Scribes Of Metal's Bloodstock Open Air 2014 Festival Preview

Now in its 10th year as an outdoor festival, Bloodstock Open Air once again returns to Catton Hall in Walton-Upon-Trent with a Metal as Fxck line-up. With the main arena a mere stones throw away from campsite you’ll never have to walk far for ‘teh metulz’. With less than a week to go before the mayhem begins, here are our top picks for bands to check out across the festival weekend.

On your way to the stages, be sure to catch the Feudal Fighters which sees medieval combatants re-enacting historical battles across the weekend and watch the knights charging each other and attacking with swords in a fight till the death! Uber-metal. And who knows, maybe they might take the battle to the dodgem cars for a re-match from last year!

Everything kicks off from Thursday evening onwards on the Sophie Lancaster stage with an array of bands to begin the Bloodstock Metal party. We highly recommend checking out the Midland’s based Gehtika – especially if you like it heavy. Also performing are Jaldaboath, Incinery, Monument and Balls Deep.

Friday

Opening the Ronnie James Dio stage are Bloodshot Dawn who hope to see human pyramids, circle pits, ridiculous amounts of crowd surfing and basically just complete chaos in the early morning. We like the sound of these guys already.

Ireland’s Primordial who impressed in 2012, despite having to go all out instrumental and rely entirely on crowd vocals when frontman Alan Averill’s voice blew out early on in the bands set, and will surely come back fighting this year and are more than worthy of checking out on the RJD stage in the early afternoon.

On a Hard-core front, for the love of God, DO NOT MISS Hatebreed’s return to Bloodstock this year. Eyebrows were raised when they were booked back in 2012, and they completely smashed it and left any doubters eating their words. Be prepared for the big crowd gang chant for ‘In Ashes They Shall Reap’ and lots of circle pit action!

Whilst the world awaits a follow up to the incredible ‘Abrahadabra’, Dimmu Borgir make their return to Bloodstock, this time in the sub-headliner slot.  Expect the atmosphere to be sinister as well as completely epic as the bands perfect Symphonic Black Metal tunes dazzle the main stage, as enigmatic frontman Shagrath commands the stage.

Headliners Down will be out to prove a point. The kings of stoner metal are sure to bring the carnage and to leave all punters with the bang over of all bang overs! Personally, not having seen them before, they’re on my must see list and one of the bands that I am most looking forward to of the whole weekend.

Over on the Sophie Lancaster Stage we highly recommend catching British Black Metaller’s Winterfyllth, the awesome Gothenburg Melo-death outfit Deals Death and Greece’s Rotting Christ who will provide a nice Black Metal alternative for those not so into Down.

Top New Blood Stage Pick: UK tech metal outfit No Sin Evades His Gaze will be celebrating the official release of their huge debut album Age of Sedation at Bloodstock (as the album comes out on Friday) and they hit the New Blood Stage at 12 O’Clock. Not to be missed if you enjoy the likes of Meshuggah and Lamb of God. You can check out what we thought of Age of Sedation on our review right here. We’d also recommend you check out Brutai.

Saturday

We urge everyone, and we mean everyone not to miss Evil Scarecrow. So get up early and get your Robot dance on for ‘Robototron’ and catch these parody Black Metallers. They’ll blacken the everything and then some! Check YouTube for the videos from 2011 if you need to practice your dance moves so you’ll be perfectly in sync on the day. ;-) Bonus points if you spot the bands mascot “The Slagbot” amongst the audience.

For those who like it Power-Metal-y, Israel’s Orphaned Land and pioneers of ‘oriental metal’ are a must see. They play the RJD stage at 2.10 in what promises to be an epic set. They also take to the Jägermeister Acoustic stage at 5.30, so if you like what you hear or miss them the first time around, be sure to check them out acoustic-styled!

They say that 7 is a magic number and it’s rather fitting or coincidental that 2007’s headliners Lacuna Coil make their return to Bloodstock this year. Armed with a new album ‘Dark Adrenaline’ there will be plenty of new material gracing the bands set as well as the old faithful’s, and front woman Cristina Scabbia is likely to look and sound completely flawless.

Children Of Bodom led by the shred God himself, Mr Alexi Laiho, too make their return to Bloodstock this year again after previous headliner stints in 2005 and 2010. We’re expecting big things from these guys and are eagerly awaiting the moment when the riff-tastic Halo Of Blood will be unleashed on the Bloodstock crowd. If their recent Wacken appearance is anything to go by, we’re in for an absolute blinder of a set. Bring on the bodom! 

After a highly impressive set at this year’s Sonisphere Festival, Carcass are doing the double and Bloodstock-ing it up too. Expect some of the snazziest guitar solos you’ll hear all festival. We really cannot wait for their set.

Following the bands announcement at Bloodstock last year as the 2014 headliner and the excitement and buzz on the campsites, Emperor is surely the most anticipated band of the line-up this year. And rightly so, as this performance is a rare with Wacken, Sweden Rock Fest and Hellfest being the bands only major reunion shows to commemorate the 20th anniversary of  'In The Nightside Eclipse'. We’re expecting to be blown away.

If you're unfamiliar with the mighty Emperor, then check out their very recent Wacken performance and feel the blackness that is sure to be multiplied at their Bloodstock set!

On the Sophie stage our top picks are of course the mighty Hellyeah! Seriously, who would pass the opportunity up to catch them play in a tent!? We’re sure Vinnie Paul et al will rock the tent with a headliner set to remember. We also reckon Gothenburg’s Female fronted Sister Sin (Liv’s vocals are pretty awesome!), Barcelona’s Progressive/Experimental/Post Metal outfit  Obsidian Kingdom and NWOBHM-ers Battle Axe are worth checking out too.

Top New Blood Stage Pick: Born of the Jackral

Sunday

Kicking main stage off in heavy-heavy fashion are Arthemis and Aborted, who we firmly anticipate will wake us up on the final day of the festival. But all eyes are likely to be on ReVamp, the band of the now new Nightwish front woman, Floor Jansen. Jansen formed the band following the split of After Forever. Since then they have toured with Epica in the UK and Kamelot, Sabaton and Iced Earth overseas. With ReVamp, the flying Dutchwoman will show off her vocal versatility switching between the vocal styles with ease. There will be the classical and symphonic influences and elements in some songs, operatic passages, as well as cleaner, more pop orientated vocals. Look out for Jansen’s mean growling that could rival the likes of Angela Gossow and Alissa White-Gluz in Disdain and try to keep up with her head banging!

Brooklyn’s Biohazard are another for the moshers – you’ll be left completely wiped out after their insane set, trust us! After seeing them tear up the HMS Hammer a few years back and actually rock the boat, Bloodstock will surely result in some serious carnage and spark the biggest circle pits and chaos of the entire weekend. It is highly likely that you will see the bands vocalist/guitarist Billy Graziadei dive into the crowd for a spot of crowd surfing during Biohazard’s set at least once if not twice!

For the Death Metallers, Obituary are not to be missed and it’s practically impossible to go wrong with a bit of NWOBHM in the form of Saxon who headlined the inaugural Bloodstock Festival way back in 2001 (!) when it was an indoor festival.

The prize for the best stage set is likely to go to Amon Amarth – providing they bring the epic boat set-up with them! Never ones to fail to deliver in the live arena we’re banking on these Swedish Vikings to dominate the Ronnie James Dio stage especially when they break into the mighty ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’!

Closing the final day are headliners Megadeth who are the 3rd band of ‘The Big 4’ to perform at Bloodstock with both Slayer and Anthrax playing the festival last year.  With both bands well-received at Bloodstock, we’re predicting Megadeth will follow their follow big 4 friends and will provide us with a cracking end to 4 days of Metal. Get your air guitars at the read!

On the Sophie stage, we’re backing Sweden’s Avatar who have had a rollercoaster of a year since supporting Avenged Sevenfold back in December. Since then their popularity has been snowballing worldwide. After receiving rave reviews from Download Festival, we’re predicting they’ll slay Bloodstock and gain an army of even more freaks – watch this space! Also on the Sophie stage look out for Manchester’s Collibus who are also having an incredible year, already ticking off Download Sonisphere, Graspop and Wacken on a festival front. Now adding Bloodstock to the list and with their with their debut album receiving universal rave reviews, we reckon their set will be one that you won’t want to miss. Other bands worthy of a mention are October File, Black Metallers Starhlsarg who supported Mayhem’s only UK date earlier this year and, Birmingham’s Death/Black Metal/Horror fused Morgue Orgy.

Top New Blood Stage Pick: Psykosis

See you down on the frontlines! \m/

There’s still time to pick up a last minute ticket for the entire Bloodstock weekend (commencing on Thursday) priced at just £137 with day tickets also on-sale at £64. More information and links to purchase tickets, as well as the full line-up can be found over on the Bloodstock website.