Featuring a huge lineup, including headliners, Devin Townsend, Kreator, and Judas Priest, along with the likes of Skindred, Cradle of Filth, Saxon, Paradise Lost, Napalm Death, Therapy?, While She Sleeps, and many more, I think it’s safe to say that it’s gonna be a Bloodstock to remember, especially since we’ve all been in some state of quarantine since March of 2020.
The five-day festival offers an impressive array of Metal genres from Black to Stoner, Power, Doom, Thrash, and…well, you get the picture. There’s something for everyone.
This year will see a very strong presence from Ireland’s flourishing Metal scene with performances from The Crawling, Words That Burn, Ireland’s Metal 2 The Masses 2021 winners, Grey Stag, Northern Irish M2TM winners, Elder Druid, not forgetting the bone-grinding, Strange Wire, and Cork hardcore crew, Bailer, and of course, the mighty Therapy? on the main stage.
So, for those of you who are not familiar with any of the above bands’ [Therapy? excluded] check out our quick guide to each band and be sure to include them into your Bloodstock experience.
BAILER – SOPHIE STAGE | SATURDAY, AUG 14TH
If there’s one thing we can tell you about Bailer, it’s that they know how to throw down live. Guaranteed to be an eye-opening experience for anyone that’s never witnessed these guys in a live setting. Expect pummeling riffs that will immediately dislodge your colon, topped with unbridled organised chaos from the very moment they take to the stage.
If Bailer were a vehicle, they would be a Frankenstein-type, Max Max-style tank/snowplough hybrid, fueled by pure adrenalin, and combusted raw aggression. Miss them at your own peril.
ELDER DRUID – NEW BLOOD STAGE | FRIDAY AUGUST 13TH
Hailing from Belfast, N. Irish M2TM winners, Elder Druid specialise in occult, fuzzed-out doom/stoner sludge with riffs that are as thick and sweet as a freshly packed bong.
The five-piece have channelled their love of Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Electric Wizard, and Sleep with their own strain of heavy, making them one of Ireland’s most respected bands from the Doom/Sludge scene.
GREY STAG – NEW BLOOD STAGE | SATURDAY, AUGUST 14TH
Winners of Rep. of Ireland Metal 2 The Masses campaign, Grey Stag are firm favourites when it comes to yearning for that extra sonic weight. The three-piece sound like a possessed version of Mastodon and can summon up the most earth-rattling noise that would make Crowbars’ Kirk Windstein green with envy.
Grey Stag make the kind of music that you can actually feel vibrate throughout your entire body. Their rise in the Irish Metal scene has seen them gain praise from all corners of the country thanks to their intense live shows. Do. Not. Miss. This. Band.
STRANGLE WIRE – NEW BLOOD STAGE | SUNDAY, AUG 15TH
The words “Quality” and “Death Metal” rarely meet, by today’s standards, [thanks to the over-saturation of new DM bands that tend to focus more on tempo rather than song structure], however, Belfast’s Strangle Wire are an exception.
Featuring members of ‘Condemned‘, ‘The Obscene Machine’, ‘Zombified‘, ‘Helpless‘, and more, Strange Wire are all too familiar with the concept of crafting groove-laden, heavy-as-fuck Death Metal, or as they like to refer to it, ‘Psychological Death Metal‘.
If you need convincing, then click on the link below and prepare to have your teeth served to the back of your skull. This is a performance that you’re not gonna want to miss out on.
WORDS THAT BURN – NEW BLOOD STAGE | SUNDAY, AUG 15TH
Without a doubt, one of Ireland’s most contemporary and eclectic Metal acts. Hailing from Dundalk, the four-piece have been evolving into a sonic missile over the last decade, combining elements of Metalcore [BMTH, Parkway Drive, Architects] with touches of Alternative Rock/Metal, [Faith No More/Korn] here and there resulting in something truly awesome indeed.
Balancing heavy, groove-pounding, stompers with heart-soaring, anthemic melody is what this band does best and when witnessed in a live setting, you’ll be humming their music for days afterwards.
The band have just wrapped on their new album with producer Josh Schroeder [King 810, Lora Shore, Of Virtue] and recently dropped a preview single ‘Den of Lions‘ which you can access via the link below:
We spoke to each of the bands’ ahead of their performances at Bloodstock this week…
OD – There are a lot of bands that will be taking to the stage at Bloodstock for the first time as well as it being their very first live show in over 18 months. How important is this show for you?
THE CRAWLING – Playing Bloodstock is always important, and is one of my fondest memories. Ever since we played ‘The New Blood‘ stage in 2016, we’ve had our focus on playing The Sophie Lancaster Stage, and with the pandemic, madness happening it became pivotal. It’s our first show since March 2020, Bloodstock 2021 has now become the re-start of The Crawling. It all beings Thursday 12th August.
BAILER – It’s hugely important to us. It’s been almost two years now since our last show back in November 2019, so, we’re massively excited to get back on stage again as we’ve really missed it.
We love all aspects of being in a band, writing music, recording, travelling places, but playing live is the best part for us. It’s like a huge release after all the hard work that goes into everything else and it’s always so much fun. The fact that our first gig back after so long is at such a huge festival like Bloodstock is all the more exciting for us. We’re hyped!
WORDS THAT BURN – Its Bloodstock… it’s a big HUGE deal for us. We’re playing the New Blood Stage which I think has a lot of eyes on it so we have a big platform to impress here!
ELDER DRUID – It’s a massive deal for us! We’ve been entering Metal 2 The Masses for about 4 years now and have come close a few times, but were never able to take home the prize. It really makes the efforts seem worth it, and if you’re going to play your first gig in 18 months, you may as well do it at Bloodstock!
GREY STAG – Well since we started this band to enter the 2018 M2TM I’d say this will be our most important gig to date, regardless of the last 18 months! Luckily we were picked to play Monolith Online Festival this year down in Cork so we’ve had at least one gig but it just isn’t the same without a crowd, and we can’t wait to get in front of that ravenous Bloodstock one
STRANGLE WIRE – This is a huge event for us for numerous reasons. Firstly, Bloodstock is without a doubt, one of the biggest Metal events in the UK, so it’s a privilege to be a part of it. Secondly, playing Bloodstock was a bucket list item for all those in the band, so we’re all thrilled on a personal level to be given the opportunity to play it at this stage of our career. Lastly, it’ll be our first show back since the beginning of the Pandemic which is pretty cool.
OD – With such a heavy eclectic line-up this year, do think that most genres are well represented, or is there any particular genre you would like to see more of?
THE CRAWLING – I’m so rubbish with all the genre classifications, to be honest, but there is certainly a great spread of music from classic to black metal; I reckon Bloodstock has a bit of everything for everyone. I’m a doom fan at heart, so I could always take a little more misery!
BAILER – Looking at the line-up, there’s a pretty cool mix going on. There’s a bit of something for everyone throughout the whole weekend. If we’re being a little biased, we’d love to see some more hardcore bands on there!
WORDS THAT BURN – Oh, I think it has a perfect blend this year. Maybe due to it being five days, they could add more bands. Saturday has four bands playing in a row that we wanted to catch, so, it’s awesome!
ELDER DRUID – You look at the lineup this year and even on the main stage, there is something for everyone. Anyone going to Bloodstock this year is spoilt for choice as far as the lineup goes.
GREY STAG – I think there’s pretty good representation, especially since Devin Townsend covers most of the genres anyway. I’m a big prog fan so any more of that is always appreciated but there’s been a fair few bands added over the last few weeks on the smaller stages that have piqued my ‘proggy‘ interests.
STRANGLE WIRE – I think one of Bloodstock’s biggest strengths is that they always ensure most genres are well represented. Despite this being the first time I will have attended Bloodstock, the line-ups in previous years, going by the posters, have always contained a great spread of bands and genres.
OD – With each year passing, Bloodstock has increased the presence of Irish Metal bands, more so than any other festival of its kind. How important do you believe this to be for the Irish and Northern Irish Metal community?
THE CRAWLING – The support for Irish bands from Bloodstock has been unreal, and as you say, seems to increase every year. I think it shows the community, bands from here are more than ready to play on bigger stages to bigger crowds. I get a real sense of pride when I see Irish acts playing huge festivals and a bit of envy … which is excellent for motivation!
BAILER – It’s nice to see more bands from Ireland and Northern Ireland making the trip across for Bloodstock. It can be quite difficult for bands from our isle to break out and be able to play shows abroad, it takes a lot of work so every band should be really proud of their appearance at the festival. Hopefully, the representation gets bigger every year and starts to happen more with other festivals too.
WORDS THAT BURN – I think it’s amazing that they give smaller bands like us an opportunity to showcase on a platform that other festivals can’t or don’t. Geographically, we’re unfortunate to be stuck on a wee island here and it’s tough to get out touring with the view of getting noticed and maybe being offered the opportunity to play a mainland Europe festival so Bloodstock has really gone out of their way to accommodate the next generation of awesome bands.
ELDER DRUID – It’s unbelievable! We (and other Irish metal bands) have been given the opportunity to get on one of the biggest stages in UK metal and the rest is up to us. An opportunity of that magnitude doesn’t land on your lap every day, so, any Irish metal band that gets this chance will want to go and give it everything.
GREY STAG – It’s amazing to see more and more Irish bands playing. The calibre of bands coming from Ireland is second to none and it’s great that’s being recognised. We have a crazy pool of talent in Ireland, but the grind to take that overseas can stop a lot of great bands in their tracks.
STRANGLE WIRE – I think Bloodstock’s willingness to include more Irish bands is vital to the Irish metal community, certainly for bands at our level anyway. First and foremost, it draws attention to the Irish metal scene as a whole which is no bad thing at all, there is a wealth of talent here and some truly exceptional bands.
Also, unlike bands from the mainland, bands from Ireland don’t have the luxury of being able to play in three different countries before having to pay for flights or ferry’s, when building a fan base there. Therefore, trying to get good exposure from live shows on the mainland is both costly and difficult for Irish bands. The exposure Bloodstock offers to a band like ourselves, is immeasurable, and I dread to think how many weekend tours we would need to play in order to get the same exposure.
OD – Some of you have taken part in Metal 2 The Masses over the years, do you believe that the impact of M2TM has been a good thing for the local scene and if so, why?
THE CRAWLING – I believe it has. Over the last few years Bloodstock “Metal 2 the Masses” has become a centre-point of the live shows for the year for underground acts. It obviously creates the opportunity for bands to get onto the fest, which is awesome on its own, but it’s become more than that.
It creates excitement within the scene, makes bands focus on their writing and performance, pushes bands to be better. It also gets the crowds more involved, as the fans are an integral part of the voting system here in NI. The M2TM shows also attend really well, regularly pulling over 200 people – unheard of for underground shows. The NI metal scene knows it’s coming every year, and it always sparks interest.
BAILER – While we haven’t taken part in the competition itself, we have done a guest appearance before and it was a great show. It’s a fantastic opportunity for new bands to get a leg in the door so to speak, it can open up so many opportunities, and long may it continue.
WORDS THAT BURN – Again, it opens up the doors to play a major festival. The M2TM brings the opportunity to us. Even if you don’t win first, second, third time around, you still get the chance to play for key people who, if you’re good enough, won’t forget you!
ELDER DRUID – I can only speak for the Northern Ireland heats of M2TM but I would have to say yes. The competition aspect can be off-putting but the local scene in NI is tight and supportive so there hasn’t been a time where we haven’t been happy for whoever has taken the competition that year. Personally, I think it’s a great chance to play some packed out gigs – win or lose!
GREY STAG – Definitely a good thing overall. Obviously, the lifeblood of the scene is a community who want to go to gigs and take part whether as organisers, musicians, and especially as an audience. M2TM adds to that, champions local original bands and pushes the quality up each year, I think.
STRANGLE WIRE – Again, in my opinion, it comes down to that all-important exposure. Whilst more established local bands may have no trouble filling a local venue (although many still do), this is not the case for the up and coming new ones. The MT2M heats are always well attended, and therefore bands taking part not only could end up playing Bloodstock, but also are given the opportunity to play really well-attended gigs, and are given the opportunity to convert some punters to fans. It also provides a lot of opportunities to get to know other bands in the scene and do a bit of networking.
OD – What other bands are you looking forward to seeing this year at the Festival?
THE CRAWLING – I keep swaying back and forward about my “top bands” for the fest. Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Cradle Of Filth, Paradise Lost, Black Tongue and Strangle Wire are right up there.
BAILER – We’re really excited to see some of our friends performing at the festival. Conjurer are always absolutely killer and one of the heaviest bands around, so we can’t wait to see them and catch up too. Other bands we’re looking forward to seeing are Loathe, Black Tongue, Malevolence, Raging Speedhorn, Napalm Death, Cradle of Filth, and Devin Townsend of course!
WORDS THAT BURN – Devin Townsend, While She Sleeps, Sylosis and ALL the Irish bands. We gotta show the world that we’re there representing the Irish metal scene and that we mean business!
ELDER DRUID – I’m really looking forward to seeing Loathe on the main stage Friday!
GREY STAG – Devin Townsend, Dog Tired, Svalbard, Black Tongue, The Crawling, Strangle Wire, King Witch, Sylosis, Conan, Elder Druid, Bailer, Conjurer…so many more, definitely can’t list them all!
STRANGLE WIRE – Sadly, the bands I was looking forward to the most, we’ll not get to see. We arrive on Saturday meaning we’ll miss The crawling, Elder Druid, and Foetal juice. I was looking forward to seeing Necronautical as well, but I think we may be on at the same time as them. But, we will get to see Grey Stag on Saturday, and Words That Burn and Judas Priest on Sunday, so those will be lethal, no doubt
OD – Are there any bands that you’re curious about but willing to check out?
THE CRAWLING – Devin Townsend. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I’ve never seen him live, and is simply one of those acts that have escaped me for years! I have heard his live show is unreal, so I’m really looking forward to seeing him.
BAILER – There are a few bands we’d like to check out and see what they’re like live. We’re going to try and see Venom Prison, Svalbard, and hopefully Jinjer too!
WORDS THAT BURN – The great thing about festivals is that you’ll come home with a whole new collection of bands to check out that maybe you wouldn’t before. I definitely wanna check out Cradle Of Filth. I know some songs, but really wanna see them live. If we have time, Napalm Death too! And Party Cannon…!
ELDER DRUID – There are obviously so many other options but I would like to see what else is coming out of the New Blood stage. We know a lot of fantastic Irish bands from the North and South of the border, who’ve played on there before so I can only imagine that the level of talent is going to be exceedingly high across the board!
GREY STAG – I know the two Matts are eager to check out Party Cannon. I’ve been keeping an eye on the latest string of announcements for the New Blood and Jager stage so there’s a few there I want to check out. Bands like Mountain Caller, Sail, Ascaris, Kurokuma, and there’s definitely more to add to that
STRANGLE WIRE – I’ve never heard Evil Scarecrow before, but I’ve seen their name being thrown about and heard good things about their live show, so I’d like to see them out of curiosity.
OD – For anyone that’s never seen or heard of your band, how would you best describe your live shows?
THE CRAWLING – Not everyone gets our music, which is the very nature of art; but any metalhead will get a doom/ death experience of gloom and heavy! There are also those who operate on the same plane as us, they get something different that I can’t explain so easily, but when it happens you’ll know.
BAILER – Energetic and explosive, for sure. We love performing and creating a mutual vibe between us and the crowd. That vibe is, we’re here for a good fucking time, and to riff and groove with everyone. We bring that every time we’re on stage and Bloodstock will be no different!
WORDS THAT BURN – We’re aggressive, we’re energetic, we’re melodic and we love circle pits. So be prepared!
ELDER DRUID – Our live shows are best described as a wall of sound. We’re coming with the six-piece, so, that’s two guitarists and two bassists. It’s going to be REALLY heavy.
GREY STAG – Sweaty. Surprisingly so. Like, not the most sweaty you’ve ever seen but you’ll definitely think to yourself “Wow. I did not expect to see them sweat so much and I am surprised”.
STRANGLE WIRE – I’m not really sure. I think I would describe it as both energetic and intense.
OD – Can you share any news on your plans for later this year or next year with regards to releases, tours, etc.?
THE CRAWLING – We’re still finding our feet for the rest of the year, and need to see how the land lies. That said, we’re working on new material for the next album, and tour wise we have an Irish weekend with Winterfylleth and Gaerea in September, which will be epic! In short, we will continue on our righteous path of misery …
BAILER – We have a lot of plans in the works at the moment, unfortunately, we can’t quite share them yet. BUT….I can say we do have an album coming out this year. People won’t have to wait too long to hear it and we’re excited to get it into people’s ears.
WORDS THAT BURN – Our latest single ‘Den Of Lions‘ has just been released exclusively on our YouTube page. We’ll maybe have two more singles out this year with the view of dropping our new record in 2022. We’ve got a few gigs lined up too, so, hopefully, they go ahead.
ELDER DRUID – We have finished writing all the music for the new album, Carcosa, due later this year on Interstellar Smoke Records & Galactic Smokehouse Records and the recording process is underway so keep an eye out for that! In terms of tours, we’ll be main support on two Irish tours in 2022 with Conan in May, and Stoned Jesus in June. We’ll also have an album release tour in between now and then but there’s still a bit of planning left to do. We can’t wait to get back on the road.
GREY STAG – We have a single out on the 28th of August! It’s called “The Adversary” and it grooves heavy. We hope you like it. After we return from Bloodstock then we’ll continue working on the rest of the songs for our debut album
STRANGLE WIRE – We have our debut album recorded, and the artwork pretty much finished, so we’re really just focussing on producing the content to accompany the release. Hopefully, we’ll have a tour arranged by the time we are ready to launch, but that depends on how things go with everything that is going on. Outside of that, we’ve just been in the rehearsal studio writing for album no.2.
Gig wise, we have a few local shows coming up, alongside such bands as Sodomized Cadaver, Baest, and Party Cannon. Plus we have a few shows in England with our good friends’, Lost Brethren.
Bloodstock Open Air Festival takes place in Catton Hall, Derbyshire from Wednesday, August 11th through Sunday, August 15th. All standard weekend tickets are now SOLD OUT.