Reviews by Aaron Emerson
The mass of black was out in force once again at Catton Park and that was just the midges; what a colourful start to the parade that is Bloodstock 2016! With Suicide Squad in the cinemas, the colour of choice for hair was- you guessed it, green or pink and blue with over a dozen noticeable Harley Quinn hair dos already spotted. Crazy hair weekend extravaganza that’s for sure… Each year the footfall appears to get bigger and bigger on a Thursday and this year was no exception to the rule- the fun fair was in full swing, Deli Kate was putting on a hell of a spread and we finally had a Slushy Bar, score! Bloodstock 2016 is a go.
Opening the weekend, the Norwegian quintet took to the stage in style. Blasting out their melodic death thrash, it was no surprise that the Sophie stage was pretty much packed to the rafters to see what Sublime Eyes could bring. Their Pantera meets Mastodon style went down well, with clear homage stylings to Dimebag in their solo work. Sublime Eyes brought the pain and their thrashy waves rocked the tent’s structure; the thunderous riffs tore out and the crowd lapped it all up with some serious carnage. This was just what was needed to open the weekend and open Bloodstock 2016, very impressive stuff from the mighty Sublime Eyes.
Photos: Rich Price
There is talent in them waters of the Thames; the massive riffs produced by Karybdis sent the huge throng of Bloodstock into a frenzy, still burning the adrenaline created by Sublime Eyes. They looked like they belonged up there and though their talents lie in the riffs and technical aspects of the music, the screamo death grunt style vocals is is the stuff of nightmares for some and bliss for others as the crowd were proving; if you like the idea of Deicide blended with Heaven Shall Burn, then Karybdis would definitely be right up there for you. The riffs were solid and full of venom, the bass lines full of grunt but the vocals needed a bit of tlc, which will undoubtedly come with experience. This was a good performance overall, and the crowd loved it.
Photos: Rich Price
As the crowd gathered again for the next instalment, it was down to fellow Londoners Sumer to bring forth their sound. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the next generation of Progressive Metal= this is Post-Metal like nothing you’ve heard before with influences of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Katatonia clearly audible and my word do they use those influences with absolute precision. This was something very, very special- Sumer brought the ambient and the macabre into the amalgamation in a way nobody has managed to do properly since Tool. Yes I am comparing them to the giants, and I tell you what they can compete with them at the top of the pile too. It was an absolute majesty of sound and the crowd looked mesmerised by it, moving as one unit, opening up to the style and sound especially when the vocals really opened up. This was just stunning, and remember this name – Sumer are going to be massive. They have come a long way since the New Blood Stage last year and my word they deserve it!
Photos: Heather Mc
A lot had been said about Psykosis before the show with lots of hype, many looking forward to the show and this showed with the enormous crowd they pulled in. The quartet all the way from Dublin showed that generic thrash metal still has its sway on the masses, the influences of Anthrax and Slayer were as clear as day but just because it’s what you would expect from the thrash metal band doesn’t mean it won’t go down well and boy did they go down well. The pits opened and the hair went flying, the tent was sweating from the heat the crowd produced and I swear I saw a fan flick his hair full of sweat across the photo pit. Kudos to the style lads, this was a stellar performance and a joy to see the audience in their element. When you go to their shows, expect free beer thrown at you, brewed by them too…
Photos: Rich Price
Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons
Well, the headliner of the day was none other than Phil Campbell of Motorhead and his retinue of Bastard Sons. The Sophie stage was packed out and it was no surprise that Phil produced some great cover hits to keep the Blooders going and give them a great way to finish the evening ready for the full throttle of the festival on Friday. Needless to say, Phil was on fire with some original music and some guest stars for some of the more poignant covers of the set. One main star involved of course was Dee Snider of Twisted Sister who sang a tribute to the fallen heroes of metal and to legend Lemmy Kilmister with ‘Born to Raise Hell’, and Phil continued the fallen legends stage with Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, giving them an honourable and legendary farewell on a stage that means so much to the community and another fallen heroine of the metal world in Sophie Lancaster. The Bastard Sons ended the set with the gorgeous ‘Sweet Leaf’ and really brought the fans to an ovation to end ovations; screams of “Lemmy, Lemmy, Lemmy” could be heard for miles around and rightly so.
Photos: Heather Mc
So, what a start yet again for Bloodstock 2016; with more footfall than ever on a Thursday it could only mean bigger and greater things for the rest of the weekend. This year saw something fantastic too; some time before Bloodstock 2016 Simon Hall did a live chat with the fans so they could ask questions over social media. Now what happened next was something of an enigma, Andy Pilkington (Very Metal Art and great friend of Simon’s) thought it funny to post that he would give £100 to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation if the “fat b**tard” did a forward roll, a rolly-polly for better terms, Simon, thinking this would never happen accepted said challenge… well £1400 raised later, pie to face and what a man for doing it, the entire crew was on the stage, some doing their own rolly-pollys before the great man himself, in front of a packed stage did an almighty forward roll for the cause; the things people do for charity, what a man, what a sport! Bring it on, Friday, you got some work to do!
Review: Aaron Emerson
For all our coverage from the weekend, head over here.