Time for one of the highlights of my year, the rather excellent SOS festival. A festival envisioned 12 years ago by Lynne Hampson of Rocksector Records as an antidote to the plethora of family un-friendly festivals around at the time. Continue reading
The biggest underground metal festival in the world, Bloodstock Open Air kicks off today. Headlined by titans of metal like Judas Priest, Nightwish, and Gojira, the festival has grown over the years from a small cottage enterprise to a huge undertaking. One of the lynchpins of the operation is Vicky Hungerford, as one of the four directors of the festival. She is directly responsible for booking the bands on the fest and attracting world-class talent every year. Thus, she helps to shape rock and metal history in the process year in and year out. We chatted with Vicky by phone a few days ago to get her take on BOA 2018, the challenges of planning such a big festival, and much more.
Four more bands have been added to Bloodstock Open Air 2018! Suicidal Tendencies, Wednesday 13, Kamelot, and Mr. Big! Both Suicidal and Wednesday 13 will be making their BOA debuts. Continue reading
Bloodstock Open Air 2018 have added Doro, Fozzy, Bloodbath And SepticFlesh to their growing lineup! “The Queen of Metal”, Doro will headline the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Friday night, and her set might be one of the highlights of the weekend. Earlybird tickets are available, but moving fast for the festival that is sure to sell out. Continue reading
While roaming the green green grass of Bloodstock Festival earlier this year, Ghost Cult caught up with Saille to discuss their first appearance at the legendary festival, and how work on their next opus is coming along…
If there was something special about Bloodstock Festival in 2015, aside from the bands and the people of course, it was the constant sunshine and heat; something we always hope for at UK festivals but we rarely get (anyone who has encountered Download Festival at its worst will testify to). However, while this is great for the fans it does not necessarily prove to be so for those bands on the main stage who strive for dark and haunting atmospherics. The likes of Agalloch and 1349 across the weekend made due effort and came out well; for poor Belphegor the presence of butterflies clearly visible to the stage proved too comical to take them seriously.
With their debut Bloodstock appearance on the Sophie Tent instead of the main stage, Belgian black metallers Saille luckily benefited from the tent atmosphere, able to showcase their tone and visuals unaffected, and as a result proved one of the weekends highlights. Speaking to vocalist Dennie Grondelaers and guitarist Reinier Schenk before their Sunday set, they both understand their stage positioning, and are very positive about their setting.
“We have to accept the fact that we are a growing band; if we are on the main stage we would just vanish into nothing” begins Grondelaers, philosophically.
Schenk “I prefer to play inside because we can bring our own light show”
Grondelaers “Its certainly interesting for black metal bands to play in the sunlight.”
With a very strong release ethic which has seen 3 albums in the last 4 years, Saille have, unsurprisingly reached UK shores more frequently as of late, but Bloodstock represents their first festival appearance, at least in the UK. With so many festivals across Europe now, competition is as fierce as ever. Grondelaers muses “I don’t think it’s actually well known (outside of the UK), but people who know Bloodstock are really excited about it, but I also think the main audience is people on the mainland.”
Schenk: “There is a lot of competition on the continent, a lot of small countries and huge festivals, if you can’t see a band there then maybe come here, like Emperor last year.”
Grondelaers “Plus it’s the same weekend for Party San in Germany and Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic.”
Despite the competitive nature of the festival season however, Saille are very positive about Bloodstock and say there is a big plus on its side. Grondelaers explains: “It’s a small festival, there are very big bands but on a smaller scale, compared to say Graspop which is nice but its huge, about 50,000 people. Here it’s half (that) and much more laidback, more relaxed and you don’t have to walk around. You don’t have to walk 4 hours on some sandy trail to get to your camping spot.”
With the festival season still in full swing even after Bloodstock, Saille have a busy schedule of more European festivals before returning to regular venues, and the writing of the follow up to last years Eldritch(Aural Music). With a very fast paced release schedule before, this time around they want to take things differently. On the subject of new music, Grondelaers adds “We want to take a little more time for the next album, we are not putting any deadlines on it this time.”
Reiner Schenk continues in blunt fashion. “Deadlines always destroy something, if it’s the artwork or the production, it sucks.”
Grondelaers “It’s a bit too early to talk about it but we have pretty much worked out the concept will be about pain and suffering.”
“We tried butterflies and love but that was taken already” Schenk deadpans.
WORDS BY CHRIS TIPPELL
With the Sophie Lancaster Stage headliners finishing late into the night, as well as other forms of entertainment in the arena or the Serpent’s Lair VIP Area (or for the less brave of course, beers at the tent), you’d be forgiven for thinking the atmosphere would be a little subdued on the Saturday, especially considering the scorching heat the day before. Far from it however, as Saturday greets all with even hotter weather (thankfully there are plenty of water stations and surprisingly small queues) and another day of some of the best and most exciting bands the metal world has to offer.
A relaxed and lazy morning means the days viewing kicks off in the Sophie tent with British death metallers Ageless Oblivion, whose dark atmospherics try to detract from the sunshine outside. Pulling in a strong crowd, they prove why they are one of the most exciting bands on the UK extreme metal scene, complete with unpredictability structures and relentless viciousness with hypnotic majesty.
The small size of the festival arena proves a blessing as Ageless Oblivion wrap up their set just as prog/tech metallers Xerath take to the main stage within seconds. With a large, attentive crowd Xerath prove that they are more than worthy of the upgrade from their last time here on the second stage, as their progressive tendencies hit the mark alongside a tonne of fat grooves, perfectly catering for all. The stage size does not seem to daunt them as they give a confident and crushing display.
Normally benefiting from people wanting to shelter from near monsoon conditions, its truly heart-warming to see masses of people supporting those bands that have come from far climes, especially when they are as good as the first of two Indonesian bands on the bill today, Jasad. As they take the stage they are greeted with a near packed tent and a euphoric response which clearly humbles them as the band can hardly contain their smiles throughout. Combined with brilliant death metal and frontman Mohammed Rohman’s sense of humour and this proves one of the most fun and triumphant sets of the weekend.
Very few bands are as consistently brilliant both live and on record as Napalm Death so its unsurprising that they are consistently great form today, and the huge response they get from the crowd makes this a no surprises but incredible set.
It has to be pointed out the diversity that, appropriately, the Sophie Lancaster Stage presents over the weekend, brings some of the weekend’s greatest moments. Right near the top has to be the second Indonesian band of the day, Burgerkill as once again a packed out tent and the chaos that ensues proves truly heartening. The massive grins that adorn each member tells the story as the moshpits almost takes over the entire front of the tent. As Oaf’s Dom Lawson makes a guest appearance the importance of today for the band is abundantly clear, and they took it by storm.
Opeth are no strangers to the Ronnie Jamies Dio (main) stage, having headlined twice, once in the place of Heaven & Hell who cancelled due to the sad passing of the man for whom the stage is now named. They could play in a nightclub car park and still exude the same amount of beauty and brutality as they do co-headlining a festival. Love their progressive direction or loathe it, Opeth never fail to impress as ten thousand mesmerised fan sway to ‘The Devils Orchard’, then moments later headbang to ‘Deliverance’, showing symmetry with the bands diverse back catalogue.
To quote the mighty Taylor Swift – “haters gonna hate” – and those die-hard Bloodstockers who scoffed or spewed ignorant and hateful babble when Within Temptation were announced certainly did. They can be spotted a mile off, standing with their arms folded waiting for the Dutch symphonic metallers to suck harder than Lars’ drumming. But they don’t – so ha! Each song is performed with heart and soul, with the set culled mainly from the more recent Hydra (BMG/Universal) and The Unforgiving (Roadrunner) albums, and the unity the crowd feel with the band is a testament to their longevity. Sharon den Adel, who seemingly has danced in the blue flame of eternal life, rallies the crowd so that even when technical difficulties plague their penultimate song, the baying masses hang on her every note. Within Temptation bring a touch of flair and class to Derbyshine; utterly sublime.
CHRIS TIPPELL & SARAH WORSLEY
With a diverse line up already boasting Trivium, Opeth, Within Temptation, Napalm Death, Rob Zombie, Sabaton and Cannibal Corpse, Bloodstock 2015 has unleashed a head-smashing announcement that UK Industrial Metal legends Godflesh will headline the second stage, the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Sunday 9th August. Delain and Fleshgod Apocalypse will headline the Friday and Saturday respectively.
Main support to Godflesh will be UK Speed Metal veterans Onslaught who are enjoying something of a revival these days, and they will be accompanied by Greek Stoner Kings Planet of Zeus.
Elsewhere Bast and Conan have also been confirmed as additions.
The festival runs from 6-9 August 2015.