Matt Brady takes on Bloodstock 2014 – part one.
Were you there? Share your experiences in the comments at the bottom of the page.
Unfortunately for me, this year I arrived too late to catch any of the bands playing on the Thursday night – which I’m fairly gutted about as I know how good Gehtika are (answer: very) and I was hearing some really positive remarks about Incinery from bands and fans throughout the weekend.
Thursday rapidly descended into the normal high-abv swilling nonsense, which we all paid for dearly the following day. But that didn’t mean I missed out on Bloodshot Dawn, who crunch into Friday morning with their incredible blend of thrash and melodic death – somewhere between Carcass and Death – and I’m not sure I could think of a better band to kick off the proceedings on the main stage.
Cambion then decimate the Sophie Lancaster stage with their technical death march (fittingly, they have a song of the same name). Plenty of riffs to be had here, and their music isn’t the most experimental of tech, so it should be very accessible for all. Aghast are next on, who take a more conventional approach, supplying everything needed to keep the smile stuck on to a thrash, death or grind fan’s face.
I split my time between stages, because of a clash between Aghast and Abhorrent Decimation, the latter of whom (as you might’ve guessed from the name) play death metal. What you might not guess, particularly if I told you that they were playing on the New Blood stage, is that they actually step far beyond the talent capacity of many established bands. Though they are fairly reliant on the death metal ‘script’ so far as song structures go, the pace of their songs and utterly unstoppable aggression provide the key tools for them to go on and put some of the so-called masters of the genre in their place.
Krokodil are gearing up to play in the Sophie tent as I wander back over. The line-up consists of (ex-)members of several British-based bands, and I hadn’t actually checked them out before – so I wasn’t sure whether to expect much, or whether this would be ‘just another’ supergroup. Krokodil’s massive sludgy sound gives me a fair slap in the face for my doubts.
When I re-emerge from doing a few interviews, I’m just in time to catch Alone With Wolves on the New Blood stage. Their take on metal relies heavily on melody and clean vocals – it sounds like the vocalist is struggling to keep up for the first few songs, but I wonder if he simply couldn’t hear himself on stage, as he turns it around towards the end of the set and does enough to save the day. Nice expansive melodic sections to be had here.
Sinpathetic are next on the New Blood stage, competing with Prong for attention. Their audience is initially very small, but that doesn’t deter them – they plough right ahead with something that’s akin to death metal but scoops out the best grooves from amongst the body-scattered landscape. While they might not have the most original sound, they do very well to draw a lot of punters from their pints at the bar into the tent.
Triptykon bring down the rain for the first time, which perfectly suits the atmosphere that Tom G Warrior & co. conjure up with their trudging riffs and incantations. It wouldn’t be too hard to believe that the sky bent to their demands.
Hatebreed draw a massive crowd, but I’m hungry and thirsty so leave to sort myself out. The VIP bar has a huge selection of ales and ciders to keep me happy, so a burger and pint later I’m back out to see Jonestown in the New Blood tent. Lacerating drum fills and riffs that Lamb Of God would be proud of hurtle from the stage – if you can keep your head still to this, you’re probably already dead.
Dimmu Borgir take to the main stage almost half an hour late, due to extensive technical issues that plague them for the rest of the set. What they manage to perform is extremely good, but it’s pretty obvious that they, and their fans, are p*ssed off. Lots of pyro though.
Closing the main stage tonight are Down, who I still don’t get. I’m utterly convinced that if it weren’t for the Pantera pedigree, they wouldn’t be this high up the bill, and I don’t make much of their fairly typical blues-rock thing. Plus from where I’m standing in the crowd towards stage left, the sound is needly and paper thin. The latter isn’t their fault, but it doesn’t hold my attention enough to stay for the whole set.
I take an early night, knowing that tomorrow, Emperor will be performing.