Bloodstock 2023 – Ronnie James Dio Stage

Bloodstock Open Air has been lauded as one of the best Heavy Metal festivals in the world by many and the organisation continues to go from strength to strength with this latest lineup. 

This article is an alphabetically organised run down of everyone playing the festival on the Ronnie James Dio stage with recommendations of how to get into them and how to plan your viewing experience. Stay tuned for a similar rundown on the bands playing the Sophie Lancaster Stage 


Friday August 11th – 


Fit for an Autopsy

New Jersey Deathcore legends bring a technicality and intensity designed to cause absolute carnage in the pit once the chugs start and the breakdown hits. 

Fit for an Autopsy released a new album last January, Oh What the Future Holds, which will certainly scratch the itch when it comes to heavy music you can dance to. 


Sonically resembling Obituary but with a more modern twist, Arizona death doomers Gatecreeper have been establishing themselves as the next big thing in death metal and their set is not to be missed. 

Their latest EP, An Unexpected Reality, has become a cult favourite recently and is only gaining more popularity with time. 


Hailing from Poland, Hate are a blackened death metal band and they live up to that title. Their music is incredibly dark and atmospheric which will appeal to the average black metal fan but has death metal riffing, truly a band with something for everyone. 

Their most recent album, Rugia, is brimming with atmosphere and pure hostility. 

Heaven Shall Burn

Heaven Shall Burn may be from Germany but they hold all the metal sensibilities and attitude we’ve come to associate with the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal scene. Complex harmonised guitar work, catchy choruses and intense drumming that invoke At the Gates at times. 

Their 2013 album Veto is a great example of modern Melodeath done right. 

In Flames

One of the bands that were there at the genesis of Melodic Death Metal in Gothenburg during the 90s, In Flames have had a number of incarnations but this latest lineup is incredibly strong and they have the songs and live show to back it. 

It’s incredibly difficult to pick a starting point because their sound has changed so much, The Jester Race and Whoreacle are Melodeath classics and Soundtrack to Your Escape adds more alternative metal elements while the new album, Foregone, blends all of them. 

Killswitch Engage

Headlining on Friday and for good reason, Killswitch Engage are legendary in the Metalcore scene and metal in general. Their skill at crafting melodic guitar work and aggression as well as mixing in beautiful soaring cleans and catchy hooks make them an absolute must see. 

The End of Heartache and As Daylight Dies are the stuff of legend and tracks on both records are rock club staples for good reason and their newer material with founding vocalist Jesse Leach lives up to it.

Sacred Reich

Sacred Reich are a highly political band which may put some people off but their dedication to creating socially conscious Thrash Metal is commendable. 

They match the same intensity they did back in the 80s which is a massive achievement considering just how physically demanding their music is. 

Dave McClain from Machine Head returns on drums and will surely bring the aggression present on Surf Nicaragua and Ignorance. 


Doom metal tinged New Wave of British Heavy Metal from a modern perspective, Witchsorrow brings a dismal and bleak outlook on things like witch trials and the gallows but still retaining the energy of  bands like Angel Witch. 

Witchsorrow is for those who feel Doom Metal needs a little bit more edge and energy, and No Light, No Fire is a great embodiment of that sound. 

Wytch Hazel

Wytch Hazel continue the NWOBHM style with their use of harmonised guitars and power metal vocals, they’re the best parts of 80s heavy metal with better production.

Imagine Diamond Head meets Dio era Rainbow and you’ve just about described Wytch Hazel. 

Chain Yourself could have been written for the man whom the stage they’ll take was named for and they’ll surely prove themselves worthy when they do. 

Saturday August 12th


One of the heaviest bands in existence, sludge metal titans Crowbar will slow down the show to bring crushing riffs tuned lower than anyone has dared to tune on a 6 string and blast disgusting riffs throughout the crowd that you’ll feel in your gut. 

Their 1993 album, Crowbar, is a masterpiece of the genre and no fan of sludge should be without it. 


Devildriver has the world record for the largest circle pit ever made and if that doesn’t tell you what Devildriver can do, then nothing will. Boasting some of the most abrasive and aggressive music in American Metal, Devildriver are masters at getting a crowd moving and tracks like Meet the Wretched and Clouds of California make them an intimidating force of nature. 

Employed to Serve

Hailing from Woking, Employed To Serve are a mix of a lot of different genres that work in tandem to create a fairly unique sound. 

With Metalcore and punk coming together with crazy hardcore breakdowns, Employed to Serve are set to become huge in the scene. Mark of the Grave feels like a Lamb of God song with Enter Shikari style vocals. 

Knocked Loose

Arguably more famous for their incredibly intense and potentially violent shows, Knocked Loose are the quintessential definition of Hardcore. Their breakdowns may be simple but they’re dangerously effective and will cause a crowd to lose its collective mind. 

Everyone who has any knowledge of the scene knows that when you hear the barking on Counting Worms, it’s every man for himself. 


Arguably one of the most influential bands of all time, Swedish jazz fusion/prog/death metal act Meshuggah are a crushing leviathan of rhythmically complex and hostile riffing with a dazzling light show to match. 

To musicians; Meshuggah’s music is the stuff nightmares are made of and to a music fan; they are legends towering above their peers in the scene. 

For those who have yet to hear ObZen or Destroy Erase Improve, go seek them out right now. 

Royal Republic 

Swedish outfit Royal Republic will be breaking up the glut of heavy metal with some good old fashioned rock and roll. 

Not quite heavy enough to be metal but too heavy to be pop rock, Royal Republic are among the best of the 70s throwback bands. 

Full of punchy hooks on tracks like Rata Tata, Royal Republic are perfect for the Clutch fans out there. 

Seething Akira

Seething Akira could be the very first Electronic Nu-Core band to come out of the UK, a genre that blends electronic and Nu Metal riffing with aggressive punky vocals, imagine Enter Shikari and Sikth crossed with Skindred. Seething Akira are a unique new voice in metal and If any of this sounds even remotely appealing, check out Metaphors from their latest record Nozomi. 

Triptykon performing Celtic Frost

Triptykon is the spiritual successor to Celtic Frost and Hellhammer, two of the most legendary extreme metal bands of all time masterminded by Tom G Warrior. 

Triptykon will be celebrating Celtic Frost in this unique set at Bloodstock, an unmissable event for those who need the darkest brand of heavy metal available. 

Even on a hot August day, A Dying God Coming into Human Flesh will bring a chill to Bloodstock. 


Urne are newcomers from London and they are a stoner/sludge metal band with a much more aggressive edge than the genre is typically known for. They’re much closer to the likes of Eyehategod than Sleep but they still take the opportunity to slow it down because the crushing riffs. 

So far they have only released one album, Serpent and Spirit, but this set at Bloodstock could be the one to make it blow up. 

Saturday August 13th

All Hail The Yeti

Despite being from California, All Hail the Yeti have this element of Southern Rock inspiration that fits really well with their heavy metal sensibilities. You’d be forgiven for assuming Headless Valley was a Down song and the rest of their back catalogue makes a case for them being a big draw this year. 

Dead Label

Groove Metal is an under discussed genre but it has some of the most incredible riffing and musicianship and Dead Label go a long way to prove that. They may only have two albums out but they are no rookies when it comes to dispensive crushing riffs you can dance to. Salvation in Sacrfice serves Machine Head vibes in the best way possible and will get a crowd moving fast. 


One of the most important technical death metal bands to emerge from the early 2000s, they have established themselves as some of the most technically proficient and intense musicians on the scene from an extremely young age and have continued keep that reputation for decades. Day 69 from Organic Halucinosis is a tech death masterpiece as well as Spheres of Madness from Nihility and its highly likely both will be played at Bloodstock. 


Helloween are one that helped create the genre we’d eventually come to know as Power Metal and were once described as “Iron Maiden on speed” which is an apt description. Helloween have a dual guitar and dual vocal attack which make their classic anthems all the more rich and astounding to witness. 

I Want Out and Dr Stein are iconic tracks and were big parts of establishing Germany as an integral part of the history of Heavy Metal. 


Another quarter of the big four, Megadeth are gods of the Thrash scene and the skill of the musicians that have played under their banner has been awe inspiring. Masterminded by Dave Mustaine, Megadeth blend aggression with technicality and melodic songwriting to create something that was at one point unheard of in Thrash. 

If you haven’t heard Rust in Peace or Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying yet then you need to go do some homework right now. 


Sepultura are Brazil’s biggest metal import and a highly influential band in metal and some may attribute the development of Nu Metal to them with their 1996 album, Roots. Sepultura are a really experimental band now but they started out as a pure blood Death Metal and have crafted some of the best songs in the genre such as Refuse/Resist, Mass Hypnosis and Dead Embryonic Cells. 


Tribulation are a Swedish melting pot of ideas that mainly centre on the occult. They have elements of black metal but with a more accessible angle that doesn’t sacrifice any of the darker aspects of the genre. You could make arguments they’re a gothic metal band, black metal band or Prog metal band and still be correct, either way their sound defies explanation and needs to be heard. Check out their latest track Axis Mundi. 

Ugly Kid Joe

Ugly Kid Joe are the poster boys of unserious yet hard working rock with a youthful attitude despite being decades into their careers. Everything About You sounds like it was made for a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater game with the driving funk riffing and bouncy drumming. Ugly Kid Joe will be the band to crack a beer to. 


Even in the folk metal scene, there is very little like Uuhai as they make Mongolian throat singing a large part and spirituality is a massive part of their ideology as musicians. Certainly a wild card on the bill but their expansion to Western audiences is certainly welcomed and their time at Bloodstock will surely be memorable. 

Secret History of the Mongols is one of their llatest single and embodies everything they stand for. 


Philip Goddard

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