Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Women of Bloodstock 2011

So of course, being at Bloodstock and having a desire to promote women in metal, I had to check out the bands performing with a female member.

I trawled through the festival guide and found a good few bands on the Sophie Lancaster and New Blood stages.  There were not many on the Ronnie James Dio stage though - this was slightly disappointing.  Nevertheless I tried to get to as many sets as I could and I was not disappointed with what I found:

Sanguine - New Blood Stage - 
Lead Vocals: Tarin Kerrey

I've already mentioned this four-piece female fronted UK alternative metal band from Exeter.  Powerful, energetic and somewhat intimidating. I really did love it and the free EP CD I was handed the day before is now well played.

Cerebral Bore - Sophie Lancaster Stage - 
Lead Vocals: Som Pluijmers

Talking of intimidating.  Cerebral Bore are a female fronted death metal band based in Glasgow, Scotland.  They pulled a massive audience and demonstrated that they are a real death metal band to contend with.

Saturnian - New Blood Stage - 
Soprano Vocals: Lydia Bateman

Saturnian are a six-piece extreme symphonic metal band from the UK.  The New Blood tent was packed during their set and they really performed an impressive mixture of vocal styles and stage performance.

Evil Scarecrow - Sophie Lancaster Stage - 
Keyboard: Princess Luxury

This band just have to be seen live to really appreciate.  A five-piece parody metal band from Nottingham.  Really didn't disappoint the packed Sophie Lancaster tent and many people have since said it was the highlight of their weekend.

Northern Oak - New Blood Stage - 
Flute: Catie Williams

Northern Oak are a six-piece folk metal band from Sheffield.  I am a massive fan, an almost obsessive stalker and still completely blown away by their Bloodstock set.  Catie's flute just makes them all the more awesome.

Therion - Ronnie James Dio Stage - 
Vocals: Lori Lewis and Linnea Vikstrom

The only band I could find with female members on the main stage were Therion.  Therion are a Swedish symphonic metal band with two female vocalists.  I was close to the front for the set and thoroughly enjoyed their performance.  I have since acquired a number of items from their back catalogue.

There were two other bands I found but didn't get to see for one reason or another.

Candid Iniquity - New Blood Stage - 
Guitar: Francesca Dixon

This four-piece metal band from Manchester were on just a little too early for us on the Sunday and we didn't make it into the arena in time.  Having listened to them since I am even more disappointed to have missed them.  Perhaps they will be playing near Sheffield one day soon and I can make up for it?

Amaranthe - Sophie Lancaster Stage - 
Female Vocals: Elize Ryd

A six-piece Swedish/Danish power/melodic death metal band.  Having seen their most recent video before heading to Bloodstock I wasn't that fussed about seeing them so didn't make them a priority at the festival.  It appeared to be over produced pop metal trying to be Evanescence.  As much as I like a bit of pop metal every now and again this really didn't appeal to me during the festival.

In hindsight I should have made more of an effort to see them to see for myself what they were really like.

So there you have it.  A very swift round-up of the women playing at Bloodstock 2011.  In a way I hope there were others that I missed - not because I wish I had missed them, but because it would be great to see more women playing at festivals such as this.  If there were more that you know about please add a comment with the bands details so that I can check them out.

And you never know.  Perhaps next years line-up might include a few more lovely ladies on the main stage too?!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Did I mention that I got some new boots while I was at Bloodstock?  They are awesome! :D

Please enjoy my new New Rocks ...

Femetalism’s Bloodstock Discoveries

Bloodstock is the ultimate UK metal festival. Billed as ‘by the fans, for the fans’ the festival has grown significantly over the years from a small indoor event to a huge outdoor event. 2011 saw me venture to Bloodstock for the very first time.

Although the final line-up failed to really inspire me I had bought my ticket back in December 2010 and was keen to go and just enjoy the experience. It wasn’t that the line-up was bad, I was just unfamiliar with most of the bands and the bigger bands on the main stage were not really my cup of tea.

That said, Bloodstock blew me away: the people, the atmosphere, the facilities but mainly the music. I acquired a guide immediately and started planning which bands to see – making sure they didn’t clash with each other and planning meal and drink stops a long the way. The whole weekend was music focussed with very little regard given to having loads to drink and acting like a fool until 5am in the morning in the campsite. We wanted to see as many bands and listen to as much music as physically possible.

There were a number of bands that blew me away completely and we have been purchasing albums like they are going out of fashion since we returned. The five bands who were complete unknowns to me before the festival but who really stood out to me were:

Shreddertron – New Blood Stage - A four-piece UK metal band from West Sussex. A real surprise these - thoroughly enjoyable almost post-metal with no shredding in sight.

Sanguine – New Blood Stage - A four-piece female fronted UK alternative metal band from Exeter. The set was powerful and energetic. The lead singers’ vocal was somewhat intimidating. I loved it!

Imicus – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A five-piece UK alternative rock/metal band from London. We decided to see them after reading comparisons to bands such as Tool. Although I am not sure where the comparison to Tool has come from, the band stunned me. Strong vocals, big riffs - stunning set.

Byfrost – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A three-piece ‘Black n’ Roll’ band from Bergen, Norway. A tremendous mixture of high speed black metal with barrel loads of incredible guitar riffs. It really did get the head banding! The album is pretty impressive too!

October File – Sophie Lancaster Stage - A UK based Post-Punk Band with a real attitude. They hooked me in with their catchy guitar riffs, grinding sound and exuberant stage presence.

I don’t think I could write a piece about Bloodstock, without mentioning the highlight of the whole weekend?! Seeing Sheffield’s own Northern Oak, bringing the crowd alive with both their acoustic set on the Saturday and their amazing set on the New Blood stage on the Sunday. Their performances were incredible and it was lovely to see them after the set being greeted by people wanting photos and albums signing.

Northern Oak Irish Jigging with the crowd on the Jagermeister Stage on Saturday 13th August 2011.

Northern Oak performing Arbor Low on the New Blood Stage on Sunday 14th August 2011.

In addition, the awesome power that is Evil Scarecrow really stopped me in my tracks. I wasn’t really that impressed when I went to see them earlier this year, but the set they performed on the Sophie Lancaster stage was something else completely. The place was packed and the atmosphere was amazing.

Evil Scarecrow attempting the largest Robot Dance to Robototron on the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Sunday 14th August 2011.

All in all, my first Bloodstock will remain with me forever. It has completely changed me as a person and as a metal fan. I know that sounds very deep and meaningful, but that’s the thing. Music has always really mattered to me. Music makes life bearable. Being a part of something like Bloodstock has given me a new passion for metal, for seeing more live metal, for reading more about metal, for listening to more metal. Being a part of Bloodstock has opened my eyes to the inner workings of the metal community. I feel as though I have carried out my induction, that I have been welcomed with open arms and that I have secured myself a place for eternity.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

Hard to believe it's been 4 years since Sophie was killed in an unprovoked attack. For looking different. Her mother has been working hard to promote tolerance for subcultures within our society through The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. The following video has been created to further promote the work they are doing within UK schools.

It was great seeing so many amazing bands play on the stage named in her honour at BOA 2011. Never forget ...