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  • Review by Faye Coulman


Stoked about Bloodstock but keen to dodge the Disney metal, dad rock and ball-clenching power ballads? Well fear not, my corpse paint-smeared, claw-throwing compadre! Because over here at Dark Matter HQ we’ve been tirelessly scouring the web to bring you our ultimate rundown of the finest underground highlights soon to grace the hallowed grounds of Catton Park this August. From savage death metal that’s heavier than a triple hammer blow to the face to crushingly desolate, doom-laden riffs, it’s time to raise your horns (and a lukewarm pint of substandard lager and/or gut-rot vodka/dodgy homebrew cider) to the Shameless Elitist’s Guide to Bloodstock Open Air. Cheers!


Photo by Mike Kingdon

Sounds like: Aborted, Cryptopsy

Signed with: Unique Leader

From relentlessly churning layers of crushing, subterranean groove and scalpel-edged lashings of reverb to breakneck feats of battering ultra-violence, precious few death metal bands are so perfectly engineered to thoroughly bludgeon the senses into submission. With intensive nationwide touring and a string of blistering studio albums having honed their savage craft to fresh heights of aggressive excellence, 2018 sees the Mancunian wrecking crew primed to make a decimating Bloodstock debut. As a record that’s richly steeped in blackly immersive aggression together with a ghoulish cacophony of contorted gargling and incandescent screams, new opus ‘The Level Above Human’ is gloriously ripe with the pungent, unmistakable reek of classic death metal. Combined with a ripping artillery of scalding riffs and tautly manipulated command of groove-laden, breakneck and darkly suspenseful pacing, theirs is as brutal and dark an assault as any death metal junkie could wish for.

For more on Ingested, check out


Sounds like: Asphyx, Melvins, Motörhead

Signed with: Nuclear Blast

You’d be forgiven for thinking the lack of a bass guitarist might somehow detract from the sonic range and richness of a band consisting of a mere two musicians. But when the dynamic duo in question happen to possess compositional talents bordering on creative genius, the resulting feat of genre-defying alchemy is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Scoring explosive critical acclaim just one year following their inception with 2013 breakthrough ‘Death by Burning’, the German/Turkish duo’s ceaselessly shifting blend of caustic textures, coldly majestic soundscapes and spine-chilling doom is quite unlike anything the genre has witnessed to date. Born from the strikingly simple, unpretentious mantra of “no gimmicks, no image, pure rage”, blistering standout ‘Schwanenstein’ sees a turbulent undertow of rock riffs ignite in a blaze of distorted and elegantly orchestrated doom. Elsewhere, bracing stints of wintry tremolo accelerate madly alongside scabrous whorls of thrash before finally dissolving in a mesmerising tangle of sumptuous guitars.

Simply put, this is electrifying, hauntingly expansive material that demands to be experienced in the raw and heated immediacy of the moment. See you in the pit!

For more on Mantar, visit


Photo by David Ruff

Sounds like: Soilwork, Lamb of God

Signed with: Century Media

With their restlessly energised splicing of sinewy groove, stirringly epic chorus lines and turbulent lashings of notey intricacies, there’s no overstating the seismic leaps and strides these gifted Glaswegians have made since starting out as a humble cover band back in 2005. Having scored a string of glowing reviews and prestigious live performances alongside such iconic heavyweights as Soilwork and Megadeth, the year 2018 finds these youthful aggressors on tautly practised and electrifying form. Combining the densely expansive groove of Lamb of God with an intelligently penned repertoire of riffs whose darkly melodic throes glimmer with an unmistakably Scandinavian flavour, newly unleashed opus ‘Era’ is guaranteed to make for exhilarating live material.

For more on Bleed From Within, check out


Sounds like: early Slipknot, Meshuggah

Signed with: Independent

It’s easy to dismiss Mortishead’s theatrical penchant for army boots, uniforms and corporate suits as the stuff of mindless, attention-seeking spectacle. But from the moment the Bristolian six-piece’s raging tsunami of darkly expansive grooves and frenetic riffage violently engulfs the senses, there’s no mistaking the unrelenting darkness and scorching energy that underlines this nightmarish metallic hybrid.

Splicing immense slabs of chugging bass and bloodcurdling screams alongside layer upon layer of dusky, electronic atmospheres, this curious melange of influences finds a rich source of inspiration in dystopian tales of power-hungry cruelty and corruption. Of their now-imminent, anticipated stint at Bloodstock Open Air this year, the band comments, "We last played Bloodstock in 2015 after winning M2TM in Bristol and it was savagely good. To be invited back three years later is incredible, especially when you’re aware of how many bands there are out there that want these shows. It means a lot to us and to prove it we’re going all out - including pyro. Join us on the Friday in the Sophie tent where we will deliver 30 minutes of explosive, aggressive, fire-filled bludgeoning chaos!"

For more on Mortishead, check out


Sounds like: The Haunted, At The Gates, Cannibal Corpse

Signed with: Independent

Despite their easily detectable strains of raggedly abrasive thrash and madly accelerating, Scandi-style riffage, the past six years have seen these Derbyshire talents painstakingly craft these respective influences into a fiendishly unique identity that’s unmistakably their own. First established back in 2012, the fast-rising quintet were quick to garner rave reviews off the back of a string of blistering live performances culminating in their breakthrough debut at Bloodstock a mere three years later. Underpinning breakneck episodes of thorny, viciously abrasive fretwork and reverb-laden grooves that richly abound with The Haunted’s violently energised presence, it’s no surprise that Forgotten Remains are fast becoming famed as one of the UK’s finest extreme contenders. With their profile having risen still further since these early formative years, 2018 sees the band poised to make an anticipated return to Catton Park alongside some of the world’s most prestigious international metal talent.

For more on Forgotten Remains, check out


Sounds like: Mayhem, Bathory, Pink Floyd

Signed with: Century Media

A band of such towering, brimstone-scorched status and notoriety certainly needs no lavishly penned introduction or preamble. And no doubt word of Watain’s hugely anticipated headlining set has already spread far and wide among their worldwide legions of devoted fans and followers.

But we just couldn’t help but pay homage to a band of visionary Swedes who, in 2010, single-handedly revolutionised a hitherto jaded and creatively stagnating genre with their madly accelerating episodes of scabrous, grave-scented riffage and stunning progressive arrangements. With ‘Lawless Darkness’ having been hailed as an instant, genre-defining classic, the extensive touring cycles that followed saw the trio’s notorious live rituals of blood-drenched horror and fire enthrall and appall in equal measure. From thorny, darkly intoxicating riffage and brimstone-scorched screams that leave enraptured listeners drunk on adrenaline to splashing shell-shocked spectators with reeking lashings of rotten blood, nothing quite compares to this nightmarish and darkly absorbing assault on the human senses.

For more on Watain, check out

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