Saturday for this reviewer featured more bands on the main stage (Dio) and the big tent (Sophie). Although there were still a few bands that caught the ears in the New Blood tent as well. This was a day that when it rained it bloody rained! Due to the bite I received, I tried to not run around as much. Difficult when enjoying a festival like Bloodstock 2018. But the plan was to make sure I caught the two last bands this time on both main stages. Those being Gojira and Orphaned Land. Again, there were some new or young bands that impressed me. And one band who have been around for a while, that I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy as it isn’t my normal thing musically, that I got right into on the day. More of that later. Let’s get started by hitting the Dio stage.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Nailed To Obscurity:
First band up were German outfit Nailed To Obscurity. They are one of those bands that create a vibe in what they do. They were quite “doom” laden but had enough progressive touches to keep me interested in the set. I did notice elements of artists like Opeth and even Devin Townsend as well as Paradise Lost and Katatonia. The musicianship was top notch and some of the melodies very haunting. There were some nice dual guitar parts at points as well. Difficult to pick a song from the set as nothing stood out specifically. But the atmosphere they created was impressive at 10: 45 in the morning!
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Power Trip:
Next up on the Dio were Power Trip from Dallas Texas, who could not have been more different. A 100% thrash outfit with punk leanings. The singer, possibly appropriately named Riley Gale who hits the stage at the speed of a gale and never stops, is a joy to watch. He throws himself around with such abandon I kept thinking he might do himself (or even one of the band) an injury. During “Executioner’s Axe (Swing Of The Axe)” he ended up in the crowd at one point. And nearly ended up on the floor due to falling or tripping over the mike stand!
The band powered through eight songs (five from the new album Nightmare Logic) and thoroughly entertained the crowd. However, the singer’s joke about us being the “breakfast club” due to the time on a Saturday morning and asking that we “don’t forget about” him got groans all round. Still, not many other bands attempted jokes so fair play.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Cadence Noir:
I was slightly late into the New Blood tent which I am still annoyed with myself at. Folk rockers Cadence Noir from the Nottingham area were creating a storm when I arrived. A band that if being lazy (watch me being lazy) could be put into the same grouping as say The Levellers or New Model Army but don’t sound like either much of the time. With a punk edge and some fine humor, this five-piece entertained and made political comments at the same time.
They handed out some freebies before they came on including the supposed “set-list” for the day. When I saw it, it made me laugh out loud. Some of the one-liners were very good. None better than saying that “some of you will like this song, about 52% will probably hate it” before playing “Remoaner”. Which finished with a 2-word exit, namely “fuck Brexit”. I liked it enormously. The “new song” (which had a hint of 50s rock and roll) had and I quote “a puerile sing along” and was called “Fuck Fuck Boom Boom” went down very well with most of the audience punching the air as well as singing it. I also enjoyed the slide guitar work in it.
I particularly liked the way that singer Mr. Noir gave a shout out to the other bands who took part in their heats to play Bloodstock and encouraging folks to check them out as well. Really cool to see and hear. “Your Lady Called War” was a right headbanger and got hair flailing in the tent. They throw in a right mix of styles to great effect. I now want to see them in a pub after a few beers. I might end up dancing by the end!
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Orden Ogan:
Back to the main stage where power metal outfit from Germany Orden Ogan fought circumstances to put on their show. I noticed there was no bassist on stage which was unusual. Singer Seeb explained that due to injury that the bassist was now doing the dual guitar work. And that they had managed 4 hours kip in 24 thanks to all the travel between festivals! It didn’t show at all. With a stage set that looked like a wild west saloon and songs like “Gunman” and “We Are Pirates” we got what we expected. It was interesting to notice that they also had a prog metal edge to their power metal thing. Most noticeable on “Forlorn And Forsaken”. Which had the perfect balance of power, pace and melody with some time changes to keep it interesting.
One of the things I like at Bloodstock is how the crowd works or reacts with the bands. The previous band had pits going on with bodies flying around. Yet as soon as a more melodic outfit come on they react with fists in the air and massive sways. None more than on “Come With Me To The Other Side” where they also belted out the first verse and the chorus. A battle won despite adversity, and as Seeb said: “who needs a bass player anyway?”. (As bassists reading this probably scream “every band”)!
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Conjurer:
After a short break, it was off to the Sophie tent for a couple of bands that interested me from the brief clips I had heard of them. First of those was Conjurer who were very heavy, but again had some progressive leanings. I met the drummer later in the day (who was a really nice guy) by accident and got chatting. I told him that I really enjoyed them but had no ideas of any of the lyrics as it was all in growled style and the singer didn’t announce any of the song titles! He kindly gave me them to go along with my numbered notes! He also said he was going to slag off the vocalist for a laugh. As the singer looked much bigger than me I might have to go in disguise when I see them again! (For all singers in heavy bands that scream and growl can you kindly announce some song titles for us old blokes who struggle with that style, thanks.)
The first song “Choke” started all slow and threatening until it kicked into something more brutal. Some terrific fast playing at points as well. As a band, they have the capabilities to reign it in at points as most songs have sections of reflectiveness amongst the brutality. I think “A Chasm Forged In Dread And Disarray” was one that did that nicely. Top track for me was possibly the longest called “Hadal” which was slowed down Sabbath and total sludge at points. There were heavier sections but the intensity and emotion, as well as darkness in the song, were a definite highlight for me.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Vola:
Finally in this section of review are Vola from Copenhagen who merge several styles together and due to that would be easily be called prog! There were a lot of pop sensibilities in their songs but yet they had challenging and heavy riffs and time changes. If I was to name a band they remind me of then probably I would say Leprous from Norway as they have that knack of being impressively heavy yet never far away from melody with some sweet vocals.
Opener “Starburn” had me standing in awe. Some of the syncopation had me confused when trying to keep up head and foot movement wise. They right away had a good mix of elegant vocals and heavy screams which matched the music they were playing. “Gutter Moon” could be a single if radio was brave enough to play challenging music. The melody was delicious. With a gentle keys opening, then a heavy section leading into the very commercial sounding chorus it chopped and changed but never stopped being captivating. Singer Asger Mygind took time to joke with the audience asking if we wanted to hear the new single. “Are you sure?” he asked before remarking “we could fuck it up” and laughing away.
Near the end, he asked who was the best band we had seen today to which the crowd shouted back “Vola” to which he remarked that we were all “crawling bastards” to much laughter and cheers. Ending song “Stray The Skies” also made me note that they have an element of the excellent Von Hertzen Brothers. They were very good indeed and roll on a UK tour!
Next article will look at performances by Combichrist, Voyager, Luna’s Call, Gojira and Orphaned Land only here at Decibel Geek.
For Tom Cornell’s complete BLOODSTOCK 2018 coverage: BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2018 (The Complete Coverage)