Two Preston bands – All Consumed and Sinpathetic – won the right to play at ‘Bloodstock’ one of the UK’s biggest heavy metal festivals at Catton Park, Derbyshire. LEP’s resident hard rock connoisseur JAMES ROGERS braved mud, real ale and Aliens to cover the up and coming bands’ biggest gigs so far
Bloodstock Open Air (BOA) music festival, Catton Park, Derbyshire, marked its 10th birthday at the weekend with an impressive line-up of big bands and a record attendance of around 15,000.
With headline acts including former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo’s heavy metal supergroup Down, black metal band Emperor and thrash legends Megadeth, it was a weekend showcasing bands from right across the metal genre – and a stunning opportunity for two bands from Preston taking their first steps into the Big League. The bill was quality all the way down, with some great sets from death metal legends Obituary, Entombed AD, Decapitated and Carcass, all showing why they deserve to take the main stage (otherwise known as the Ronnie James Dio Stage).
Other main stage stars included Biohazard, Crowbar, Prong, veteran rockers Saxon and Hatebreed to name but a few – and not to forget the incredibly entertaining Evil Scarecrow with songs about alien crabs and giant robots, how could you not smile at that? But BOA is not all about one stage.
Inside the arena you have bands playing on the Sophie Lancaster Stage, the Jagermeister stage and the New Blood Stage.
The New Blood Stage is where unsigned bands get a chance to show the crowds what they have to offer.
Battle of the Bands style competition Metal 2 the Masses sees hundreds of young bands riff it out nationwide for the chance of winning a slot on the New Blood – and this year two bands from Preston did just that.
First up was death metal group Sinpathetic. Although not winners of Metal 2 the Masses, they impressed the judges enough they were also invited to play.
Playing on the Friday afternoon they had a reasonable sized crowd turn up to listen to their brand of metal.
The five-piece band had a good raw sound and ripped through a heavy set with blast drumming and gruff vocals.
They built in confidence with each song, helped on by a tight front line of hard, complex riffs. This five-piece entertained an appreciative crowd and will have certainly built on their fanbase with this performance.
Frontman Uldis Puteklis ended the show thanking the crowd for making his dreams come true which is testament to how important this opportunity is to upcoming bands.
The winners of Metal 2 the Masses, All Consumed, headlined the New Blood Stage on the Saturday evening.
They were up against some stiff competition for the crowds attention with Carcass playing the main stage 20 minutes before the end of their set, and yet they still managed to pull in an impressive crowd.
Arriving on stage the band looked confident and in control. Playing an old school style of death metal they crashed through a set of aggression filled songs with a hardcore edge.
Frontman Rob interacted with the crowd verbally and physically to great effect, encouraging the audience to come forward and bounce – plenty did.
Displaying an impressive deep growl through each song, he constantly prowled the stage. Coming across loud and clear, their battering drum sound and heavy bass / guitar riffs – with an element of groove – really energised the audience.
The band seemed to take the experience in their stride and, even considering the size of the event, they did not look out of place. Carcass might have got the audience on that evening but in my opinion All Consumed took the New Blood Stage that weekend.
Although BOA is about the music, that isn’t the whole package. With an impressive range of real ales in the VIP tents and food outlets catering for all tastes (although be prepared if you make the trip next year – some of these outlets are quite expensive), a real festival mood prevailed.
From watching knights battle brutally in a ring, to being confronted out of the blue by a group of Judge Dredds, to having a Predator walk past you with an Alien on a leash, the atmosphere was vibrant and entertaining.
All ages and both genders, along with lots of families, were in evidence, and in every corner of the arena there was a friendly atmosphere.
The event organisers hadcovered every base. The only thing they didn’t have control over, inevitably, was the weather, although this could have been worse. The Friday and Saturday were great, sunny and warm, but on Sunday the heavens opened.
If you don’t like mud then open air festivals might not be to your taste, but if you can rock happily in wellies I’d say Bloodstock is well worth the effort and every penny.
And who knows? Maybe we’ll see All Consumed or Sinpathetic on the Ronnie James Dio Stage next year.