Bloodstock Open Air 2017
@ Catton Hall, Derbyshire
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography & Mini Reviews by Graham Hilling
Thursday 10th August
Bloodstock; Britain’s premier independent Metal festival. The biggest of its kind in this green and pleasant land, and for the first time ever, a festival to sell out!
No, not that sort of ‘selling out’, I’m talking about the first time it sold all weekend camping tickets to Metal revellers far and wide – coming from all over the world to enjoy the biggest celebrations of one of the best music genres ever. And where better to do so than in the homeland of said genre.
It has been a rather dismal August so naturally, I was hoping the rain, wind, and drizzle would hold off for the weekend, and the first day seemed quite promising as we arrived, greeted by a thick and loud queue. It took a while to get in but it was definitely worth the wait.
Eventually, after pitching tent and cracking open the first few drinks of the weekend, the Metal madness began to ensue. And first up on the Sophie Lancaster stage were the Scottish Progressive outfit: Ramage Inc.
The band had energy and the might to start off a weekend of fun and frolics. The crowd seemed pleased by the cheers and greets that echoed around the Sophie tent, but nothing of major wonder jumped forth as the band progressed through every number.
Thanks for starting the weekend off Ramage Inc and bringing energy into the crowd, even after you’d finished.
Next, it was time for things to get a little more Sludgy. Gurt; the latest band to emerge from London’s Sludge Metal scene arrived to give a rendition of some slow but hefty wails on what they describe as the Blues ‘dragged backwards through the swamps of Louisiana’.
I didn’t think there was anything swampy about these guys because no matter how dirty or muddy their pieces might be, they certainly put on a clean and finely rehearsed performance that lifted my spirits a little and told me the party was now in full swing.
Things started to get a little darker and harsher with the next band. A group whose name I’ve always found somewhat onomatopoeic because each time I hear their work, The Infernal Sea sounds like a roaring sea of misanthropy and howling anger, delivered in the way only a good set of guitars and drums can do so.
The Black Metal outfit, all the way from the East of England, howled and screamed their way through tune after tune to make the Sophie tent feel like a séance of pure evil was being conducted to welcome in a weekend of darkness and anguish to make sure the most evil of music was celebrated.
Excellent work Infernal Sea, you keep going from strength to strength.
After that, my friends and I hung out for a bit exploring the main arena, and it felt good to be back. Even with more festival goers crowding the place as I’ve noticed the crowds increase in this Derbyshire field in the seven years I’ve been attending Bloodstock, so it wasn’t much of a surprise the festival had sold all of its camping tickets.
Anyways, back we went to the Sophie stage, ready for the last band of the night. So far we’d had some Sludgy blues and evil UK Black Metal, so now it was time for something a little more upbeat and from further afield.
Battle Beast – all the way from Finland. The nation with the most Metal bands per capita seemed to have produced another fun and energetic act who were nothing short of fantastic in their delivery and their stage presence.
Taking to the stage, their uplifting and heart-warming Power Metal riffs cut through the crowd like a knife and the vocals of singer Noora Louhimo belted across the tent and reached all the way to the back of the crowd.
Here was a band with plenty of happy tunes about War, Love, Adventure and Science Fiction to give the crowd the pleaser that would make the party reach its peak of the night. And the proverbial crescendo of the evening had been reached with what I can now call the best new Bloodstock discovery. Battle Beast will go down as a memorable new band I came across this year in this field so I’ll recommend them to anyone who likes brave and bold Power Metal tunes.
Now all was revved up and well for what lay ahead over the next three days. My friends and I spent several more hours engaging in the activities of the weekend, namely drinking and giving happy renditions of popular tunes that we wanted to hear from the upcoming bands.
Eventually, the tiredness set in, but as I went to sleep I knew I was ready for all the Metal to be unleashed over the next few days.