Bloodstock Open Air Festival part 3. Read our review from the last day of the event

Bloodstock Open Air 2023 took place August 11-13 at Catton Hall, England. We have for you the last part of our extensive coverage. We hope that we have brought you at least a little bit closer to the atmosphere of the festival!

Although Bloodstock took place 2 weeks ago, our thoughts are still walking around the festival field. We have especially for you the last part of the extensive coverage of the event by Christian Gould.

Read first and second part of our review of Bloodstock Festival.

Polish version available here.

Bloodstock Open Air Festival. The last day of the metal party.

It feels as though Bloodstock has gone by too fast as we head into the last day of the festival. As we make our way to the arena we pass tired campers making the long trek to the car parks and it’s a reminder that, after Megadeth, we’ll have to wait another 12 months for BOA ’24!

We start our final day on the Sophie Lancaster stage with 'supergroup’ Cobra the Impaler. Bloodstock describe them simply as „fans of guitar-driven music” but they have a sound heavily influenced by progressive metal and fans of Mastodon will definitely feel at home listening to Cobra. The band have an impressive CV, boasting members who have previously been in Soilwork, Aborted, Beat and Megadeth. The sparse crowd who have dragged themselves to an early Sunday afternoon slot are treated to some groovy, stoner/sludge metal blended with some progressive vocals and extreme riffing. It’s worth checking out their 2022 release, Colossal Gods.

Cobra the Impaler fot. Aleksandra Hogg

Over at the Ronnie James Dio it’s time for Polish heavyweights, Decapitated, to make their appearance. There’s no problems with the crowd here as thousands wait in front of the main stage for Rasta and his crew. As the band launch into Cancer Culture the crowd splits, chaotic circle pits open and it feels as though every head within 1000ft of the stage is banging. Decapitated are known for their continual innovation and they’ve been a pioneering force in driving death metal forward. It’s a short setlist mainly focused on recent releases Cancer Culture and Anticult but Nine Steps from the 2000 release, Winds of Creation, shows how much they’ve changed. Bombastic blast beats, precision riffing and brutal breakdowns – it’s everything you’d expect from Decapitated.

See our gallery from Decapitated at Bloodstock Festival.

Next up on the main stage are Ugly Kid Joe and as the Californians take to the stage, the Sun also makes a rare appearance. It’s a fun blend of ska, punk and rock that brings a party atmosphere to the main stage. Although UKJ are touring a new album, Rad Wings of Destiny, the overall vibe of the performance is a nostalgic trip back to a sound that defined the 1990s. As beach balls sail over the crowd and Whitfield invites everyone to just „forget everything else”, you get the feeling that sometimes nostalgia is what people need.

See our gallery from Ugly Kid Joe at Bloodstock Festival.

It’s time to head back to the Sophie Lancaster stage for one of the more unexpected bookings of Bloodstock 2023 – Church of the Cosmic Skull. CoCS are what you get if you mix a 70s arena rock band with a spiritual cult and the faithful have certainly filled the Sophie Lancaster stage. Catchy hooks, infectious choruses and a unique stage presence highlight why the band who „put the Abba in Sabbath” have managed to build themselves into a serious project. Join The Path and check out their latest release There Is No Time.

Church of the Cosmic Skull fot. Aleksandra Hogg

Sepultura crash onto the Ronnie James Dio stage with the thundering Isolation. Vocalist, Derrick Green, may be 52 now but he careens around the stage like a man half his age and his energy is contagious. Sepultura are currently touring their latest album, Quadra, but the back half of their setlist is a testament to their influence on thrash metal with the band sending the crowd into a frenzy with an encore of Arise, Ratamahatta and Roots, Bloody, Roots.

See our gallery from Sepultura at Bloodstock Festival.

Back in the Sophie Lancaster stage the crowd has started to thin out as people start picking their spots for Megadeth over at the Ronnie James Dio but those in attendance for Embodiment witness a solid display of technical death metal. It’s a mature performance built upon precise, punishing double bass, blast beats and complex riffing. Vocalist, Harry Smithson, switches rapidly between high fry-screaming and guttural lows. If you enjoy technical death metal then it’s worth listening to their latest album, Palingenesis.

Helloween were supposed to be the sub-headliners for Sunday but unfortunately had to withdraw due to illness. Drafted in at the last minute, KKs Priest are enthusiastic replacements as they rip through a setlist comprised of both their own material and some of Judas Priest’s classics. As they launch into Breaking the Law we can even hear the Food Truck workers singing along to the iconic chorus. It’s a gloriously over-the-top performance and if it wasn’t for all the Pumpkin-costumed Bloodstockers in the crowd you wouldn’t have guessed they weren’t meant to be here today

See our gallery from KKs Priest at Bloodstock Festival.

Before we finish with Megadeth we took a detour to the New Blood stage to watch bHp. For the first time, Bloodstock brought their Metal2theMasses competition to Poland and numerous upcoming acts fought for the prize of performing at Bloodstock. From Warsaw, bHp are nu-metal revivalists and represent a metal generation that grew up listening to Slipknot, Linkin Park and Avenged Sevenfold instead of the 80s greats. They storm the stage with youthful exuberance and you can see they’re looking to make the most of this opportunity. It’s a frantic whirlwind of chaotic energy with the band delivering some huge breakdowns in between harsh, Corey Taylor-inspired vocals. Expect big things from bHp.

bHP. fot. Aleksandra Hogg

Over on Sophie Lancaster it’s time for Zeal and Ardor. The band are now several years old but the concept remains unique and original. Zeal and Ardor have attracted a significant audience to the Sophie Lancaster tent to hear their blend of death metal, spiritualist gospel and blues.

Zeal and Ardor fot. Aleksandra Hogg

Megadeth headline the final day of Bloodstock and judging by the number of shirts we’ve seen they’re one of the most anticipated acts of entire weekend. Hangar 18 is a surefire way to get the crowd excited and singing before Megadeth turn to more recent releases including The Sick, The Dying and the Dead. It’s a carnival atmosphere among the crowd although Dave Mustaine appears to take offence to an enormous inflatable unicorn which floats high above the front row. It’s not a vintage performance with Mustaine appearing to lean heavily on the crowd for vocal support but the crowd are happy to embrace the role, particularly via an encore of Tornado of Souls, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells and Holy Wars.

See our gallery from Megadeth at Bloodstock Festival.

As the lights go down on the Main Stage it’s been another successful year for Bloodstock with new bands elevated as headliners and new connections forged across Europe when it comes to putting the spotlight on new acts. We’ll be looking forward eagerly to 2024 and we hope some of you can make the trip from Poland to see it with us.

Check our Sunday’s gallery of Bloodstockers!

The weekend may have been ending but people were still putting in 100% effort to enjoy themselves. Check out our gallery of fearless crowdsurfers and let us know if you can see yourself!

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