Ten Bands You Must Check Out at Bloodstock 2023 – Ronnie James Dio / Sophie Lancaster Stages

It’s that time of year again! Bloodstock 2023 is right around the corner and attendees are spoilt for choice when it comes to bands. Across all four stages, there are an immense array of bands from a wide number of genres within the rock and metal sphere. Deciding who to see is not going to be an easy choice.

So, we’ve decided to help you out here. By offering up ten bands, in no particular order, that we think you should check out. Ten from Carl and ten from Brendan. This article is focusing on the Ronnie James Dio stage and Sophie Lancaster stage only. New Blood and Jägermeister stage bands will get their own list.

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Brendan – Visions of Atlantis (Sophie Stage – Thursday)

I must admit I was really disappointed when Warkings dropped off of the bill and was equally concerned that they may just get replaced by another hardcore band so was really happy with Bloodstock when they booked a similar styled band to Warkings in Visions of Atlantis. Checking them out after they were announced, for mostly the first time, we are due to get the big party of the Thursday night with bouncy symphonic/power metal with a pirate/naval theme. Picture the scene, cold beers, hyped up first day excitement and then energetic power/symphonic metal – perfect.

Carl – Wolfbastard (Sophie Stage – Friday)

Without knowing when exactly Wolfbastard are playing, I can harbour a guess that it might be around midday which makes the blackened d-beat metal band the perfect lunchtime treat. Wolfbastard are noisy buggers and if you’re still in the campsite when they play, you’re going to hear them. I’m expecting this show to be chaotic. An energetic, sweaty and violent (in a good way) show.

Brendan – In Flames (RJD Stage – Friday)

In Flames are an iconic band in possibly my favourite sub-genre of metal – melodic death metal – yet I am pretty sure I have never seen them live. That’s a travesty really and I am glad I will finally put that right here at Bloodstock this year. Weirdly, I don’t always love all of their output, but I like enough that I should really enjoy this showing and also their latest album, Foregone, is a really strong album. Bucket List band completion for me with this one.

Carl – Gaerea (Sophie Stage – Friday)

I’ve been waiting for this. I was blown away by the black metaller’s album Mirage last year and fate has meant that I’ve had to wait to see them. No more though as they’re at Bloodstock and on the Sophie stage, which might be the perfect place for them. I want to be immersed and I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Brendan – Urne (RJD Stage – Saturday)

Amazing that this will be my third time seeing Urne already with a previous Bloodstock, this years Incineration Festival and now this, making up those numbers. Every time I see them, I am reminded of how much talent exists in the so called “underground” and Urne are at the very top of the pile. They are a captivating band to watch, equally heavy and melodic and generate a wall of noise and power and with their new album, A Feast on Sorrow due to drop just before the festival, it should be another mighty showing from the talented group.

Carl – Urne (RJD Stage – Saturday)

Last time they played Bloodstock, it was on the Sophie stage and it was one of the best shows of the entire weekend. This time, it’s the main stage and they have a new album (A Feast on Sorrow) out the week before too. Incineration Fest earlier this year was a taster, I’m stoked to see Urne making such ground as they are more than deserving of this opportunity. It’s going to be very special indeed.

Brendan – Tortured Demon (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

The growth of these guys is just insane and so well deserved. I last saw them at a festival in Manchester a year or two back and since then they have released their mightily impressive sophomore album, Rise of the Lifeless which cemented what most of us already knew – these guys have a big future ahead of them. Heavy as hell, energetic and relatable, they really deserve their higher slot on the Sophie stage, having last absolutely rammed out the Jager stage, and could be one of the “where you there” moments of the whole festival.

Carl – Tortured Demon (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

They’re back and they have a ton of banging new tracks to play, thanks to the release of their new album, Rise of the Lifeless. Last time they played, I just about say the top of their heads as the Jägermeister stage was so rammed. They proved then that they were a special band and now they take the next step up. Main stages are in this band’s future, but for now, I’ll settle for giving myself neck ache on the Sophie stage.

Brendan – Dakesis (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

The Birmingham based progressive/power metallers are a really talented group with catchy tracks, powerful vocals and an insanely gifted guitarist. We were lucky enough to catch them at Aoniafest in Sheffield just a few weeks back and they really impressed and are well deserving of their chance high up the bill on the Sophie stage. They are a highly regarded band here in the UK and for a reason and would probably not be far off headlining this stage if not for the dreaded Covid which came at the worst possible time for these guys when their amazing last album, Fractures dropped almost on the week of the first lockdown. But here they are, still fighting, still wowing audiences and this should be an epic showing from a deserving band.

Carl – Tribe of Ghosts (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

Last year it was the New Blood stage, this year it’s the Sophie stage. The rise of Tribe of Ghosts has been nothing short of remarkable. Their industrial/post-metal sound is so very appealing and I was very impressed by them last year. A year is a long time and I’ve grown really fond of this band. Their latest output is incredible and I’m expecting them to give this everything they have.

Brendan – Tribe of Ghosts (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

Well now these are an interesting proposition. The Brighton based industrial/post metal band were only slightly on my radar until they were announced which led me to checking them out further and I find them to be a really interesting band. Certainly something that stands out from the norm with elements to their sound that challenges my little mind in great ways. They have plenty of heaviness, huge atmosphere, blended industrial elements, harsh vocals, haunting cleans, riffs, synth – you name it. I am really hoping to catch their show and see if their live performance can transform my interest into being a real fan. I do love a band who challenge the norm.

Carl – Skin Failure (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

Progressive thrash with touches of hardcore, Skin Failure might be a newish band but its members are not. They released their debut album, Radillac last year and it left an impression. It was fresh, interesting and a bit bloody weird. This is my chance to see if that translates to the stage and I’m excited to see what they can do.

Brendan – Trollfest (Sophie Stage – Saturday)

Party time with everyone’s favourite trolls. I do get that bands like this aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and to be honest, on record, I don’t tend to listen to them very much. It just isn’t the right environment but at a festival, with beers in hand, and plenty already consumed, jumping around and dancing along to the slightly maniacal but entertaining and fun folk metallers will be an absolute blast.

Carl – Employed to Serve (RJD Stage – Saturday)

How the bloody hell have I not seen Employed to Serve before? I’m a big fan of the hardcore punk/metalcore band’s sound and have enjoyed all of their releases to date. So, it really should have happened by now. No matter, Bloodstock it is and I’m very excited to see what they have to offer!

Carl – Knocked Loose (RJD Stage – Saturday)

Let’s f**king go! Get your two-step on, it’s Knocked Loose and they’re going to slay the main stage. One of the few modern hardcore bands to grace that stage this year, it doesn’t get much bigger than Knocked Loose. I’m going to have some fun here.

Brendan – Tribulation (RJD Stage – Sunday)

The Swedish gothic metal band are a big name and a band I have been a fan of for a reasonable length of time, probably fully getting on board around the “Down Below” album cycle in 2018 but I have not had the opportunity to see them live so am very excited to tick this one off the list. The atmospheric sounds should really contrast to the sludge of All Hail the Yeti and the crunch of Decapitated either side of their slot so that should be interesting but these guys are big and they are big because they are very fucking good. So, I am looking forward to seeing how they pull off those atmospherics on a festival stage.

Carl – Tuskar (Sophie Stage – Sunday)

Two people should not be able to make the racket Tuskar do, but there you go. I remember being mesmerised by them as they supported Boss Keloid a few years back in London and I was instantly in love. That love has only deepened with the release of their album, Matriarch and even more live shows. You’d think I’d be sick of this band but that’s just not possible. The Sophie stage isn’t going to know what hit it.

Brendan – Decapitated (RJD Stage – Sunday)

Decapitated are one hell of a band offering a powerful blast of death metal straight out of Poland. Led by Vogg, the now Machine Head guitarist, the band have evolved with time, staying heavy, staying death but adding a touch more melody and a ton more groove to recent offerings. I have seen them play Bloodstock before, and they were brilliant. If anything, the band have grown in stature since then, so I expect this to be an even stronger showing and am really looking forwards to seeing them do their stuff.

Carl – Zeal and Ardor (Sophie Stage – Sunday)

A no-brainer that this band was finally booked for Bloodstock. They are one of the most unique sounding bands out there and have always impressed me live. They’re probably the band on this year’s bill that I’ve seen the most and there is no way I am missing them at Bloodstock either. This will be a ‘where you there when…’ moment.

Brendan – Zeal and Ardor (Sophie Stage – Sunday)

These guys should be the band of the weekend. I adore Zeal and Ardor and have seen them live many times with each time being more and more mesmerising and exciting. The stage presence, the blend of chain gang vocals, blues and black metal creates an atmosphere most bands could only dream of. These guys are immense and will steal the show. I’m confident of that.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.