Bloodstock Open Air is the UK’s best metal festival of the year. While the summer months feature an array of outdoor events BOA caters for the more discerning metal fan.
The action kicks off with a handful of bands entertaining early arrivals on the Thursday before three full days ensue with around 12,000 fans enjoying every kind of metal spread across four stages.
While there are some big names performing this year, ranging from the bombastic Swedes Sabaton to German veterans Scorpions, those seeking out some serious Black Metal blastbeats won’t have to look far.
So if you’re heading to Catton Park, get your corpsepaint on and if you can catch these five acts you’re pretty much guaranteed a festival to remember.
Rotting Christ – Sophie Lancaster Stage (Thursday)
So, remember what I said about early arrivals… Those who do pitch up early are in for one hell of a Thursday night. It’s all Greek to me and it will be to you as well by the time the legendary Rotting Christ have run through a back catalogue of blistering sonic blasts stretching back over 30 years. This year’s album, The Heretics, is right up there with the best of them, so expect to hear at least a few numbers from that. When Rotting Christ let rip then prepare to have your faculties flipped like a pancake.
Masters Call – Hobgoblin New Blood Stage (Saturday)
The New Blood Stage is where you will discover new bands, the majority of whom have earned the right to play Bloodstock through the UK wide Metal 2 The Masses competition. This involves regional qualifiers, semi-finals and final so you can be pretty sure that anyone clearing all of those obstacles is going to be up for the task. Masters Call have quickly established a solid reputation as one of the UK’s brightest (although maybe that should read darkest) Black Metal prospects. If the gates of hell don’t open when these warriors get to work they will at least be shaken from their hinges.
Taake – Sophie Lancaster Stage (Saturday)
Seeing Taake live is something of a rare treat so the Sophie tent is sure to be heaving by the time the super-charged frontman Hoest arrives on stage accompanied by his assorted dark lords. The Taake template was created in the early 90s and then unleashed through albums such as Over Bjoergvin graater himmerik (Heaven Weeps over Bergen). Expect that distinctive Norwegian chill to drive a cold blast of energy right through the top of the Sophie tent. ‘Give and take’ is the most frequently stated secret behind a happy marriage. Bloodstockers know that it’s actually ‘give and Taake’!
Dimmu Borgir – Ronnie James Dio Stage (Sunday)
Dimmu will be playing on the vast main stage, and they certainly need it to host their lorry-load of blasphemous stage props. While Dimmu have always had that theatrical flair when going about their work, this is more than backed up the sound of their music. While blackened to the bone, there are melodies galore circulating within the madness, albeit ones wrapped in a coating of barbed wire. The Oslo veterans famously took their name from a volcanic site in Iceland. When they turn the heat up on the RJD Stage expect the burning flow of lava to seep into the arena under a stunning symphonic soundtrack.
Hypocrisy – Ronnie James Dio Stage (Sunday)
Don’t’ shout! Yes I know the Swedes are not strictly a Black Metal band. But they are a phenomenal outfit who have delivered extreme metal to a consistently high standard over three decades. While in part Death Metal, Hypocrisy also stray into darker plains, and they don’t feel the need to paint up while doing so. Anyone questioning their blackened credentials is reminded that frontman Peter Tägtgren has also put his tech expertise to good use in the studio when working with the likes of Marduk and Immortal. Say no more!