Agalloch (4/5) kick off Sundays RJD Stage in triumphant style and are a band I really only knew of by name until this set, this is a bloody good presentation of modern dark/black/progressive metal, the music is excellent and the protagonists are really enjoying their time in the sun (yes I know that sounds odd when talking about a dark music) and there is a great groove to what they play. At times there’s reminders here and there of Emperor, and the long sections of instrumental play don’t become tedious in the least. Although unfamiliar with their output, it’s really well written and played and makes you want to find out more about the band, this is what an band opening a stage should do and sound like, inviting the listener to research more and go searching the back catalog. A triumph of doom and gloom, lifted by some excellent playing and well written songs.
Wolf (3.5/5), who are celebrating the 20th year together, are enjoying the sunshine and ripping the main arena a new one with bangers such as My Demon, Voodoo and Evil Star. Having released their own ale especially for their Bloodstock celebration, Wolf are having the time of their lives and why not? Wolf make short work of anyone’s hope for a slow start to the day, with old-school heavy metal in spades.
Headbanging powerhouse Orange Goblin (5/5), pull off an incredible show, as the audience is behind them 100%. Ben Ward and the boys bring things to another level, with a set list that is just jam packed with the power of an atomic bomb! From Scorpionica and the Devils Whip, to the epic, Sabbath Hex and Red Tide Rising, Orange Goblin incite all kinds of mayhem from the ram packed arena, including a wall of death and endless crowd surfing. Without a doubt one of the highlights of the weekend!
Following the success of Hatebreed’s much talked about performances back in 2012 and 2014, it’s safe to say that hardcore goes down well with the Bloodstock punters and today is no exception. New York bruisers, Pro-Pain (5/5), bring their heavy-as-fuck anthems to the main stage and just level the place from the get go. As most of the arena are recovering from Orange Goblin’s previous performance, it doesn’t take long before the New Yorker’s attract a large crowd and proceed to crush bones! Sounding as heavy as a crumbling mountain, Pro-Pain are everything you would expect from a hardcore band and don’t fuck around.
It’s hard to believe that the mighty Sepultura (5/5) are celebrating 30 years of neck- breaking carnage. Some would argue that the band finished when Max Cavelara made his dramatic exit, however there is no denying that they sound just as good, if not better today, as they did back then. With a huge crowd gathered before the Ronnie James Dio stage, the band explode with opener Troops of Doom, which creates pits, dust clouds and a sea of bodies floating across the main arena. Where do you begin with choosing a set-list, from a catalogue that stretches back 30 years? As man-mountain, Derek Green holds court in center stage, Andreas and Paulo deliver the goods with iconic slabs of brilliance such as Inner Self, Arise and Refuse/Resist, before bidding farewell with the fucking awesome, Roots Bloody Roots. Without a doubt, one of the most captivating musicians of the entire weekend, drummer Eloy Casagrande is a joy to watch, as he leathers seven shades of shit out of his kit. Today Sepultura delivered a blistering performance that leaves the crowd thirsty for more! Awesome!
As Ensiferum (3.5/5) take to the afternoon stage, a respectable crowd has gathered after the destruction of Sepultura, in the hope of a good dose of melodic folk metal. Opening with Axe of Judgement, the Finnish five piece bring their upbeat, energetic A-Game and are lapped up by all that stand before them. Highlights of their set were the bouncy brilliance of Treacherous Gods and the galloping Two of Spades, taken from the bands recent ‘One Man Army’ release in February of this year. Having performed at Bloodstock before, Ensiferum look very much at home here and will no doubt be back!
As the sun is pouring its goodness down on Catton Hall, something lurks on the main stage and that something is none other than the grand masters of death metal, Cannibal Corpse (4/5). Opening with Scourge of Iron, crushing riffs of brutality come seeping from the PA like an angry hornets nest. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, seems to be in his usual sarcastic temperament, as he ribs the crowd throughout the set. With Cannibal Corpse, you pretty much get what it says on the tin and today the band waste no time in proving just why they are the best of the best in the world of death metal. Classics such as I Cum Blood get an airing, along with more recent material, Icepick Lobotomy, before the band close the show with the riot inducing, Hammer Smashed Face and Devoured by Vermin to a clearly exhausted and sun-burnt crowd.
Black Label Society (4/5), absolutely nail their set today, with face-melters like Suicide Messiah and Damn The Flood. Rock behemoth, Zakk Wylde lets rip with a 7 minute shred solo (because he can and it’s his band, OK!), that looks like he has transferred him to another plain of existence. The sweat drips from his fingers, as he just flies around that fretboard for what seems like an eternity. Guitar geeks, litter the front of the stage, foaming at the mouth and will clearly need a change of pants once the bands set is finished. The Bloodstock crowd devour every second of Black Label Society and as they wind things up with battering rock anthems, Concrete Jungle and Stillborn, the crowd disperse to refresh beer cups and prepare for an evening with Mr. Zombie.
So, on to the main event of not only the day, but of the entire weekend for some people. The elusive Rob Zombie (5/5) finally graces us with his presence, in between his multi-tasking occupation of musician and movie director. The stage production is a less busy affair than his previous tours (sorry kids, no robots), but does not take from Zombie’s performance one single bit. Opening with Teenage Nosferatu Pussy and Superbeast, Rob has Bloodstock in the palm of his bloody hands. John5 shows us just what all the fuss is about with his immense shredding talents and oddball swagger. With a clearly ecstatic Mr. Zombie commanding from the front of the stage, we are treated to a rather unexpected recondition of James Brown, Sex Machine, which goes down a storm with the wide eyed punters.
A few costume changes here and there along with a guitar solo from John5 and drum solo from Ginger Fish, surprisingly keep the show rolling as usually most people would be bored shitless, but hey, this is Rob Zombie, motherfucker! A few White Zombie classics made an appearance in the form of, More Human Than Human and the magnificent Thunder Kiss ’65’, before ending with The Lords of Salem and Dragula. Every bit of Zombie’s set was enthralling, captivation and one hell of a good time! Let’s hope he makes a swift return across the pond soon for more live dates.
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Triaxis (3/5) open the last day on the Sophie Lancaster stage with chilling vocals infused with very powerful riffage. It’s perfect for the sore heads that are gathering for the final ride today. The Izuna Drop (3/5) destroyed the peace, bringing with them an interesting mix of metal and electro. They also provide the shredding solos worthy on any stage, not just Bloodstock.
An early treat in the day, comes in the form of Dead Label (5/5). The Cellbridge trio, waste no time in dropping a bomb of brutal, infectious groove anthems for the Sunday Bloodstock punters, who flock into the Sophie tent in droves. Generating an almost inconceivable sound from members Dan, Claire and Danny, the band smash through a neck breaking set-list, which includes the title track from the bands forthcoming album, Throne Of Bones, recent single release and Scuzz Tv favorite, Salvation in Sacrifice and the crushing Ominous. 2015 has been a good year for Dead Label and will only keep on getting better as they will be opening up for Gojira on both Belfast and Dublin dates this month. Keep watching this space as big things are on the horizon for this band.
Following Dead Label’s sonic assault, Villainy (3/5) take to the stage in the hope of blowing the roof off the Sophie tent. The Dutch three piece work through their melting pot of stoner/ doom / death compositions with stand out moments from Nebulous Chasm, The View from my Ivory Tower and the very awesome Charlatan.
With the sun beating down on hard on this years Bloodstock, it takes a moment to adjust to the bottom of the ocean, melodic doom, that emanates from the Sophie Lancaster stage, as Alunah (4/5) begin their set. The Birmingham outfit quickly fill the tent with their hypnotic, layered groove and attract dazed punters like moths to a burning light. Vocalist Soph Day’s vocals ring out across the Sunday afternoon crowd and it makes for a perfect soundtrack to what has already been an epic day of music.
With a considerable amount of chatter floating around about the anticipation of former Evile shredder, Ol Drake (2.5/5), making his Bloodstock debut appearance as a solo artist, we had to see what all the fuss was about. Apart from the humorous banter between compositions, the extent of the show was guitar wankery, in abundance and although a considerable crowd had gathered to witness Drake’s guitar noodlings, the entertainment factor wore off pretty quick.
Something sinister is creeping from the Sophie Lancaster PA and as Saille (3.5/5) work through their black metal set-list, the tent capacity slowly begins to increase. The symphonic element within Saille’s sound, is not too intoxicating and finds a comfortable balance with the momentum of the riffs, which translates well in a live setting. As the Belgian six piece get down to business, there is little talk from vocalist Dennie Grondelaers, who stands firmly center stage for most of the performance. A solid performance that warrants a closer look into the bands back catalogue.
Italian rockers Destrage (3.5/5) try their best to keep energy levels high and manage to do so with their sky-scraping riffs and alternative tinged tunes. A refreshing change form the doom and black metal, that has been on display for most of the afternoon and judging by the reception of the crowd, Destrage are winning right now. Thick, chunky rhythms and soaring choruses are on the bands menu and they are served piping hot!
Lawnmower Deth (5/5) draw one of the biggest crowds of the day with their Monty Python inspired thrash lunacy! Inflated yoga balls appear during Did You Spill My Pint, from the stage with all kinds of silly behavior from both audience and band in abundance, that puts smiles on every face that stands beneath the tent.
Highlight of the bands set has to be the wall of hokey-pokey (yes hokey-pokey), which brings things to a level of ridiculously brilliant before they smash straight into Egg Sandwich. Cheesy arms waving and bouncing during Sheep Dip just adds to the party and makes the audience participation just as important as the band. Slade cover We’ll Bring Down The House features the “tart from Evil Scarecrow” Matt Burton who makes yet another appearance on the Sophie Stage this weekend! Finishing up with Satan’s Trampoline and Fuck Off, Lawnmower Deth have managed to decimate all before them and will likely have all after them trembling with fear! An awesome forty minutes of brilliant stupidity!
Another interesting band hitting the Sophie Stage on the final day are Trepalium (4/5), this French quintet are quite striking visually, before you even get to their music, with front man Keke’s face painted and his dreaded hair trailing well below his waste and the rest of the band dressed in a very dapper manner, but these guys can bloody play, the sound I know from their albums is much funkier and a fusion, doing things their own way. Right from the opening note, these guys are a much heavier and more straightforward death metal, solidified by Keke’s deathly growling vocals, but the band are on fire, there is fret-board gymnastics a plenty and the drums are menacing, the band are earning new fans today and it’s no wonder, with tracks from last years Voodoo Moonshine EP, they have a large and enthusiastic crowd loudly looking for more. Definitely a band to keep an eye on and if you like something a little different then this is for you, the jazz/blues influences add something special to their sound.
Onslaught (4/5), well the only thing causing me not to give these British Legends of Thrash a full 5, are some issues with sound that slightly put things off a little, but hell, when this band starts the set with Let There Be Death and finishes with a rousing version Power From Hell, you can’t honestly criticise them and there’s plenty packed into the Sophie tent that agree. For me, they would have made a more fitting headliner and end to the line up on the Sophie Lancaster Stage rather than Godflesh, who although excellent at what they do, really couldn’t create the feel good factor and excitement that there is during Onslaught’s set.
It’s great to see Nige, Jeff and Si on top form including Andy who brings the second guitar and ensuring that everything just works and flows. Having seen them on the VI album tour last year, I knew how well the new material works live and it’s no different tonight, if anything it’s even better on a larger stage. 66 Fucking 6 is a monster track live and with a really well balanced set of old and new, it really is wonderful to see Onlslaught flying on all cylinders once again, a few technical issues aside, this is a cracking and fun set. The crowd surfers are becoming more frequent as the set develops, no shock really as they are just killing it live. It’s particularly great to hear Metal Forces which was thrown in for good measure. Thirty years of this band and after the excellent VI album there is definitely more in the tank.
Finishing off the live music on the Sophie Lancaster Stage on this, the final day of the epic Bloodstock Festival are the mighty Godflesh (5/5). Having been around since 1982, the Birmingham due open up a can of industrial whoop-ass to the stuffed tent! Justin Broadrick’s vocals are dripping with depth and power that washes over the crowd like a tidal wave. Opening with New Dark Ages, the guys continue to knock out a road blocking set that includes Towers of Emptiness and the classic that is Streetcleaner. The atmosphere in the tent is electric as the crowd hold on to the twists and turns offered from the stage. Crush My Soul, taken from the Selfless release in 1994, still sounds box fresh and as relevant as anything that is knocking around today. Finishing with classics Spite and encore Like Rats, solidifies the bands stellar performance and gives the younger audience a lesson in some old school industrial metal.
Opening Sunday’s proceedings on the New Blood Stage, are Skarthia (3/5) from London, who’s particular brand of melodic death metal certainly wakes the crowd up and get’s the groggy heads moving. I’m guessing I just wasn’t quite there at that stage, as although the playing was more than proficient, it just wasn’t grabbing me the same as other bands had over the weekend. That being said, they were working hard at getting the crowd on their side and involved in the performance and there was certainly a scramble for the USB keys thrown into the crowd at the end of the set. Every band I’ve seen on the New Blood Stage has looked comfortable and assured, it’s a great showcase of up and coming bands and I would urge anyone attending Bloodstock to stick their heads in the door every now and then and just check out what’s on offer, it may be a future headliner.
Hard rock four piece Hells Gazells (4/5) work their bollocks off with a collection of impressive tunes. Putting a voice to a face can be deceiving at times, but none more than in this case. Vocalist Cole Bryant, has a rather impressive range that can hit Rob Halford levels at times, where he finds the muster for such shrieking, is mind boggling. Hells Gazells are a tight outfit that write good songs and hopefully will get the notice they so well deserve.
Firstly, let’s get this straight. Tombstone Crow (4/5) vocalist Debi Lisle, has one hell of a pair of lungs that have more gravel than your local quarry! Where she finds the depth and brutality will remain a mystery and a bloody good one at that. The ingredients for Tombstone Crow are the following, crushing groove infested riffs with contrasting elements of melodic choruses that crack open your skull and take up residence whether you like it or not. A find display of proper metal with more balls than you will hear from most. A punchy, energetic presence, balanced with southern-doomy hints throughout, that would have members of Down and C.O.C, foot tapping all day long.
Blast beats and filthy blackened vocals are pounding from the New Blood stage as Incipt (3.5/) launch their attack on the Bloodstock crowd. The Norwegians certainly know their black metal and Incipit are no exception. They have a considerable amount of catchy breakdowns in their set, that is woven through the full-on breakneck force of their brutal sonic mainframe of relentless ear drum battering. Very good indeed!
Hailing all the way from down the road, Nottingham / Leicester, Spirytus (5/5) fucking own the stage from the opening tune. The band are loaded with a serious sound that is described as aggressive funk and groove metal, and who are we to argue with that? Like a heavier mash up of Mordred and Limp Bizkit, with a bit of Pantera thrown in, Spirytus are simply killing it and have earned a new fan here! It’s impossible not to get pulled in by the bands momentum and boundless energy. If you missed them, then you suck ass! Get to know these guys and make them part of your life!
Up next is Obey (3.5/5), who describe themselves as metal / rock and have a real sense of Black Label Society about them from the get go. The band sound heavy as a sack of hammers, with double kick drums and chugging riffs. The only criticism would have to be the vocals, which were just not up to par with the music and slightly off key multiple times throughout the bands entire set which was unfortunate. Obey are absolutely worth checking out, at any given chance.
Metal 2 The Masses 2015 Irish winners, Animator (4/5) take to the stage with little fanfare and prepare to launch a thrash assault to all that stand before them. For the non-Irish punters in attendance it’s an opportunity to show them that it’s not about fiddle and tin whistles. With all four members on fine form, the New Ross thrashers bring the tent to it’s knees with the likes of Ultra 53, and the instant anthem In God We Trust, sounding razor sharp and ready to brawl. It’s unfortunate that the band were competing with Sepultura on the main stage, but manage to pull in a healthy crowd who are drawn to the high energy, face melting riffs and punchy gang vocals. Animator are a force to be reckoned with. Keep your eyes firmly fixed on the band as they have a new album in the works which it due out soon.
As Taken By The Tide (4/5) wait for their intro tape to finish, you can’t help but notice the amount of strings on each of the instruments. This can only mean, technical math metal by the truck load! Well, that’s what we though, but in actual fact, Taken By The Tide offer so much more. Part hardcore, part progressive, experimental elements are present, within their music and an abundance of unpredictable and captivating arrangements come at the crowd thick and fast. The Nottingham four piece, have a perfect balance of heavy-as-fuck coupled with sonic experimentation and come off exceptionally good on the New Blood stage. I’m intrigued as to what else the band can offer and look forward to seeing them again in a dark, sweaty club somewhere soon! Fucking awesome!
Belfast hardcore crew, By Any Means (4/5) take to the stage and let rip from the get go. Offering a more technical and though provoking approach to the hardcore sound, By Any Means do some serious damage and end up enrolling a small army of new fans during their performance. Vocalist Paul Docs, stalks the Hobgoblin stage, looking like he’s ready to rip the limbs from anybody that gets in his way, while the rest of the guys take layers of paint off the interior of the New Blood tent. A recipe of excellence from By Any Means and will no doubt continue to smash it live! Check the bands page for updated shows and general news as your not gonna want to miss out on their next show! Blistering from start to finish!
Starting with an intro tape that was somewhat anticlimactic, Left For Red (3/5) launch into their set and the first thing that is apparent is the vocals. Slightly off key on the melodic sections, vocalist ‘LC’ dominates the sound and just takes from the potential of the overall delivery of the band. Putting it down to monitor issues or just a bad day, Left For Red work the crowd and execute some damn fine material, that has myself and the rest of the tent’s capacity engaged for the full half hour.
With such a fine selection of bands appearing on the New Blood stage across the weekend from all areas of the metal spectrum, the death metal sounds from Luxemburg’s Scarred (5/5) only add to the quality barometer. Featuring guitarist, Diogo Bastos, who has been earning his pocket money working as session musician for Norwegian black metalers, Satyricon. Scarred sound huge and about as brutal as you can get. The intriguing guitar work and background arrangements are what really nail it for me with Scarred. It’s just fantastically heavy but with a perfect mix of melody and groove. Think Gojira with a blackened version of Lamb of God and you might just be near what Scarred have going on. Vocalist Sacha Breuer has got a tremendous vocal range that can be somewhat terrifying (in a good way) at times. Shut up and take my money! Scarred are all kinds of amazing! Catch them on tour in Ireland and the UK with Psycroptic in October.
Burden Of The Noose (4/5) take to the stage as the evening settles in a do a fine job in battering all in attendance with their self proclaimed “Sludge Powerviolence Grind”! What ever you want to call it, Burden Of The Noose are emitting a level of power that can only be found in tornadoes. Monster riffs come slow and thick like melting plastic, only to be replaced with chaotic explosions of mayhem and 100% proof pure aggression.
And so to the closing band on the Hobgoblin New Blood stage. The London based Wretched Toad (4.5/5), have been a name that has been bouncing around the Bloodstock site all weekend and now was the moment of truth! Taking to the stage and launching into their rock, funk, metal and blues infused anthems, gets the crowd on their side from the get go! Without trying to box them into any specific genre, Wretched Toad have the chops, tunes and humor for bigger stages and do a rather impressive job of closing off the New Blood Stage for 2015. Keep up to date with band via their social media platforms as they will hopefully move on to much bigger things! A cracking performance!
If you have not heard of Snowblind (4.5/5) or just heard the name knocking around then you need to sort that out as soon as possible. Hailing from Ireland, the three piece take to the modest sized Jägermeister stage and just rip the skin off all that stand before them. New material from the bands recently released single got an airing with Splitoak, which sounded just fucking epic. Fact! The mind bending tunes that Snowblind have crafted are a testament to the potential of this band. Their music is heavy and delivered with passion, drawing influence from the likes of Budgie, Motorhead and Iron Maiden, but with a special ingredient, that only Snowblind know. As the band finish with the fantastic Warbringer, all in attendance know that they have witnessed something very special indeed.
Words – Oran O’Beirne, Stephen Brophy, Shaun Martin, Karyn Corrigan
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography
* Sepultura picture AM Photo Star
All contents – © OVERDRIVE 2015
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