The Über Rockin’ Guide To… Bloodstock (Hobgoblin New Blood Stage) Print
Written by Mark Ashby   
Sunday, 16 July 2017 05:00

One of great things about Bloodstock is that, from the very beginning it has championed and continues to fly the flag for new and young bands whom many other festivals (and there are a few very worthy exceptions in this regard) wouldn’t touch with the proverbial barge pole.




The annual Metal 2 The Masses competition, which takes place in literally every corner of these here islands, and has now spread to the United States of Europe, is dedicated to helping independent and unsigned acts the opportunity to put themselves in front of crowds and also to play on the same bill as some of the biggest names in the metal world.


If, like everyone here at Über Rock, you love discovering new talent, then visiting the very aptly named New Blood tent on as many occasions as possible over the weekend is a must. And, to help you make up your minds as to what bands are most worth catching, here’s our guide (in alphabetical order) to the 12 we think are just that…


Ashen Crown (Friday)


If any band epitomizes the term “new blood”, it could be argued that it is these guys. Formed at the tail end of last year, they made their live debut at the beginning of March – and, just over two months later, they had gone on to win the Wolverhampton heat of the Metal 2 The Masses competition. And that, of course, is what the contest, and BOA itself, is all about: giving young bands the chance to break (on through to the other side), so give these upstarts a break and open up your ears to something new and exciting (oh, and grab us a demo while you’re at it!)


Dakesis (Saturday)


This progressive power-metal quartet from Birmingham are actually returning a Bloodstock stage for the first time in five years, having appeared on the Jägermeister one back in 2012, when they performed an acoustic interpretation of their debut album, ‘Trial By Fire’. In the intervening period, they have released a second album, last year’s ‘The New Dawn’ concept work, and continued to develop their reputation for hard work and ambitious approach to everything they do. Expect everything – melodies, harmonies, riffs, solos – to be as grandiose as you can get on the grandioseness scale.


Devil’s Playground (Friday)


Worthy winners of the Coventry M2TM competition, this Birmingham-based sextet combine hardcore and operatic vocals and run the gamut from nu metal to thrash to superb effect. They’re also very much about having fun on stage, and this is an attitude which transfers to the audience, helping DP develop a growing fanbase, not only in the Midlands but well beyond. Bloodstock should definitely help cement their reputation and see them continue on their upward curve.


Infected Dead (Saturday)


You can’t beat a dose of good old-fashioned death metal, especially on a Saturday afternoon, can you? Well, you can’t – and that’s exactly what the winners of the Kent M2TM will be bringing to the New Blood stage: their debut EP, ‘Forced Existence’, is the perfect showcase for their polished, modern brand of powerful DM, which keeps one foot in the essence of the genre’s origins but also bring it smack up to date, with some punishing beatdowns along the way. Nurse, where’s that neck brace?


Mantra (Friday)


This combo burst out of the deep south-west of England last summer with their highly impressive debut EP, ‘The Withered World’, which combined melody, technicality and power in an assured statement of intent. Sonically, they pull together elements of progressive and classic thrash, with splashes of nu metal and even melocore-style vocals in a way which is as confident as it is strident and hard-hitting. Having just completed their first headlining tour, and with more music on its way before the end of the year, it won’t take long to have the BOA crowd chanting along to this particular metal mantra.


Mist (Sunday)


One of a handful of bands who can’t exactly be classed as “new blood” but have been invited along to share the experience, Mist will be bringing their brand of doom all the way from Slovenia. Drawing on all the usual influences, from Sabbath to Candlemass to Pentagram, what makes Mist stand out is the female vocals, which add an ethereal quality to the otherwise denseness of the sound. With it having been two years since their debut EP, the band are taking a break from recording their debut album to fly their flag at Catton Hall: so, let’s make them feel welcome, shall we?


Prognosis (Sunday)


The epitome of determination and sticking at it, Prognosis reached the final of Manchester’s M2TM last year but, in their own words, “fell short”. Going away, learning from the experience and regrouping, they came back enervated and “a totally different beast”: and it paid off, as they won the 2017 competition. Their style of progressive metal is hard to categorize, as they meld a variety of styles, yet do so effortlessly, and manage to cram a lot of technicality and diversity into their material, with everything underpinned by a bottom end heavier than having your arse cheek nailed to a concrete slab.


Raised By Owls (Saturday)


Winners of the Nottingham M2TM, the band with the most interesting name of the weekend will be playing virtually in their backyard. Promising “a mild sonic disturbance followed by an immediate apology”, they deliver old-school grindcore very much in the vein of Carcass and Napalm Death – but without the gore, as they imbue their lyrics” with “a humour moulded by misspent youths lived in rural England”: a humour no more ably displayed than in the hysterical video for 'Ross Kemp On Gang Bangs'. This will be a fun one, no doubt about it.


Seek Solace In Ruin (Friday)


These bruisers from the north west will definitely bring the heavy grooves to the New Blood stage. Pummelling every sense with a sound that lies somewhere between the cocksureness of Lamb Of God and the dense angst of Whitechapel, the quintet describe themselves as “more metal than your mama’s kettle” and been likened to “being punched in the face by a bear with concrete paws”: we can put it no more eloquently. Plus, they’re nice guys really: they’re donating all the proceeds from their current EP, ‘Prototype’, to the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.


Shrouded (Sunday)


Über’s Northern Ireland team have been following, and championing, the winners of the Belfast M2TM for a few years now, in that period watch them develop from a group of nervous youngsters into a solid and cohesive unit, who combine melody and heaviness to superb effect. Frontman Dani has been compared to a young Tom G Warrior – which can be no bad thing in itself – and this Bloodstock appearance should give them the impetus, and the confidence, to take things to the next level.


Vorbid (Sunday)


These Norwegian youngsters play old-school thrash metal that very much has its roots in a time before they were born, drawing heavily on the pre-pubescent formative years of the Big Four, and especially Megadeth. Having said that, it sounds fresh, modern and vibrant, and the four lads play with both passion and determination. With one EP already under their belts, the boys are currently recording their debut album, due for release early next year, but are taking time out to do their best for rip Catton Hall a new one.


Zhora (Saturday)


Zhora are one of the few New Blood bands I actually knew something about before this year’s M2TM competition, in which they deservedly won the extremely tight Dublin final. I first came across them about four years ago at an all-day charity event in a side-street bar (the infamous Fibbers) and was so impressed I immediately bought a copy of the excellent ‘Almaz’ album and a T shirt! They’ve been regular visitors north of the border ever since, and never fail to disappoint with a brand of progressive sludge that’s about as heavy as having your earlobes slapped with a concrete hurl. They also have a new album, ‘Ethos, Pathos, Logos’, due before the end of the year.


So, there you have it… our thoughts on the bands to see at this year’s Bloodstock. Hopefully, over the course of the weekend, we’ve given you plenty of food for thought and fuel for debate, as well as a few ideas for planning your stage-hopping activities at the event itself. All that remains to say is that we’ll see you there – and it’s you’re round!


Bloodstock takes place at Catton Hall in Derbyshire from 10 – 14 August. Limited tickets remain available.


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