Archive for Bloodstock Open Air

Bloodstock Open Air 2014 Review

Posted in Festival, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 24th August 2014 by Hannah

Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2014 [Down, Emperor, Megadeth & more]

Catton Hall, Derbyshire

8th-10th August, 2014

Bloodstock 2014 came and went like an almighty clap of thunder. Before I even knew it, it was August and that time of the year when the bearded horde descends upon the sleepy Derbyshire countryside for the UK’s most metal weekend. A line up chock full of interesting names that promised to deliver crushing sets, more beer than I could comprehend and a surprising number of costumes and Native American accessories awaited me. As always, I’d coughed up the extra money for a VIP ticket- again, I will say that it is WORTH IT- but this year, let me start by giving a negative review. The VIP toilets were shocking. Usually they are cleaned regularly, supplied with toilet paper and soap and all the mod-cons that help to make the price that much more acceptable. This year, however, it was horrific. I realise that with the weather they were going to get dirty- but I would have been okay with mud. Little brown fishes are not so okay.

Anyway…  After being thoroughly slaughtered by the Thursday night pre-party and starting to pick my way through the VIP bar’s 103 real ales and ciders, I awoke on the Friday morning, blinking with bleary eyes into the blazing sunshine. Fitting that the opener was Bloodshot Dawn, then. A good start to proceedings, followed by the always satisfying Entombed A.D. It’s the second time I’ve had the pleasure of watching these guys and they were just as good as before- even though they’re in a different form from last time. Irish extreme metallers Primordial followed, with an absolutely stellar set. I’d caught a bit of their set the last time they played Bloodstock, and made sure I was able to see the whole thing this time round. It was a good choice, because their particular brand of black-ish metal is excellent live. A smidgeon of thrash was added to the mix by Flotsam & Jetsam, who entertained for the whole of their set and were a good choice, as were industrial metallers Prong. Both bands were received enthusiastically by the crowd and there were few heads still during their slot on the main stage.  

Controversial opinion time- I don’t like Triptykon. I will never forgive Tom G. Warrior for the glam metal Celtic Frost ridiculousness, and even though on paper I should appreciate Triptykon’s doomy line of metal, I just don’t like it. It was all very grim and frosty and plenty of people did like it, but it definitely wasn’t my cup of tea. Hatebreed, however, reminded us exactly why they were one of the best received bands of 2012. Perfectly on form, as always, they were energetic and exciting and definitely one of the best acts of the weekend. The same cannot be said for Dimmu Borgir, and frustratingly it wasn’t their fault. I was looking forward to Dimmu Borgir; they are one of my favourite bands and their 2012 set is still one of the best I have ever seen. But this year they were plagued by technical difficulties and a sound mix so bad keyboardist Gerlioz left the stage. Arriving at least twenty minutes late, and forced to stop and start throughout, when they did play they proved that they could have been great this year. Such a massive disappointment. Friday night headliners Down took the stage to an arena buzzing with anticipation and excitement and baying for blood. And, whatever you may think of him as a person, you have to hand it to Phil Anselmo– he is the perennial frontman. They filled Catton Hall with their groovy brand of metal and crushing riffs, and teased the horde with ten to fifteen seconds of Pantera classic Walk.

Saturday morning started with, in my opinion, the performance of the weekend. Evil Scarecrow. I need to take a moment to dedicate this whole review- and, at the very least, an entire paragraph- to Evil Scarecrow. Eleven o’clock in the morning and the arena was absolutely rammed. We’re talking Special Guest to Headliner amounts of people. Very much a story of success against the odds, Evil Scarecrow are something special. They manage to be simultaneously funny and extremely clever, and also just extremely fucking good. They turned Bloodstock into a heavy metal ballroom, filled with waltzing Cyclopes (cyclopi? Just what is the correct plural term here?), they commanded first an army of (totally in sync) shuffling Crab(ulon)s, then an army of Robot(atron)s, and finally managed to get almost every lucky bastard assembled there to war-march around the sound desk. We are talking an arena wide march. Even if we only moved about ten foot forward, that’s still an impressive feat. Every single person there had a huge grin on their face. If you weren’t watching, you missed out on history.

Shining had a bit of a hard act to follow, unfortunately, and it was a shame to see such a reduced crowd watching them. Their somewhat bizarre jazz-extreme metal fusion was quite refreshing, however, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a saxophone on the RJD stage before- or will again. Decapitated were as expected- brutal- and Israel’s Orphaned Land were a nice surprise. I’d never really heard any of their music before, but their progressive tinged metal was much better than I thought it would be. Crowbar were awesome, with bass lines so shuddering and crushing that I could feel my liver shaking. Following their set with Italian pseudo-goths Lacuna Coil seemed a bit of an odd choice- in fact, in general I felt that the line up could have been re-arranged across all three days- but Cristina Scabbia and her cohort were on fine form. There was a nice selection of new and old, including some of the better tracks from latest album Broken Crown Halo. I know a lot of people criticize Children of Bodom for being one-trick-ponies. In my opinion, that just shows that they know what the winning formula is and stick to it. Alexi Laiho and Janne Wirman deliver guitar and keyboard solos with sickening ease that almost borders on laziness, but Laiho was his usual ball of boundless energy. An unexpected setlist including fan favourites such as Hatecrew Deathroll and Lake Bodom, they were fantastic as always.

Controversial opinion time the second- I think Carcass are past it- or at least, Jeff Walker is at any rate. It almost seemed like they were going through the motions, tearing through a set filled with classics with an almost clinical, sterile precision. Apt for a band whose latest release is called Surgical Steel, true, but it seemed like they lacked heart. Saturday evening was all about one band, anyway. Emperor took to the stage to celebrate 20 years since the release of their seminal album, In The Nightside Eclipse. They were flawless. There was an almost reverent atmosphere in the arena as they turned the temperature frosty and filled the venue with their chilly, eerie brand of black metal and reminded us all why they are and will always be one of the best in the business. Plus- when are we ever going to see Ihsahn, Samoth and Faust playing together ever again? It was an incredible moment, something I will never forget.

I will admit something now- I only saw four bands on Sunday. The celebrations from Emperor nearly killed me, and I slept through both Arthemis and Aborted. However, I have it on good authority that Arthemis put on a valiant performance, and that Aborted were savage. I managed to rouse myself from the darkness in order to make it down to watch Valkyrian favourites ReVamp perform in an absolute downpour. Floor Jansen is a force to be reckoned with, and it’s easy to see why she has been nabbed by Nightwish. She had those assembled to watch in the palm of her hand and did well despite the odds. I then returned to my tent to recover some more, only to discover that a veritable tempest was beginning to blow. The first tent to fall victim to the wind was- ironically- the Tangerine Dreams tent-hire company’s reception tent, followed swiftly by a gazebo that took to the skies with captivating elegance before landing with one leg impaled in another thankfully empty tent. A quick conversation led to the decision to pull up camp and leave later that evening, so by the time we had cleared up and packed everything in the car, we’d missed both Biohazard and last-minute stage-switchers Avatar. Obituary, however, were worth catching for some decent, straightforward and relentless death metal.

Saxon were everything I expected them to be- cheesy, fist-pumping and glorious. Good old Biff was on fine form, and they were well received by a crowd of an incredibly diverse age range. By the time they played Denim and Leather, the whole arena had been brought together and it was easy to see why so many people got on board with Saxon’s campaign to have Heavy Metal recognised as a religion in the last UK census. Amon Amarth were absolutely outstanding. Fire-breathing dragonheads, upon which guitar solos were performed,  filled the stage and Johan Hegg led the Viking hordes through a set that perfectly represented their catalogue of greats. They reminded me why they are one of my favourite bands and why I will always throw my horns up in the air when I hear any of their songs. Unfortunately, this is where my Bloodstock experience ended as we made a run for it as the weather worsened and the storm moved in. This does mean that I missed MegaDave- sorry, I mean Megadeth– but controversial opinion the last? I wasn’t particularly bothered. Had I been more in the spirit of things and had imbibed a fair bit of cider I’m sure I would have enjoyed them, but being sober and eager to leave before the wind picked up again it wasn’t much of a loss.

Bloodstock 2014 was a rollercoaster ride of technical problems, triumphant performances and crazy weather. But I would not have missed it for the world. The performance of the weekend, as I feel I have already clearly shown, was definitely Evil Scarecrow, and I will give them less than five years until they are special guests, if not headliners. Even though we’re still waiting for any announcements, there’s nowhere I’d rather be from the 6th to the 9th of August next year. I will see you then.

 

Hannah O’Flanagan

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Twilight’s Embrace to release long awaited debut album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 13th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Nottingham’s melancholic metal maestros Twilight’s Embrace are set to release their long awaited debut album By Darkness Undone next month. Mastered at Priory Recording Studios by Greg Chandler (Esoteric, The Prophecy, Mourning Beloveth) and building upon the musical themes introduced in previous EPs Reflections and Traces, this release offers 58 minutes of compelling and melodic metal.

Since their live debut in 2010, Twilight’s Embrace have played venues all across the UK including notable appearances at Bloodstock and Valkyrian Festival. Compared favourably to the likes of Yorkshire Gothic-doom lords Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, as well other names such as Swallow The Sun, Katatonia, and Insomnium, Twilight’s Embrace mix these different elements into a distinctive and cohesive whole. Showcasing a mixture of death growls and clean singing, song structures that border on the progressive, dark and introspective lyrical themes, and a wide array of melodious hooks, the result is a unique style with few parallels in the UK metal scene.

Twilight’s Embrace online:

http://twilightsembrace.com
http://facebook.com/twilightsembrace

 

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Three more bands confirmed for Bloodstock

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Hannah

Lacuna Coil, Carcass and Primordial have been announced as the latest acts on an increasingly epic bill for Bloodstock Open Air 2014!

Italian metallers Lacuna Coil will be bringing their sonic wall of Gothic-tinged sound to Catton Hall for the second time, performing the Ronnie James Dio stage on the Saturday. Frontwoman Cristina Scabbia reflected on their return with a sneak peek of what fans can expect from their set:

“It will be LACUNA COIL’s second time there and I’m curious to see how the festival has grown.  We will have songs from the new album and some LC classics, so see ya all in the summer!”

The legendary Carcass will be acting as Saturday’s Special Guests , and after their triumphant debut release with Nuclear Blast, Surgical Steel, gained wide acclaim and rave reviews, they have promised to be ‘firing on all cylinders’ with their set. Also announced are Irish gaelic metal outfit Primordial, returning after a victorious set in 2011. This may be one of your only opportunities to catch them next year, so don’t miss it. All three bands join an exceptional roster including Emperor, Down, Megadeth, Saxon and Amon Amarth, and with Early Bird tickets selling fast, it might be time to secure your place at what is promising to be the metal event of the year.

As Jeff Walker commands, “Let there be rot!”

Primordial confirmed for Bloodstock 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 28th November 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Gaelic metal warriors Primordial have announced that they’ll be playing Bloodstock Open Air Festival in 2014, with bands such as Carcass, Lacuna Coil, Emperor, Megadeth and more, as well as label mates Amon Amarth.

Bloodstock will be held at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 7th-10th August 2014. Keep up to date with the very latest info on Bloodstock’s official sites at this location (Official Facebook) and this location (Official Website).

Primordial online:

http://primordialweb.com
http://facebook.com/primordialofficial

 

Details and artwork for upcoming Death Angel album revealed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7th August 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

It’s been three years since Death Angel released Relentless Retribution, with three years of constant touring. Now, the Bay Area thrash unit are set to return with another eviscerating thrash masterpiece titled The Dream Calls For Blood, which was recorded at AudioHammer Studios with Jason Suecof (Trivium, August Burns Red, The Black Dahlia Murder, All That Remains, Whitechapel, DevilDriver) and will once again feature cover art (which can be viewed below) by Brent Elliot White (Carnifex, Whitechapel, Job For A Cowboy). White explains:

Rob contacted me early on about doing this cover. He wanted a continuation of the work we did on Relentless Retribution. Kind of a complementary piece that featured the wolf in sheep’s  clothing again, only this time in some sort of frozen environment. I love it, I guess he’s come to be known as ‘Wolfie’. Perfect! As the concepts for the album grew, so did the details and various elements for the album cover. For example, It started as a single lone wolf, though Rob thought it important to add his pack. I guess they’re somewhat symbolic of the band. The wolves look like they’ve come a long ways, I can relate. I don’t want to try to dictate the meaning of the cover art. Suffice to say the main elements depicted in the piece are representational of the core thoughts and themes Rob poured into the album. Solar eclipse, lunar mirage, lighting from the coming storm, the killing field , blood, death, decay…those things. Though at times this one was a struggle (thanks for your patience with me DA, VJ and NB!) the album title actually pushed it to where it needed to be. I love the title, a perfect representation of the lyrics and Death Angel in general.

Jason Suecof commented on the recording process and the album in general:

Once again my metal brothers have put out an album that truly captures their live energy and originality as a band. Death Angel has not only maintained their classic thrash element, but they’ve taken every aspect of what they can do as musicians to the next level – writing, playing and maintaining an intense vibe throughout all the tracks! I believe this is an album that will stand the test of time – not just for Death Angel fans, but for fans of all genres of metal. Enjoy!

Guitarist Rob Cavestany added:

The Dream Calls for Blood is the wicked stepsister to our last album, Relentless Retribution – but even more cruel and sinister than her! It’s the first time we connected two records – created and produced by the same team in the same studio as ‘RR’, yet this release is more furious… probably because so much of it was written on the road. Brent did an amazing job with the cover art, again capturing the natural brutality of the hunted becoming the hunter… as territorial instinct turns into bloodlust! Down to the last detail, his art depicts a visual that matches our music and lyrics – making a complete package that we are so proud of! Can’t wait for you all to hear, see and feel it.  Now we prepare to bring it live!

Death Angel will be playing the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock Open Air this Friday.

Death Angel online:

http://www.DEATHANGEL.us
http://www.facebook.com/DEATHANGEL
http://www.myspace.com/DEATHANGEL

Kataklysm unveil artwork for upcoming album, titled Waiting For The End To Come

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th August 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Canandian death metal powerhouse Kataklysm have revealed the artwork for their upcoming release Waiting For The End To Come. The artwork, which was created by Peter Sallai (Sabaton), will be featured on the standard jewel case and limited edition cassette tape versions of the new album, which is set to be released 28th October. Frontman Maurizo Iacono explains:

The new album art depicts a child, which represents innocence in humanity, covered in dirt and blood from life’s experience. In front of him is death represented by a reaper, who comes to claim his soul for the afterlife or the abyss, whichever way you want interpret what happens next. We leave it open to the fans to decide with their own beliefs. This depiction of the transition between life and death was made by Hungarian artist Peter Sallai, and will be on the standard CD jewel case and limited edition cassette tape versions.

Waiting for the End to Come was recorded by guitarist Jean Francois Dagenais and mixed by Zeuss (Suffocation, Hatebreed, Arsis).

Kataklysm are performing this weekend at the UK’s biggest independent metal festival, Bloodstock Open Air, at Catton Hall, Derby. Kataklysm will be playing on Saturday on the Ronnie James Dio Stage.

Katakylsm online:

http://facebook.com/kataklysm

 

Incassum confirmed for Bloodstock and announce winter 2013 dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 29th July 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Manchester’s top melodic metal act Incassum have been confirmed for this year’s Bloodstock where they’ll play the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at 6:40pm on Saturday 10th August. Incassum have also announced their first dates for the winter of 2013 including a special Hallowe’en show in their hometown of Manchester with Evil Scarecrow.

As well as Bloodstock and the Winter shows, the band also has a small number of other summer festival appearances. The schedule so far is as follows, with plenty more dates to be added….

August

3rd : Rotherham, Khaos Festival
10th : Derby, Bloodstock Open Air
23rd : Bromsgrove, Beermageddon

October

5th : Great Yarmouth, The Oakwood (w/Babylon Fire)
18th : Birmingham, Asylum 2 (w/Triaxis)
30th : Manchester, Grand Central (w/Evil Scarecrow and Bloodyard)

November

3rd : Lancaster, Yorkshire House (w/Bloodyard)

Incassum online:

http://www.incassum.com
http://www.facebook.com/Incassum