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Bloodstock Festival 2016 – LIVE REVIEW

Bloodstock Festival 2016 – LIVE REVIEW

Event: Bloodstock Festival 2016

Date: 11th-14th August 2016

Venue: Catton Hall

Reviewer: Ben “Grizz” Gillie

 

Bloodstock Festival is always going to be the highlight of the year for any British metalhead and also a lot of foreign ones who travel to the holy grounds that is Catton Park to get drunk, mosh, head bang and fucking enjoy a weekend of diehard metal fun.

Arguably the most chilled out and relaxing weekend I have had in years, Bloodstock 2016 was one of the best experiences I have had in ages, enjoying time with friends, bands, staff and everyone else, so here is my review of the bands and weekend’s events.

 

1.Thursday Crowd - Katja Ogrin

Thursday Crowd – Photo by Katja Ogrin

THURSDAY

Got to Bloodstock at roughly about 1pm, headed to camp in Ironwood as I wanted a few peaceful nights sleep and shared a few drinks with my brother and a friend before heading to the arena.

As always first point of call was The Motley Brew for a cup of coffee, these guys are great and work hard all weekend to keep you refreshed, also took a walk around the arena area to get myself acquainted with were things were, before heading to check out the bands on tonight.

1.Thursday - Sublime Eyes - Katja Ogrin

Sublime Eyes – Photo by Katja Ogrin

Sublime Eyes, a superb metal band from Norway, they play the kind of metal I love and I had been waiting to see them for a while, loved when they busted out “Shellshocked”, really enjoyed this band.

Karybdis were not as good as I expected, but still played an enjoyable set, just wanted a bit more oomph from them and it just felt a little lacklustre.

Sumer played a good set of prog and heavy doomy styles, wish it was a longer set but good none the less.

Psykosis - Photo by Katya Ogrin

Psykosis – Photo by Katya Ogrin

 

Sumer - Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

Sumer – Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

 

Psykosis well the boys are back in town, love these guys to pieces and they played a blinding set. Well done to new drummer Tom Moylan on a fine display of skills, so happy to hear “Beach Season” as well. The pits to these guys were fucking mental, you can see why they were asked back again.

Jay Shaw of Psykosis had this to say about his time at Bloodstock:

Bloodstock was the best experience of our lives, the stuff dreams are made of. The energy off the crowd was electric and easily this is the best festival”

Phil Campbell did well, wasn’t overly into his set myself, having been burnt out by Psykosis, but he kept the crowd entertained with classics and a great guest appearance by Dee Snider.

That was all I could handle after a tiresome day, I am sad I missed Simon Hall’s forward roll antics, but from what I heard it went superbly, headed back to camp, had a few beers and managed to get a good nights sleep

FRIDAY

2.Friday - Crowd - Katja Ogrin

Friday Crowd – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

Woke up stupidly early (4am) to go for a stroll, met a man dressed as a sausage and had a chat about sloths, also met 2 very lovely ladies who wanted a hug (think they were very drunk) and headed back to my tent, just glad it was peaceful in Ironwood that morning, also had the guys from Ten Ton Slug come over and chat with my group for a bit

Made it into the arena, managed to bump into some friends and a few other awesome people during the day, also made sure to go say hello to Chris Sams at the signing tent, that guy works his arse off to make sure you all get to meet bands during the weekend, so when you see him, thank him.

2.Friday - Witch Tripper - Tim Finch

Witch Tripper – Photo by Tim Finch

Onto the bands, first up were the fucking amazing Witch Tripper who moved me and grooved me, loved their chunky bass sounds and epic drum skills, a brilliant wake up call for Friday, would love to see them again.

Redeye Revival are a youthful, hard thrashing, fun band, I really enjoyed watching them and managed to catch a CD – can see these guys getting big with time.

Gloryhammer are cheesey as fuck, space pirate metal, with a power ranger looking guy on vocals, pretty fun, but I expected a bit more from these power metal noise makers.

2.Friday -Gloryhammer-Katja Ogrin

Gloryhammer – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evil Scarecrow, the Bloodstock house band, were absolutely brilliant. Loved dancing along to “Crabulon” and “Robototron” with a massive crowd joining in as well, all the stage props work well and my brother also loved it, also made me smile a lot seeing how humble they all are.

Isarnos were amazing, managed to get a special shirt from them, loved the harsh male vocals against the soft female ones, very much like Eluveitie, pure folk and dance fun.

Christine Aasma of Isarnos had this to say:

“My experience at Bloodstock has been fantastic! Playing with Isarnos at the Jägerstage was incredible, even though we were on such a small stage for 6 people.

I’m so happy that so many people showed up to watch us, the tent was full with people even outside trying to push in. Crowd response was absolutely amazing, it looked like everyone was having a good time, smiling, headbanging and moshing – even though they were all squished together.

After we had played our set so many people came up to us with such positive feedback, many questions of who we are, where could they get CD’s and t-shirts etc. It brought tears to my eyes, I was soo happy! This is what our band has been working hard for and we will keep working our asses off to get more folk metal out there!

We have many exciting things planned, it’s going to be a great future for Isarnos.”

Misery Loves Company, were very melodic and heavy, tried my best to enjoy them but got a bit bored after a while as a lot of songs sounded the same.

2.Friday - Misery Loves Company - Katja Ogrin

Misery Loves Company – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

Stuck Mojo, a band I have been waiting for years to see, were fucking brilliant. Love a bit of rap rock, they had me singing along and headbanging all the way through. Love the new singer and also the mix of old songs and new, I managed to meet the guys at the signing tent and get them to sign their new album for me, made my day as they were lovely.

2.Friday - Stuck Mojo - Katja Ogrin

Stuck Mojo – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

Chasing Dragons were a good, enjoyable female fronted hard rock, had me tapping my toes.

Corrosion Of Conformity were a much needed relaxation moment for me, managed to chill the fuck out and enjoy them, great to hear “Albatross” and “Clean My Wounds”, also got to meet them at the signing tent as well, Pepper Keenan is a legend.

Fueled Hate played a good, very heavy set, would see them again.

XII Boar were ace, very funny heavy rock band that are also a bit trippy, really enjoyed them.

2.Friday - XII Boar - Tim Finch

XII Boar – Photo by Tim Finch

 

Venom, the godfathers of black metal, were ace and fucking evil sounding, extremely heavy and ace vocals.

2.Friday - Beholder - Tim Finch

Beholder – Photo by Tim Finch

Beholder were a delight, really love their new stuff and was great to hear Simon Hall’s epic vocals, so damn good.

Behemoth, whilst not a band I am overly keen on, they played a great set and the crowd loved them, they are brutal as fuck.

Beyond The Black are a great symphonic metal style band, the female vocals are great and busting out a cover of Led Zep’s “Whole Lotta Love” worked very well.

Twisted Sister, were do I start, they were on fucking fire, spot on and proved all the stupid little elitists that they belonged at Bloodstock. Sad that this was their final hurrah though, but Dee Snider is an enigmatic frontman who holds the crowd in the palm of his hand. Was ecstatic to hear “Burn In Hell” live, also loved Dee pointing out that metal gets shunned by the mainstream, but has remained popular far longer than most mainstream shit, plus his dig at Metal Hammer made me laugh (don’t call yourself a metal magazine if you can’t support bands from your own country), fucking loved this set.

2.Friday - Twisted Sister - Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

Twisted Sister – Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

 

I went and wrote on the wall at Lemmy’s bar and after all this me and my friend went for a wander into Midgaurd and caught the very random circle pit to Scooter’s “Logical Song”. I also had a great chat with the Scottish lady camped next to us about Municipal Waste, and thus concluded my night.

SATURDAY

3.Saturday - Crowd - Katja Ogrin

Saturday Crowd – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

Up at 4am again for another stroll, but this time it was after a few dickheads came into Ironwood trying to steal from tents, thank fuck they got caught and shown you don’t fuck with the metal family at Bloodstock. Bumped into some old friends from Leeds who I hadn’t seen in years and had a great chat, also got more hugs from random drunk people and saw more tits than I expected.

Headed to Motley Brew and the merch stands (get more 3xl stuff 50% of the people at Bloodstock wear larger sizes), got some CD’s and patches, went into the art gallery on site, which is full of great work, bumped into some more bands and friends during the day and was great to chat with them all.

First up today were Black Ink Sun, who were hard and heavy, but I just couldn’t get into their music, sorry guys.

Cambion had a heavy tech style to them that was very enjoyable, really need to check out more.

3.Saturday - Cambion - Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)

Cambion – Mark Lloyd (Amplified Gig Photography)

 

The Heretic Order are dark and heavy but also very dull, could have been a lot better.

Bearfist reminded me a lot of Lamb Of God, I enjoyed them but they need a longer set to show their true skill.

Kill II This, were a very experimental rap rock meets industrial band, ace vocals,that kept me interested.

Ten Ton Slug were full of sludge and groove, really enjoyed them and want to hear more.

Sean O Suilleabhain of Ten Ton Slug had this to say:

3.Saturday - Ten Ton Slug - Tim Finch

Ten Ton Slug – Photo by Tim Finch

“The Slug had an amazing experience at Bloodstock, the people were friendly, the atmosphere was really chilled and there was a real sense of community between everyone there, whether they were other bands or revellers. we put a lot of effort into preparation and did loads of promotion to get our name and set time out, we gave out hundreds of free earplugs, lighters, rolling papers, cards, stickers and even a glass slug pipe at our set, all with links to a free download of our music.

We played the New Blood Stage at 12pm on Saturday and the level of professionalism and dedication shown by the stage crew was incredible, they took care of us and made sure we had an excellent sound! the nerves started when we realised the size of the crowd, but once it was time to let the riffs flow the adrenaline kicked in and it was the best musical experience of our lives to date. The reaction from the crowd was immense, full on slug chants in a packed New Blood Tent on a Saturday morning; unforgettable and more than we could ever have expected!

The Metal 2 the Masses competition and the the opportunities it affords unsigned bands like ourselves is amazing, and Simon Hall, Adam Gregory and all the festival organisers and local promoters deserve a lot of recognition for what they are doing. They are fostering the future of metal in the UK and Ireland and we are honoured to be a part of it this year, and would love to return to Bloodstock again in the future to perform, as we will definitely be going back again as fans!

Overall, we had the best weekend we’ve ever had, the entire experience was incredible and to have been chosen to play Bloodstock alongside 5 other Irish bands was an honour and something we’ll never forget.”

3.Saturday - Vodun - Katja Ogrin

Vodun – Photo by Katja Ogrin

Vodun are very weird, they have great vocals and dress like the Flintstones, great hard rocking vibes.

Pulverise were fucking perfect, imagine Limp Bizkit meets Snot meets Otep with awesome female vocals. Great cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”, would love to see them again, and god damn their drummer is one superb musician and a very sexy woman.

Pulverise gave a few words on their experience:

“JEEBUS! Bloodstock was absolutely amazing. Our entire experience from when we first entered the Metal 2 the Masses competition in Dewsbury to the second we had to leave the metal paradise – was just stellar!

We found Bloodstock to be the friendliest festival we have ever experienced, literally EVERYBODY was amazing from the general public to security to the stage crew to every shop/food place worker… the vibe was epic.

Camping amongst our crazy friends, Pteroglyph and new ones that we made was grand and one of the best campsite memories is most definitely the BIN JOUSTING! (Why isn’t that an Olympic sport!?)

Obviously the bands, music and awesome fire eating ladies performances were all amazing but the fact that we got to play a set on the Jäger stage to SO many crazy people and went down as well as we did – absolutely bloody priceless! We’re forever grateful for the opportunity and hope they’ll have us back next year for more exciting Bloodstock adventures!

*explodes with gratitude!*”

Fear Factory, where has it all gone wrong for this band? They were so damn boring! Even though Burton’s vocals were better when I last saw them, the choice to play the whole of Demanafacture didn’t quite work, perhaps a greatest hits selection next time guys.

3.Saturday - Fear Factory - Katja Ogrin

Fear Factory – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

Paradise Lost made up for the boring Fear Factory. Nick Holmes’s gloriously gothic vocal styles, along with the doom ridden instrumentals, were perfect, loved this set so damn much and really enjoyed hearing them play “The Last Time”.

3.Saturday - Paradise Lost - Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

Paradise Lost – Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

 

Next up was meant to be Myrath, still don’t know why they were not on the bill, but a band more than made up for it taking their slot was the mighty Bull-Riff Stampede (or Bull Shit Stamper as my mum seems to think they are called). They were full of hardened thrash destruction, so damn good and so many mosh pits, fuck yes, well done lads, you did me proud.

Now Gojira, a band that if anyone knows me, they know I love them on CD, but had always found them to be shite live, but boy did they prove me wrong this time. They finally put it on outstanding performance, they were so damn good, heavy and sounded amazing for once, loved hearing “Silvera” and “Oroborus”, the crowd was absolutely packed out for these guys, wonderful.

Vicious Nature were a great slice of old school heavy metal.

3.Saturday - Gojira - Katja Ogrin

Gojira – Photo by Katja Ogrin

3.Saturday - Mastodon - Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

Mastodon – Sabrina Ramdoyal Photography

Mastodon were great, very trippy visuals, ace song selection and a raw energy, but a few sounds issues did hinder their set and I have to be honest, they were not worthy of headlining, they are good, but not headlining good, Gojira really should have had top spot today.

Acid Reign, by Satan the Sophie Lancaster tent was packed for these, it was fucking awesome and mental, epic applecore thrash, great to see Pete Dee and co having a smashing time.

The legend that is Pete Dee had this to say about his Bloodstock experience:

“So, this was my 6th Bloodstock, and my 2nd time playing it. I have to say this one tops all the rest for the simple reason that this was the biggest and most exciting show I have ever played.

Seeing the S.O.P.H.I.E. tent rammed full back past the ropes, and hearing 5,000+ people chanting our band name is a buzz I’ll never forget, the energy coming from the crowd was electric, as were the 265 crowd surfers who made it over the barrier during our set!

The atmosphere on site seemed really chilled this year as well, everyone was really up for it but not going over the top, it was perfect, as was the weather, I just wish I could have been there the whole 4 days (and had time to eat at Deli-Kate).

BOA is my favourite UK festival, and diary permitting, I’ll be there again next year! Cheers! Pete Dee (Acid Reign)”

3.Saturday - Acid Reign - Tim Finch

Acid Reign – Photo by Tim Finch

 

After it all ended, I grabbed a Bovril at Motley Brew (lovely stuff) and went for a wander around all the camp sites with my friend. Midgaurd was mental as always, bin jousting and drunken, drug fueled teens going mad, Valahala had a guy playing guitar dedicating songs to Harambe (dicks out for Harambe!!!) and we chatted with the Psykosis lads, also had a quick wander into Asgard which was rather quiet, but nowhere as eerily quiet as Hel, that was ghost like and creepy, although the river near by seemed calm and relaxing. Headed back to camp had a few beers and grabbed some sleep, despite the dickhead brigade again, woke up to see a few bell-ends pulling up the wooden posts and throwing them at tents, so glad me and a few other lads sorted it out, also to the girls in Ironwood that kept trying to cause fights, you are fucking morons, plain and simple.

SUNDAY

Up bright and early to pack shit away, ended up breaking my tent on the last fold (fuck sake) and having a pillow fight with my friend and my bro, took stuff back to the car and realised I had left my merch I had brought back at camp, rushed back and luckily the Scottish lady camped next to me had found it and was going to find me in the arena to give it to me (faith in humanity restored). Decided to be a lazy bastard today and take my chair in the arena as I wasn’t up for going wild, went to Motley Brew as per usual and enjoyed reading their Chuck Norris vs Mr. T book, and made way for the bands

4.Sunday - Ghost Bath - Katja Ogrin

Ghost Bath – Photo by Katja Ogrin

Ghost Bath were easily the worst band of the weekend, but not terrible, I loved their instrumentals as they were heavy as fuck, but any old git can scream down a microphone like they had just stepped on some lego with no shoes on, that vocalist really ruined it for me, but I couldn’t help but laugh at the crowd who kept taking the piss out of the vocals.

Desert Storm were a groovy, filthy, heavy delight, loved their set.

Pteroglyph were excellent, hard, heavy and mosh inducing music that reminded me a lot of Strapping Young Lad also managed to bump into their singer later on and thank him for a great show.

Heart Of A Coward, the band the elitist’s moaned most about, proved the haters wrong, their blend of hardcore and djenty sounds won the crowds over and they fucking rocked.

4.Sunday - Heart Of A Coward

Heart Of A Coward

 

Sanguine were awesome, a great nu-metal style band, I adore the vocals here and love their song “Raised By Wolves”, and I admit, I may have a massive crush on their singer Tarin Kerrey (cheers Tarin, I got my hug from you and it made my day).

Krysthla could be the new Fear Factory, as they have a similar sound and pissed all over Fear Factory’s poor showing. They are epic, heavy, brutal and dynamic.

4.Sunday - Divine Chaos - Katja Ogrin

Divine Chaos – Photo by Katja Ogrin

 

 

Divine Chaos were full of thrashy goodness, a great band, fun to watch.

I Saw The World Burn were very melodic and heavy, and the singer looks a lot like my mum (that’s a compliment by the way), really good stuff .

Metal Allegiance a good super group that are cheesey as hell as well, loved their cover of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City”.

Outright Resistance, I loved the drumming and heaviness of this band, ace to watch.

The almighty Satyricon were superb, all the doom and gloom I needed, even my brother liked them, been waiting years to see these after being ill the past 3 times they played the UK, fuck me they are great live, extremely melodic and dark, very happy to finally hear “K.I.N.G” live.

Whispered are an epic Samurai metal band from Finland, bumped into Ross King from Countless Skies before their set, these guys are fast, heavy and extremely melodic, loved the use of Asian sounds in the songs, and the Samurai mask guitar.

Vektor are fucking amazing, if you like technical thrash this is the band to see, a packed out tent full of diehard thrash fan, moshing and headbanging made me smile.

Symphony X, I loved the vocals and the synths here, powerful metal and a great band.

Valous, really good classic metal and epic vocals, need to check out more.

Now Footprints In The Custard, a band I voted for non-stop on the Hobgoblin website to win a slot at Bloodstock, were in the same position Pyskosis were back in 2014, on the New Blood Stage, a band so hyped up from word of mouth. They bring the fun, the party, the absolute most fucking mental show I have ever seen on the New Blood Stage. The tent started with about 100 people in it and was ram packed by the halfway point with more people trying to squeeze in, so many inflatable dolphins, whales, willies, cocks, you name it, it was there. The guys in this band are fucking hilarious and put on an amazing show, getting the crowd to chant “Swallow My Jizz” and have a friendly wall of death, where you run in and dry hump the person you run into, turned into a mass fake orgy in the middle of the pit. Their cover of The Weather Girl’s “It’s Raining Men”, will go down in Bloodstock history as a defining moment of togetherness and happiness, I could not stop smiling and laughing during this set and a woman next to me wet herself through laughter. I managed to meet some of the guys after and give them hugs to say thanks for a great set, Footprints In The Custard, you were my band of the weekend you fucking deserve it you, you lunatics.

Ian Fraser of Footprints In The Custard had this to say:

Bloodstock 2016 was a massive deal for me and the band, being able to see in our 10th anniversary/birthday on the hallowed grounds of Catton Hall was something that up until a month ago we could only have dreamt could have happened! and to have people turn up in droves (and to be given the absolutely perfect slot) was just incredible.

I genuinely couldn’t make out people on the fringes of the tent! it’s been on our bucket lists to play for a long time, and we knew we needed to really bring our A game to do it the justice it deserved, despite some minor technical difficulties at the start of the set, I don’t think we could have asked for it to have gone better.

The crowd went mental – inflatables, crowd surfing, constant pits, we’ve never seen anything like it at one of our shows before! since getting back from the festival we’ve been inundated with videos and photos of our set, and the post festival reaction has been almost unanimously positive.

Plenty of new faces are showing up on the page, and they all seemed to have had a great time! If I could, I would absolutely play shows like that every day for the rest of my life!”

Anthrax, look I love Anthrax (much prefer John Bush on vocals, however), but I am getting bored of constantly seeing them at UK festivals, yes they put on a great show, but they are here every bloody year and are becoming Saxon style levels of boring, over saturation as they say. I can’t fault their show, but please take a break for about 4 years and then come back again, but with John Bush on vocals please.

Gutlocker, dry, heavy and brutal, what else more can I say.

After all the mayhem from the Custard lads, it was ace to watch some comedy again, but in more of a stand up form, even with a backing band Andrew O’Neills History Of Heavy Metal, which was a hilarious, insightful look into metal through the ages, covering all genres, with a few digs at some shitty bands (fisher price metallers Slipknot) and how some magazines have lost the plot on how good British metal really is (fuck you Metal Hammer, your lack of faith in the UK scene disturbs me). I couldn’t stop laughing at this, and managed to track down Andrew after the show to thank him and he was extremely pleasant

I did get a bit concerned, as during Andrew O’Neill, a man passed out on the floor and didn’t move, we all thought he had died, but luckily security made sure he was okay and carted him off to safety – Bloodstock security rules!!!

Slayer were fucking brilliant as always, despite a shite sound set up, lots of flames, Tom Araya’s Cheshire cat grin, Kerry King’s moody glare = perfection. “Dead Skin Mask” was the highlight for me, so many headbangers and moshing – 10/10

Last band of the festival Goatwhore, brought the blackened heaviness and sounded great.

So that concludes my weekend, this was the most chilled out, relaxed, fun, amazing, friendly festival I have ever been to. A massive thanks to all the security, stall holders, stage crew, photographers, performers, bands, entertainers, old friends, new friends, random drunken people, random beautiful ladies, signing tent crew and a personal thanks to Motley Brew and the Scottish lady for saving my weekend. I have done Download, Sonisphere, Hard Rock Hell, Global Gathering, Ramblin Man, High Voltage, Hammerfest, Slam Dunk, Hevyfest, Damnation, Leeds, Reading and Bedford River Festival, but nothing beats Bloodstock for atmosphere and sense of belonging, fucking perfection. As Dee Snider said himself, Heavy Metal and Rock (plus the sub genres) have been a main stay for years, the media and popular culture might not like us, but we have lasted longer then 99% of the rest, raise your fucking horns and I will see you next time!!!

- Ben “Grizz” Gillie

4.Sunday - Footprints In The Custard

Footprints In The Custard