It’s the time of year again when Bloodstock Open Air crashes into the grounds of Catton Hall, Walton-on-Trent, Derbyshire. Now in its seventeenth year, this popular festival has grown from a one day event to the behemoth it is now where 15,000 metal fans can see upwards of 100 bands across four stages.
The festival runs from the 10th-12th August and offers a number of different options for those attending. This year’s headliners are true heavyweights with Judas Priest, Gojira and Nightwish leading proceedings on the Ronnie James Dio stage.
Bloodstock isn’t just about the big hitters and understands the need to support new and upcoming acts. With our curiosity getting the better of us, we were lucky to catch up with some of those acts as they prepare for the adventure ahead.
First up are Surrey thrash metal band DEAD BEFORE MOURNING. The band came together out of their individual love for the genre and cite their influences as Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer and Exodus among others.
The band is ably staffed by Matt Hockham (Guitars/Vocals), Dom Harvey (Guitars/Backing vocals), Steve Ebsworth (Drums) and Stephen 'Gus' Mussett (Bass/Backing vocals) and we asked them what they are all about, “Ok, well we are a thrash metal band that has grown out of our individual loves for the genre. Couple that with the metal that has graced our eardrums and influenced us all since the bay area boom and there you have it! Shredding guitars, ripping solo’s, relentless drums and driving bass topped off with angry and sinister vocals”.
The band have recently released their debut album ‘Killing Time’ which is available at the usual streaming outlets and on listening, they are a powerful outfit. We asked them to describe their
material, “There is no digital trickery both live and on CD, all guitars/drums are amped and miked up and this gives us our raw yet fresh sound. Lyrically our songs are stories or tales of ill doings
that our fans relate to. My (Matt) vocal style is more Dave Mustaine than Randy Blythe. Not that one is better than the other it’s just the way I roll, people do comment that it’s nice to hear what
is being sung when we play, that’s a real buzz for me personally. I guess Dom put it best the other day when he said, ‘we play the music we would want to listen to, that’s why we write it’.”
Finally, we asked them why the Bloodstock army should go catch their show and they didn’t miss the opportunity, “We have a brutal pride of tunes moulded into a set that we think is ready for the discerning New Blood (stage) audience. We have our loyal following of Mourners heading to Bloodstock to get the whip going so the recipe for a good and proper thrash-down are there. If you like it fast, loud and airpunchingly heavy then come and check us out, we promise you will not regret it. If you see us walking around, please come and say Hi.”
And their mission as a band? It has to be the last lines from their track ‘The Whip’, a song about the metal scene and the people that make it happen – the fans, “In this metal we’re forged, all
as one never alone....salute!”
You can catch the band on Sunday 12th August on the Hobgoblin New Blood stage and for more evidence that these guys are delivering the goods, go check ‘em out here -
PELUGION are a hard rock/metal band from the Midlands and have been gigging intensely since forming back in 2012. The line up of John ‘The Goat’ Pittaway (Guitar), Brandon ‘The Vulture’ Balou (Drums) and Andy ‘The Quatch’ Sweeney (Bass/Vocals) met at City College Coventry where they studied Music and have been compared to Black Sabbath, Black Label, Black Stone Cherry and Metallica.
We asked them what makes them stand out in the current music industry, “One thing we believe makes us different from a lot of bands out there is that it’s very hard to determine what genre we fall into. There’s a variety of different elements in there such as Doom, Thrash, Sludge, Grunge, and just straight up classic Heavy Metal. Maybe we’ll have to invent our own genre!”
The band developed quickly and in early 2015, they entered a management deal with UK based FATangel Management and released a lyric video for the song 'Serpents Mistress'. Pelugion’s 2016 ‘Bide My Time’ followed and was produced, mixed and mastered at Woodworm studios by Mike Exeter who has famously worked with such legends as Black Sabbath, Dio and Judas Priest.
The rise in popularity certainly hasn’t changed the band’s humble approach and they have that all-important sense of humour that shines through in the reasons they give to see them at the
festival, “If you want to come and see 3 guys get sweaty and pull a variety of picturesque faces, you won’t be disappointed! Joking aside, if you’re a fan of old school Heavy Metal with old fashioned
singing (!), non-stop riffage and pounding drums, then come and check us out. We’ll have CD’s and T-shirts at the ready so if you like what you hear, say Hi!”
If that doesn’t persuade you of their appeal then their mission as a band surely will, “To open minds…and legs!” - Dirty boys!
The band will be playing on the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on Friday 10th August and you can follow their mission progress here -
A RITUAL SPIRIT are a heavy rock band from Edinburgh who came together back in 2010 and have recently released their new single ‘The Ever After’, the follow up to their debut album ‘Carnival Carnivorous’.
The established line up of Oli Bowker (Vocals/Guitar), Steven Patterson (Lead Guitar), Martin Gray (Bass/Vocals) and Dave Cumming (Drums) play a riffy hard rock with a touch of grunge in the
mix. Their recent achievements in the Metal2theMasses sees them head south on a Bloodstock crusade.
We asked them what makes them different from other bands, (Oli) “Do we have to be different? We’re all in this together. Some bands make a living from doing what we all do and others don’t. We don’t. On the whole we all love what we do and we’re all extremely passionate about it. The only thing that’s different really is the sound of the bands and the personalities of the members… We call ourselves a heavy rock band but we’re influenced by all sorts – thrash, grunge, punk – and we sound like A Ritual Spirit.”
The band clearly have a down to earth approach to their music but Bloodstock is a feather in the cap for the band. With a new single out and a new album in the pipeline, we asked what was next,
(Steve) “To keep gigging as much as we can, we're preparing a new album for next year so writing will take up a lot of this year but we always get the itch to play live - you have to love doing this,
it's an endless slog, or a least feels like it sometimes, people only see the half hour or so you're on stage, not the hours of rehearsing, travelling, loading in and out of venues etc, the love of
being in a band should keep you motivated.”
The band will also be playing on the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on Friday 10th August. Who else but the band themselves to let you know why you should catch them,
(Oli) “To witness Dave’s drum face!”,
(Dave) “Just come and see me and my face whether I’m drumming or not.”
(Steve) “We’ll get you warmed up for Priest!”
In the meantime, you can check the band out here -
We reckon these three bands are worth catching live and there are still tickets left for this outstanding festival. Any event that aims to bring you the best damn festival in the UK has some fine competition so you’d best go see for yourself. Tickets and all the information you could possibly need can be found here: