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Something old, something new, something brutal, something grooves – Bloodstock 2021

Written by Adrian Hextall / MyGlobalMind

Is it real or is it a dream? On trembling legs you open the door And you scream……………. So said metal legends Helloween. They could have easily been speaking about the return of the biggest metal festival in the UK and the nerves that people are feeling at once again stepping forth into the world of public contact. Opening the door, taking those first few steps into the sunlight, emerging from COVID-19 hibernation and hoping, daring and realising that Bloodstock Open Air is returning and returning in force.

Is there anybody out there? What has happened? Am I in Heaven or is it Hell? I can see a light come It’s coming nearer, it’s shining It’s shines so bright It’s shining on me……………………………..

That my friend is the recognition that you’re not the only one out there, you’re about to head to a field in Derbyshire once more and welcome a couple of hundred bands onto the stage once more with those friends that are like family except this is a family you’ve not managed to make contact with for almost 18 months. If family is forever then the Bloodstock family proves that blood is indeed thicker than water and it’s certainly thicker than the virus that’s ravaged the music scene over the last year and a half.

With Bloodstock Open Air Festival less than one month away, it stands out as one of the most welcome returns to the live music scene. Test events in the UK have focussed mostly on sporting venues with the Euros, Wimbledon, Goodwood and the British Grand Prix proving amongst other things that if we come together, follow a few simple rules, get tested or get jabbed and prove we’ve done it, we can enjoy a restrictions free event. Bloodstock will work in a similar way and we’ll cover that on a different piece that goes into the safety and security for festival goers and what it means to those that want to attend. Be quick though…. the event is close to a complete sell out! For those that need a ticket still… look no further:

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For those with tickets though, you’ll be aware of the headliners for sure. There are however some 200 bands on offer across 5…. yes 5, days of music this year. Celebrating 20 years of metal, the festival has gone out of its way to bring the best of everything and deliver not only the return to live music that we were all hoping for but the sort of festival that will linger on in the memory banks for years to come:

SOMETHING OLD

If it wasn’t for bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, Diamond Head and more we wouldn’t have festivals like Bloodstock running today. The elder statesmen of the metal scene have laid the foundations for the music that we’ve come to love and travel to Catton Hall every year to worship at the feet of their heroes that have helped them transition into the metalheads we all know and love and call ‘family’!

Judas Priest return to the festival celebrating a 50 year career. Aside from their Bloodstock appearance, the celebration is capped off with an immense limited-edition box set called ‘50 Heavy Metal Years of Music.’

Released on Friday 15th October 2021 via Sony Music, the expansive collection boasts all 18 of Judas Priest’s studio albums to date, all the band’s live albums and 13 discs of unreleased music. The box set also boasts photos signed by each band member – Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill, Richie Faulkner and Scott Travis – plus there are memorabilia posters from the British Steel 1980 German Tour and Defenders Of The Faith 1984 European Tour.

Completing the box set is a numbered British Steel metal razor blade (blunt), a replica British Steel tour programme, and a memorabilia book featuring rare photos, posters, adverts and passes.

Costing £345, the ‘50 Heavy Metal Years of Music’ box set is available to pre-order from Judas Priest’s official website now.

For those without deep pockets, a Reflections Edition of the box set will also be available to purchase in CD (£11) and 2LP formats (£25).

Backing up the headliners we have festival favourites Saxon, Kreator, The Wildhearts, Lawnmower Deth, Napalm Death, Onslaught, Paradise Lost and more, all of whom have had careers spanning 3 decades or more. The one to highlight in the SOMETHING OLD category and the one that we really need to check out however is perhaps the one band that has inspired so many bands but has perhaps never quite found the levels of success of those that are inspired or have emulated them. We refer of course to DIAMOND HEAD.

Playing in the middle of the afternoon on the final day of the festival, rightly appearing on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, lets have a listen to THE track that perhaps they are best known for.

SOMETHING NEW

If there’s one thing Bloodstock does, it’s promoting new bands and new music. From the bands that win the regional Metal 2 The Masses competitions to new and exciting acts that seem to be on the verge of greatness, the festival covers everything for everyone’s tastes. When you have new music from some 50 odd bands gracing the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage, which exists to provide a platform for the next generation of metal talent to reach a wider audience, it’s very difficult to choose favourites or peg bands to look out for above others.

However, choose we must so a couple of bands spring to mind that deserve a flag and a highlight on the site are:

Son Of Boar who entered the live music scene in April 2018, quickly began to earn their place on stages across the country with a blend of heavy, groovy riffs, roaring vocals and head-banging rhythms. Less a super group and more a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from musicians of various local acts, the band gathered in darkened rehearsal rooms to create an equally mixed up sound; bringing together a mix of 70’s rock, Doom, and modern Stoner—Sludge into one sonic brew.

Having hit the studio in early 2020 the band have now teamed up with Stoned Rocka Recordings, part of the Off Yer Rocka family, to release their debut album featuring 5 tracks of heavy riffs and deep grooves designed to get heads banging, beers swilled, and Tusks Up! Check out what we can expect from them here:

 

Whilst they may have played once on the back of the debut, it was still only in 2017 so in comparison to Judas Priest, Ward XVI are certainly new blood as far as I’m concerned. With their new album hitting the airwaves to great critical acclaim, ‘Metamorphosis’, won a spot in many top 10 album polls of 2020.

Plans are afoot for the release of Whittingham Asylum’s Inmates with the Album Launch rescheduled for Sat 18th December 2021 at Manchester Academy and main-stage festival slots for 2021/22 including Hammerfest, Hard Rock Hell XIV and a headline slot alongside Acid Reign and Senser at the first ever Tanking Open Air Festival.

As the video suggests , much fear and carnage will be unleashed on Bloodstock this August by Psychoberrie’s crew of inmates. You can catch them on the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Wednesday, 11th August 2021

SOMETHING BRUTAL

What else ticks the brutal box than Agrona? A Blackened Metal Juggernaut hailing from South Wales named after the Celtic Goddess of carnage and slaughter. Presently fronted by a ferocious vocal assault from the equal parts bewitching and terrifying Adara and underpinned by a relentless rhythm section with founding members Kreulon & Ankou alongside axemen Aeron & Arawn. Agrona have honed their craft across the UK underground circuit, melding bombastic sonic mayhem and theatrical stage performance.

Building on a successful 2016 Metal to the Masses South Wales campaign that saw them tear apart the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock, Agrona entered Woodcroft Audio Studios to capitalise on the momentum and record their debut full length Realm of the Fallen – snapped up by renowned UK underground label “UKEM Records” for release in 2018 to widespread acclaim. Following the adage of “No rest for the wicked”, Agrona have worked hard to tour their ritual across the UK in the time before, during and following album release, sharing the stage with notable British acts such as Desecration, Venom Prison, The Infernal Sea, Krysthla & Ethereal, in addition to Festival appearances and supporting overseas talent such as the likes of Sarkom, Zornheym & Grà.

Bloodstock, Mae’r storm yn dod.

SOMETHING GROOVES

There was only ever one choice that could fit the bill for our final category. Playing on the back of styles, class, tunes and the live reputation that many bands would kill for, SKINDRED return as special guest to Devin Townsend on the Friday night.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most devastating and enthralling live bands on the planet, the Newport destroyers have been a perennial force for musical invention and remorseless positivity since emerging from the ashes of frontman Benji Webbe’s former band Dub War back in 1998. Big Tings is the band’s seventh studio album, released on 27 April 2018 and is the one perhaps that has done for them exactly what it says on the tin. Peaking at Number 26 in the UK charts, it was a huge profile raising affair and with prominent support slot presenting headliner destroying performances the band deliver a show that appeals to almost everyone that hears and see them. Skindred bring to Bloodstock a wholly unique sound and one that cannot fail to entertain. .

There will be many more that appeal to others, some that will disagree with everything I’ve said above but that’s the beauty of a festival with so many acts on offer, there is something for everyone. It doesn’t matter what you like or dislike, the festival is back and across 5 days we will reunite with old friends and make many new ones whilst listening to bands of old, unknown acts and acts that are just plain mystifying. 

But it’s doesn’t matter, we need this and it’s coming to a field near you soon. 

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