Bloodstock Festival: Day Two- Catton Hall, UK

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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.

Korpiklaani, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

Korpiklaani, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

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.

SLR_5211_Napalm Death

Napalm Death, photo credit Sabrina Ramdoyal

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, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opeth, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

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.

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

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.

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

 

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Within Temptation, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

CHRIS TIPPELL & SARAH WORSLEY

Bloodstock Festival Adds More Bands, Tickets On Sale Now

Bloodstock 2014 as of march 10

Bloodstock Festival (aka Bloodstock Open Air or BOA) has added five more bands to its already stacked line-up for 2015. New to the bill are reformed sludge metallers Raging Speedhorn, prog-metal exports Xerath, Trepalium, Villainy and Godsized. Taking place August 6th – 9th at Walton on Trent, Derbyshire UK. Tickets are on sale now by phone (24hr ticketline at 0871 230 5584 )or online and include an array of camping and VIP ticket options. Camper van pitches are now all sold out.

Already announced to the bill over four massive stages are major acts such as Friday’s headliner Trivium and special guests Sabaton, Saturday’s headliner Within Temptation and special guests Opeth, Sunday’s headliner Rob Zombie and special guests Black Label Society, also Cannibal Corpse, Ihsahn, Sepultura, Orange Goblin, Death T.A, Nuclear Assault, 1349, Napalm Death, Dark Angel, Armored Saint, Belphegor, Overkill, Ensiferum, Agalloch, Korpiklaani, Pro-Pain, Enslaved, Wolf, Delain, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Godflesh, Lawnmower Deth, Mordred, Ethereal, Onslaught, Oaf, Pritchard Vs Dainton, Conan, Planet Of Zeus, Bast, Saille, Batallion, Destrage with more bands to be announced in the coming weeks.

 

Subversion Release New Video, London Gig in 2 Weeks

subversionb band 2015

On the eve of dropping their new album, symphonic prog metal band Subversion have released their new video for their track ‘Born of the Sun’. The song comes off of their forthcoming new album Animi, due out on Rogue Records America on March 2nd. You can watch the video here

subversion video

 

The band also has booked a record release show in London with Xerath for February 27th

Press Notes:


‘ANIMI’ is the brand new and anticipated second album from Symphonic Tech metallers in SUBVERSION. This second offering from the reinvented quintet proves that they are back with a vengeance and that they mean business. A blisteringly refreshing take on heavy yet melodic symphonic tech metal, this an album that needs to be taken notice of.

Subversion has teamed up with Revolver in the US to launch their new track and music video, “Born of the Sun,” from the band’s forthcoming second release, Animi, due out March 3 on Rogue Records America and March 2nd in the UK.


subversion xerath tpur poster

It can be pre-ordered now via iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/animi/id940086556 and Bandcamp at: https://subversionuk.bandcamp.com/album/subversion-animi.

Xerath – III

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When most metal bands attempt to introduce non-metallic elements to their sound, the results are often disastrous. It took Fleshgod Apocalypse three albums to effectively blend classical refrains with blasting death metal while the introduction of opera to black metal that Arcturus ‘perfected’ is regarded by many as unforgiveable. However, sometimes the combining of disparate styles is a joy to behold, as Basingstoke bruisers Xerath once again prove with their emphatic blending of the rough with the smooth on third album III (Candlelight).

While it may be lazy to assert that all the quartet do is play groove metal with orchestral keyboards swirling away in the background, when it boils down to it, that’s not too far from the truth. What makes the band special, however, is just how good the songwriting is, as the infectiously twisty riffs of album opener ‘I Hold Dominion’ demonstrates. The keyboards that make up so much of the bands’ sound, and indeed, their identity aren’t just merely tacked on, they flow in time with the riffs and enable the arrangements to take on a more profound and grand aspect than one might expect. Catchy hooks like the soaring chorus to ‘I Hunt For The Weak’ don’t do any harm either.

New guitarist Conor McGouran has integrated seamlessly and his massive Meshuggah-esque riffs make the music seem urgent and alive, such as the stomping heaviness of ‘Autonomous’ and the staccato assault of ‘Passenger.’ Vocalist Richard Thomson may occasionally lapse into a Devin Townsend impersonation but it’s likely you’ll be enjoying proceedings too much to care. As with Xerath’s previous two albums, III feels like the soundtrack to an epic sci-fi film with stunning visuals and profound themes. While it’s just heavy metal at the end of the day, you can’t help but feel that the four members of the band are reaching for the stars, and one day they might just succeed.

 

8.0/10

Xerath on Facebook

 

JAMES CONWAY

Damnation Festival 2014 Completes Line Up

Damnation Festival 2014, final line up poster

 

French doom monoliths Monarch complete this years Damnation Festival line. They will be joining the likes of Saint Vitus, the reunited Raging Speedhorn, Cannibal Corpse and the events headliners Bolt Thrower at the events ten year anniversary bash at the Leeds University in November.

 

Press Release:

French drone doom outfit MONARCH! will play their only UK show of 2014 at Damnation Festival.

Their live “sonic assault” completes a PHD Stage cast of Ahab, Solstafir, Black Moth, H A R K, Atlantis and Corrupt Moral Altar.

While the Eyesore Merch Stage makes its return to Damnation, this year with a more sinister black metal billing of Fen, Wodensthrone, A Forest of Stars, , and Falloch, who’ll join previously announced Bast and Obsidian Kingdom in Mine.

The final additons to this year’s event – which will be hosted at Leeds Universtity Union on Saturday, November 1 – are orchestral metal quartet Xerath and Welsh death metal standard bearers, Amputated, who make their debut at Damnation Festival opening a Terrorizer Stage which boasts the brutality of Cannibal Corpse, Anaal Nathrakh, Revocation, Winterfylleth and Aeon.

Completing the line-up is the main Jagermeister Stage offering of Bolt Thrower, Saint Vitus, Orange Goblin, Raging Speedhorn, Stampin’ Ground and October File.

Commenting on their return to Damnation, Fen said: “We are honoured to be invited to play Damnation after our first appearance four years ago.

“It was one of the highlight gigs of our career – this festival (and the audience in particular) – is a very special one for us and we cannot wait to head back to take to the stage again.

“Fen has progressed significantly over the last four years and we are really looking forward to taking the discerning Damnation crowd by storm once more!”

A Forest of Stars added: “We’re extremely excited and honoured to be asked to play the wonderful Damnation Festival.

“We hope we won’t let everyone down too much – especially considering the impressively amazing line up – and look forward to devouring vast quantities of claret and opiates in celebration of the occasion, and maybe even playing a song or two.”

Festival Director Gavin McInally said: “This year’s line-up is fitting of a tenth anniversary party and with tickets on track to have 4,000 friends with us, it’s going to be a bash to remember.”

The complete line-up for Damnation Festival is Bolt Thrower, Cannibal Corpse, Saint Vitus, Ahab, Raging Speedhorn, Orange Goblin, Anaal Nathrakh, Monarch!, Stampin’ Ground, Revocation, Solstafir, Winterfylleth, Fen, Aeon, Black Moth, Wodensthrone, H A R K, Amputated, A Forest of Stars, October File, Xerath, Falloch, Bast, Atlantis, Obsidian Kingdom and Corrupt Moral Altar.

Fans who arrive in Leeds the night before can warm-up for Damnation Festival with A Night of Salvation at The Belgrave Music Hall, featuring Dyscarnate, Hang the Bastard, Latitudes, The Atrocity Exhibit and Cattle. Tickets priced £6 are available on the door.

Tickets for Damnation Festival are priced £36 and on sale now from
http://www.damnationfestival.co.uk/
http://www.facebook.com/damnationfestival
http://www.leedstickets.com/

The Custodian – Necessary Wasted Time

the_custodianThe Custodian is a new side project by Xerath vocalist Richard Thompson. Originally started as a bedroom project it has taken the shape of a genuine band ready to hit the road. Let’s see whether The Custodian has any staying power. Continue reading