Having shown resounding and unequivocal support for every single band so far, the Bloodstock faithful are still raring to go after four full days of partying. As battle commences one final time, highlights on the Sophie Stage include the hard hitting Midlands retro-fuzz of Wolf Jaw, Brighton doomsters Grave Lines, the angry sounding double punch of Vexed and Pist, a debut performance from symphonic death metallers Ghosts of Atlantis, and Manchester black metal mob Necronautical.
With energy levels and festival excitement still high, quality acts such as Welsh black metallers Agrona, Norfolk thrashers Shrapnel, Liverpool doom/sludge merchants Conan, and a reinvigorated and retooled Evile invade the Sophie Lancaster Stage, decimating all before them. Birmingham grindcore legends Napalm Death complete the day’s entertainment with a reliably devastating set, the crowd gathered outside the tent almost as huge as the one inside.
Sure, we might be having to follow a series of new Coronavirus safety protocols which may or not become a regular thing for live shows, but we’re back. And judging by the size of the opening day crowds spilling out from the main entrance, car parks and campsites, not a moment too soon. Since its inception Bloodstock Open Air has always attracted early birds who like nothing more than to arrive long before the gates even open, but this time feels different. Everyone seems to be here early. Coiled springs desperate for release. The festival’s twentieth anniversary isn’t just a celebration of metal this year, it’s a genuine escape.
Bloodstock Open Air is making plans to return in 2021 and every year festival founder Paul Gregory curates a selection from other heavy-metal-friendly artists, both established and new, who has caught his attention the previous year. In 2021, Paul wants to give a chance to artistic newcomers to win the opportunity to hang a piece of their work alongside his own and other respected creatives in the on-site RAM Gallery, so he’s devised an art competition. To enter you need to design and create your own piece of artwork, based around and inspired by one of the bands performing at Bloodstock 2021. Paul will jointly judge the competition alongside friend and fellow artist, Mark Wilkinson (illustrator of album sleeves for Marillion, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, The Darkness), and the winner will have their work professionally framed, lit, and hung in the RAM Gallery on-site next August. In addition to this honour, the winner will bag a pair of weekend festival tickets, a personal tour of the RAM Gallery on-site with Paul Gregory, and the potential to watch 3 songs from the side of the stage of the band they’ve chosen to create their artwork for (subject to closed stages).
Bloodstock Open Air, rebooked for 2021, has announced a new headliner! The great Heavy Metal legends Mercyful Fate, featuring King Diamond, will headline the Ronnie James Dio stage on Saturday, along with Dimmu Borgir as special guests. Watch a new trailer now!
Bloodstock Open Air 2020 is still hoping to go forward with its 20th-anniversary edition this summer in spite of the coronavirus pandemic. The festival has announced that BOA 2020 event planning is proceeding with full care and attention, in order to bring you the best event yet to celebrate 20 Years of Bloodstock. The team is closely monitoring government guidelines and cooperating with the relevant authorities to assure the best and safest environment for our Bloodstockers, bands, staff, and site workers come August and will continue to keep you updated with any further developments. New bands added to the bill include Lost Society, Video Nasties, Wolf Jaw, Grave Lines, Vexed, and more TBA. Continue reading
Bloodstock Open Air 2020 continues to pile on the big names with six new acts added to the lineup! Savage Master, Blasphemer, Liberty Lies, Black Tongue, Pist, and Sharks In Your Mouth have joined a bill that includes headliners Devin Townsend (Friday), Behemoth (Saturday), and Judas Priest (Sunday) as well as Hatebreed, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Skindred, Paradise Lost, Life Of Agony, Bury Tomorrow, Black Dahlia Murder, Diamond Head, Jinjer, Vio-Lence, Sacred Reich, Gloryhammer, Dark Tranquillity, Bloodywood and more! The fest also named this year’s charity partner will be the mental health charity Mind. Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem, and campaign to improve services and raise awareness. 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem every year and Mind won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. In addition to guestlist donations, raising funds on behalf of Mind on site at BLOODSTOCK will be festival attendee Michael Lacy, with his Patch Amnesty initiative. Bring your old, spare, or new patches to donate, browse patches to buy, or even just stop by for a chat. All proceeds go to Mind. Please look out for Patch Amnesty/Mind signage and stop by his stand in the main arena to give your support. Continue reading
Bloodstock Open Air unveiled a slew of new bands recently for the festival proper and now has booked new bands for the Thursday night pre-party! The Nightflight Orchestra, Nekrogoblikon, The Crawling, Raised by Owls, and 2019 Metal 2 The Masses winners for Bournmouths Anakim will all help kick off the weekend. Bloodstock’s 2020 main stage headliners are Devin Townsend (Friday), Behemoth (Saturday), and Judas Priest (Sunday) and also includes Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Skindred, Paradise Lost, Life Of Agony, Black Dahlia Murder, Diamond Head, Jinjer, Vio-Lence, Sacred Reich, Gloryhammer, Dark Tranquility, Butcher Babies, Cattle Decapitation, Bloodywood, Memoriam, Ramage Inc, Green Lung, Bossk, Hatebreed, Bury Tomorrow, Sylosis, Toxic Holocaust, Winterfylleth, Exhumed, and Necrot so far. Many more bands performing over the weekend will be announced soon!Continue reading
The Year of the Snake: Four Days of Noise, Doom, and Booze in the Old Pueblo Part I
Early in the afternoon on the tenth day of October, a small corner on the edge of a rather quiet neighborhood in Tucson, AZ was besieged by a caravan of tour buses and vans. Within moments of screeching to a halt, this group of transports began disgorging the vanguard of an army primed for delivering an all or nothing audio assault of extreme music over a four day campaign. This was the beginning of the second annual Southwest Terror Fest, a celebration of heavy underground music with an impressive lineup that puts well known national acts alongside the best of the underground scene. Year two was all about outdoing year one. Doubled in length, with sixty-five bands, the headliners also grew in immensity with revered artists such as Kylesa, Red Fang, and Sacred Reich leading the charge. Anticipating the experience of seeing these mighty bands and discovering new ones, a heady excitement permeated the air as those first day bands and venue staff converged.
Within hours of their arrival, these merchants of extreme unloaded mountains of gear to strategic locations inside The Rock, the well known local venue on the street corner that was about to become anything but silent. The impressive array of guitar cabinets, amplifiers, drums, and other instruments were tuned and adjusted, while microphones were fixed to stands much like bayonets would be fixed to the end of rifles. Walking by the bar, one would have seen a stockpile of Pabst Blue Ribbon or a vast array of Jack Daniels, all of it neatly set up to supply the artillery of alcoholism that would shortly be firing for maximum effect. Yes, year two of the festival was definitely going the distance and pulling out all of the stops to make the biggest bang possible. Day one was ready to begin.
After an initial gaggle of local bands, who alternately performed on the main stage and the smaller, more intimate second stage, events began to heat up with some on fire performances via Godhunter’s confrontational punk sludge, Anakim’s cerebral hammering, and Sierra’s old school, groovy distortion. The mood of the event was cheerful and the growing crowd flowed smoothly across the the venue in search of merch, beer, or food. Later performances of note on that first day included a powerful set from Demon Lung, packing the smaller side room with their heavy dirges and apocalyptic vibes, as well as a rather unique band named Pinkish Black, who dropped an ethereal, keyboard heavy acid trip onto the curious onlookers over at the main stage. Once Kylesa hit the main stage to close out the first day, it was clear that all which came before was mere prologue. Through their trademark poly rhythmic attack and gut wrenching atmospheres, Kylesa was the definition of heavy during their debut performance in the City of Tucson.
As day two dawned, the festival kicked into even higher gear with a more extensive and diverse lineup. The crowd seemed to grow larger and more eager on that Friday night, ready to party harder. The bands slated to hit the stages for the evening certainly encouraged that attitude. From a local band Kvasura came Eastern European tinged folk metal that could make even the most kvlt hipster nod their head. The band featured an interesting male and female vocal combination, along with a guitarist who picked up the mic and sang a song in Russian. Tucsonans Lethal Dosage also whipped the crowd into a frenzy with their melodic, death tinged pummeling over in the once again tightly packed second stage room. The music grew even heavier when Oregon’s Transient assaulted ears with grinding chaos and Cave Dweller spit venom into the souls of listeners with their prog flavored death metal. Even these performances were outdone when Vehemence deployed a battery of razor sharp death tunes that mowed down droves of the crowd with flawless precision.
Rounding out the heavy caliber portion of the evening, Landmine Marathon crushed heads with their alternating groove, and straight dirty death grind. The mood seemed to shift after all of the super heavies were done, as a bona fide legend was about to get up on the main stage. The show became a nostalgic sing-a-long as Sacred Reich capped off Friday with 80s thrash and proof that the old guys can still plug in their guitars and rock. They could have played ‘Surf Nicaragua’ ten times and the attendees would have enjoyed each one all the same.
Words: Ryan Clark
Photos: No Ceiling Photography/Violent Resistance