For those who have been following my reviews of Bloodstock Metal Festival 2018 on behalf of Decibel Geek will know that I was bitten by an insect and my leg got infected. Which of course was getting progressively worse as the festival wore on. By this point on Sunday, I was struggling. I decided to slow things down a little whilst still trying to hopefully give a full and inclusive review of the event. I did however still see about 8 bands of which I will try to give justice to in this article. Again there is a mix from the 2 main stages and the New Blood stage. So will feature well-known names along with some bands less familiar.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Obzidian
First up was Obzidian in the New Blood. They had a Pantera type groove thing going on. Singer Matty Jenks liked to get off the stage and down into the pit and be involved with the crowd which folks loved. Although a heavy band, I could still make out much of what he was screaming/singing which was great. Anyone in the tent needing a wake up were shaken out of their slumber as “We Suffer In Silence” smashed them in the face.
“Sins Here Are Purified” was one of the tracks I liked most. I think the melody and chorus were at their strongest and the guitar solo was particularly good for me. The way they can go from out and out viciousness to suddenly hitting a grove is impressive. Possibly most notable on the last song “Their Legacy Has Failed”. Which was a fine end to a good pulverizing set. Very impressive first viewing of a band I wish to see again.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 -Monument
Leaving the New Blood I then watched a bit of old school straight forward metal band Monument who were going down well on the main stage. The band are obviously not scared to show their influences and wear their heart on their sleeves. Watching them was like being back in 1981 or 1982 watching bands like Maiden, Saxon etc. In fact 2 of the song titles were the same as a couple of Saxon‘s. “Attila” was totally early Iron Maiden. The singer did say that as a band they had been told to become more “contemporary” but said “no”. The proof they were right to say that was in them being at Bloodstock at 11am with a large crowd of metalheads singing along. Anyone who wants to relive the NWOBHM era would have a great night checking them out live.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Uncured
My first visit to the Sophie tent of the day was to see New Yorkers Uncured in what turned into a “holy shit” moment. I had checked out a song and thought they sounded promising. Little did I realize I was about to be blown away! The opening was heavy as hell. But just as I thought they were going to be a very metal prog type band the song suddenly changed into something altogether jazzier with quite a funky backbeat. I was taken aback and realized these guys had plenty of strings to their bow. Second song “Petrified” continued that swapping of styles and I also noticed the high standard of guitar soloing. It wasn’t like a lot of players these days who make guitars scream and howl. But solos which had feeling as well as prowess.
There was a little bit of Dream Theater at one point nearer the end of the song adding to the mix. Talking of solos special mention to the track “Spontaneous Regeneration” which had some blinding work going on. There was groove in the playing at points where my head was moving along nicely. “Opium Den” had I noted a touch of early Sepultura about it, but with added prog metal. Which I approved greatly of. They said it was their first time in the UK. Let’s hope it isn’t their last. Brilliant performance and one of my highlights of the whole weekend. Which is impressive considering how many good performances I had the pleasure of seeing.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Alien Weaponry
I hung around the same stage. Next up were a band that a lot of people were very interested in. From New Zealand and a combined age between the 3 members of around 50 years. Making the whole band younger than me (that is scary). And singing a lot in their own Maori language Alien Weaponry pulled in a huge crowd. Some who may well have wanted to see if they could pull it off! I can say they easily did. Showing a maturity beyond their years it is obvious they have been gigging hard in their own country as they owned the stage.
From the first song “PC Bro” with its chorus of “your life is a lie” the crowd was into them. It is difficult to say what all the song titles are due to language. I admit I preferred the Maori songs as the language sounds absolutely right for metal. They arrived on stage late due to technical problems so the set was shortened on the day. Boos rang out as everyone wanted them to keep going. I can see the problem why they couldn’t let them play on as the stage turnarounds were quite tight so to avoid the day going to pieces time wise they had to say no. They won over plenty of people and perhaps next time we can see a full performance from them.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Jasta And Friends
Going back to the main stage it was time for Jasta And Friends, who brought a few special guests onto the stage including Howard Jones (the Killswitch Engage one obviously), Dino Cazares (Fear Factory) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, Down amongst others). We got a variety of songs from some of the bands they were all involved with the guests coming on at different times accordingly. Not being a massive fan of Hatebreed I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Jasta put on a great show and is a good frontman and performer. He was very respectful, reminding us of the various names we have lost recently some due to mental health issues. He said quite rightly that we should appreciate talented artists and people that give of “positive energy” whilst we have them.
My favorite moment was off stage due to 2 folks on children’s space hoppers who took the “everybody bounce” requests from the stage to new levels of stupidity. The Fear Factory songs sounded immense and went down the proverbial storm. “Replica” in particular was sung so loud that Jasta had a huge grin on his face. Maybe after this, I need to properly check out his main band as I thoroughly enjoyed him.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Barbarian Hermit
I then popped into the New Blood to catch the fantastically named Barbarian Hermit. They mixed up some heavy thrash with slow doom metal. Personally, I found myself enjoying the slower dirty unpleasant fuzzy tones tunes. Strangely in my notes, I name-checked Black Sabbath, The Doors, and Cactus at points. The latter due to the sound of the bass. Opener “Enter The Hermitage” seemed to change tack a few times. Going for a thrashy opening to a very slow deliberate section later and had a section which even had a funky feel to it. Although this wasn’t in anyway a funk song!
“Burn The Fire” reminded me of Clutch and sounded excellent. “Black Mass” had a slower start like an incantation but when it kicked in had a delicious heavy groove. Doomy and sludgy yet still I could still groove to it. Last track sounded quite long and epic. “Reawaken” ended a solid set of nasty sounding metal. I liked it.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Mr. Big
The band that stood out by being there was, of course, Mr. Big. There were some moans about them “not being heavy enough” on the forums. Those people seemed to be in the minority as a good crowd turned up to see some virtuoso playing, especially from Billy Sheehan on bass and Paul Gilbert on guitar. I think they stood out in their performances. The band of course have great songs that are easy to join in with. They are old school rock from the days of folks like Deep Purple and Free (from who they take their name).
Who can argue with songs like “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy (Drill Song)”, “Alive And Kicking” and “Addicted To That Rush”? It was easy to spot that they knew what some folk had said online as they laughed about their being there whilst nailing their set completely. Eric Martin joked at one point that they were going to play “the least metal song ever” before having a mass singalong with Cat Steven’s“Wild World”. The joy of seeing hard core metal fans singing “To Be With You” is one I will remember for a long time. Eric again very humbly thanked us for “joining in the fun” of what they do. Total success by a band who are 100% confident in what they do.
By the time it got to 5 or 6pm I was really struggling, so decided to rest up for a while. Caught up with a couple of friends and chilled. I wanted to be able to at least see the Dio stage headliners. I also took time out to visit the first aid tent again who once again changed my dressings and also checked all my vitals.
BLOODSTOCK 2018 – Nightwish
At 9pm I was in the crowd for Nightwish, although as the set continued I moved to near the back to lean on fencing. It was a decent place to watch and hear the band in action. They didn’t have quite the same amount of stage show as previous night headliners Gojira but they did have some interesting videos going on screen wise. The setlist was odd for a last night show of a festival. The fact they threw out “Wish I Had An Angel” as the second song was a shock.
Floor Jansen was as usual utterly captivating and good to watch as she headbangs and dances across the stage especially on “I Want My Tears Back” which featured Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes. Seemed a brave move to play a large section of their longest most progressive piece “The Greatest Show On Earth” in the set being a festival show and the audience not all avid Nightwish fans. Finishing with the beautiful “Ghost Love Score” was effective as it allows Floor to shine and is a very popular track by them. I was slightly disappointed they didn’t do something line “Over The Hills And Far Away” as an encore just to finish the festival (for those not going to see Watain in the tent) on more of a high. Maybe a minor complaint.
In Conclusion: Thoughts And Thanks
That was it for me as I retreated to my tent for some sleep before the long journey home the following day. Without a doubt, it was a weekend of superb music, surrounded by the friendliest folks imaginable. With staff who have a great attitude to the fans, including the security who I always found to be happy to do what might be seen as the simple things such as say “good morning” on the way in and a “good night” on the way out. A festival where you are never far even in the campsites from all the stages and has plenty of other crazy things going on to keep us all entertained.
Despite the leg problems I had a marvelous time and cannot wait for next year’s festival.
A huge thank you firstly to the promotions and media team at Bloodstock 2018 especially Kirsten who kept me updated with all the information in advance of the festival (I did send quite a few emails and with the patience of a saint she answered them all). A round of applause for all the organizers and the hard-working crews that put the festival together and keep it running through all weather.
To all the bands I saw, the artists I interviewed, the promotion companies and management teams that sorted things out I say thank you.
Lastly but not least my appreciation to the hard-working guys and girls in the first aid tent that did everything to keep me out of hospital and staying at the site to enjoy the music. Can I just pop in to say “hi” but not stay next time?
Fingers crossed that Decibel Geek can be there again to review next year.
For Tom Cornell’s complete BLOODSTOCK 2018 coverage: BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2018 (The Complete Coverage)