Bloodstock Festival 2016 – Sophie Stage – Sunday

Jager Stage - Friday

Desert Storm

Opening the morning of the Sophie stage came in the guise Desert Storm bringing their full blooded trucker metal to the masses of fans gathered. The lyrics about violence and alcohol were drenched in sludgy riffs right out of the sediment of the Mississippi river. This was definitely one way to wake you up in the morning, the gravelly vocals really worked for the low toned chords; the chugging lines seriously made you appreciate the style of music and made your head move uncontrollably. The riffs were incredibly catchy and although they lacked some stage presence they certainly made up for it in the style and sound of the tracks; they were a great opening for the Sophie stage. AE

Sanguine

The Devon waters had once again produced a class act; this time round Sanguine had the opportunity to express their style on the Sophie stage. The vocal range of Tarin Kery was impressive, growling and operatic like the best of them out there. They used the usual dual vocals you would expect from a Goth metal outfit to great effect yet there were twists and turns in the style of music they played with aspects of punk, goth and symphonic metal creating a masquerade of sound, they were easily one of the surprise packages of the weekend. They had amazing presence on stage with a great blend of styles, not pinning down to any genre, trying to break the boundaries of female fronted metal. Playing some cracking tracks that had cheeky aspects like ‘Bangkok Nights’ to new material ‘Black Sheep’ and the involvement of the crowd by howling to the beginning of ‘Bail of Wolves’, they looked like they were loving every moment of the dream. They were so charismatic on stage by all the members, from the drummer to the bassist, to the guitarists, to the vocalist; this was the pinnacle, this was massive, this was Sanguine. AE

Krysthla

I’ve known Krysthla for some time probably since their first handful of gigs so knew what to expect, the tracks were no surprise I was interested to see how they came across away from the smaller stages as they ventured onto the Sophie stage , the members are full of pedigree so not unsurprisingly it looked as if that stage was second nature for them , intense crushing extremely heavy all words used before to describe Krysthla so if I just string them together that might give you an idea or in my own words avant-garde death metal?
A highlight of the day however you might describe them. SY

Divine Chaos

Slough thrash metal boys Divine Chaos pulled in a good crowd and it has to be said, there was some excitement over seeing these guys on the Sophie stage to see what they can deliver. The tracks were all pretty generic for thrash metal with the usual shreds and riffs that you would expect; maybe it’s because the weekend has been saturated with thrash metal, maybe the scene is over saturated with it but regardless of this there wasn’t anything special on offer. Yes, they had great interaction with the crowd and the crowd were having a blast and this is not a surprise as their performance was pretty good but it was bit bland, unsubtle, generic thrash; a bit disappointing as I was looking forward to these guys. AE

Witchsorrow

As always, Witchsorrow went down really well with those who had made their way to the Sophie Lancaster stage. As a band that perform Classic Doom and have plenty of vast, monolithic tracks that clock in somewhere around the ten minute mark, it’s a shame that they weren’t able to have a much longer set and incorporate more music. Despite this, they were able to put on one of the most impressive shows of the entire weekend, coupling music from their latest record, “No Light, Only Fire” with fan favourites like “God Curse Us” and “Breaking the Lore”. It was hard not to be blown away by this set, and it was a fine example of exactly why Witchsorrow are one of the best bands that the UK underground has to offer. DS

Derange

It was definitely the day of the female vocalists as Derange were next up on the Sophie stage; the interesting switch of haunting harmonies with growls and screams and all from Cat Pereira were a bit of fresh air. Cat’s voice was very nice, nothing absolutely stunning and special about it but sometimes that tends to deter from the rest of the music so it worked really well in the favour of the entire band; some of the tracks were just pure clean vocals with precise harmonies which broke it up really well for the overall feel. There were some really heavy riffs splattered in there but it was pretty generic otherwise; generic or not, they produced a solid set that worked well on the day with so many female fronted bands on display, their metal blended in nicely with the rest. It was a good set that they should be happy with and the crowd looked very pleased with it too, grins and happy chats of “I’m checking them out when I get home” was lovely to hear and actually, I’m gonna do the same thing, wonder how many albums they have? AE

Whispered

They were clad in red samurai armour? What was happening here? Whispered certainly put on a spectacle in appearance; their Japanese getup and painted faces made them look like Samurai or Ronin definitely made them stand out. They used traditional Japanese music samples used to keep the theme going but here’s the thing, there seemed to be no purpose to it, the Japanese theme was lost on me as the odd melodic death metal didn’t seem to fit the theme, the vocals were awful at times and became screechy and growly for no reason. The melodic death style is nothing that’s not been seen before the difference that makes them stand out is the weird Japanese theme. They had good stage presence though they could be a bit static but their interaction with the crowd was up there with the best; the crowd seemed to like them and that’s always a good sign. I think they deserve another chance because there was something there but it just didn’t seem to come across as well as I think they would have liked. AE

Vektor

Even though I only managed to catch part of their set, what I heard from Vektor was very good musically. The music was razor sharp, inventive and tight, and the band made a great unit onstage together. They’ve got a very strong presence onstage –always so important for any band – but the vocals were way too loud in the mix, which drowned out the rest of the band a fair bit. I’m a big fan of the band, so it was disappointing for me because I know they’re a great live band. Hopefully next time they won’t have any of these sound issues! RB

Memoriam

Though a new band the members’ legacies shine through as we entered the Sophie Lancaster stage for the mighty Memoriam. Formed of four members Memoriam consist of Karl Willetts, Frank Healy, Scott Fairfax and Andy Whale. Memoriam were by far the main band of the weekend that I had been looking forward to seeing as it consists of the very best in UK Death metal. When you think of these four guys being in one band you know that something brutal is about to be created and this was exactly what Memoriam’s set consisted of, bringing material from the newly released demo entitled the Hell-Fire Demos as well as playing very familiar material from both Bolt Thrower and Benediction. Memoriam brought the spirit of grind and death to life right before our very eyes creating a moment where war will rage on in the fields of battle, for as they say “In battle there is no law!” MC

Pythia

The leather armour clad bastions of British operatic metal brandishing a new singer in pocket rocket Sophie Dorman who brought a new tone to the mighty Pythia took to the stage, and the operatic theme to the fantasy lyrics added to their style and the slick performance really showed just how good they were. Yes poor Sophie had a couple of little malfunctions as her nerves meant the mic stuck in the stand but to give her credit she showed great professionalism as she didn’t falter with these mishaps. Her vocals were similar to that of Kate Bush which is a fantastic trait to have making her a fantastic find after the departure of Alice Ovenden. It was a great set, holding its typical powerful high tempo riffs that were infectious bringing fantasy and drama to Bloodstock to add to the already hugely popular medieval battles going on throughout the days. Pythia had done it again and it was a great feeling to see them back on stage and to finally see the new vocalist, she had big shoes to fill but boy did she do it. AE

Goatwhore

We came to the weekend’s final band, a band that over the course of their career have created a legacy for brutal and so rapid that they have become synonymous within the blackened death/thrash metal scene as a band to watch and a band that will cause an apocalyptic havoc! Of course I’m talking about the mighty Goatwhore from Louisiana. This is band that without fail have been able to draw in a crowd that will destroy everything in plain sight, tonight ladies and gents was no different as we saw the band headline the Sophie Lancaster stage in full force. This show was the longest I have seen the band perform bringing a set compiled of new material and classic songs that rarely get to be played, so it felt like for this show we had Goatwhore at their absolute best giving fans a chance to see just what the legacy of this band is capable of! MC

Reviews: Aaron Emerson, Mike Coyle, Simon Yarwood + Danny Sanderson


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