Bloodstock Report Part One: Thursday and Friday

I’ve just come back from my annual festival trip, this time to Bloodstock Open Air in the West Midlands. If lists of heavy metal bands and their performances is your thing, read on; if it isn’t, read on anyway and try something new today!

Bloodstock is easy to get to, with the festival operating a shuttle bus service from nearby Lichfield City train station to the festival site. My Bro-in-Chief Conor and I arrived in Lichfield about 4pm, made a quick visit to Aldi for supplies, and got the bus out to the campground. All the sites are named after the worlds of  Norse mythology – we chose Asgard over Valhalla, being the two nearest our entrance, and later learned of Midgard and Hel. Unfortunately we arrived just a little too late to set up our tent and get into the arena in time to see opening band Balls Deep and their groovy, catchy aggression.

We spent the remainder of the evening getting familiar with the arena, the shops, and the variety of available beers. One great find was the Prat in a Hat thrift shop, fronted by two huge bins of second-hand hats. They stocked all sorts of hats: an enthusiastic festival goer in a newly acquired bike helmet told us with great confidence “There’s a hat in here for you, and there’s a hat in here for YOU.” And sure enough, I found a nice camo-print baseball cap that fitted me well. Thank you, mystery hat sage. Other stalls had camping gear (which might literally have saved my life as I forgot to pack a sleeping mat), clothes, CDs, and novelty items or accessories. Bloodstock also had an excellent variety of foods; we filled up the first night on delicious roast pork baguettes with apple sauce and crackling. The Bloodstock Arms pub had a couple of beers from Wychwood Brewery (the brewery that makes Hobgoblin) and some smaller craft beers alongside Strongbow and Fosters. One section of the arena was taken up by fairground rides, because being strapped to a giant mechanical rotating claw and spun around in the sky is pretty damn metal. Continue reading

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Festival Report – Brutal Assault, 7-10 August, Jaromeř, Czech Republic,

Okay guys, this is going to be a long one. It’s mostly going to be a list of bands I saw at Brutal Assault last week, brief reviews of their sets, and assorted observations about the festival and the Czech Republic. If you’re not fully sure what grindcore is or how it’s different to death metal, you may want to skip this one.

Or better yet, keep reading! Every day is a school day!

If you want to skip ahead to the bits where I say nice things, the highlights for me were: Carcass, Dying Fetus, Gojira, Ihsahn, In Flames, and Meshuggah; and standout new discoveries were Alcest, Dr. Living Dead, Leprous, and War from a Harlot’s Mouth. Continue reading