Photo by William Mawdsley
After 2 long years of waiting, it’s finally time to dust off those festival festival shoes, air out your tent and head down to the UKs biggest celebration of metal. It hasn’t been an easy process to get here and Bloodstock have gained and lost many bands over the past year; but, a few days ahead of the festival, the lineup looks a treat. Hardbeat will be on our way to Catton Park very soon but before we do, here are our essential acts of Bloodstock Festival 2021.
If you’re on site on the Wednesday, the Sophie Lancaster stage will lay host to a number of metal bands, including comedy extreme metal band Raised By Owls, Bloodstock regulars Beholder and legendary 80s thrash outfit Onslaught.
Bloodstock have added an extra day of music to the festival this year and although the main stage isn’t open until Friday, the Thursday is already ludicrously stacked across three stages.
Casket Feeder – With an eagerly anticipated debut record coming any moment now from this young deathcore outfit, their set promises to be a vicious one. Their newest single ‘Wormwood’ is ferocious; melding the fury of Swedish death metal with a British groove ladened extremity. They’ve already cut their teeth on tours with the likes of Venom Prison and Leeched, so smashing out an early Thursday slot should be easy for them.
URNE – ‘If you miss ‘80s Metallica and early In flames, meet Urne,’ begins Oliver Crook’s review of the band in Hardbeat Issue 2. Fresh off releasing their debut album Serpent & Spirit URNE are ready to prove why they’re one of the most exciting presences in the British underground: expect everything from expertly played sludge, hardcore and tech-metal from these three.
Hacktivist – Seven years ago, you couldn’t escape from this gritty, rap rock outfit. They seemed to play every festival, support every band and appear in every city, and this has turned them into one of the most consistent and original voices in modern metal. They know how to deliver in the live environment and they’re not to be missed.
Lawnmower Deth – This much loved festival band will be headlining the Sophie stage on Thursday evening. If you haven’t caught them yet (which seems impossible at this point), you need to go and see why they are such a beloved live presence.
Anyone figured out how they’re gonna duplicate themselves on this day? Let’s hope the stage clashes are kind to us. It’s impossible to just pick a few bands to see on Friday so here’s a whistle stop tour through our recommendations.
Devin Townsend – Headlining the Ronnie James Dio stage is legendary metal visionary Devin Townsend. He will be playing songs from his multi-faceted solo prog act, the eccentric Devin Townsend Project and… wait for it… Strapping Young Lad.
Svalbard – On their 2018 album It’s Hard To Have Hope, Svalbard cemented themselves as one of the most original, honest and outspoken voices in the metal underground. 2020s follow up When I Die, Will I Get Better? proved that the band are also able to be monumentally sweeping and multi-dimensional.
Loathe – Loathe are another British band pushing at the boundaries of what the scene is capable of. Their 2020 album I Let It In and It Took Everything is big in its Deftones influence but still unmistakably Loathe.
Venom Prison – Venom Prison have been at the top of their game for five years now, releasing three raging death metal ragers. Metal with a message, the band have played with the likes of Trivium and Code Orange, yet never feel out of place alongside the best.
The Wildhearts – Big punk singalongs and so much heart: what more do you need from your Friday evening? The Wildhearts are unmissable.
Skindred – And the party don’t stop after The Wildhearts either. Skindred are perhaps the rock festival circuit’s most beloved band – and for good reason too.
Garganjua – Early last year, Garganjua released Toward the Sun; an emotive, affirming progressive doom effort. We’re super excited to catch it live.
Raging Speedhorn – Bloodstock aren’t messing around with this Friday lineup and Speedhorn are another of Britain’s road-tested, dependable live outfits. They’re always killer, they’re still making great music and no matter how many times we see them, we always want more.
Conan – Even in a lineup as depraved as this, Conan may have claim to call themselves the heaviest band at Bloodstock.
Evile – All these years after thrash formed and all these years into their career, Evile are still pumping out high quality music and killer live sets.
Napalm Death – Almost 35 years since their inception and Napalm Death are still one of the most exciting presences in heavy music. Last years effort Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism was an exceptional release and just as assaulting as anything else the scene could possibly offer. They’re at the top of their game and they’ll certainly show this at Bloodstock.
It’s another stacked day in paradise….
Conjurer – To put it simply, Conjurer are one of the most special, innovative and exciting bands in metal. And we can’t wait to see them get the main stage space and audience that they deserve.
Malevolence – Big riffs and even bigger circle pits, Malevolence are the one stop shop for hardcore fans who like their music to be Pantera levels of big.
While She Sleeps – It’s not often you get to see While She Sleeps play this low down on a festival stage but they have filled in for Bury Tomorrow. Despite this, we’re certain they’ll bring a show and setlist so gargantuan that it will blow every other band out of the water. They’re one of our best metal outfits for a reason.
Video Nasties – Punishing horror metal that will make you wanna take a baseball bat to a horde of zombies.
Bailer – Bailer have been picked up by the mainstream rock press for good reason. They play big, aggro fist-throwing hardcore.
Mountain Caller – Headlining the Jagermeister state on Saturday evening are instrumental, cinematic three piece Mountain Caller. Preorder issue 3 of Hardbeat to read all about the band’s brilliant approach to music.
Cradle Of Filth – Cradle of Filth have been a cornerstone of metal for decades now. We’ve heard their upcoming record Existence is Futile and we promise you… you’ll want to catch these songs live.
Kreator – Headlining the Ronnie stage are Euro thrash legends Kreator – and we don’t use the word legend lightly. Their set promises to be a greatest hits epic that never lets up as the band smash through metal hits such as ‘People of the Lie’ and ‘Violent Revolution’ as well as newer ragers such as ‘Satan Is Real’.
This Sunday’s a little less stacked, but nonetheless, the big boys are coming out to play…
Pist – Anyone who has followed Pist over the past few years will get the impression that they’re the loveliest bunch. Their music is always grounded by a love of straight ahead heavy metal, yet every song seems to run the gamut between its subgenres, which makes them a great live presence.
Black Spiders – Here’s a rule for life: you never want to miss the opportunity to see Black Spiders at a festival. It’s big, catchy rock and roll that sounds good on any stage.
Bleed From Within – Last year Bleed From Within released Fracture, their most accomplished record yet. It’s a ripper with stratospheric choruses which should tear apart the Bloodstock main stage. Whether you’re there for the headliner or are shattered after a long weekend, let BFW inject you with life.
Orange Goblin – This year, Bloodstock seem to be booking all of Britain’s favourite live outfits and most beloved touring acts. A set full of Orange Goblin’s big stoner, doom tunes will be a blast.
Therapy? – Therapy? are one of the few bands that can smash any festival they come across, be it 2000 Trees, Download, Bloodstock or your local. That’s just a fact. They play antagonistic, attitude-filled alt-rock that sounds just as good today as it did ten years ago, ten years before that…. and yes, almost ten years before that.
Judas Fuckin’ Priest – For all those itching to catch Priest’s 50 year anniversary shows, now is your time. The band wrote the rulebook for all the bombastic, leather cladded theatricality that makes Bloodstock so exciting, and now they get to send off Bloodstock 2021 with a set relentlessly filled with hits and metal staples. Let’s relive 50 heavy metal years!
A review of Bloodstock will be available in Issue 3 of Hardbeat; however, follow us on Instagram @hardbeatmag as we will be live posting the festival over there! You can also visit the Bloodstock website to buy any last minute day tickets.