We probably all know about the big hitters headlining Bloodstock and those high up on the bill, and will have picked our favourites and “must sees” of the weekend already, but a festival is always a great place for getting a taste of newer bands or even checking out older bands that may never have crossed your radar.

So, This Is Not A Scene tasked Dewie with selecting a few choice acts you might want to get yourself front and centre for over the weekend. Full 4-day tickets are still available and day tickets have just gone on sale for only £60 a pop, so join us for the best weekend in the heavy metal calendar – Bloodstock Open Air.
____________________________________

Nuclear AssaultFirst up is Friday, which sees the main stage being opened by original thrash legends Nuclear Assault. Although never part of the Big 4, they were arguably as influential as the likes of Anthrax and Slayer back in the day and regularly toured with them to widespread critical and fan acclaim across Europe and the USA.

Driven by the vicious bass assault of Dan Lilker (Brutal Truth and, of course, originally slamming four strings for Anthrax) they emerged onto the thrash scene with the ferocious “Game Over” in 1986, following it with “Survive” in 1988 and then in 1989 the (quite frankly essential) classic slab of ferocity that is “Handle With Care”.

John Connelly’s trademark vocals and a million crunchy riffs cemented them as pioneers of the genre. Having disbanded, reformed and put out a fine album in 2005, fans have had to wait until this year for more new tunes, and the “Pounder” EP did not disappoint.

Having been lucky enough to catch them a few weeks ago at Hellfest I can assure you they still deliver the goods and will kick your weekend off with some proper headbanging lunacy.

Tracks to check out:

Hang The Pope

Trail Of Tears

Critical Mass

Buttfuck

_________________________________________________________________________________
Armored SaintMid-afternoon the main stage will be graced by the mighty Armored Saint, another gang of ’80s stalwarts reformed, re-energised and still kicking arses. I was lucky enough to see at them at Hellfest too and, despite an initially muddy sound, they put on a sublime performance from start to finish.

The distinctive vocals of John Bush (once poached from their ranks to front Anthrax and, of course, Metallica tried to nab him before that too) still provide wonderful power and melody overlaying the staccato riffs of Joey Vera (bassist but key composer in the band).

With huge hooks and pit-inducing grooves it is always a wonder they didn’t reach the heady heights of some of their label-mates back in the day, but their reunion and recent albums have proved they are a force to be reckoned with.

Latest release “Win Hands Down” is worth checking out, especially the storming title track and any self-respecting fan of full-on metal should get hold of their classic album “Raising Fear”.

With plenty of singalong moments and a guaranteed ear-piercing from Bush, who still nails those high notes, you’d be unwise to miss the Saint.

Tracks to check out:

Win Hands Down

Reign Of Fire

Raising Fear

March Of The Saint

__________________________________________________________________________________

OafOver on the SOPHIE stage there is plenty of fun to be had too.

South coast sociopaths Oaf make a welcome return to Bloodstock and have a fine track record of bludgeoning and bewildering crowds in equal measure. A unique combo featuring the jazz-laden stylings of James Rayment on drums (plus occasional backing vocals, quips and tweed propaganda) and the infamous Metal Hammer scribe Dom Lawson on bass and vocals, their punk-prog-grind-jazz explosion is intense and occasionally fruity.

With two albums of genuinely brilliant lyrics and jarring riff assaults under their belts, they are certain to set the pace for the day with mind-bending aural horrors. The Cardiacs-meets-Napalm Death-meets-Tom Waits originality of this band is difficult to describe and certainly shouldn’t be done by attempting to list a mix of three different artists.

Make sure you’re down the front and don’t forget to buy the singer a pint of cider as he gets quite thirsty after a few songs.

Tracks to check out:

Eggbound

Fuck Off Seagull

I’m Retarded

No More Tickets For The Time Machine

_________________________________________________________________________________

Ne ObliviscarisNe Obliviscaris hail from Australia and their latest album, “Citadel”, is a maelstrom of influences and instrumentation with the guitars duelling with violin, piano and even xylophone. Fusing elements of death metal with progressive and technical arrangements, they weave pummelling yet intricate sonic soundscapes and the layered vocals round out their enormous sound. I own both their albums and have played their latest to death but have yet to catch them live so expect to see me at the barrier with a pint of something dark and bitter and a grin from ear to ear.

Fans of anyone from Rotting Christ to Cynic to Dream Theater will enjoy the Melbourne mob’s incendiary performance.

Tracks to check out:

Painters Of The Tempest (Part II)

Pyrrhic

Devour Me, Colossus (Part I)

As Icicles Fall

__________________________________________________________________________________

IAmII Am I are the power metal underdogs on the rise, fronted by the charismatic vocal acrobat that is ZP Theart (formerly of DragonForce). They will be thundering along at a phenomenal pace but with less widdle and more punch than ZP’s former colleagues.

Having already gone down a storm at Bloodstock 2012 they are back and will hopefully treat us to a new tune or two. Debut album “Event Horizon” was full of crowd-pleasing hard rock anthems and the follow up is due later this year.

Tracks To Check Out:

See You Again

This Is My Life

Kiss Of Judas

In The Air Tonight (don’t worry – it’s not a cover of the Phil Collins track)

———————————————————————————————-

ConanConan should be known to most metalheads, but if not then please make sure you are in the same tent as them at Bloodstock and please make sure you bring earplugs and a nappy.

There is very little else to say about them other than if you have one of those mates that tells you Pantera were the heaviest band ever (and then someone else pipes up that actually it’s Crowbar or Triptykon) then re-educate them on Friday evening.

Conan will crush you like a newborn puppy being fired into a black hole. They make Black Sabbath sound about as slow and doomy as Abba. They don’t mess about, they will not be telling you to start a circle pit, they will not be engaging in jovial banter between songs and they won’t play that one you can sing along to. They will kick your fucking teeth in and then saunter off to have a pint whilst you try to stop your eyeballs vibrating.

Check out “Conan – Mount Wrath: Live at Roadburn 2012” here

Tracks to check out:

Foehammer

Satsumo

Crown Of Talons

Hawk As Weapon

Well there we have it. Tune in again same time next week for our guide to Saturday’s ones to watch, featuring more video clips, unnecessary swear words and unwieldy similes.