We knew this day would come, but it’s always sad to leave Bloodstock for another year. The country’s best pure metal festival is like home to headbangers like us, and now we have to wait 12 long months until the next one. Luckily the final day was packed kickass bands and some of the best sets of the weekend. Here’s what we learned on the Sunday of Bloodstock 2017.
Venom Prison are just getting started
What. A. Band. Ten months ago Venom Prison released their debut album Animus and have since grown into one of the most talked about bands in British metal. For good reason! Their recent support slots for the likes of Suicide Silence, Aversions Crown and Trap Them have given the Wales-via-Russia upstarts more than enough experience and ammo to crush and kill every stage they set foot on. Sounding every bit as barbaric and savage on record, the main stage crowd is left numb by the breakneck onslaught of death metal on a Sunday morning. It’s staggering how good these songs are for a debut album, so it stands to reason that their next offering is going to blow our skulls into a million pieces. If you put a fiver on Venom Prison one day headlining Bloodstock, it wouldn’t be a bad move.
The community spirit is alive and well in metal
If you just spend your time online, scrolling through the murky depths of comment sections, then you might think that heavy metal fans hate each other and nobody can agree on anything. But that’s not true. In the real world, where the trolls fear to tread, we are one, we are a collective. It doesn’t matter what bands you like or what sub-genres you listen to, Bloodstock is the place for all of us to converge, to talk and drink and party because we know that metal is the fucking best thing on earth.
You don’t need to be metal to succeed at Bloodstock
Despite what we said in the point above, not every band playing at Bloodstock is strictly metal. Puppy have more in common with Weezer than they do Napalm Death, but they captivate the hundreds of people gathered in the Sophie tent. Filling the stage as just a three piece isn’t easy, but when you’re packing such heavy riffs as Entombed then the room is yours.
Horror characters live in Derbyshire
At different points over the weekend we have seen Freddie Kruger, Jason Vorhees, Predator, a Xenomorph from Alien and more strolling around Bloodstock. And not just some cosplaying shenanigans, they are the real deal, in character for hours. We see Jason dragging a bloodied bodybag behind him for ages, barely interacting with anyone, intent on disposing of the body. There’s also Rick & Morty, which is well schwifty.
Hell are trying to set fire to the sky
Seriously, we can’t believe the amount of fire and pyro Hell are bringing for the middle of the day. Jets of fire blast out of the photo pit until they’re almost touching the top of the stage, which is frankly bonkers. They also had an exploding bible. No wonder photographers had a pretty stern warning beforehand!
Skindred could start a party in a morgue
Loads of bands have brought the fun this weekend – from Municipal Waste to Raised By Owls – but Skindred are what partying is all about. Coming onstage to the Imperial March (complete with Darth Vader), the Welsh veterans confirm to the Bloodstock crowd exactly why they have been booked for the main stage in the afternoon. Kill The Power, Pressure, Nobody, these are songs proven by doctors to vastly improve your life (probably). If you don’t believe us, then you didn’t see thousands of pale dudes get involved with the Newport Helicopter like their life depended on it. Come back soon, lads.
Arch Enemy is a well-oiled machine
Arch Enemy’s 300+ date War Eternal tour is climaxing here on the main stage at Bloodstock this evening – and you can tell. Arch Enemy are slick on stage, almost like the past years have been a dress-rehearsal for tonight, with all surfaces polished and kinks knocked out. It’s impressive, but at the same it’s almost too refined, with nothing left to chance, which sucks some of the fun out of it. But still, when they’re belting out Nemesis on max power, we’re snapping our necks like everyone else.
Bossk should be one of the biggest names in post-metal
Earlier this year we went to Complexity Fest and said something similar because BOSSK SHOULD BE MASSIVE. One of the most musically challenging and dextrous bands of the weekend are sub-headlining the Sophie Lancaster stage, which is no mean feat, but the crowd amassed here should be at least twice the size. Their incredible precision and ear for building a soundscape until you can’t escape is unparalleled, and hopefully those here today will be converted to join the church of Bossk for the rest of their lives. Tell your friends.
You can always rely on Megadeth
As is tradition, the Sunday headline slot is reserved for a ‘heritage’ band that transcend generations. In the past we’ve seen Slayer, Motörhead and Alice Cooper take up the mantle, but tonight is the return of the ‘Deth. Backed by a giant screen projecting animations and videos throughout, the thrash legends prove why they’re so revered with a 90-minute greatest hits set from four men who clearly still love doing what they do. The chemistry between Dave Mustaine and Dave Ellefson is palpable, while Kiko Loureiro shreds and solos like an absolute demon throughout, with smiles plastered across everyone’s face on and off stage. More of that, please.
Dave Mustaine can rock a moustache
Dave might be best characterised by his flowing red mane, but tonight he’s sporting a big ol’ handlebar and he looks like a badass. Not quite as cool as Lemmy’s was, but it’s great to see a metal band embracing facial hair further than a great big bushy beard. We’re also quite jealous we can’t grow one.
Bloodstock have already announced that Gojira and Nightwish are headlining in 2018. Early-bird tickets are on sale now.