LIVE: Bloodstock 2021 – Saturday

By Punktastic

Raise your viking drinking horns to the sky and rejoice, Bloodstock is back! After two long years, the UK’s number one extreme music festival has returned to Catton Hall to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Punktastic couldn’t be happier to see them back in action either and neither can the horde of eager metalheads that have flocked from around the UK to enjoy an absolutely amazing line-up featuring the likes of Devin Townsend, Kreator, Judas Priest, Skindred, Cradle of Filth, While She Sleeps and many, many more…

Words: John Layland; Images: Matt Higgs


Spirits are high on Saturday morning at Bloodstock. The weather is gorgeous, the line-up is exceptional, and for those that partied late into the night, the coffee stands are nothing short of life saving. Of course, it always helps when you have a band like Conjurer to help shake away the cobwebs, and the Rugby-based quartet’s unique brand of blackened death metal does just that. With songs that flow effortlessly from Gojira-esque grooves into melodic breaks with just a dash of Blackwater Park in the mix, Conjurer are a treat, cutting through the night befores hangover like a knife. The band seem to be having an amazing time too as bassist Andy Price dives into the crowd, bass still in hand, to share a moment with the audience before they depart the main stage.


Next up on today’s bill, Wargasm are a total change of pace. Their raw and energetic brand of nu-metal, with a little punk rock attitude, is initially met with some skepticism from the Bloodstock crowd; despite this being only their second UK festival performance, Milkie Way and Sam Matlock have a chemistry on stage that’s undeniable and, slowly but surely, you can see more and more people warming to the unlikely duo. Seemingly sensing victory in the air, the pair launch into a raucous cover of NERD’s ‘Lapdance’, a track that suits their duelling vocal style absolutely perfectly and has everybody in front of the main stage singing and dancing along. Inexperienced they may be, but Wargasm definitely won a major victory and gained some new fans here today to boot.


Sheffield-based beatdown kings Malevolence are up next, bringing the first circle pits of the day with them. Lead vocalist Alex Taylor doesn’t even have to ask for a pit to open up – the audience just seem to know what’s expected of them, and the whirlpool of leather and spikes reaches full terminal velocity during ‘Keep Your Distance’. What follows can only be described as a savage lesson in filthy breakdowns and doom laden single note riffs from guitarists Josh Baines and Konan Hall, who play off each other beautifully. When the dust finally settles and you can see the sunburned and bruised bodies left in their wake, it’s difficult to believe this is Malevolence’s first outing here at Bloodstock. We expect to see them much higher up the bill after today’s performance.

While She Sleeps

Speaking of bands we expect to see higher up the bill next time… Looking around the arena today you can tell that the Sleeps Society are here in full force to back up their boys, While She Sleeps. T-shirts and back patches featuring the band’s logo are absolutely everywhere, and as their intro kicks in, the roar that erupts from the main stage can be heard across the entire festival site. Despite their time off the road, While She Sleeps’ set is one of the tightest and best produced of the weekend, weaving old favourites like ‘Four Walls’ and newer material from their last two albums into a setlist that never loses momentum. Crowd surfers are pouring over the barrier, there are mosh pits forming everywhere, and Lawrence Taylor can’t resist the urge to get involved as their set reaches its climax. Taylor leaps from the stage during ‘Systematic’ and makes his way out to the sound desk, before crowd surfing his way back in one of the most triumphant moments of the weekend so far. Truthfully, if it wasn’t still daylight, you’d be forgiven for thinking WSS were headlining here today, and if they keep up this level of performance we don’t think it will be too long before we see them closing festivals.

Paradise Lost

Goth rockers Paradise Lost have a slightly difficult start to their set, with seemingly nothing but bass guitar coming from the front of house speakers for the first few bars of opening track ‘Enchantment’. Someone behind the desk thankfully realises this and lunges for the volume faders before it’s too late, but it takes another song or two for the mix to finally level out. Thankfully, the band more than make up for these difficulties with a full play through of 1995’s ‘Draconian Times’, a real treat for hardcore fans – especially as songs like ‘Elusive Cure’ and ‘Shades of God’ haven’t been played live for the better part of a decade. Despite being a less accessible setlist, everyone in the crowd seems to be having a fantastic time too, much to the delight of Nick Holmes, who takes every opportunity between his duties on the mic to joke around and amp them up even more. Eventually it’s time to bring things to close with ‘Say Just Words’, which has everyone singing at the top of their lungs and the band grinning from ear to ear. As with many artists we’ve seen so far this weekend, Paradise Lost are clearly enjoying every minute just as much as the audience are, and it’s a shame they can’t stay just a little longer.

Cradle of Filth

Next up on the bill, it’s time for Dimmu Borgir replacements Cradle of Filth. As theatrical as ever and every bit as uncompromising musically, Cradle of Filth are always a welcome addition to any festival line-up and they are on absolutely top form here at Bloodstock today. Dani Filth’s trademark screams seem to have even more power than usual as they soar above the rising cacophony of Richard Shaw and Marek Ĺ merda’s pummeling riffs. They even slip in a small preview from upcoming album ‘Existence is Futile’ with the live premiere of new song ‘Crawling King Chaos’, which goes down an absolute storm and fits perfectly alongside older material like ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’. There are plenty of crowd pleasers too, like the ever present ‘Nymphetamine’ and ‘From the Cradle to Enslave’. Whether or not you’re a fan of extreme music, it’s hard not to admire the musicianship and sheer stage presence of Cradle of Filth at full chat, and if what we heard from their new album today is anything to go by, we expect them to be laying waste to unsuspecting festival audiences for many more years to come.


The end of our second day at Bloodstock is approaching. Darkness has begun to fall upon Catton Hall, with only one band left on Punktastic’s list today – and it’s heavy metal titans Kreator. Filling the shoes of Mercyful Fate as Saturday’s headliner is no easy job, but the German thrashers seem to have come prepared for the task. The stage set-up alone is impressive enough, with telltale pyro units strategically placed everywhere and extra lighting gantries being wheeled this way and that – it’s clear they’ve come to slay here at Bloodstock, and slay they do.

Pillars of flame erupt from the stage again and again as JĂĽrgen “Ventor” Reil’s furious double kick drum attack powers the band through a suitably epic opener in the form of ‘Violent Revolution’. If the pyrotechnics don’t melt your face off, the guitar acrobatics of lead axeman Sami Yli-Sirniö most certainly will as he shreds and sweep picks his way through lick after tasty lick.

With over a dozen studio albums under their belt, Kreator have no shortage of material to pull on, from full blown breakneck headbangers balls like ‘Enemy of God’, to stompers like ‘Hail to the Hordes’, both of which see a sea of horns raised to the sky throughout the arena.

Nearly two hours of thrash metal masterclass pass by in what feels like the blink of an eye and soon vocalist Milland Petrozza is inviting Dani Filth back on stage for a pre-encore rendition of ‘Betrayer’. Kreator leave us a few minutes later accompanied by yet more blasts of flame and a final farewell in the form of ‘Pleasure to Kill’, ending a second amazing day of live music and leaving our ears well and truly ringing.

Click here to view the full gallery for Bloodstock Day Two