2022 and Catton Hall needed to brace itself and stand firm, Bloodstock was back in town and boy had it returned with a bang. Boasting one of the strongest line ups I had seen for a few years, all was set for a weekend of rocking and moshing, with the temperatures set to be hotter than Satans abode itself, we were in for one hell of a party.
As is tradition, the Thursday evening at Bloodstock is labelled as ‘The Party Night’ and with various parody bands mixed in with some more serious ventures the Sophie Tent certainly attracted a healthy gathering of attendees for the opening band of the evening, Basement Torture Killings, and their brand of Death and Grind with which to obliterate all manner of stuffed teddy bears to.
As the lights went down and Beryl et al emerged to a rapturous response, the sound which emerged from the speaker stacks was brutal and barbaric. Tarquin and Brother Kain stalked the stage, commanding ongoing pits from their lofty position above the swathing crowd below them, Faceless Killer seemed to be battering the drums into submission in the background and generating a backbone on which the madness was able to perch upon and launch itself headfirst into the aural riot. Beryl was her enigmatic self, prowling the stage with confidence and barking out the vocals with venom and aggression as if her life depended on it. The visuals were also impressive, blood splattered outfits were proudly on show, mimicking the results of a brutal and murderous killing spree and this all added to the
theatrics which helped cement their much-loved position in the heart of their firmly established fan base, and judging by the movement and vocal appreciation shown on this sweaty Thursday early evening, BTK had picked up an impressive number of new fans too.
Next up were Thuum, and I have to admit, the band I was least attracted to on the bill tonight. I had done some digging prior to my travels to Catton Hall but only drawn up that they were a British Sludge and Groove metal outfit, and whilst I air more on the side of Thrash and Black metal, I wasn’t overly inspired, but as Bloodstock had been the ground of many a previous new discoveries for me I was keen to sit back, absorb their trade and give them a go, and bloody hell, I was glad I did. As they emerged onto the stage, I was blown away from pretty much the opening bars to the final chords. ‘Bear’ was an absolute monster on vocals, the power generated from his lungs was impressive and he hunted around the stage with dominance and authority (or as much as you can do when you also have six string duties and a mike stand to babysit). The whole band were smooth and flawless in their presentation of their arts, and this generated a brief yet magnetic set from the south coast bruisers. As much as I am still not drawn towards the sludgier end of the metal spectrum, Thuum is certainly a band which has joined the ranks amongst the few bands I have chalked up on my ‘BOA Discoveries’ list.
Hectic blues punk is how Mother Vulture describe themselves and they aren’t far wrong. From the moment they took to the stage, it was full on controlled pandemonium. the tracks seemed to be measured chaos and the vocals were full of energy and vigour, if not just a couple of pitches too high for my own personal taste. The set from start to finish engaged the crowd with gusto and zest and this was reciprocated back to the band with obvious enthusiasm and eagerness, even prompting the bassist to get off stage, pin himself against the barrier and get up close and personal with first few rows of the Bloodstock crowd.
As parody bands go, you won’t get much more obvious or dedicated than Nanowar Of Steel. Having been born in Italy in 2003, they have grown in stature and entertain many a crowd all over the world, even at some of the festival big hitters, and now it was Bloodstocks turn to be amused with some early evening humour inspired metal. The crowd had swollen and as soon as they hit the stage the Partyometer was turned up to 11. ‘Norwegian Reggaeton’ claimed the biggest response of the set, from both the crowd and band alike, and saw it create a feel-good sing along atmosphere on board this infamous metalton steam train. The band were obviously loving their time up on the Sophie stage and they were certainly grabbing their opportunity to entertain the UK audience tonight with both hands and
not letting go throughout their whole set. I’m sure the whole Nanowar experience may have divided the crowd tonight, but either way, there were many a happy face heading back out into the sweltering heat high on the spectacle they had just witnessed.
As the next band strode out onto stage and announced that they had forgotten the Goblin, out of the shadows lurched a pint size Goblin overflowing with excitement and animation all of which signalled for Nekrogoblikon to launch into their blistering Thursday sub headliner set and launch into it they certainly did. The set was packed with favourites and Goblin anthems, ‘The Magic Spider’, ‘Dressed As Goblins’ and ‘This Is It’ all which claimed rapturous responses from the now near capacity infamous blue tent. As the Goblin pounded round the stage like a crazed gazelle the band weren’t far behind him in the energy and ferocity stakes. The six strings fused together sublimely and created a striking partnership on
which the thicker strings and skins bolstered up the set from the rear. The vocals were powerful and on point and didn’t falter one inch from the start of the set to the finish, all adding to the ferocity generated by the Californian Melodic Death Goblins. As much as some may see Nekrogoblikon as nothing more than a joke on the surface, dig a little deeper and yes, they may have a small Goblin running around the stage pulling all sorts of cliched metal poses but sit back and appreciate the music and you will see that this transatlantic band have a lot more to offer the listener.
Clear the stage, step up and get involved. Ladies and Gentlemen, up next were the brutal and magnificent Dark Tranquillity all the way from Gothenburg, Sweden. Dark Tranquillity are legendary, sitting as one of the pioneers of the melodic death metal movement, along with At The Gates and In Flames, these melodic death metallers never disappoint. So, buckle yourself in, get those heads ready to bang and enjoy.
The Dark Tranquillity Bloodstock set was constructed of a good cross section across the DT back catalogue, injecting some of the classics in and amongst and building the set with momentum as each tune passed. ‘Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)’ got an absolutely deafening response from the gathered congregation, ‘Monochromatic Stains’ was crystal in its deliverance and saw an absolutely flawless vocal performance from Stanne and the set was closed out with the absolute behemoth of an anthem, ‘Misery’s Crown’. A true headliners performance in every aspect and the perfect way to sign off the first day of the monster that is Bloodstock.
Roll on Day 2, I had a good feeling about this …………………….