Sean’s Bloodstock 2017 review: Sunday

The final day was upon us. The last day of Bloodstock 2017 had another roster of the best heavy metal to satiate the appetites of the baying hordes of metal maniacs. The only breakfast in mind for the hungry fans was a tasty combination of pounding drums, rumbling bass, thrashing guitars and screeching vocals. What the fans were craving lay only a short walk away in the arena, so towards the source of the raging sound that permeated the distant mid-morning air they headed….

Venom Prison (c) Will Tudor

Venom Prison (7) opened the main stage with their furious brand of extreme death metal. The band’s name has been doing plenty of rounds in recent underground press promoting their latest effort Animus, so naturally a large crowd came to check them out. Their particularly energetic performance, especially by frontwoman Larissa Stupar, got plenty of heads banging in the pre-lunchtime audience despite the pain of a harsh bangover from the previous day’s mayhem. An intense live band indeed, Venom Prison are ones to watch.

Brujería (8)’s extreme deathly hardcore punk drew a huge crowd. Frontmen Juan Brujo and El Sabron worked the crowd with their screaming Spanish and despite most likely not understanding a word they’re saying (besides the occasional name or English word), roared between songs and banter alike. Bloodstock seems to have a bit of a dislike for the American president and like Municipal Waste the day before, Brujeria had a few things to say about the man. “Viva President Trump!” and the subsequent chants of “Fuck Donald Trump!” were certainly highlights of the performance. Closing number “Marijuana” also proved to be a hit with heavy parody of the well known dance song “Macarena” causing a few of the fans at the back of the crowd to dance the famous moves. The set was good fun in the mid-afternoon sun and kept the good vibes flowing for the rest of the day.

Brujeria (c) Will Tudor

Wretched Soul (8) proved to be my favourite new discovery of the weekend. With a raging storm of deathrash, the band enticed a huge crowd to the Sophie tent. Their ferocious sound got plenty of raised fists and flailing hair as an intense mosh pit raged at the front of the crowd. With rave reviews for their latest album The Ghost Road and intense live performances like on the Sophie Lancaster stage at Bloodstock, Wretched Soul are destined to rise to the top of the UK extreme metal underground.

Possessed (9) needed no introduction. The forefathers of death metal drew a massive crowd for their legendary dirges. Classics from all three of the band’s old-skool releases Seven Churches, Beyond the Gates and The Eyes of Horror EP went down a storm. Songs like “My Belief”, “Tribulation” and “The Exorcist” invoked a mental mosh pit in the middle of the crowd, masses of banging heads and roaring chants from the hordes of hell raging to the evil sound. The band has been debuting a new song from their upcoming album on this tour and to say it is a treat is an understatement. “Shadow Cult” was intense live and the crowd reaction was insane to the new number. The music sounds straight off Seven Churches but with an even greater sense of aggression. It’s fair to say, I’m a big fan and if “Shadow Cult” is anything to go by, I’m anticipating that in 2018 the new Possessed album will be the best of the year. Frontman Jeff Becerra engaged with the crowd well with his banter in between songs and his face was beaming with a huge smile throughout the show. The set was beyond a joy to experience and proves that Possessed are back with a vengeance with their amazing performance. The only thing that would have made it better was if they had a longer timeslot!

Hell (c) Will Tudor

Obituary (8) continued the death metal onslaught on the main stage. The crowd’s response to the crushingly heavy music intensified as the audience size grew and the mosh pits enlarged. The band enjoyed their performance of classics like “Chopped in Half” and “Dying” as well as newer bangers like “Sentence Day” and “Ten Thousand Ways to Die” and the crowd raged hard. Obituary never fail to deliver and Bloodstock 2017 was no different. There’s a reason why Obituary are legends of the death metal genre and their signature brand of catchy and heavy riffs and insane live performances like this one are why.

Obituary (c) Will Tudor

Hell (9) brought a spectacle of fire and brimstone to the main stage. Their occult-themed old-skool metal was accompanied by the most impressive pyrotechnics of the weekend including crossing flame shots coming from the photo pit and a sparkling trident prop accompanying a Gothic horror-style church setting (featuring stained glass windows, gargoyles, an altar and more). A massive congregation was present for the Satanic sermon. Masses of horns were raised and cheers were rapturous for dirges like “Darkhangel”, “Plague and Fyre” and “On Earth as It Is in Hell”. The band performed brilliantly and entertained with costumes such as frontman David Bower’s stilted devil outfit, and guitarists Kev Bower and Andy Sneap and bassist Tony Speakman’s cheesy yet fun Status Quo-esque posturing. Overall Hell proved to be kings of the theatrical heavy metal stage show and deserve to headline one day because of amazing performances like this one.

Arthemis (7) unfortunately performed to a relatively small crowd in the Sophie tent. Frontman Fabio Dessi was undeterred by the lack of an audience and worked the crowd well. They responded with big cheers and clap-alongs to the band’s catchy brand of power metal making for a good show.

Wretched Soul (c) Will Tudor

Arch Enemy (8)’s world-beating melodic death metal drew most attendees to the main stage. The band put on a particularly energetic performance, especially effervescent frontwoman Alissa White-Gluz who expertly worked the crowd. The audience went wild for classic Arch Enemy hits like “We Will Rise” and “Nemesis” as well as newer stormers like “As the Pages Burn” and “You Will Know My Name”. At White-Gluz’s command, they raged hard with heavy headbanging, clapping-along’s and jumping. An impressive vertical-pointing pyro array accented what was a great performance from a band who never fail to deliver.

Voodoo Blood (7) put on a high energy gig in a pre-headliner slot in the Jagermeister tent. The stage was packed with the crowd spilling out to around the outside of the tent. The band’s bouncy catchy fuzzy-sounding bluesy hard rock got plenty of heads nodding and frontwoman Kim Jennett’s sexy Voodoo Woman performance certainly made for an entertaining and fun show.

Arch Enemy (c) Will Tudor

Megadeth (9) headlined the final night of Bloodstock ‘17 with their unmistakeable legendary brand of thrash metal. Having headlined the festival before, it’s not hard to see how the band would be invited back to headline the world’s heavy metal festivals straight from the first note. Their now-signature simple stage set up of LED screens and flashing lights displaying images and videos from throughout the band’s history during the performance is always a treat at one of their shows. Playing a string of classic hits like “Hangar 18”, “In My Darkest Hour”, “Sweating Bullets”, “Mechanix” and “Peace Sells” as well as newer numbers like “The Threat is Real” and “Poisonous Shadows” from their critically-acclaimed latest album Dystopia, the fans went insane. Down at the front of the crowd, the mosh pits were intense as those not in the fray got increasingly crushed by the madness. Flying above were masses of crowd surfers rocking out to the anthems as they traversed the audience to the security pit. A Megadeth show is always fun and this one was no different. The band delivered a solid performance that reminds the world that they are the kings of thrash metal.

Megadeth (c) Will Tudor

After a rather abrupt exit to get well-rested and beat the traffic on the drive home the following day, it’s fair to say the Moshville Times team and I had an amazing time at Bloodstock 2017. Ever since returning home, I’ve been watching videos of performances from the festival (mainly the stellar shows from Possessed, Municipal Waste and Hell) almost daily. Everyone involved in the festival outdid themselves and made for the most successful Bloodstock yet. The only thing that could make it better was if it lasted longer!

For me this year was arguably the best Bloodstock out of my 4 years of attendance (closely tied with 2015 simply for the awesome gigs by Dark Angel and Death DTA!) and I’m eagerly awaiting next year’s festival with amazing headliners already announced – Nightwish and Gojira. The final headliner announcement is imminent – September 23rd – and I’m sure Bloodstockers everywhere can’t wait to find out who it is. The anticipation is building already… until next year!

Header image by Aidan Huxford of Hetty Images, other images by Will Tudor.

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