Bloodstock 2022: Thursday Review

Bloodstock 2022: Thursday Review
Words: Dan Barnes, Paul Hutchings, Richard Oliver, Neil Bolton
Photos: Tim Finch

Cor, blimey, it’s hot as fresh milk at Catton Park for this years’ Bloodstock festival, with a heatwave predicted across all four days, it’s a time to slap on the factor-50 and stay hydrated while savouring those precious days when our everyday lives can be put on pause.

I’ve had some riotous Thursday nights at B-O-A, usually due to miscalculating when to begin drinking but, save for the occasional puke-patch, it all worked itself out in the end. Vicky H is fairly generous when it comes to Bloodstock Eve’s entertainment and this year is no different, offering up half-a-dozen quality acts to gently ease the faithful into the weekend’s revelries.

Basement Torture Killing kick off the afternoon, and the whole shebag, with their take on the Death/ Grind formula along with teddy bear dismemberment that has served them so well over the years. Touching base with all their releases to date, Basement Torture Killer blend classics Drill Bit Erotica and Foetus Eater with more up to date tracks Armchair Psycho or Pure Predator and the climaxing Public Displays of Aggression from 2020’s Lessons in Murder album. Bloodstock was off to a murderous beginning. [DB]

Bournemouth’s Thuum had followed Mother Vulture (up next at Bloodstock) as special guests in the South Wales M2TM semi-finals in Fuel Rock Club in May. Based on their crushing performance back then, it is unsurprising that they found themselves on the Sophie Stage. Over 30 minutes of punishing riffs and crushing sludgy doom metal proved that those clever bookers at Bloodstock rarely get it wrong. There may have not been the sheer lunacy that Mother Vulture were about to bring, that’s not this band’s bag at all, but their slower pacing allowed a breather for a beer whilst enjoying some thick edged riffage. It’s fair to say that the heat wasn’t Thuum’s ally, but they soldiered on manfully and brought some much-needed heaviness and further variation. [PH]

After the theatrical punishment dished out by of Basement Torture Killings, one could have wondered who would maintain the entertainment level. Step up the brilliant Mother Vulture, whose 30 minutes was amongst the most breath taking, anarchic, and enjoyable of the entire weekend. The West Country quartet can adapt their musical style depending on the audience, something that continually impresses. Having missed out on their debut in 2021 due to illness, the four grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns, picked it up and threw it about eight miles out of the arena. High energy blues based punk rock is the general style I’d use for Mother Vulture’s sound, but to be honest, their songs are genre defying. Their usual high intensity infused chaos ensured that many were still talking about their performance on Sunday. Highlights? Guitarist Brodie Maguire’s death defying climb up the lighting rig, or his plunge into the audience accompanied by vocalist Georgi Valentine, or maybe the whole show from start to finish. ‘Rabbit Hole’ saw some of the earliest pits of the weekend open with a ferocity that belied the heat, whilst set closer ‘Mr Jones’ was greeted like an old friend. Miss these guys at your peril. I’ve said it for close to three years now. These boys will be huge. [PH]

Nanowar of Steel’s heart-on-the-sleeve, die for Heavy-Metal approach to music is the very foundation upon which the early Bloodstock ethos was based; those early Derby shows were wall to wall fist pumping anthems of positivity, slavered with a massive coating of cheese. But it’s good-time music and the Italians certainly know how to keep a party going. Barbie, MILF Princess of the Twilight probably won’t win any followers among the third-wave feminists, Ironmonger (The Copier of the Seven Keys) pokes a tongue into the cheek for Helloween fans and it’s been far too long that anyone eulogised the Armpits of Immortals into song. As Bloodstock grows it will inevitably develop away from its Power Metal origins, yet there will always be a place for a bit of nostalgia. [DB]

At approximately 20.30 several goblins are beginning to congregate out side the Sophie Lancaster tent. By 20.50 the swarm of mythical creatures have now infiltrated the tent awaiting their calling. The reason they are here is John Goblikon, Nekrogoblikon's mascot,  and the nu metal party tunes this band provide. The place goes wild as the fast keyboard tinged tunes ring out over the stage. The goblin hordes go wild, bouncing around and enjoying the frankly ridiculous music as though this is the last days of the impish empire. Not one goblin in that tent was left disappointed today. [NB]

This Dark Tranquillity is a set that had been a long time coming. Not only for the band who had not graced the stage since 2007 but also for this reviewer who had not had the opportunity to see the melodic death metal masters perform for the same length of time. Unfortunately the band were a guitarist down with Chris Ammott unable to play due to family issues but this did not deter Dark Tranquillity or affect the performance in any way. And what a performance it was. The covered space of the Sophie stage was perfectly suited to the dark and atmospheric brand of Gothenburg melodic death metal that Dark Tranquillity play and they dazzled the crowd with a set that covered both new and old material with recent cuts such as Identical To None, The Dark Unbroken, Atoma, Forward Momentum and Phantom Days sitting alongside tunes from the back catalogue such as Monochromatic Stains, The New Build, Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive), Lost To Apathy and Therein. The tent was absolutely packed out with a mix of fans who knew every word and melody to people who were getting their first exposure to the band. It is safe to say that Dark Tranquillity went down a storm with their Gothenburg sound sounding as relevant as ever from those irresistible Gothenburg style riffs, the heavy use of keyboards and electronics and the fantastic vocals of frontman Mikael Stanne. It is safe to say that Dark Tranquillity’s long overdue return to the festival was a resounding success and as a long term fan of the band it was great to see them given a headline slot. [RO]

Check out our other Bloodstock coverage!

Thursday Review [HERE]
Friday Review [HERE]
Saturday Review [HERE]
Sunday Review [HERE]

Bloodstock Photo Gallery [HERE]

Band Interviews [HERE]

All photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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