Hard as nails London-based hardcore supergroup Borstal made sure the day at Bloodstock Open Air got off to a suitably punishing start. With Nick Barker on drums and Knuckledust frontman Pierre amongst their ranks, this was a raging start to the day and, although playing their first ever gig as a band, the combined experience of the line-up shone through to kick the Saturday off in ferocious style.

Another band doing the festival rounds this Summer is Irish outfit Conjurer who were recently seen laying waste to the Download Festival crowd and they did exactly the same here. Pummelling through tracks from their highly-rated Mire album, the Irish band were on top form here at Bloodstock

Bloodstock Open Air (w/ Wargasm, Malevolence, Conjurer) @ Catton Hall (Swadlincote, UK) on August 14, 2021

Now the appearance of Wargasm could have gone either way here at Bloodstock. Their punky, energetic rock stuck out like a sore thumb on the line-up but, as they strode confidently out onto the stage, the Bloodstock crowd took their spiky, snotty anthems to their hearts and Wargasm left at the end of their short set completely winning over a crowd, a large section of whom thirty minutes earlier were ready to absolutely hate them.

One band who needed have no concerns were metallic hardcore heavyweights Malevolence who, like a few of the bands on this bill, have been doing the festival rounds this Summer. All smiles, the band batter through their mix of Crowbar meets Down meets Hatebreed, and with the sight of circle pits erupting in front of their very eyes, it’s no wonder they’re grinning away up on that stage.

Fellow Yorkshiremen While She Sleeps are another band who turn the crowd inside out with their groove-filled metal. It doesn’t take long for the band to show why they’re being touted as a future festival headliner and, by the time the band hurtle into the backend of “Brainwashed”, the front of the arena has turned into one huge circle pit. Breathtaking stuff.

Another band who dished up a good dose of modern metal mayhem was tech-metal crew Viscera who feature members of Heart of a Coward and Martyr Defiled amongst their ranks. As clinical as ever, the band tore through their stint on the Sophie Lancaster stage with the kind of ferocity fans of the band have become accustomed to.

Next up were Yorkshire doom favourites Paradise Lost who were treating their many fans at Bloodstock to a special set. Airing their 1995 album Draconian Times in full, the band hit their stride and there was no stopping them as they powered through every track from their groundbreaking album. Through the likes of “The Last Time”, this was a fantastic Saturday afternoon trip down memory lane for these fans and, as they brought things to an end with their “Say Just Words” crowd-pleaser, this dose of Yorkshire gloom had put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Bloodstock Open Air (w/ While She Sleeps, Kreator, Cradle of Filth) @ Catton Hall (Swadlincote, UK) on August 14, 2021

Black metal terrors Cradle of Filth are about to return with, in Dani Filth’s own words, “their latest musical excretion” and judging by their epic new single “Crawling King Chaos”, the Suffolk outfit are another band getting better with age. Apart from utilising a lower range of vocals more often, frontman Filth still screeches his way through the set in his own unique style. Around him, his band plunder their back catalogue to treat their legions of fans to an epic set that sets things up nicely for the Autumn release of their new offering.

And so to German thrashers Kreator who bring the curtain down on day four of Bloodstock with a crushing set of European thrash bangers. Digging deep into their legendary back catalogue, the band hurtle through the likes of “Extreme Aggression”, “Terrible Certainty” and “Endless Pain” to a crowd who, from front to back, lapped up this thrash masterclass. Jammed between “Flag of Hate” and set closer “Pleasure To Kill”, the band were joined by Dani Filth for a vicious rendition of “Betrayer” as the night came crashing to a glorious, muscle-loosening, teeth-rattling climax.

Tickets for Bloodstock Open Air 2022, featuring Lamb of God and Mercyful Fate are on sale now from the Official Bloodstock Open Air Website

Poster for Bloodstock Open Air 2022

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.