Review by Sheri Bicheno for MPM
It’s that time of year again… a large abundance of metalheads gather in the pastures of South Derbyshire, descending with smiles and eagerness upon Bloodstock Festival.
Last year was a raging Inferno of heat, though this year was a little more in the realms of our typical Summer weather – one feat I am glad of as we entered the grounds.
This year, Bloodstock had something special up their sleeves. With the announcement of Killswitch Engage’s first UK festival headliner, Triptykon planning an all Celtic Frost set and with the sad announcement of Helloween having to cancel their support slot to Megadeth, KK’s Priest stepped in to fill the void, this year was set to bring some huge energy – let alone the anticipation for Meshuggah’s first Bloodstock headlining appearance!!!
Warmly greeted by the lovely people at Cosa Nostra PR to get our wristbands, we headed into the main arena – the atmosphere was buzzing and full of warmth, laughter and the occasional blasts of campsite shenanigans already underway.
Heading to the Sophie Stage already, first band kicking off the weekend on a Thursday evening was Post Nu Metal Supergroup The Violent Inzident.
Forming of 6 dudes donned head to toe in old school Nu Metal get up, the feel of the band is straight off the bat humour and parody.
Party vibes that launch Nu Metal into the crowd see’s the band making fun of their mish mash between Limp Bizkit, Disturbed, Korn, Slipknot and others that donned “spiky hair” from 1999.
Industrial riffs and catchy beats are displayed in different playing styles to deliver the message of the tracks to emphasise on the positive parody of Nu Metal bands, all done in good hearted and pure amounts of energy.
Tiny D raps his way through solid grooves and launches into D.A.R.E To Keep Kids On Drugs – a huge energy enticing track that is a proper headbanger and see’s confetti cannons blasting into the rafters.
Headlining the Thursday for Sophie Stage tonight was a relatively unusual fit, however – i immensely enjoyed the diversity that mysterious outfit Skynd brought with them.
Known for their unique take on industrial rock and true crime themes surrounding known murderers, victims and massacres, Skynd are totally mesmerising within their sound. With atmospheric uses of synths and dance elements, they delivered a striking performance edging around intense and dark themes.
Richard Ramirez kicks off the atmosphere with horror infused tones amongst shimmering synths and switches between ethereal and ballad driven vocals. An ambient intro to the set, with low lighting and suspense induced moods that boom into a rush of colour and synths.
Robert Hansen brings a rolling storm of eerieness amongst the dark and beautiful atmosphere. Huge bassy notes outline the threatening tone of the track and we’re told to “Run, run, run” – outlining the story of the Butcher Baker serial killer. Gunshots ring through the stage amongst ethereal synths and the vocal exchange between Skynd and Father.
Skynd properly honours the Sophie Stage, donned in ripples of pink and hanging a pink jacket on her mic stand with the words “SAY HER NAME. SOPHIE” Scrawled lovingly across.
Skynd certainly know how to create a scene – bringing a combination of ambient, rave and industrial ignition to touch upon dark and twisted themes, true stories and – in a lot of senses – awareness… they proved the right choice to headline on Thursday.
Heading straight to the Sophie stage for one of the first bands of Friday morning, Lancashire’s long standing titans Bloodyard completely annihilated their set. And it goes without saying that the energy they brought with them was as striking as i’ve ever seen them over the years.
Fresh from dropping their newest album Distilled Aggression, this time, Bloodyard offered a set dripping in some new and evolved sounds ranging from their signature thrashy, old school death roots to a lot more groove and tech infused experimental elements.
Playing to a crowd that filled up the Sophie stage, Daemonology came bludgeoning in with an intro of huge chords and gunshot style riffs, ever so subtly giving way to suspense through slower, nastier fretwork wielded by Nick Adamson.
Donna Hurd has long been one of the most marvelling vocalists offered within the underground UK metal community. Her vocals range from trembling gutturals to twists of high end shrieks and rumbles, mashing up styles within Grindcore and Black Metal.
Today, she is flawless – she whirlwinds her energy across the stage and during this track, merges that energy with the grittiness and purely brutal sonic assault from the band.
There are lashings of groove infused riffs and Dave Cowley’s stunning basslines that align with the glue to what gives Bloodyard a truly raw edge…stickman Matty Lee keeps the tempo heavy as dragging slabs of concrete with injections of speed pedals behind the kit, commanding the pace to this new and killer track, Favourite- amongst -many- track, Orchard of Corpses, storms into the crowd who are already creating pits and body surfers this time of the morning.
Being one of the slightly earlier tracks from Bloodyard, this is purely old school death metal infused with some wonderful groove notes.. Its’a popular one amongst the fans, taken from the debut album of the same name and focuses on the guitar’s crisp sharpness for the track’s delivery.
I’ve been following Bloodyard for many years – this was more than deserved and by the Gods, if anyone had any worries about going to see a band first thing on a Friday morning, Bloodyard made sure those cobwebs were well and truly set alight and yeeted into the ether.
Next up, the Sophie stage made way for Manchester D Beat Black Metal legends Wolfbastard.
So a blend of Crust Punk and Black Metal has quietly dropped it’s own stamp… I remember talking to these killer guys at Bloodstock about the way that music shifts and shapes into various different forms – and obviously the importance of it’s momentum.
What Wolfbastard have been doing for some time now is not only pouring life into that blend but keeping it on peak interest within music fans of today, The sheer fury and mood of these guys rips the stage to bits. And when you’re not sure the energy can get any more vigorous, Dez Carley asks the crowd “Want me to go faster?”
And sure enough, Friday’s Bloodstock obliges with this generous offer.
Fear The Exxxekutioner comes swinging it’s fists into the crowd with brutal attitude and stinging riffs. Si Fox and Dez’s barking vocals hit every corner of the stage with warning whilst churning out some high noted riffs alongside the speed of Dave Buchan’s intense kiktwork.
This track has a huge crowd response (amongst the cries of “WOO!” – something that Tech Fest fans adopted as the call of approval over the years) and the pits going absolujtely bananas.
F*ck off, this is a song about Buckfast”
Showing a sense of humour, one of the latest tracks from Wolfbastard begins and plunges into the party atmosphere amongst their crowd. Buckfast Blasphemies is a display of the fun side of Wolfbastard and relays itself as a punk infused track with a jumpy bite and mischievous grin.
Graveyard Slag offers an old school punk and black metal number.
Dave Buchan’s drumming throughout flits in between speedy double pedals, tempo changing cymbal work and raw blastbeating that run alongside coarse riffs that spiral through the track.
Totally unhinged and killer atmosphere from Wolfbastard.
Back on the Ronnie James Dio stage, Polish blackened death pioneers Hate approached with winding melodics and stunning theatrics.
Sovereign Sanctity opened with a rainfall of atmospheric yet purely threatening riffs entwined with melodic harmonies and scratching basswork. A pure onslaught of reverberation that creates a mix of black metal and death metal in a stunning musical arrangement.
Adam ‘ATF Sinner’ Buszko displays high velocity barking vocals that ensnares the crowd in their tracks.
The Wolf Queen turns the volume up a notch.
Maddening elements of combined blastbeats and crashing slabs of riffs propel the dynamic rhythm at breakneck speed throughout the track.
Rugia is taken from the album of the same name, released just two years ago and in its live setting, is the perfect offering to show all the best qualities of Hate.
Stunning combinations of melodic harmonies and riffing from ATF Sinner and Domin introduce the track that creates space for some striking kit work at the pedals of Nar-Sil for tempo ranges that melt in and out of some brutal blastbeats.
Tiermes low frequency bass offers the backbone to the deepened melodic tempos and seals the moods of the guitars together – a perfect blackened death track.
Hate’s debut at Bloodstock was nothing short of striking… I spoke to ATF Sinner sometime later after their set and look forward to the possibility of their return…
For my first proper review of one of the much deserved bands over at the New Blood Stage, I wandered over to catch London’s Groove/Tech Metal outfit LOKUST.
Having just unveiled long awaited debut album Infidel, Bloodstock is the bands second performance as a full line up and for this, they brought an intense energy and utterly tight set.
Entering the stage with jumpy riffs to conjure suspense, vocalist Alex Da Costa let’s out an almighty roar and launches the band into a sonic assault of stunning melodic riffs, brutal tempo compositions and intricate ranges of vocals.
Guiltless displays high calibre kitwork from Euler Morais – balancing face melting blast beats and tempo commanding pace to LOKUST’s delivery.
Alex Khoury and Jeremy Pringsheim work together to showcase the textures of groove fuelled and technical riffing that flirt with stunning melodic solos and encapsulate the huge darkened moods within the track. Here, Alex commands a circle pit… the dust kicked up to the rafters of the New Blood from then on showed exactly what fans of LOKUST can do.
Parasitic brings a huuuuuge and intense energy – probably my favourite of the set. There are Lamb of God – esque flickers in this set. Alex’s striking vocals range from a roaring and imposing delivery to growls that tremble your core.
The breakdowns here are brutal yet catchy and here is where I can really hear the beautiful basswork of Patryk Kopo work to glue the tempo and depths of heaviness of the bass and guitars together.
If you’re looking for a fresh band with something completely encapsulating within their realms, LOKUST are going to knock you sideways. Watch out for these guys… they are going to soar.
Speaking of which, the New Blood gave way to another absolutely phenomenal group that I’ve only witnessed live within the last year.
Leicester M2TM Winners Voidwalker are already a force to be reckoned with. I was at Uprising Festival 2023 when these guys won this spot and it was truly deserved.
Tar Stained Lips is the first offering from Voidwalker. Amaia Daglish and Robyn Foley power into the crowd with their intricate tech fuelled riffs and stunning harmonies.
Miguel De Almeida vocals are tremendous. His techniques mould into melo-death and core elements that encapsulate the death metal textures of the band in time with the phenomenal kitwork of Calum Burns.
Boiling Point sees in some intricate guitaring and chuggy bass notes from Joseph.
These guys blew me away for the second time and I am incredibly excited to see what lies in store for them over the coming year.
Next on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, it’s time for a much needed injection of Deathcore! New Jersey’s answer came to Bloodstock in the shape of Fit For An Autopsy with massive energy!
Iron Moon pummels with breakneck slams and heart stopping drum breakdowns. Tech infused melodies swimming with scratchy bullet speed riffs fills the stage and blasts faces off combined with Joe Badoloto’s searing gutturals.
Joe tells us that this is their first Bloodstock “Let’s make it one to remember.”
Before launching into a track taken from 2022’s album Oh What The Future Brings..
Savages offers something a little more defined from Fit For An Autopsy.
Groove textures of riffing and bass tones that bestow slabs of heaviness to the mix comes bludgeoning in amongst sharp vocal infernos to savour the chaos amongst the crowd.
Over at the Sophie Stage was a whole different atmosphere. Midland legends Fury have been going from strength to strength over the years. Having previously played Bloodstock a few times, this year saw Fury unleash a longer set full of immensely positive energy and catchy vibes.
Fury’s signature sound carries so much punch with a blend of melodies, power metal and hard rock with some seriously talented artists behind the wheel.
Julian Jenkins vocals range from power charged ballads to beautifully layered harmonies that entwine with the striking pipes of Nyah Ifill brought to the forefront.
Are we going too fast for you?? Do you want us to turn it down!? We only play two speeds. Fast and f*ck you, fast.
If it’s not too fast and it’s not too loud then I got one thing to say… it’s better to burn out than to fade away…” and queue an impeccable monster of bass notes peddled out from Becky Baldwin entwined with the upbeat triggers set off by new guitarist Tom Atkinson.
This track proves to be a punchy and catchy headbanger. The Sophie Stage is rammed and with MOVEMENT. The dancing!! Tom Fenn displays fantastic kitwork, keeping the momentum of Fury’s vibrant tempo dimensions amongst the chaotic yet refined musicianship between the band.
Every so often, a mysterious she-demon descends upon the stage with hypnotic fire dancing, ensnaring the atmosphere of the stage.
She performs radically during brand new track Embrace The Demons, enticing every riff and every melody in her steps… she’s none other than Birmingham’s own alternative dancer and performer, Lily Omen head to toe in red.
She recently did a captivating performance at Devil’s Dog Digbeth and now, along with Fury, you can see their new music video for this new track with deep rooted messages.
When metalcore legends Killswitch Engage were announced last year, I am pretty sure everyone of us that grew up with this band did an unspoken happy dance from our inner teens.
Finally, this Friday evening, they headlined their first UK festival here at Bloodstock. And they were absolutely hyped to do it.
Fiery themes adorned the stage before the wonderfully familiar and beautiful guitar melodics of My Curse introduced the guys on stage.
That left quite the lump in my throat, knowing that feeling, particularly summers as a kid growing memories around these songs, were coming alive right before me as an adult. Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel harmonise so beautifully together in this kick off of the evening, creating the atmosphere amongst the huge crowd.
Then Jesse Leach comes headbanging in on stage and the atmosphere is immediately enhanced.
“Are you ready!?!?” before flames shoot up to the rafters of the stage and he lets out an almighty roar.
The crowd immediately sing their hearts out and from then on… there is nothing but unity in that field.
Gliding through stunning melodics and heartstopping brutal textures, Jesse’s vocals range in between those signature trembling shrieks and some stunning clean singing, This Fire also see’s Justin Foley’s drumming effortlessly conjure the perfect composition between hard hitting breakdowns and striking arrangements.
During this time, there was a girl behind me blowing bubbles into the air. There’s something about the simplicity of watching them gently glide towards the stage whilst the energy of Killswitch ranges from melodic to intense that makes the experience a little more intoxicating.
I was walking around earlier” Jesse explains “and everyone here is f*cking amazing. You guys have a culture here and we’re proud to be a part of it today.
Justin then talks to the crowd to explain that this weekend would see a lot of people having festival … shenanigans… and turns this into an opportune moment to address the “Corned beef balls, corned beef box” situation that can arise in such circumstances.
And here we have it… thousands of people chanting back to the stage “Corned beef balls, corned beef box” Ahhhh, the unity!
Gentle tones churn out before the beauty of melodics and tech fuelled riffs echo out for The Arms of Sorrow. For which, I can see a whole sea of bodysurfers making their way to the barriers.
My friends, you are beautiful. This is an honour to headline Bloodstock. I cannot believe we still get to do this shit. We’re gonna try to do as many songs as we can with the word fire in it,”And Jesse keeps true to his word.
The Signal Fire and Beyond The Flames soon followed, inciting love and unity in their messages.
“Look around you. We’re all here for eachother.” Jesse encourages all to look out for one another, we’re all fighting battles in one way or another and to keep unified. Launching into Fixation On The Darkness which outlines the battle with mental struggles and needing to seek peace.
Here, the basswork by Mike D’Antonio pulls the huge riffs from Joel and Adam into a blend of whirlwind breakdowns and heavy granite like riffs before rippling into some stunning melodic harmonies to enhance the moods of Jesse’s transition between brutal gutturals to gentle clean vocals.
The guys pay tribute to Lemmy of Motorhead after discovering they have Motorhead beer to hand and then launch into “This is a love song…” Element of One.
A truly humbling example of what Killswitch Engage are capable of… here, they have always been able to encapsulate how utterly deep rooted emotions can portray themselves through music.
From cathartic melodics and beautiful tones to some breathtaking hard blasts and mesmerising vocals, this is one of the songs that has always stuck with me as a Killswitch lover.
The End Of Heartache saw the crowd light up with the matched energy from the guys all across the stage. Still the crowd sings back to Jesse and continues the spirit that Killswitch put into their performance.
Ending on a tribute to In Flames earlier set, My Last Serenade kicked up the nostalgia amongst fans across the field and saw the whole of Bloodstock thrive and move, screaming the lyrics back to Jesse as he interacted with everyone to get them singing the lyrics.
And selflessly, Killswitch Engage ended one of Bloostock’s best sets yet with a tribute to Dio as they are on his namesake stage with their ever loved cover of Holy Diver.
Absolutely one of the best bands that Bloodstock has headlined. Humble, energetic, full of love and genuinity… Killswitch Engage has been an absolute treasure to watch and absorb.
Heading early over to the Sophie Stage, I’ve been following Gloucester based lads Ambrius for some years and was so pleased that they landed a spot on the Sophie Stage of this years Bloodstock
Whenever I see certain members of this band, they are always so humble and friendly.
Upon first glance of the Sophie Stage, there was a decent turn up to see these guys and before long, Ambrius had the crowd eating out of their palms.
With infusions of bassy prog notes, these guys had some intense energy to dish out this morning.
The Unavoidable Path rained in some heavy riffs conjured by Jason Deakins that made way for some beautiful solo work.
Sam Shiers ranges from intense growls and thundering roars to beautiful clean vocals.
Progressing through their set, Ambrius display a technique which conjures a symphonic take on tech and groove mergers with solid injections of power that deliver a solid production of various textures.
Last track Red is dedicated to Sophie Lancaster and displays a core shaking message of unity.
A stunning way to kick off the Saturday of Bloodstock.
The Sophie Stage next set out for Manchester rising legends Tortured Demon who have been taking the UK by storm as of late!
These guys have had quite the year with the release of their second album Rise of the Lifeless just dropped in June and the promotion of it going nuts!
With a tour to boot in October, some dates sharing a headline slot with the mighty Red Method coming up, these lads have been busy getting their formula on the ball and slaying every stage they touch.
The aforementioned title track Rise of the Lifeless is adorned in brutality. Ferocious riffs and stunning blast beats pummelled the crowd straight off the bat. Jacob Parkinson‘s vocals are dynamic and set in roars that shake your core.
The blastbeats of Joe Parkinson is astounding, the double kicks smash every inch of the atmosphere here.
Jacob thanks the crowd “this is what we want to do… thank you for making our dreams come true.”
Before launching into the sonic assault of Conflict of Interest.
Billy Hourigan and Jacob work together wonderfully here to deliver some breakneck speed riffs and thrashy injections of harmonies on guitars.
Ben Krimson moulds the depth of Tortured Demon with his low frequency chug of basswork. After delivering their debut of Disfavour, Jacob commands a pit open up.
Creating suspense, he tells them to hold… and sure enough, once he gives the signal, the Sophie stage is a mass of bodies flying everywhere, early morning beers thrown to the rafters and we’re left with a purely brutal and atmospheric tone to sink our teeth into.
My next Sophie Stage band came out of the shadows in the form of much loved and curious outfit Tribe Of Ghosts.
This is a band that have crafted something really unique and immersive for their listeners over the years. A band that has the stunning ability to create light and darkness within their atmosphere and sometimes, all that ranges in between.
Their intro comes across as synthy but with heaviness that shows that these guys are not afraid to play around with elements that are outside of the box.
With fresh energy, they emerge and immediately absolutely smash the stage.
Becky Blaker’s vocal range emits cosmic and beautiful singing alongside Adam Sedgwick’s striking ethereal gutturals to create an atmospheric and stunning aura across the crowd.
With industrial elements blended with some blackened twists, Tribe of Ghosts delivered a stunning set consisting of newer tracks Hive and Sunburner (Deny The Rot) with a very special guest appearance… And took us through some of the very first offerings of these guys from when their journey started.
Cold displays the absolutely mesmerising kitwork that Danny Yates wields – one of the UK underground’s best drummers in my opinion. He ranges through blasting beats to a euphoric wave of energy on every track that moulds together with the low frequency and beautiful djenty basswork of Ben Kitching.
To my sheer delight, a surprise was thrown into the set – my very favourite track by Doja Cat, Streets was conjured into a stunning industrial and dark cover which sent shivers to my core.
I stood there in absolute awe. At this stage, Becky ushered the crowd to crouch down and let me tell you, on Adam’s queue, it was absolutely insane to see the whole Sophie Stage jump with such force, the whole place shook. Totally hypnotising. Well played, TOG.
Next up on the Sophie Stage, Milton Keynes Death Metal/Hardcore outfit Casket Feeder showcased another stunning set at Bloodstock. Taking on the intensity of Scandinavian death metal influences and blending it with some hardcore havoc and some tech elements, Casket Feeder have been going from strength to strength since 2016, leaving a trail of circle pits in their wake.
Wormwood unleashes a blackened hardcore sound at neck breaking pace, injecting an almost thrashy feel to the mix. Matt Downes uses of wailing growls build a threatening atmosphere and already, Graham Wallace’s facemelting blastbeats keep the circle pits below very much alive.
The Supremacy of Idiocracy is a killer example of how Lewis Butler’s bass injects some intense low frequency scratches and chugginess that combine with Connor and Aaron’s cataclysmic riffs. Combined into one, injected with some stunning melodic riffing, Casket Feeder show why they remain one of the most crucial bands of today’s underground metal. Can I have my skin back on my face please?
Making sure I’m standing in a decent spot for the already packed out Jager Stage, having followed Cumbrian Death Metal lads Repulsive Vision for some years, I was not prepared for the impact their set bestowed.
With Old School Death Metal elements mixed with splinters of Thrash and Groove, this was a speed induced 30 minutes of pure brutal force.
There are some sludgy elements that come to play in Draconian Reprisals – crushing riffs that run alongside the chaos of bullet speed drums charging through reckless brutality.
As mentioned, there are some groove-laden moments, with brutal precision of guitars and stunningly tight drumming that is encapsulated all by vocals that rumble from fathoms below.
The crowd’s reception to Repulsive Vision is a pit of fury down the front all throughout the set, matching the energy of the band along hooks of intoxicatingly feral energy, thundering vocals and frantic drums that joining forces to deliver a monstrous and stunning set.
On the main stage, I have a deep rooted love for Melodic doom/black metal and this was one of the bands I was most looking forward to watching.
Triptykon have been on my radar to see for many years so i was completely sold when this years Bloodstock had them on the line up. For their own realms, also amongst the fact that this year, they are as close to one of my top favourite blackened doom metal bands, Celtic Frost as I am ever going to get.
This year saw to it that Triptykon would deliver a full Celtic Frost set and in the small gust of the rain, I sat in front of the stage and took in the energy they wave out.
Though this set is some earlier works of Celtic Frost which calls around blackened thrash elements, there are long moments of macabre combined brutal, doom-laden riffs creating a boldly experimental sound.
Into The Crypts of Ray’s lumbering speed metal riffs engulf the storytelling of this track of the dark and sinister life of Gilles De Rais.
Tom Warrior’s rhythm guitar tone is intense and grimy against Hannes energetic drums. Tom’s vocals stay true to his gruff style that he is known for, yet he is very softly spoken in between songs. His dry and sarcastic humour still plays mischief by welcoming Bloodstockers “Hello Download!”
This is a track that is a wonderfully suited representation of the album Morbid Tales. Thrashy, black metal, unforgettable guitars, with an injection of Celtic Frosts’s much loved doom elements.
Morbid Tales serves as a monstrous reminder of the earlier parts of Celtic Frost and kicks up with a power infused chords and the grinding bass wielded by Vanja Slajh to deliver some of V. Santura’s rapid fretwork. There are punkier elements going on here where Hannes matches the energy of the riffs and leads with unfounded smashing of the kit.
“Im too old for this sh*t”
Circle of the Tyrants gives the crowd a taste of original Celtic Frost – that raw and unapologetic mash up of blackened thrash that first kicked off draws the end of a spectacular set near.
I am a happy lady.
First up on the last day of Bloodstock, I headed straight to the New Blood Stage to go and catch the last bit of Norwich thrash titans Elimination.
The amount of work that these guys have crafted to the build up of Bloodstock has been incredible. Also now with new members and original guitarist David Hill stepping into the main vocals shoes, it was incredible to see what new direction this band is going in.
A blistering performance of stunning melodics mixed with hugely defined thrash, the guitaring is absolutely flawless. David has always displayed an intricate style of guitaring, much so with his exploration of melo-death techniques, add this glimmer with the diversity that new guitarist Marcus Norman brings in with core elements of thrash, this is is really immersive and stunning visualisation.
Icon of Despair examples this with some beautifully intense double pedals from Gus Ratcliffe and the backbone of the heavy low ebbed bass of Neil Millar-Robinson, this track stuns the audience, see’s inflatable pumpkins being yeeted about the place (Queue Dave’s “More Pumpkins moving please!”) before launching into Infernal.
David’s vocals here are granted, totally different from his predecessor Neil, however, it is a welcome change. His roars are refined and sharp and do not hold back from encapsulating the mood of the track.
Very proud to see these guys get this slot.
On the main stage, All Hail The Yeti are about to unleash their absolutely monumental energy.
Donning made up faces of half mask white make up, the Los Angeles 4 piece surprised me in their delivery. I previously reviewed their EP Within Hollow Earth and though I really enjoyed that E.P, I can unequivocally confirm that in a live setting, they are much more heavier.
The Art of Mourning injects groove fuelled riffs and pummelling drums. Whilst Slow Season gives off that sludgy and macabre aura that I’ve spoken of in a previous review, the grittiness that of the bass act as the glue for everything to fall together beautifully.
All Hail The Yeti know exactly how to deliver a performance, their personality combine with supernatural and sludgy elements, with songs about the secrets of the Nahanni (Headless Valley) and with huge energy.
Next on the main stage, Polish Death Metal leviathans Decapitated made a stunning entrance to tech fuelled riffs and melodic harmonies. This is my fifth time watch Decapitated and they keep getting better and better.
Cancer Culture is met with some pure brutal movement in the already formed pit by purely crushing strings and the backbone is wielded from the skins of James Stewarts kit.
Rafal Piotrowski has an energy so absolutely huge, he shares it amongst the stage and through the sonic assault that his gutturals craft into the crowd.
Earth Scar and Just A Cigarette contain the abrasive tech intricacy that is inlayed into the DNA of Decapitated with pounding grooves and melodic moods from Vogg whilst the sheer intensity and relentlessness of Spheres Of Madness – one of the best modern Death Metal songs written in my opinion – harvests the scene of a field of bodies flying all over the place.
The double bass and blast beats are otherworldly, the lyrics are deep rooted and the sturdy bass notes of Pawel, combined by some huge riffing and Rasta’s unhuman guttural delivery shakes the grounds of Bloodstock.
Decapitated has a tendency to be one of the flawlessly tight and brutal bands in today’s modern metal and with the band having Pawel Pasek return on bass, they have proven once again that this embodiment of Decapitated are one of the tightest.
Speaking of Embodiment – heading to the Sophie Stage see’s the entrance of one of THE most deserving bands to be there.
Bristol’s own Tech Death pioneers Embodiment take to take to the stage just as Sepultura are finishing. With the addition of Sam Godding on guitars, the foundations of these guys are undeniably intact.
Reverence Through Disgust is the opener to their set that see’s tremendous melodic introductions into skullsplitting blastbeats from the kit.
Fully fronting a full blown sonic assault of Satisfaction in Extermination, the display of groove infusions entwine with the stunning basswork in this offering and see’s the pits open up at the feet of the band. Harry Smithson harbours gutturals that tremble through the grounds and tells us that as a band, they give nothing but 100%.
And that, is more than apparent. The energy that Embodiment conjure is intensely heavy, neck snapping but also with hints of fun. With songs about the Aliens movie it has absolutely ruthless riffs, (Outbreak) and Bazinga! on offer for today, there is something for everyone to get their teeth into.
It’s also Embodiment’s 10 year anniversary! I did scream HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMBODIMENT! However, I’m not quite sure I could be made out. Ha!
Seeing these guys craft over the years has been a pleasure to watch and I will continue to watch and support their growth for many more to come. They are making huge waves and have plans coming over the next year… go pick up a tshirt.
Stunning performance, guys!
The time for Sunday headliner Megadeth has dawned and entering the main stage, it is packed to the sides of people eagerly waiting.
A giant inflatable unicorn bounces along the front and the bass notes of James echo out amongst choppy riffs for opener Hanger18 that melts into Dread and the Fugitive Mind, shimmering melodic strings from Kiko that moulds the centre of the song amongst the choppy power riffs that Dave Mustaine delivers.
Dirk wields the kit in a display of skillful drumming with change up of tempo and commanding the speed of Angry Again? A fun headbanging offering that see’s the crowd chanting along to the lyrics.
Sweating Bullets is an evil split personality narration with some sinister vibes. The drum beats tie the pace of this track and Dave’s winding melodies are menacing, reflect it back to the power of the drums.
Dave welcomes the crowd and demands to see more of the giant unicorn making it’s way around the crowd.
A Toute Le Monde begins an energy that is purely intoxicating. Daves voice is soft but powerful, he and Kiko wield strings together effortlessly to deliver a nostalgic and unified bond into the crowd. The melodies are beautiful and full of emotion and fades into a beautiful and gentle combination of haunting low bass tones crafted by James.
Dave Mustaine and his band were extraordinary on this night, with each member delivering precision and clearly loving to be back in front of a festival crowd in the UK.
Having recently beat throat cancer, it was heartening to hear Mustaine’s voice in a live setting back at it’s prime.
The band closed out their set with old school Mechanix and Holy Wars…the Punishment Due with a powerful energy of love and devotion from the crowd.
An immersive and truly heartmoving performance from Megadeth.
Photography by Pete Key & Artur Tarczewski for MPM