|Event:||Bloodstock Open Air 2023|
|Written by:||omne metallum|
It feels like it was only yesterday that I was dragging myself home from Sunstock 2022, the relief of no longer existing in what felt like an oven outweighing any post-festival blues, yet the highlight of my musical calendar came around again in quick fashion. After last year's heatwave-meets-heavy music experience, the news of what had occurred at Wacken and Metal Days in recent weeks meant I found myself nervous and having to prepare for a variety of situations (flip-flops or wellies: why not take both and break your back on the way carrying it all into the festival?).
The post-Covid world where bands and line-ups change at greater frequency has continued, with no less than nine bands dropping off of the line-up throughout the year (Helloween pulled out less than 24 hours before the gates opened on Thursday). Alongside stage order revamps and acts switching days, it made it seem that what was once seen as a temporary bug is now to remain a feature for the foreseeable future.
All this melted away (not me for once) as I was upon the familiar grounds of Catton Hall, and my annual four-day escape from reality began. With a line-up that mixed old favourites, new discoveries and unmissable opportunities to experience some bands live at last, Bloodstock 2023 was one of the better years I've had in all my time going.
Table Of Contents
The traditional party day to ease attendees into the weekend, it has in recent years seen the quality and size of the bands increase, turning what was once a bonus into an attraction in and of itself.
Turning up at gates not long after opening, my group breezed through after only a short thirty-minute queue at the festival gates. The phrase "no pain, no gain" clearly came about as a way to describe the experience of carrying your camping equipment and beer from car to campsite, before remembering how on Earth you turned the pile of poles and material into something resembling a tent. Once unlocking the Bear Grylls achievement was complete, so began hours of drinking and catching up with old mates before the music began.
The Violent Inzident 17:15-17:45, Sophie Lancaster Stage
The best nu metal band since... damn, been a while since a good new nu metal band dropped
Kicking off Bloodstock 2023 were nu metal party starters The Violent Inzident. Emerging to an introduction by Mr Schwarzenegger himself (I mean, you couldn't see him, but they wouldn't lie to us... would they?), the band got the party started with tongues planted firmly in their cheeks. Dressed like a nu metal Halloween party, the band kept things light and tight, not forgetting that parody music still has to be good music first and foremost. A great way to kick the party off.
Frozen Soul 18:15-19:00, Sophie Lancaster Stage
The first must-see band of the weekend for me was up next, which felt odd at such an early stage of the festival given Thursday has, until recently, always been the day to slowly ease you into the weekend proper. Still, the Texan death metallers took to the stage and put the following festival line-up on notice, playing with intensity and conviction. However, it was here on that the sound quality took a nosedive for the rest of the night, with a mix that pushed the bass and drums way too high in the mix and buried the vocals and guitars. Where you could hear everything, the band were on fire, thanks to quality tracks like "Arsenal Of War"; alas, it was a battle in vain, and one that did hold the band back from truly showing off their full capabilities.
King 810 19:35-20:35, Sophie Lancaster Stage
I saw King 810 so you don't have to
A controversial booking when the band were originally announced for the Sunday of the festival, their subsequent move to the Thursday night meant I had little excuse not to witness a King 810 show at least once in my life (aka there are no other bands on Thursday).
While the sound issues continued unabated, King 810 were one of the few bands that benefitted from being hard to hear. While I did go in with as open a mind as I could, I found myself struggling for much of the performance (performance arts meets the streets) and bemused at the direction the band's newer material has taken.
So there you have it folks: King 810 are woeful live, and the Pope is indeed Catholic, who knew?
After King 810, I needed something stronger than beer and decided to crack open the rum. Suffice to say, I woke up broken in body and spirit(s). While the sun was strong, thankfully the temperatures remained at a far more manageable level than last year. After deciding the only cure was found in the bottom of a beer can, I hit the day running like a flat tyre on a sports car. Friday was by far the strongest day for me, with a near constant stream of bands to the point I had to skip out on some due to the heat and hangover zapping my energy away.
Bloodyard 10:30-11:00, Sophie Lancaster Stage
Bloody 'ard goin'
Being the first band on after the party night is hard going, but Norwich thrashers Bloodyard rose to the occasion. With a respectable crowd, the band ushered in not only the first day proper, but a set that highlighted how yesterday's poor sound wouldn't carry over across the weekend. While I was in no shape to mosh, the same couldn't be said for others as they enthusiastically started making crop circles in front of the stage.
An enjoyable set, and one that didn't make me regret dragging myself into the arena so early in the morning.
Wolfbastard 11:20-11:50, Sophie Lancaster Stage
After a memorable set at last year's Hammerfest, Wolfbastard were an early must-see for me. With a rapidly growing crowd, the band tore through their set like Discharge with a sense of humour. Blitzing through a set peppered with highlights like "Fuck The Executioner" and "Sick In The Bath", the band made the most of the platform given to them. Get yourself out to see them ASAP. Ta!
Gatecreeper 13:45-14:30, Ronnie James Dio Stage
How does a gate creep anyway?
After a brief respite to refuel at the campsite, I turned up to the RJD stage expecting to see Sacred Reich preparing for their set. So when I saw Gatecreeper's backdrop, my heart sank and thought the thrashers were cursed, having been announced all the way back in 2019, but yet to actually turn up.
Still, I decided to make the most of things and enjoy Gatecreeper, who I was intending to see later in the afternoon anyway. The sound was as perfect as you could wish for, which was good as Gatecreeper did not let it go to waste, putting on a tight and powerful set of groove-laden death metal that shook bones and bodies throughout. With killer cuts in "Starved" and "Sick Of Being Sober", Bloodstock 2023 kept raising the bar each time another band walked up on stage.
Announcing a new album next year, the band have given the promoters a good reason to book them to come and conquer the main stage again.
Sacred Reich 14:55-15:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Finally, in the flesh
Three festivals and a brief scare earlier today, it was hard to believe Sacred Reich were actually going to turn up. As the band took to the stage with minimal fuss, it didn't hit me that the band were finally there until they kicked into the opener "The American Way", the years of anticipation meeting reality with a bang. Fans were treated to a set of thrash classics by one of the strongest purveyors of high-intensity metal. When Phil Rind would take opportunities to talk to the crowd and spread his messages, I couldn't help but think he had a striking resemblance to Jeff "The Dude" Lewbowski; I was almost disappointed he didn't ask for a white Russian.
Powered once again by the drum machine that is Dave McClain, the band were full of energy and wielded it well throughout. A spot-on rendition of "Independent" made the three-year wait worth it; hopefully the band return sooner than later, and then don’t postpone that return.
Fit For An Autopsy 16:05-16:50, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Sums up the toilets
Bloodstock has had a healthy relationship with deathcore over the years, with many a luminary of the genre appearing at least once. Will Putney has worked with many of the bands to have played on Bloodstock's main stage, yet he had not performed on it himself until now. This year's sole main stage breakdown vendors were Fit For An Autopsy. Putting their foot to the floor from start to finish, the East Coast Americans produced a 45-minute set that blended old and new with ease. Choice cuts in "Iron Moon" and the highlight of last year's classic Oh, What The Future Holds, "Far From Heaven", ensured the band left a hefty crater for a mark upon the day. Putney produced the kind of performance that reminds the audience why his reputation is as strong as it is, tearing through crunching riffs with as much power as there is ease on his side.
In Flames 19:15-20:10, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Remember when In Flames used to be cool? Pepperidge Farm remembers
After a short break to grab some food and rest my legs for the long night ahead of me, it was time to head back into the arena to catch In Flames, a band who had the potential to be the highlight of the weekend, as well as the potential to be the worst band of the weekend, depending on what kind of set list they produced. I must admit, I had high hopes and was somewhat nostalgic, as my first time seeing both tonight’s sub-headliner and headliners was at a show I had attended many moons ago with many of the group I attended this festival with. Suffice to say, nostalgia and beer made me very receptive to both bands.
While it was far from the best set list, the best compliment I could give it, is that it could have been worse. The band were tight and ensured that the songs were played well, though that didn't do too much to redeem "Everything's Gone". Still, when the band did dive deeper into their catalogue, they got an enthusiastic response to tracks like "Only For The Weak" and "Behind Space". Fridèn put in a good performance and showed some levity to the situation as he invited a member of the crowd in a pirate costume to play his bugle along to "Cloud Connected". The crowd popped as the guy soaked in what must have been the moment of his weekend and attempted to play along. Broderick seemed to fit in like a hand in glove, giving the heavier moments a touch of technicality that his style brings.
While the newer stuff was, at best, tolerated rather than celebrated, In Flames put on a strong showing and one that built the anticipation for the headliner even higher. The band passed the test, though could have done better with the set list.
In Flames setlist:
01. The Great Deceiver
02. Everything's Gone
03. Where The Dead Ships Dwell
04. Darker Times
06. Behind Space
07. Cloud Connected
08. Only For The Weak
09. Foregone, Pt. 1
10. State Of Slow Decay
12. The Mirror's Truth
13. I Am Above
14. Take This Life
Killswitch Engage 21:10-22:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Killing in the name of
With the hype and nostalgia train well and truly picking up steam as the band were taking to the stage for their first UK festival headline performance, Killswitch Engage strode onto stage with purpose, precision... and humour. Though they were a somewhat controversial pick as headliner when they were announced last year, the large and eager crowd that awaited them tonight showed that when push came to shove, KSE were an astute choice for the top billing.
Kicking off with a blistering "My Curse", KSE tore through a twenty-one song set in an hour and a half without skimping on the banter or feeling like they were rushing themselves. Taking in songs old and new, classics and deep cuts, the varied set list had some slight lulls, but the enthusiasm and conviction in the performance of Jesse Leach and Adam D compensated for this and then some, with the likes of "Reckoning" and "Hate By Design" feeling as big as certified classics "Fixation On The Darkness" or "Rose Of Sharyn". The band solidified their position as a festival headliner with a performance and pyro show that had the audience hooked on every note and singing along to every word.
Killswitch Engage need to come back to these shores more often, if not for some of the best live shows going, but to show Adam D cider, given he mistook the jugs of cider people were drinking from in the crowd, for bottles of urine. Strongbow may indeed taste like piss, but the mango cider that was on sale at the bar (and came in aforementioned jugs) was something to enjoy... in large quantities.
Killswitch Engage setlist:
01. My Curse
02. Rise Inside
03. This Fire
05. The Arms Of Sorrow
06. In Due Time
07. Beyond The Flames
08. The Signal Fire
10. Hate By Design
11. The Crownless King
12. Rose Of Sharyn
13. Reject Yourself
14. Fixation On The Darkness
15. Strength Of The Mind
16. The Element Of One
17. A Bid Farewell
18. This Is Absolution
19. The End Of Heartache
20. My Last Serenade
21. Holy Diver
Candlemass 22:40-00:00, Sophie Lancaster Stage
As a result of staying for the whole of Killswitch Engage, I arrived to a packed-out Sophie Lancaster Stage, with Candlemass already in motion; this was slightly fortuitous, as it meant the band were already up to speed (well, as speedy as doom gets). Leading the rammed tent through a set of classic after classic, Candlemass ensured those that were still standing were well rewarded for their perseverance, treating them with a crisp-sounding set that just let the music do most of the talking. Their first appearance in the UK since the reunion with Längqvist, it was one that reminded the audience that for as loud and technical as metal can get, sometimes stripping things back to basics can be as entertaining.
Day one drew to a close as the last peals of "Solitude" rang out across the stage. While I was finally able to see Sacred Reich again, I think I would have to opt and say Killswitch Engage pipped everyone to band of the day owing to a set packed with songs I grew up with played to near perfection.
While the music stopped with Candlemass, my night continued for many more hours, something I would grow to regret as Saturday rolled on. With the weather much more of a mixed bag than yesterday, Saturday would see most of my time spent socialising and drinking rather than watching bands, as the day's offerings for me served up quality over quantity. Arriving into the arena later than the previous day, I discovered other people smarter than I was who didn't destroy their livers last night (or were far more masochistic and wanted to punish themselves even more) and were already well into a rockfit session in the sun. The sea of corpse-painted metalheads struggling to throw shapes to "Ace Of Spades", however, made for some early morning entertainment as I ate breakfast.
Tortured Demon 11:20-11:50, Sophie Lancaster Stage
A slightly later start for myself was a welcome act of mercy for my aching head. Still, I knew I had to drag myself to the arena in order to catch Tortured Demon, especially as they had apparently got my memo and added another guitarist since I had seen them last year. Powering through a set leaning heavily on their latest album, the band showed a surprising leap in quality, aided by a sound that made Thursday night but a distant memory. "Disfavour" and "Virtual Death" made for some early morning exercise in the form of moshing and walls of death galore. If the band continue on this trajectory, then I can see them returning to the main stage in the not-too-distant future.
If Radu wasn't so against good music, they'd be on this site.
Urne 11:45-12:20, Ronnie James Dio Stage
The fastest milkman in the West
Up next were one of the discoveries of my weekend during Bloodstock 2021; Urne rewarded my choice to leave the Sophie tent early to get a good spot with a set that should cement their position at the head of an emerging wave of up-and-coming British bands... sorry, I've just received a note from my editor to inform me that a band called Vulgaris are the top new British band [editor: damn straight].
With a large crowd, Urne made their mark in style; while it initially seemed the trio would be lost on a large stage, vocalist and bass player Nally moved around the vacant space as the music filled in any sensory perception you may have had. Blending old and new, Urne seamlessly assembled a set that will likely be spoken about for years to come, as the band's powerful riffs and harmonies blasted out in crystal clear fashion, highlighting the quality of musicianship on display. The opening strains of "Serpent & Spirit" sent chills down the spine, laying down the gauntlet on a forty-minute set that made the self-evident case for why people need to see this band. If you get a chance to see Urne live, I highly recommend you take it.
Royal Republic 12:45-13:25, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Now to blow whatever metal cred I had left, and admit I think Royal Republic are great, putting on some of the best live shows going. I was bemused and excited when they were announced for Bloodstock, with the band themselves and many online also questioning why they were there. Still, as their set time drew closer, the audience grew larger and larger, before long filling out the field; clearly those in attendance didn't get the memo that the band weren't metal enough.
How good were they? Well, the best way to sum up the scene was by looking at the surrounding crowd, with one member in particular summing it up well. Picture a corpse-painted metalhead in a Burzum t-shirt and denim trench coat, packed with enough black metal patches to make the wearer automatically a suspect should the smoke detector so much as beep when the vicar burns his toast. Within minutes of the band taking stage, said audience member was dad dancing like he was at Beetlejuice's wedding. Pure, undistilled fun.
Easily the most fun I had all weekend... Then, as with most English summers, the rain arrived.
Crowbar 14:55-15:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Wonder if they ever got rain on Xen?
Luckily, the rain had lulled by the time Gordon Freeman's favourite band walked on stage (though it would make a return towards the end of Crowbar's set). Led by the man with a beard that would make ZZ Top blush, Windstein and company drew a sizeable crowd with some solid sludge metal. Though the band sounded on point, there were a few hiccups on stage that punctuated the gap between tracks and slowed any momentum the band had built. Still, when they were treating the audience to classic cuts like "High Rate Extinction" and "Planets Collide", these little niggles were hidden under huge sonic waves. Although a few peeled away due to the rain, Crowbar convinced the majority of the audience to stick out it out with them, and make getting wet a worthwhile trade off to hear the low and slow of those riffs.
Gutalax 18:25-19:10, Sophie Lancaster Stage
When I heard Gutalax were booked, I knew I had to go see them for myself. While I only got to witness about fifteen minutes of them in order to get a good spot for the following band (I have no regrets), what a wild and wacky fifteen minutes they were: a checkbox exercise that became an experience.
Triptykon performing Celtic Frost 18:55-20:10, Ronnie James Dio Stage
While I was disappointed when Anthrax pulled out, the replacement more than made up for it. After seeing Hellhammer at UK Deathfest last year, I was looking to complete the Tom G Warrior trifecta, and tonight provided a chance to tick two of those boxes off in one go. Playing material drawn from the 1984/1985 era of Celtic Frost (no Cold Lake unfortunately), the band had a set that just lay classic upon classic. While Warrior did address the audience briefly (even attempting a joke addressing the audience as Download Festival), the band let the music do the talking, and props to Triptykon for just putting their heads down and give the audience as much material as they could fit into the slot. While the bass player’s mic was too low in the mix, the rest of the sound was on point and perfect to breathe power into some of the best blackened proto-thrash going.
My pick for band of the weekend; while they were run close by others, the quality and rarity of the material on show was this year's Mercyful Fate must-see event for me. Not bad for a replacement, eh? Oh, sorry, UGH!
01. Danse Macabre
02. Into The Crypts Of Rays
03. Visions Of Mortality
04. Dethroned Emperor
05. Morbid Tales
06. The Usurper
07. Jewel Throne
08. Suicidal Winds
09. Return To The Eve
10. Procreation (Of The Wicked)
11. (Beyond The) North Winds
12. Nocturnal Fear
13. Visual Aggression
14. Dawn Of Megiddo
15. Circle Of The Tyrants
16. Dawn Of Megiddo
17. Necromantical Screams
Trollfest 20:00-21:00, Sophie Lancaster Stage
After Triptykon had finished, I decided to grab some food and watch Trollfest from outside the tent. I knew the band weren't really my thing, but credit to them as they managed to pack out the tent and get a sizeable chunk of those inside moving like loons. I got to hear "Toxic" though, which was more than enough for me.
Meshuggah 21:10-22:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
No Moshuggah today
It then came time for Meshuggah to take the step up to the top of the bill. While I've not been the biggest fan of Meshuggah, no matter how often I give them a go, I decided to try and see if experiencing them live would convert me. Well, tonight did help me make up my mind towards the band; unfortunately, it was that they are not really not my thing.
Typically, I enjoy the occasional song by the band, but find whole albums don't hold my interest for long. It ended up being similar live, with the initial excitement fading after a few songs. The lack of live show or much in the way of fan interaction left the spotlight solely on the music; not a bad thing if you're enjoying the music, but in this scenario it just sped up my weariness. I ended up leaving early; I gave them a go and can tick them off my list, but I can't say I'm any more of a fan as a result of seeing them live.
01. Broken Cog
02. Light The Shortening Fuse
03. Rational Gaze
05. The Hurt That Finds You First
06. Ligature Marks
07. Born In Dissonance
08. In Death - Is Life
09. In Death - Is Death
10. The Abysmal Eye
11. Straws Pulled At Random
13. Future Breed Machine
As dawn broke on the final day of the festival, the usual mix of melancholy and disbelief raised its head. It honestly felt like the weekend had come and gone in the blink of an eye. Still, all the more reason to enjoy it while I could. Today was another day where I had fewer bands I wanted to see, but those that I did want to see were big attractions to me.
Not helping issues was the persistent problem of a lack of stable internet connection throughout the weekend, meaning that we could see bad weather coming but lacked regular updates as to when exactly. Thus, after the morning rains passed, the campsites emptied out and many decided to travel light for the rest of the day, so they could leave at a moment's notice if needs be. This fed into the other big problem of the day; namely, the arena was already packed out with day trippers as the day had sold out, which was not helped by the sea of camping chairs from those who were camping, but had now packed all bar their chairs into their cars. This made moving around the arena a slow, annoying and bottlenecked process.
Uuhai 11:45-12:25, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Thanks to a mixture of waiting for the rain to pass and packing up our campsite early, it meant my day started later than originally planned. Still, although aching from the trek to and from the car park, Uuhai held my attention, if not able to rouse much of an energetic response from me. The band were on form and were well received by many in the audience; I was just too tired in the moment to be able to truly appreciate what I was watching.
Beyond Your Design 12:45-13:15, New Blood Stage
My sole venture into the New Blood stage this year as a result of clashes elsewhere, Beyond Your Design put on a strong showing for those in attendance, and made me regret not being able to catch more bands on this stage across the weekend. The band's heavy metalcore sound hit the spot and offered a good foundation which the band could build on in future years.
Decapitated 14:55-15:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Where's your head at?
From here on in, traversing across the arena became a game of picking a path and trying not to trip over the camping chair hidden amongst the crowds of people. Still, Decapitated seemed enthused by the packed-out arena and put on the best performance I've seen from them yet. With Vogg's guitar nicely balanced in the mix as power and precision met on the head of a pin, the band tore through a set of technical metal that the audience ate up in eager fashion.
With the set nicely split between old and new material, Decapitated paced their set well; front-loading with their latest songs, the band seemed to be going up a gear with each passing track, keeping the audience's interest peaked throughout the set. The band were on top form and put on a performance that should have won over a good chunk of new fans; hopefully they get a bigger spot the next time they return to Catton Hall.
Church Of The Cosmic Skull 16:50-17:30, Sophie Lancaster Stage
This counts as attending Church on Sunday right?
Another on my must-see list, Church Of The Cosmic Skull filled out the tent for a set of care-free prog that transported listeners back to the '70s with their retro sound. Though prog and forty-minute sets don't usually mix (what's that, one and half Dream Theater songs?), the band managed to make the most of the time they had and give attendees a taste of classics like "Everybody's Going To Die" alongside two new cuts.
Getting an audience to dance this late on in a festival is an achievement, one that the band accomplished with what felt like no extra effort beyond just being themselves. A strong showing from a group that I have yet to see put on a bad show.
Sepultura 17:15-18:15, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Don't think I've ever looked forward to hearing new Sepultura songs before
Having to leave Church early was tough, but the chance to hear a revitalised Sepultura play some good new songs in amongst the classics, rather than the usual ‘tolerate the new stuff until they get to the hits’, was something I could not pass up thanks to Quadra. Derrick Green seems to have had new life breathed into him, as his vocals were the best I've heard them, with the likes of "Means To An End" being roared with a power and conviction I've not seen before. The rest of the band were tight, and kept the momentum going throughout the hour they were onstage. The usual run of classics that closed out the set saw the mosh pits go wild, as the likes of "Arise" and "Roots" received the response you would expect from such stone-cold classics. Sepultura made a strong case for not just being a legacy band at this point; instead they are a going concern again.
Embodiment 18:10-18:55, Sophie Lancaster Stage
Out of body experience
It was a shame more of the crowd didn't venture over to the Sophie Stage after Sepultura had finished, as Embodiment appeared to have won the lottery in terms of picking up such a prominent spot on the line-up (replacing someone, though can't remember whom). Almost tripping over themselves with gratitude, the Bristol death metallers put on a show that was honed to the note in order to make the most of the opportunity. The songs aren't quite there yet, but they put on enough of a show to put themselves on my radar for future reference.
KK's Priest 18:55-20:10, Ronnie James Dio Stage
A last-minute replacement for Helloween who pulled out on the Thursday, credit where it is due to KK's Priest for stepping in so late. Giving the audience what they wanted, much of their set compromised of Judas Priest material, with a few solo songs slotted in here and there. The chair brigade became a lot more active during this time, and the audience was up and dancing around to the classics. It made for a good victory lap for the weekend, hearing the likes of "Breaking The Law" blast out with electrifying power. Though KK perhaps overdo the ego stroking with the constant reminders of his accomplishments, I must admit the band were able to hold their own, with Ripper Owens threatening to pull the spotlight onto himself.
Megadeth 21:10-22:40, Ronnie James Dio Stage
Now came the real highlight of the day and weekend for me (yes, I'm a fanboy): Megadeth made sure the third time was the charm for Bloodstock and put on their best show out of the three they've done here in the past. In front of a sold-out crowd, Megadeth were tight and intense throughout the hour and half they were on stage. Mustaine's vocals were strong and powerful tonight, which made cuts like "Trust" and "Dystopia" even more powerful, as it wasn't a case of tolerating him for the music. Kiko and Van Bruren ensured the live renditions were on point throughout, locking in within seconds of a track kicking off.
While it was disappointing that there wasn't enough variation in the set list given the strength and depth of their discography (with only one song off their latest album in "We'll Be Back", it really did make you wonder if Mustaine forgets he has several albums he can tap for more material), it was nevertheless good to hear "Angry Again" and "Dread And The Fugitive Mind". Mustaine was in good form, saying what we were all thinking (which is a rare event nowadays), when a giant inflatable unicorn finally burst and removed an obstruction to the view of many in the crowd.
The usual run of classics that signalled the end of a Megadeth show also signalled the end of Bloodstock, going out on one hell of a high with a three-classic run of "Tornado Of Souls", "Symphony Of Destruction" and "Peace Sells" and finally “Holy Wars... The Punishment Due”. Megadeth did what they did best and put on one hell of a show.
01. Hangar 18
02. Dread And The Fugitive Mind
03. Angry Again
04. Sweating Bullets
05. Wake Up Dead
06. In My Darkest Hour
07. We’ll Be Back
08. Conquer Or Die
11. À Tout Le Monde
12. Tornado Of Souls
13. Symphony Of Destruction
14. Peace Sells
16. Holy Wars... The Punishment Due
With that, my Bloodstock experience drew to a close. While I was aiming to see Biohazard originally, the crowded Sophie tent was already packed by the time I walked past after not missing a note of Megadeth, so the choice to leave early and beat the traffic out was taken (a good decision in the end). While I'm glad to see the festival thriving rather than barely surviving, the sea of people and chairs made traversing the site a slog on Sunday; Bloodstock have made several improvements from last year (best of all was the decision to dedicate the full stage screens to the live feed, rather than only 25% of them), but the lack of rules on camping chairs remained unaddressed.
After Sunstock last year nearly put me off going again, Bloodstock 2023 felt like the first real edition that I could sit back and enjoy since before Covid became a thing. With the quality performances being extremely high, it made for a memorable weekend, and one that reminds me why I love live music so much. Now to flip my metal calendar over to the equivalent of January 1st and wait to see what the coming months of metal have to offer.
||Written on 23.08.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.|
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