving it! For fans of Corrosion of Conformity, Clutch, Monster Truck and Crobot (you get my drift). Keep an eye out for Biggus Riffus as they are destined to go places. 4.4/5
Hanowar – They’re back! The UK’s metal warriors return to Bloodstock once again after leaving a trail of bloody ears and empty beer cans at 2015’s gathering. With an impressive crowd and an intro from the stage MC who pointed out that they indeed have gerbils attached to their bollocks, it’s time for some pure metal! Opening up with Hanowar, the atmosphere is charged with testosterone, metal-as-fuck and a whole heap of fun! Hail and Kill summons a huge sing along from the rather large army of beer monsters that swell around the exterior of the Jagermeister Tent and it nearly brings a tear to one’s eye! 4.5/5
Get the full review from Thursday on this link.
Early-Bird and VIP tickets are now on sale for Bloodstock 2018. Get yours on this link!
A very special thank you to the Bloodstock team, Gregory Family, Nuclear Blast, Duff Press, Spinefarm, Cosa Nostra, AC Promotions, Metal Blade Records, Showsec Security, all festival staff, punters, friends and supporters of what we do. Thank you!
Bloodstock – Photo Gallery 2017: Friday, August 11th © Exposing Shadows Photography 2017, exclusively for Overdrive © 2017. All rights reserved.
Photo – Exposing Shadows Photography © 2017