Home Gigs Gig Review : Bloodstock Open Air 2021 – Sophie Lancaster Stage

Gig Review : Bloodstock Open Air 2021 – Sophie Lancaster Stage

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Review by Tammy Lomax for MPM

Was I excited? Oh yes I was!

As I was scanning through my daily emails, it was there slapped right in front of my eyes, my confirmed accreditation to cover Bloodstock 2021. The feeling was quite extraordinary, given the pandemic and the lockdowns the whole world has injured, it is full steam ahead, Bloodstock 2021 is happening and it is now time for me and thousands of metalheads to get our festi vibes in full motion.

Walking the fair distance from the main car park to the arena was the most prodigious sight, witnessing hundreds of people walking and lugging their camping equipment, working up a sweat to join the montage of people queuing for entry,


Anakim opened up the whole festival on The Sophie Lancaster Stage and what an absolute blinding start to the festival. It’s been such a long time since any of us have been able to appreciate any live music.

The atmosphere felt strong and ready to go and the tent was already packed out with eager fans observing and taking it all in. I also took a few moments to appreciate my surroundings, I closed my eyes and took the deepest breath, everything just fizzled away and we all were in the present moment. I looked up at the stage, heads everywhere, I was paralysed by vocalist Matt Small, his whirlwinds were captivating against the lighting and the fierce drums.

Anakim had come prepared, the Dorset metallers executed and delivered an absolute slaughtering set and every single person in the room was breathing in what we all had missed. Precision was key and they gave it 110 percent, it was tight and efficient.

The melodic elements were smashed to pieces by the accurate face shredding riffs and the deep guttural vocals. Anakin completely destroyed everything in their way, what an incredible start.

Ward XVI were up next and there is only one word for their entire performance: exquisite. The choreography and production was to be admired, every single step was full of horrifying and chilling details right down to the ghoulish costumes, their preparations did not go unnoticed.

The atmosphere was haunting and the music was belting. The flames took their position for ‘Burn The Witch’ and at that moment I realised they had nailed the theatre act, definitely the best I’ve seen. Psychoberrie is a hero, her vocals were effortless and powerful, there were zero breaks when she hit the clear notes resulting in a silky smooth running.

This crazy lady gave birth only a couple of weeks ago and there is no denying that all the hours of dedication to perfect the performance definitely paid off. The tent was bursting and their overall sound was huge, certainly well balanced between the electronics and guitars too, a fantastic job.

Raised By Owls keep rising and rising, this was certainly evident when they were pumped and ready to perform, I couldn’t get in the tent so I weaved through as best as I could. The extreme metallers are all for a bit of fun but their music is also incredible.

They put on an astounding performance and showed some real energy, engaging with the crowd continuously. They have been drip feeding fans with hilarious videos on their social media since their confirmed spot at Bloodstock and Mr Blobby of course made an appearance.

The overall performance did not disappoint, these guys were confident and their stage presence demonstrated this, they collectively smashed the stage with ear splitting riffs and unrelenting drums followed by some nasty drops and blistering vocals, they even had dildos.

Onslaught was absolutely fantastic, this was definitely my best band of the evening. They, without question, slayed their set and I felt the whole festival had properly kicked off from this point.

The atmosphere was full of beaming smiles and Onslaught charged with a full on thrash attack, it was revved up and brutal. The rustic 80s feel still remained but came with more of a wallop and the relentless drumming showed no mercy, Onslaught has been brought back to life with a slight upgrade and modern twist.

Halveskia played The New Blood Stage on Thursday and what an awesome sight. The doomy vibes were the perfect way to get us ready for another day of awesome metal, they sounded great and considering this is like their third gig ever there was a decent turnout and the tent was filled with so much love.

Ashen Crown felt nothing but appreciation as vocalist Kieran Scott seemed overwhelmed with the crowds of people that came to see their performance.

If you haven’t checked this band out yet, I highly recommend you do, they have proved they can adapt to whichever genre they want and they mould it accordingly, thus it sticks out from the crowd, pure extreme and all sorts of metal.

The double bass kick drums were loud and thumped your stomach which matched the down toned bass. Ashen Crown worked hard plugging their music and I think the turnout was unexpected but the gratitude was captured and the love was certainly shared. These guys were heavy and offered us all a decent slab of metal, they totally ruptured the stage.

Seething Akira blew it completely out of the water, I can not bang on enough about how amazing their entire set was. This band excited me and the whole crowd, we all went full out.

Their energy was at full maximum impact all the way through, their mixes and drops just got the whole place bouncing. I did not see one face that wasn’t beaming, resembling “Where’s Johnny?”.

“It’s been a while since I felt this way” were the lyrics to song Gravity and it hit home to me personally, it has been a while for me since I’ve been this energised towards a band.

The last 10 minutes or so of their set they encountered some issues with both microphones, this did not stop these guys in the slightest, they were totally owning the stage stomping about improvising with what they had. This did not diminish in their performance one bit, they absolutely brought it all to the stage and I’ve never witnessed anything so militant and full of muscle and energy.

These guys were definitely one of my favourite highlights of the whole festival and I can’t not wait to see them destroy the next stage they set foot on.

Elimination played the Jägermeister stage and I felt it was an absolute must to witness their performance. Although they played the smallest stage, they had a decent turnout.

They had a wheelchair crowd surfer and the tent had to be held up. Their set was full of fast thrash metal and passers by were even stopping to acknowledge what they had to offer. Let’s just remind ourselves these guys only had three days to prepare for this and Ross Wilson stepped in for Leigh Rumsby.

Bloodstock has always been in the band’s sight and now they can say “We’ve played Bloodstock”. They delivered a fine job and proceeded to end their set with a melodic, emotionally powerful thrash ballard.

Pemphigold played the New Blood Stage and this was the first time I have heard them. There is a lot of hype around the three piece UK band and it’s pretty apparent why. Pemphigold are bringing back the real old school death metal. Vocalist Ash executed his deep polished vocals and I was stumped.

They had my whole attention and I really value what they brought to the table. Simplicity but full of oomph, the trio will assuredly go far.

On Friday, Dog Tired were solid blocks of titanium, their performance was hefty and packed with all the meat. The Scottish group have been around the block a few times and know exactly how to meet the cravings of an audience. The power of their riffs will compel you as they stomp through their set and bang their heads. This was one of the heaviest sets I saw on the Sophie Lancaster stage and Dog Tired claimed territory as they owned the stage.

Shrapnel absolutely brought it! Again another first for me but I was hooked straight away. They brought mayhem and were ferocious with their huge riffs. There were some minor issues with the bass but the vocalist cracked on unallowing this to affect the music, it was fixed in no time at all. A bad workman blames his tools and they easily would have pulled it off if the bass didn’t work at all. The Norwich thrashers impressed me with their destructive modern display, I will definitely be looking out for Shrapnel in the future.

Raging Speedhorn were pure sex, both vocalists were filthy and their mid paced approach made me sway. I’ve seen them many times before so I knew exactly what to expect and I enjoyed their set, they never disappoint.

Napalm Death headlined the Sophie Stage and without question they brought adrenaline and carnage. There were no long introductions as they were about to start, these guys’ tempo was so fast and hammering at the packed out tent at 1000 mph, the whole place went off, beers flying everywhere, huge mosh pits, it was grindcore at its finest. Vocalist Barney paced across one side of the stage to another barking at the crowd with his violent scorching vocal attacks, the lights flashing like lightning on caffeine, they only had one mission, set and destroy.

On Saturday, King Goat brought a lot of new flavours for their performance on The Sophie Lancaster Stage, they are elated with the response and have had big bands like The Crawling sharing their performance on social media platforms.

Extra delights included backing vocals performed by the amazing Armadine from All Hail Dog, Xysor from Vehement and Mark from Halveskia.

Mellow in places but full of raw emotions that filled the tent with the most bewildering atmosphere, It was stunningly sophisticated and a certainly classy performance.

Irish hardcore group, Bailer surprised me. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but they did a fine job at tearing your face off with their music. The songs were energetic and supercharged and although the tent was not as full this had no reflection on their performance, I especially salvated over the savage drops, mate. I love coming across bands I’ve never heard of, I love my job.

Nottingham M2TM winners Cottonmouth played the New Blood Stage and I am confident when I say they were so uplifting and inspiring. Not really the extreme metal I prefer but sometimes I believe we all need a breather and some down time to catch a breath these fellas aced it 100 percent. The vocals were diverse and so clear when they needed to be and every single part of the music was such a pleasant experience to listen to.

Memoriam, the band that kept on giving. The first thing I would like to say is, Spike the new drummer, he completely retained my attention throughout the entire set.

I was glued to him, he was so quick with his footwork and it was really surprising he has recently joined the band, what a talent! This guy deserves a huge pat on the back, he absolutely slayed the set entirely and definitely the best drummer i had seen during the festival. Magistic frontman Karl was owning the stage, throwing water all over himself and removing his t-shirt. You can feel the strong bond between all the band members which projected a tight, efficient set. There was a minor issue with the guitar but it was rectified almost immediately and guitarist Scott carried on with his mammoth talent.

On Sunday, London based band This Is Endless played the New Blood Stage. They have blended harcore and death metal together injecting listeners with a full battering. They stormed the stage and their dirty riffs and bass infused breakdowns blew away all the cobwebs. ‘As I Suffocate’ geared the crowd and caused chaos in the pit. 

Combining talents of Red Method, Dripback, Onslaught and Ted Maul, these guys are suited to fans of Decapitated, Lamb of God and Dying Fetus and are more than capable of delivering every time they play.

No restrictions, the nearest to reality we’ve all experienced since Covid-19. Bloodstock 2021 was the most euphoric and bewildering experience, and I can not thank everyone involved enough, you guys worked tirelessly to bring us the most rewarding experience, making memories that will last a lifetime, so thank you massively because you guys pulled it off, even when band’s were dropping out like flies, what an amazing team. It was fulfilling seeing everyone again, I did read elsewhere that Bloodstock is like Christmas for metalheads, I couldn’t agree more.

Other band’s that kicked butt were, Divine Chaos, Conan, Malevolence, While She Sleeps, Borstal and Paradise Lost. The list is endless to be fair because every single band gave it their all and more importantly, ever so grateful to be playing this awesome festival. What a beautiful family we have, we are all weird and we all embrace it through our music, don’t stop headbanging and of course, Bring on Bloodstock 2022.

Tammy’s Top 5 Bands:

  1. Onslaught
  2. Seething Akira
  3. Napalm Death
  4. Memoriam
  5. Pemphigold

Photography by Lindsay Smith for MPM -– Copyright to all Images Lindzrs MediaFull Gallery Below.


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