So it’s been a week since Bloodstock and it’s took that long to take in what we saw. It kicked off Thursday with the Sophie Lancaster Stage but it was Friday when they heavyweights made an appearance.

It wasn’t Whitechapels (6) day on the main stage as it seemed front man Phil Bozeman was concentrating more on holding his towel than delivering a solid performance. Moving over to the New Blood stage to see the end of Blood Thread (7) gave a much needed boost in what Bloodstock is about. Things only got better when we popped over to the Sophie Lancaster stage to see Morass of Molasses (8) lay down some serious riffs to a sizeable crowd. Next up was Decapitated (8) on the main stage and it was easy to see why many are touting them as potential future headliners. Then came a trio of heavyweights in Testament (8), Blind Guardian and Amon Amarth (8) although crowd size would suggest that having Testament come after Blind Guardian may have been a smarter choice. Amon did enough to warrant the headline slot but it won’t be a moment held in our hearts for years to come.

Amon Amarth at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)
Amon Amarth at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)

Saturday started off with us catching Winterfylleth (9) on the main stage. Arguably worthy of a much higher slot, they really impressed to what was a receptive crowd so early on. Havok (8) do what Havok do and put in a solid performance cut inexplicably short, despite them still have 3 minutes by our watches to play. We jumped over to watch The One Hundred (6) and having seen them at Download Festival earlier in the year, we had high hopes but the set fell short. Try as they might, it only seemed a few in the crowd “got it”. King 810 (7) up next on the main stage. With only 3 of the band playing, with guitar parts on a backing track, this could have gone very wrong and for the first few tracks it did seem like it might do, but in all fairness, they got through it. The crowd got more receptive and they may have picked up a few more fans along the way. Could have been so much better with live guitars. Watch this space. Infected Dead (8) on the New Blood stage made sure the heartbeat of the underground was listened to, coming through with a powerful and well received set. We then spent some time over at the Jagermeister stage to check out Bangover (9). A circle pit around the tent and crowd surfing to the main stage… how could we not give them a 9? Oh yeah, the music was decent as well.

Annihilator (7) were straight to the point although some of the talking between songs didn’t really land as well as Jeff Waters might have hoped. Municipal Waste (8) were always going to fuck us up and with a world record number of crowd surfers, you know they were always going to deliver

We were lucky to be side of stage for Hatebreed (8) and whilst they didn’t reach previous highs, they still made the dust rise at Catton Park and left many throats and necks sore.

Hatebreed at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)
Hatebreed at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)

Up next was Kreator (9) with an awesome production and performance that left many asking why they weren’t headlining. The reason why they weren’t headlining was Ghost (10) who were as close to perfect as we’ve seen a headliner at BOA. We get they are a Marmite band but it seems a lot of people like Marmite at BOA. The whole package was perfect. The music was more fierce than on record, the vocals cleaner and the talk between songs timed perfectly. It was everything a BOA headliner should be.

Ghost at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)
Ghost at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)

Early Sunday morning we strolled into Venom Prison (8) who deserved an 8 for the vocals alone from front woman Larissa. Amazing. Brujeria (8) had some witty banter (probably) between the songs but given it was all in Mexican we’ll just never know but their cover of La Macarena had a fairly obvious name change.

We didn’t get Courtesans (6) on the Sophie Lancaster Stage. It may well have just been us but it just didn’t click. Possessed (7) and Obituary (7) knew what they had to do and for the die hards, they delivered but for those of us that weren’t massive fans, both sets were fairly forgettable. Don’t get us wrong, they were good but it just lacked the cutting edge unlike Hell (8 – technical problems aside) and Skindred (9). As always, Hell just deliver. It’s simple. It’s just that Skindred deliver more on this occasion. It was so refreshing to see a band like Skindred on the bill – especially with a metal crowd getting down to On a Ragga Tip by SL2.

Arch Enemy (6) saw the crowd diminish and the set didn’t exactly suggest people missed out. Closing the festival was Megadeth (8) and you know what you’re going to get – Mustaine and riffs. Whilst not the most memorable performance in the world, as we said before, it has Mustaine playing those riffs, so you know…

Megadeth at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)
Megadeth at Bloodstock 2017 Courtesy of Tim Finch (http://www.timfinch.net/)

So to sum up the weekend – promising talent on the New Blood stage and welcoming signs that the festival is opening its eyes with the likes of Skindred and Ghost. Bloodstock was always going to be a 10/10 festival. Everything about it oozes passion and quality. The crowd are there for the music which is a rare coccurence at festivals recently. The security are quality, it’s 5 mins to walk between all the tents, the weather is beautiful – it has everything a decent festival should have. A wide range of food and a superb list of drinks helps for when you need to take 5 mins out the day. Sure, other festivals have 2, 3 or 4 times the amount of acts but you can only watch one band at a time and only a certain amount in a day – that’s where Bloodstock shines. It’s a perfect timetable for all flavours. Not interested in the heavy hitters, go see someone you may have heard of on the Sophie stage or give the underground stage on New Blood.

Weekend tickets sold out for this year and with the announcement of Gojira and Nightwish as headliners for next year, we urge you to get tickets ASAP.

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