Disclaimer: My memory of this day is painfully fragmented and so I’m basically looking through the Clashfinder hoping for trigger points.
After a spectacular first day at Bloodstock, I woke up in a semi-lucid, almost transcendental haze on the Saturday. I wasn’t sure where I was, and felt confused by the fact that I had woken up in three layers of jumpers and a coat and a sleeping bag and about 80 litres of sweat, having essentially become a “Boil-In-A-Bag” chicken breast inside my captive blue nylon box of despair.
Desperate for air, but utterly paralysed by a headache named regret, I decided I was willing to sacrifice some grey matter to a lack of oxygen in order to remain still and sweating for a while longer. I spent the next half hour delicately muttering “Ooohhhh”, “Oh no….” “Fuck” and other such expressions.
It was some time later that an angel came to me in a vision; a silhouette at first, and later a form. I was captivated by this gentle creature ushering me into the light. Of course, what was actually happening was that I was still whacked out of my box and really it was just my mate trying to drag me out of my tent and into reality; something reminiscent of this:
My first conscious task of the day was to eat three tins of Golden Giant sweetcorn straight out of the tin, which was surprisingly satisfying. I am now becoming aware that this is supposed to be a music review and therefore I will be jumping into the first band without segue.
Shining took the main stage at midday. I was quite excited to see them because lots of people had given me mixed stories about the band. I’d heard a cover of theirs on YouTube (which I will mention in a moment) and was thoroughly intrigued to see how they could replicate the intensity of this track live. I was absolutely blown away the moment they take the stage. Shining are quite literally four hundred million tons of psychotic liquefied fuck. They really were the wakeup call I needed that day and they snapped me right back into action. They are a very unorthodox band with an interesting history – just check out their wikipedia. Shining these days describe themselves as “Blackjazz” which is a pretty apt description. The general soundscapes of the tracks from their latest albums – “Blackjazz” and “One One One” – are every bit as aggressive and dark as any other band on the stage, but are riddled with the obscene, detached, neurotic expression of their jazz influences.
Jørgen Munkebyfronts Shining with his insane vocal style, all whilst playing their batshit complex music on guitar, too. Then, as if that weren’t enough, he fucks that in the bin and starts doing disgusting, immoral things to a saxophone – Not exactly Baker Street. Seriously, there must be a couple of laws against what he’s doing somewhere. After a good 30 minutes of utterly intense noise, the band close their set with their cover – King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid man”.
Holy shit. Shining really bring the schizoid out of this mammoth prog classic. They start it off slow and sludgy and take a break before the big middle section. Anyone that knows what’s going on right now – so no one, really – screams out as we all believe the band to have finished and skipped out the middle section. Suddenly, they forget that they were just playing the song at half the tempo of the original and, having presumably done a gram of speed each, launch into a 3 minute jam of utter chaos over the instrumental section of the track at double speed. Shining were always going to be a contentious band for Bloodstock, and back at camp there was a whole lot of negative things being said. Personally, however, I really enjoyed their performance and would absolutely see them again. One of my favourite bands of the festival.
After this I went to catch the next band, which should have been Decapitated. Well it was Decapitated – just not for very long. See, unfortunately to avoid the merciless hangover which had invaded my life that morning I took the logical decision to just ingest even more ridiculous shit on Saturday. Also, I value consistency and reliability, so these trio of reviews would make no sense if I was incomprehensible one day and articulate the next. I love my job. This is where I have to make a pretty sordid confession: I have almost no memory of Saturday at all until about 9pm at night. However, Decapitated are fucking rad and I do remember the first few minutes of their set just being cool as hell, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say, well done Decapitated.
I think later I caught one or two Orphaned land songs and then I got lost. That was a shame because Orphaned land were another of the bands I was keen on seeing. I do vaguely remember them being…. I guess I just vaguely remember them being. I do however have some of my patented “feely” memories of Crowbar. I remember the frontman being a terrifying teddyesque creature who made my bum feel funny, and also they played some very low notes. Also there was lots of loud and my neck hurt more after the set than before so that’s a good sign for their riff writing, surely. I was also apparently around when my mate Lawson met the dude but this is news to me, so this is possibly sign of a looming intervention.
I’m entirely unconvinced the rest of the day actually happened as it is literally a hole in time for me. I’m somewhat confident I went for a nap. It’s likely that the reality is a thousand times worse but oh well. What I don’t know can’t hurt me, at least not until I next visit the Doctor.
Anyway, when I eventually arose I was a little more sober, and it was time for some disgusting black metal. I met up with some friends over in Hel camp again, and we decided the atmosphere was ripe for sitting. Therefore, we grabbed our chairs and headed over the arena. As Emperor were taking the stage, we plonked our seats down by the ice cream van, toward the back of the arena. The atmosphere was absolutely perfect. It was cold, raining, and cloudy and I had a glass of whisky and a cigarette. Emperor tore through their set, and whilst I’m not entirely familiar with their music, I absolutely loved it. I’ve always felt that with black metal it’s important to try and not give a shit about the musical intricacies and just enjoy the immersive atmosphere it creates, and they really did that.
Ihsahn Is an absolutely terrifying vocalist and no matter where you stand in the arena it’s like he’s creeping up on you and breathing down your neck. Also, they closed their set with a cover of Bathory’s “A Fine Day To Die” which I missed due to being comatose, as you’ll read right about…. now.
With my feet up on my spare chair, and a pensive head, I couldn’t help but let my thoughts wander until I stumbled upon a pretty jarring realisation – “Holy shit he [Faust] killed a guy!” Obviously, I already knew that, but being in the same place as him and seeing him in the flesh and thinking about that was pretty odd. As terrible as that is, you can’t help but admit the morbidity of that thought contributes to the nature of the atmosphere Emperor create.
About 15 minutes before the end of Emperor’s set I got a little bit too immersed into the atmosphere of the set and fell asleep in my chair. It was raining. A lot. I was woken up what must’ve been an hour or so later by my cigarette burning my hand. The arena was empty and for a short while I was convinced I was the lone survivor in a post-apocalyptic world. As if being the only human being left on earth wasn’t bad enough, I was also pretty wet. So, I grabbed my shit and headed back to the tent. I was particularly miserable with my trendy new aqua look, and so I sulked and took an early night like a little bitch. Actually it was just because I had run out of rum. And because I am a little bitch.
I have to apologise for the lack of congruence or detail in today’s piece. I don’t regret becoming completely nescient for the majority of the festival I’d paid a lot of money for as I’m at least mostly confident I enjoyed all the times I don’t remember, but I do feel It may have yielded a better piece of writing had I actually anything to write about.
Luckily, I stayed comparably sober during the day on Sunday so there’s a wealth of information to write about. I’ll pack out that one as much as I can to make up for this one. Big Riffs. Big Love. Devin Bellend x