There’s nothing like some driving rock anthems to blast away the morning hangover, and Goat Leaf are full of them. Describing themselves as an HGV (Heavy Groove Vehicle), it’s an apt term for a band dedicated to the riff. Their set echoes a touch of Soundgarden‘s rockin’ out crossed with the quintessential Britishness of Orange Goblin, and each track they lay down gets heads nodding from the pleasingly full tent this early in the morning. Guitarist John Hodgson has quite the feel for guitar melodies, counterbalanced by the bearded tower that is Dave Main on bass. The latter runs into a little difficulty with bass strings, but it’s a credit to the band that the machine keeps rolling with barely a hitch.
Vocalist Jonny Town, meanwhile, is hidden behind his curtain of hair, but his lungs certainly aren’t; belting out tracks like ‘Ain’t Got Time To Bleed’, his charismatic voice is strongly juxtaposed to his quiet mannerisms between songs, with his between-song commentary being nigh on inaudible. He seems almost surprised that the band get such a roar of response from the crowd as they round out their set, but it’s all deserved. Goat Leaf may not be the most boundary-stretching of bands, but they make some damn fine rockin’ music, which is to be highly commended. Hail the Goat Leaf.
How can a band go from starting out less than a year ago to playing Bloodstock? By having their act together, and No Sin Evades His Gaze definitely have their act together. Fusing together the twisted rhythms of tech-metal with the thundering groove of metalcore, the band have a potent resulting blend that has drawn interest from all quarters. It also results in a well-packed tent, impressive considering Entombed A.D. are on the mainstage.
No Sin Evades His Gaze make the most of the attention: possessing youthful vitality, they work the stage with an infectious level of confidence and experience. Frontman James Denton, complete with the band’s namesake piercing gaze, prowls the floor while letting loose his fierce growls on tracks like ‘The Guillotine Blade’. It seems surprising that such melodious tones can emerge from the same lungs, but ‘Roll Up The Royalty’ impresses with its dulcet chorus, juxtaposed with the muscular riffs.
Meanwhile, the musicians are having a whale of a time as well. Guitarists Dan Thornton and Kev Pearson flank bassist Moat Lowe, and the three of them are fully engaged in their headbanging to the bouncing riffs, such as in ‘Affinity’. Drummer Theo Harvey is also on point with his tasteful drumming, calm and collected even during the formidable breakdowns. By the time the final track hits, the incredible ‘Age Of Sedation’, the crowd have been completely won over and give a warm round of applause. No Sin Evades His Gaze are on fine form, and this Bloodstock performance further cements the proof that they are going to go far.
Due to a clash I am only able to catch the latter half of Brutai‘s set, but what I catch sounds excellent. The sound issues that plagued the earlier half of their half-hour have been part-way resolved by this point, the twists and turns that make up their unique sound slowly coming into focus. With touches of progressive extreme metal, metalcore and alternative metal, their songs are instantly memorable and all their own.
Felix Lawrie‘s vocals are a main focal point: his shrieks, growls and smooth cleans all flow naturally through ‘Flood’ and ‘Alpha’, as do the riffs that he and Henry Ryan provide. Drummer Mathieu Bauer, a new addition to the lineup, is also very impressive as he hammers through the songs, fluid in motion despite the song’s complexities. As the set rounds out, Brutai appear grateful for the support from the fans, and all seem to have enjoyed the set despite the technical issues. Next stop Euroblast, gents.