It’s been another mega afternoon here at Bloodstock as the sun continues to beat down. It’s clear that the traders will have to pack up the rain ponchos for another year, although plenty of umbrellas have been utilised as parasols. Today, Jinjer and vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk grabbed the headlines.
Fresh from their set on New Blood, Sheffield’s Steel Mage are buzzing. And with good reason, too, they captivated the crowd with an impressive and energetic set of melodic hardcore. For their part, it was an “absolutely surreal experience, a dream come true for all of us.”
Their energy was slightly tempered by vocalist Josh Watson’s broken ankle limiting movement due to performing in a cast, but he made up for that in vocal force. He’s taking it all in his stride, though, telling us, “It is quite a hindrance as I usually move quite a lot on stage, and I’ve no choice but to stay in one spot, but I’ve got to run with it.”
Or not, in this case. Was it a Rock’n’Roll injury? “More lifestyle, really,” he says thoughtfully. “Alcohol was involved,” confirms bassist Tom. Established in the Yorkshire scene but with eyes further afield, the band speak highly of their fan base and peers. And extremely highly of Bloodstock, too, especially the community and family feel, not to mention the experience of rubbing shoulders with some of their idols growing up.
“We’ve met some of the Metal GOATs,” Tom says. “It’s really inspirational.” On the back of this set, which saw the appearance of Lost In Ambivalence, a track from their new album As The Chapel Falls, it’s clear that the standard they have set for themselves remains high, and they are ones to watch out for.
Sylosis seem to be an ever-shifting entity, never happy to rest on their laurels as they invent new styles of sub-genre and then seek to push the envelope even further. With the scorched earth vocals of main man Josh Middleton at the helm and the fury of the guitars, bass and drums, it’s a tsunami of face-melting shredding and enough power to light up whole cities.
With a four-year hiatus behind them, there’s a renewed vigour and purpose here, their ability to create something epically melodic and angry. There was little chance for those packed in front of the Ronnie James Dio stage to get away from their giant hooks, and this proved to be a victory lap for a band who are searching for the next mountain to climb. Unstoppable.
Over on the Sophie Stage, Cyhra provided a melodic Euro Metal hit, the Finnish crew bringing a bit of their own upbeat, good time rock’n’roll with polish. Frontman Jake E provided a compelling and likeable presence, rallying the troops with a high-energy performance that was reminiscent of Joey Tempest at his best.
Songs like Dreams Gone Wrong and The Land Of Eternal Pain may sound like Death Metal titles, but the positivity that shines here is buoyed even further by mighty hooks that were big enough to get Greenpeace worried.
Probably the most emotional moment of the festival so far was the long-awaited return to the stage of Jinjer, the Ukraine quartet, one of the most loved bands on the planet right now. Sure, the viral frenzy caused by ‘that’ song might have brought them global fame, but the conflict in their homeland has helped further unite the Metal community. With a crowd full of yellow and blue flags greeting them, this was something akin to a celebration at the end of a Cup Final.
Technically, the band are hard to beat, the drums, bass and guitar full of nuance and laser precise targeting, each note a seismic shock, but it was Tatiana Shmailyuk who was the main focus of attention. She’s a striking figure, dressed in black and standing on a podium at the front of the stage, but it’s her extraordinary vocals that have grabbed the headlines.
While an eviscerating and poignant Home Back hit the hardest emotionally, it was Pisces that saw a sea of mobile phones held aloft, the ripple of electricity of its opening notes growing into a huge wave.
For some, this was THE moment of Bloodstock, but for us, as a Metal community, the fight to support Jinjer against all those in the world trying to control and make the masses conform was brought together in those perfect minutes where the band destroyed the stage.
Hearts broken and mended, their fight is an inspiration. Rock has always been about rebellion, and Jinjer distil this into one perfect, furious package. The giants are already here.
Bloodstock 2022 will be held over the long weekend of 11-14 August 2022. MetalTalk’s Liz Medhurst, John Inglis and Paul Monkhouse will be reporting from Catton Park.
VIP and campervan tickets are sold out. Standard weekend camping tickets (just £145 + fees for 4 days of Heavy Metal glory) plus day and child tickets are also available. Children under 4 can come for free.
You can read all the MetalTalk Bloodstock coverage at metaltalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022