Bloodstock is now widely regarded as the best outdoor metal festival in the U.K. Having built upon its strong foundations year on year the festival sold out for the first time, thanks to the strongest line up they have ever put together.
As is now tradition, the festival opens on the Thursday with a small evening bill and is usually a chance to meet up with long lost friends and have a few beers before the full line up starts on Friday. With only the Sophie Lancaster stage open for business this evening it's Ramage Inc. from Edinburgh up first. A masterful choice to get the festival started as they deliver their own brand of brutality on a still fresh crowd.
Gurt are the highlight of the opening day, appearing at the festival off the back of their latest album,
Skullossus. The UK sludge she scene is thriving and Gurt are at the forefront of that. The short, half hour set delivers on point mastery of the genre. Front man Gareth Kelly living up to his reputation as the "Mick Jagger of Death Metal".
For a change in direction we go darker with The Infernal Sea, British black metal upstarts forging quite the career for themselves. All the talk on the festival site today is to check them out. A darkened stage, as much as it can be before the sun sets, the band dressed in black cloaks and hidden by masks arrive backlit in atmospheric green. The talent on stage matches the theatrics, a solid delivery of traditional black metal with a small stench of death thrown in for good measure. If the genre is your bag these guys are going places and are THE band to watch right now.
To keep the eclectic mix going Italian folk metallers Wind Rose are next playing their debut U.K. Show. I came into this with an open mind having not checked out their material prior and find that I'm loving what I am seeing and hearing. Delivery of the folk infused heavy metal is faultless as the Italians surprise myself and doubtless many others in the tent.
Headliners on this short evening to kick off the weekend are power metal ensemble Battle Beast fronted by the enigmatic Noora Louhimo. Knowing little about the band prior to today and not being the biggest fan of the genre I am pleasantly surprised by this headlining set. The packed Sophie Lancaster tent is treated to fast, no frills set; image Judas Priest meets Blind Guardian with a hint of Manowar thrown in for good measure. Noora's powerful voice grips the crowd for the full hour set as fans jump, jig and bang their heads along to the Finnish masters. Those, like me, who may not have entered the festival with any great knowledge of the band are certainly leaving as fans tonight.
The bands may have finished but this is not the end of proceedings for the evening, those lucky enough to have access to the VIP area are in for a special treat as Meat Loaf takes to the small bar stage, or at least a tribute act does. With the beer flowing the evening is rounded out in style with hundred of metal heads singing along to Bat out of Hell. What better way to start the weekend?
Check out the exclusive gallery below and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more Bloodstock 2017 coverage coming very soon!