Bloodstock Festival 2016 – Sophie Stage – Friday

2. Fury1.jpgFury

Opening the Sophie stage, Fury brought their own classic metal to the fore in the best way possible, let’s not forget this is a band that started its Bloodstock career on the New Blood Stage and has progressed to the momentous position to open the Friday showings. They looked calm and collected and produced a set that didn’t blow you away but definitely had enough about it to get the gathering going. Their energy was top notch and the riffs created a catchy chorus throughout, however it all felt a bit samey at times; this was not the best performance and I wonder if the stage was just that bit too much too early for them considering how good they were last time out on the New Blood Stage. One of the highlights was ending with the classic metalised version of the folk song ‘Drunken Sailor’ and watching the crowd go mad for it was very joyous. AE

Boss Keloid

I’d heard big things for months about these guys so was hoping they’d live up to my by now exceedingly high expectations . Early morning slots are always the hardest for any band it feels out of sync to the normal gig routine but from the first chord it was obvious this wasn’t going to be a struggle for these boys from Wigan, well known on the doom circuit they owned the Sophie Stage with their own version of the ever popular Doom sound , bordering on Stoner rock at times, retro in places and bang up to date in others they made some new fans that’s for sure me included. SY

Brutai

There was something in the dust at Bloodstock this year, bloody gremlins constantly appearing and causing issues for bands, unfortunately for Brutai it made the set a little under par; the sound quality let down what would have been a spectacular performance. That said what did come through was admirable for the quintet from London and Reading. I have seen this band do so much better and it did pick up a little near the end with ‘Sleepless’ and the new song ‘Of Ashes’ showing just how good they can be. I’m sure they were angered by the whole affair too, they’ll come back fighting from this – I’m certain of it. I’ve seen them enough to know that problems they had were caused by technical difficulties which certainly won’t put me off seeing them again – when they’ve not got these to content with, they’re fantastic.  AE

Anti-Clone

These guys were certainly one of the weekend’s more progressive styled bands, and we saw Anti-Clone take to the stage with a very interesting style of music which incorporated elements of almost a thrash meets djent type tone which could be seen and heard within the drums and guitars. Their music did take a little time to get into as it used so many different changes that it almost sends you spinning. The band knew how to get the crowd going though, and the audiences lapped it up. It can almost be said that the band incorporate extreme metal elements while at the same time being able to have their tone to their own specification and it was really amazing to see a band like this with such energy. Anti-Clone are certainly a band to catch and without a doubt will bring some great tunes and some great times ahead of them. MC

Meta-Stasis

Meta-Stasis are a band that are able to mix together industrial ideas within their music which certainly made them stand out at Bloodstock. The band seem to mix some very familiar sounds embodying tones found in nu-metal as well as industrial sounds that together create a very different type of extreme. It can be said that they are unique among today’s bands and were able to showcase a set of material that set the ground shaking hard and heavy with very tight grooves mixed with turntable sound effects that brightened up the whole festival. The pure amount of energy coming off of each member was amazing, showcasing talents that when brought together create a torrential storm of creative if not bold creations that are their music. The vocals were outstanding and it feels that there is a lot more we can expect from these guys. MC

The Charm The Fury

The demonic growls blended with the harmonic vocals all coming out of one person- that’s why they are called the The Charm, The Fury. The cacophony of sound brought to mind Arch Enemy meets Halestorm and is definitely a unique outlook for the Dutch quintet, and Caro certainly brought the charm and the fury in one package. They dominated the stage with their energetic, full throttle style, putting a modern stint on an already saturated industry, which created a rather interesting death metal aspect to a metalcore style. The riffs were fast and furious and the bass lines poured. This was definitely a good performance and one they should be very proud of, the audience loved it and they certainly stuck in the head all weekend; I don’t think you can get better than that really. AE

Foetal Juice

Foetal Juice are a band that over the years have proven how hard they work in terms of their extremity and musicianship, as well as their graphic imagery with a twist. The band’s Bloodstock performance has proven that their hard work and dedication has not been for nothing and as always they brought with them a sonic destruction that is both unique and devastating. Looking at the band’s set we saw a selection of classic tunes showcasing their quality of grind and humour as seen with the song ‘Twisted Fister’. Every occasion I’ve seen Foetal Juice they have always been a band that knows how to get the crowd going mental, and at Bloodstock we saw fans going crazy for the band. The boys came, they saw and they brought one hell of a storm. MC

XII Boar

Motorhead reincarnate – it’s as simple as that really. It sums up XII Boar in its entirety; the classic sound was brilliant, the quality in the stratosphere, this was amazing stuff. As a new album came out on the day of the show, XII Boar took the liberty to show off their new material in all its gusto how it’s meant to be heard- live. It went down really well as their classic metal meets stoner rock delighted the crowd. The riffs had a funky swagger to them and the gruff vocals reminded you of Lemmy in his prime. It had a good aspect of what you would expect with some serious Zakk Wilde impersonations of over-zealous solos. You can’t go wrong with XII Boar and they showed the same determination and same enthusiasm you would expect from the ex-New Blooders. AE

Beholder

With one of the most acclaimed albums of the underground scene for 2016, Beholder brought a darker and dare I say it, heavier aspect to their set. Simon Hall’s vocals appeared to have gotten even better, the gruff had gone and in came the more high tone harmony; this was in contrast to the old aggressive style of previous albums and showed a new side to the talent that is Beholder. They certainly hadn’t lost their touch, that was for sure, and although their last outing at Bloodstock was to open the Ronnie Dio Stage, being high on the bill of Sophie was certainly a worthy replacement. The riffs were thick as treacle, the bass lines heavier than a ten ton slug and if that wasn’t enough, the drums pounded like a terrier on heat. It was a great set and a typical display by the British Heavy Metal ambassadors. AE

Beyond the Black

Comparisons to the giants of symphonic metal are going to be made for Beyond the Black and it’s not surprising but to have a singer that basically sounds like Jordin Sparks in a symphonic metal band – they’re definitely onto a winner. Full of the generic aspects of symphonic metal samples they managed to stand out on their own rights through the sheer charisma and vocal aptitude of vocalist Jennifer Haben and the rather intriguing Scottish twist to ‘In the Shadows’. Jennifer’s voice had just the right tempo and range for the whole thing to work a dream and the cover of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ went down a storm with a very honourable rendition of the Led Zeppelin track. The original material was catchy and can be seen as typical of the genre but for those who are into symphonic metal, this is the kind of sound they want with a little bit of bite to it as well. It was a great set and a triumph for Beyond the Black as the crowd absorbed the quality of sound they brought. AE

Diamond Head

The last time I saw Diamond Head was at their problematic first comeback gig supporting Metallica and Megadeth at the Milton Keynes Bowl: which was a long time ago to say the least. Celebrating 40 years they have a new album under their belt which is getting a lot of critical acclaim and it seems to have lit a fire underneath them. Given this is a rejuvenated Diamond Head It’s a surreal feeling watching – or should I say peering through the ridiculously thick dry ice – the band with that much history and realising that the visible members appear to be younger than me. The lineup changes seem to have breathed new life into them although the more modern feel to their set did lead to confusion amongst a few longer term fans as to who was actually playing. What did hit you from the offset is that singer Rasmus has a phenomenal voice and good stage presence, he lends Diamond Head more of a hard rock vibe than I recall.  The changes do seem largely to be positive; they still have their trademark fantastic guitar work courtesy of sole original member Brian Tatler. It’s also easier to see throughout their set the bits which inspired Metallica, especially on tracks like Helpless and the obvious Am I Evil? which were covered by Metallica. Starting off to a small fairly centralised crowd they did pick up a lot of the audience once the Twisted Sister set had finished. This was a good enjoyable performance – certainly much better than when I’ve seen them before. Could this be the time for Diamond Head to finally get the recognition they’re long overdue? Based on this performance I certainly hope so. RP

Reviews – Aaron Emerson, Mike Coyle, Simon Yarwood + Rich Price

Photos – Heather Mc + Rich Price


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