Rewind back to May 28th 2001 – a bank holiday Monday in the UK. There never seems to be much going on during bank holidays that doesn’t usually involve large traffic queues or masses of people filling town centres and frequenting pub beer gardens.
Just over 15 years ago I was in Derby attending the inaugural Bloodstock Festival with about 700 other people. I don’t know what the organisers had in mind for the festival this far along the line, but I doubt they could have imagined it being as successful and as big as it is right now. By European festival standards and even near neighbours Download it is minuscule with its capacity around the 15,000 mark – on a par with an arena – but over the years they’ve dragged bands to the UK for their debut appearance and gone from strength to strength without seemingly loosing their family run integrity.
For me, the later stages of the debut lineup was pretty hit and miss for me. I’m not the world’s greatest Saxon fan and had no idea who Glen Hughes was. I’ve never really been taken to Blaze’s post Wolfsbane output. A dose of German power metal in the form of Primal Fear on what I believe was their first time here was a draw, but I recall them getting boring very quickly. I knew members of Freebase and Underule at the time which was an added bonus. I’d never seen Sabbat during their original run, so this was my first (and I though only) opportunity to see them live. Also around that time ex-Sabbat frontman Martin Walkyier was in one of my favourite bands of the moment namely Skyclad.
Prior to this day in Derby I’d seen the band twice (I think) at the Wheatsheaf in Stoke and a year earlier at their tenth anniversary show held in the Mapperley Social Club in Nottingham. Even though the band are still a going concern they are without Walkyier and from the snippets I’ve heard they’re are less metal and much more folk.
Before folk-metal became popular throughout Europe and, in comparison, household names like Turisas, Ensiferum and Týr were conceived, Skyclad were the archetypal folk metal band. Skyclad weren’t too dissimilar to what he was doing with Sabbat on their two albums, they just embraced the pagan aesthetics a bit more and eventually added a violin player to the rosta.
Martin Walkyier has always been a superb wordsmith and many titles have been puns and a play on words. Good time drinking songs sat well on the early release and rubbed shoulders with environmental and social topics.
Thinking Allowed is the opening track to the bands third album Jonah’s Ark. I think it was this record that came with a voucher where you could send of fir a VHS video of live footage. I can remember sending off for it and it taking and absolute age to arrive. I know I still have it upstairs, but I actually don’t think I’ve watched it.