Bloodstock Bound: Torchbearer
As Bloodstock gets closer, we delve deep into the line up to find out more about some of the bands playing the New Blood and Jägermeister stages at this years event.
Today we chat with Torchbearer!
The Razor's Edge: Please introduce yourself and your band mates.
Torchbearer: [Mo] We are Andy Mansell – frontman & lead vocal, Ollie Gould – guitar and vocals, Sol Radley – drums and yours truly, Mohannad Mamoun Abdul Rahman Bashir Ahmed Mecki Ghuleb, on bass.
The Razor's Edge: How would you describe your style of metal?
Torchbearer: [Mo] We’re a full throttle, pedal to the metal, energetic live band with in-your-face riffs and plenty of groove. Fit for an electrifying live show.
[Sol] The clue is very much in the name with Torchbearer. One of the things I like about this band is that it straddles a few different genres – from thrash to hardcore, to 00s metalcore, to stoner rock. But what ties it all together is that they’re the classic “sounds” that people think of when you say the word “metal”. We carry the torch for them all.
The Razor's Edge: How did you land your spot on the Bloodstock bill?
Torchbearer: [Mo] Torchbearer entered Metal to the Masses back in 2022 not knowing how far we’d go. We released our debut album, Solace, and want to tour the hell out of it Our mindset was very much, “Let’s get out there, play live as much as possible and gain new fans.” It was a surprise when we kept winning our heats and made it to the finals. However, our friends, I Fight Bears, deservedly took the title that year. Come 2023, we released another record, ‘Warrior.’ We had the same mindset as before. We were just looking to tour the hell out of our exciting new record. But this time round we won the thing and landed a slot at the biggest independent metal festival in the UK. Let’s go!
[Sol] I joined Torchbearer during the recording process for Warrior and, to be honest, I was blown away by the demos Ollie shared with me. I’d seen the band live a few times on the London circuit. But to my mind, the new material is a step up in terms of songwriting, and it seems that the judges at this year’s M2TM contest agreed!
The Razor's Edge: How tough was the competition this year?
Torchbearer: [Mo]: The heats for M2TM in 2022 and 2023 were not easy. The talent pool in south Wales metal scene is thriving, with many bands from all genres that worth keeping an eye on. South Wales breeds sick bands, always has and always will.
[Sol] I think it’s fair to say that any of the bands that made it to this year’s final would be right at home on the New Blood stage. Rites to Ruin are well-oiled NWOBHM machine that would make Bruce Dickinson proud. Karmen Field are a great bunch and their brand of heavy grunge has a strong local following in Cardiff. And I personally wouldn’t be surprised if Helldown claim the title next year with their Sylosis-meets-Decapitated brand of thrash.
Alyn, Tim and Will really do an amazing job of bringing together the best talent the region has to offer!
The Razor's Edge: What does playing at Bloodstock mean to you?
Torchbearer: [Mo]:The opportunity to showcase Torchbearer to the masses on the big stage. People always talk to us about our live energy. On a stage like that we can really do something. Hopefully, this will be the door that opens many other doors for us.
[Sol] Performing on such a prestigious stage is a dream come true for us all, of course! The task now is to vindicate the judges’ decision and really rise to the occasion. We want this to be a steppingstone to bigger and better things. So, hopefully there will be more opportunities like this coming our way in 2024.
The Razor's Edge: For people who’ve never seen you live, what can they expect at Bloodstock?
Torchbearer: [Mo] An electrifying live show. Full throttle, pedal to the metal energetic shit with loud, in-your-face riffs. Dan over at Music Trespass came to see us on the Solace tour and in his live review said ‘Filling the gap left behind by Every Time I Die. Live energy and a band-ass attitude we haven’t seen in a long time!’
[Sol] The first review of Warrior I read said that I play drums “like a possessed octopus”. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the amount of energy in all our playing. We’re going to go up there and give it 110% to make sure it’s an experience to remember – for ourselves and the people who come to see us.
The Razor's Edge: What day are you performing?
Torhbearer: [Mo] Friday 11th August on the New Blood Stage at 1545. Be there!
The Razor's Edge: What other bands are you looking forward to watching at Bloodstock this year?
Torchbearer: [Mo] We grew up listening to Killswitch, Megadeth and Meshuggah – deffo will check them out. In Flames latest release is really sick, so will def check them out. Crowbar obvs, Knocked Loose and many more.
[Sol] My favourite bands on this year’s bill are Fit for an Autopsy, Zeal & Ardor and Decapitated. I saw Killswitch Engage at my first ever Reading Festival back in 2003 and again in Wacken in 2008, and I feel like it’s about time I saw them with Jesse on vocals. Oh, and I don’t think I could call myself a proper drummer if I wasn’t excited by the prospect of seeing Eloy Casagrande do his thing with Sepultura.
The Razor's Edge: Playing the New Blood Stage is just the first steppingstone in a bands journey. What’s next in your plans for world domination?
Torchbearer: [Mo] Same as always, hit the road play as many shows at bigger venues and hopefully more festivals. Follow it up with writing/recording new songs ready for next year. Eat, Sleep, Riff, Repeat! We’re looking at releasing at follow-up to Warrior and merging the 2x EPs into a full-length. We might press that onto to vinyl at that stage.
[Sol] We’re also excited about the prospect of potentially returning to the M2TM circuit next year as a former winner for some of the finals shows. It’s so great that Simon Hall and his team have created a robust infrastructure for helping emerging acts like ours gain experience and advance our careers, beyond the opportunity to play Bloodstock itself.
The Razor's Edge: Are you camping with the fans? Which campsite are you heading for?
Torchbearer: [Mo] We will be at Artist Campsite, there is always a good opportunity to network and meet other bands out there.
[Sol] For me, the primary appeal of the artists’ campsite is access to slightly cleaner Porta-loos. It’s got to be done, really.
The Razor's Edge: You’ve gotta keep hydrated at Bloodstock, what is your drink of choice for the weekend?
Torchbearer: [Mo] Coconut water with bit of spiced rum.
[Sol] If Mo will share his secret run stash with me, that sounds bloody lovely! But I will likely subsist on equal parts water, coffee and beer.
The Razor's Edge: See you at Bloodstock next week!
Bloodmores: [Mo] See you front row Friday at the New Blood Stage!
[Sol] Cheers. See you there!