The Über Rockin’ Guide To… Bloodstock (The Sophie Lancaster Stage) Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby   
Friday, 14 July 2017 05:00

For many fans, Bloodstock’s second stage is actually their preferred encampment spot for the weekend, providing as it often does a wider breadth of musical styles and an opportunity to catch bands who may have been on many personal radars but never actually encountered live.




This year’s Sophie Stage offering is no different, with a range of top class acts waiting for those who just don’t use the tent to shelter from the occasional shower which has graced Catton Hall in recent years.


It’s also the home to the Thursday night opening party, which seems like the logical place and time to start…


Battle Beast (Thursday)


Over the past few years, the Thursday night has slowly become an integral part of the Bloodstock experience, providing a more than worthy appetiser for early comers and breaking us, if not quite gently, into the mood of the weekend. This year, the BOA team have excelled themselves with their choice of headliner, who definitely wouldn’t be out of place further up the bill on the main stage at any time over the following three days. Following on from the release of their stunning ‘Bringer Of Pain’ earlier this year, the Finns definitely will be bringing the metal – and the anthems – to kick off our weekend of moshing \m/

Dendera (Friday)


Over the past five years or so, these Portsmouth boys have developed a deserved reputation for delivering quality classic metal with the power and the passion to back up what they believe…They’ve just released the first part in a double EP series, with the second half due before the end of the summer. If you like your metal somewhere between NWOBHM and old-school thrash, with the emphasis on big riffs, big vocal harmonies and getting your neck snapped as early as possible, then make sure you’re front and centre…


Black Moth (Friday)


These cool cats from Leeds are one of the true anomalies of the weekend, with a style that references everything and everyone from psychedelia through Iggy’s Stooges to a stoner-infused Sabbath, and all with an ease that sounds like it shouldn’t work but, by the gods of Bloodstock, fucking does! No wonder they’ve supported artists as diverse as Nick Cave, Sisters Of Mercy, Pentagram and Red Fang in their short career. New guitarist Federica Gialanze has added some serious Iommi-bottom end shredding to the band’s style.


Lionize (Friday)


Known for their close association with the mighty Clutch, with whom they have toured the UK on several occasions, this Maryland quartet could very well be about to step out of their mentors’ shadow with their new album, ‘Nuclear Soul’, which is due to be released at the beginning of September. Their Bloodstock appearance comes at the end of a two-week run of dates, so the guys should be ready to party… and so should you, as they’ll serve a more than worthy distraction for the non-power metal fans.


Eradikator (Saturday)


Saturday is lining up to be the day after which hundreds of thrash fans get taken to the nearest A&E, what with Havok, Annihilator and Municipal Waste all ripping up the main stage. Doing their best to keep up with this battalion of old school legends will be one band who most definitely manage to keep the fun in the thrash genre, with their high-energy, don’t-give-a-fuck, see-you-at-the-bar-afterwards live shows. There’s only one way these four lads from the home of metal know how to play – and that’s fucking fast! Just try to keep up!


The One Hundred (Saturday)


Combining a mix of metal, hip hop and EDM, you can’t really miss this Leeds bunch this summer: look at practically any festival bill, from Download to 2000Trees to (well) Bloodstock, and they’re on there somewhere. Having released their debut album, ‘Chaos + Bliss’, at the beginning of June, these youngsters are understandably on a high, and guarantee a noisy and rambunctious show in the tent, and are another act that show the Hungerfords aren’t afraid to push the envelope that little bit further with their billings…


Florence Black (Saturday)


Hailing from Über Rock’s original homeland of south Wales, I personally first came across this power trio when they played the Steelhouse festival a couple of year back – and was immediately very impressed. Another change of tempo and style, they’ll certainly mix things up as the Saturday moves from afternoon to evening, and are guaranteed to get even the most cynical of feet tapping and heads nodding with some truly infectious grooves.


Scarab (Saturday)


Arab countries are not exactly known as nurturing grounds for heavy metal, with those attempting to perform/play it often having to do so “quietly” (a contradiction, I know) and “off radar” – lending a whole new definition to the term “underground”. But a few have managed to breakthrough – and, in fact, Scarab (it’s not hard to tell what country they’re from is it?) have managed to continue plying their brand of death metal for more than 15 years now, and are due to release their third album, ‘Martyrs Of The Storm’, this autumn. If you like your DM with an oriental twist, these dudes from the dunes are definitely worth checking out.


Courtesans (Sunday)


Describing themselves as “pop lying on the train track”, there’s not much we can add to what our man Ben Hughes said when he reviewed their new EP, ‘Better Safe Than Sober’, back in February, when he described them as taking “the dying carcass of pop” and injecting it with “a 21st century twist of goth-tinged rock… one of the few current all-female bands that truly deliver something fresh and exciting.” ‘Nuff said really... except to ask if you need any more excuse to check these girls out? No? Then you know where to be…


ONI (Sunday)


In Japanese folklore, the Oni is a malevolent shapeshifting demon. In music lore, ONI are a progressive metal outfit from Canada who have been making quite an impression since the release of their debut single, ‘Eternal Recurrence’, and subsequent album, ‘Ironshore’ in the latter part of last year. Need a unique selling point? Well, can you name another band with a xylo-synth player? No? Neither can we… this is going to be as intriguing a set as it promises to be impressive… We can't guarantee Randy Blythe will join them, though!


Arthemis (Sunday)


No strangers to the Bloodstock stage, Arthemis returned to action earlier this year with a superb new album, ‘Blood – Fury – Domination’ – and you can expect them to bring all three qualities to the tent with their brand of fast ‘n’ furious thrash-meets-power metal, complete with ravenous riffs, soaring vocals and bucketloads of melody. Depending on how bad the clash is with the main stage, the Italians will surely draw a massive crowd, so make sure you grab your beer of choice and get down the front early…


Wintersun (Sunday)


There couldn’t really be a better time for Wintersun to close off this year’s BOA, what with new album, ‘The Forest Seasons’, poised to drop this time next week. In fact, it will be a double whammy for fans, as they also release a live album, recorded at the Tuska festival in their native Finland in 2013, on vinyl the same day. Purveying epic power metal inspired by the Finnish landscape and band mastermind Jari Mäenpäa’s vivid imagination, you can expect plenty of dancing to finish (sic) off this year’s iteration of Bloodstock.


Bloodstock takes place at Catton Hall in south Derbyshire from 10 - 14 August.


So, there have it… plenty to think about with the little selection, we reckon. Check back tomorrow for our guide to who we’re looking forward to seeing on the main stage, and then on Sunday for our thoughts on the up-and-coming new bloods set to obliterate the, um, New Blood Stage!


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