Bloodstock 2023 / Zeal & Ardor a complete triumph

Bloodstock Festival 2023 – Sunday. It’s a sign of the size of Zeal & Ardor that rather than lose the band when they were unable to play their scheduled Saturday night slot, Bloodstock created a full special guest slot in the Sophie Tent for Sunday, pushing King 810 to the Thursday night.

Bloodstock 2023 – Zeal & Ardor

There’s been a hysteria building around the Swiss outfit since their formation in 2013 when Manuel Gagnuex started Zeal & Ardor as a solo project. Since then, he’s created a whole band and released three critically acclaimed albums.

Zeal & Ardor - Bloodstock Festival 2023
Zeal & Ardor – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Their fusion of African-American spiritual music and Black Metal is something I’ve never quite understood, but it’s certain that for many in the absolutely swollen-to-capacity tent, this is one of the sets of the weekend.

The band arrive to a blinding light show. Front-facing strobes and banks of white light make the ‘togs objective challenging, but this is about the band and the connection with their fans.

Zeal & Ardor - Bloodstock Festival 2023
Zeal & Ardor – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Those on the barrier are word-perfect, singing along to every track with gusto. There’s little interaction at the start, but this doesn’t stop the surfers from firing up and over.

The lights change but only to add atmosphere, creating the spiritual experience that many in the crowd crave. It’s a highly charged set, 18 songs culled from their three albums.

Zeal & Ardor - Bloodstock Festival 2023
Zeal & Ardor – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

The crowd love it, and by the time they launch into Baphomet to close the show, it’s a complete triumph. Their applause can be heard in the main field as the crowd wait for Megadeth.

It’s only a matter of time before Zeal & Ardor are back at Bloodstock and its main stage all the way from here on.

Zeal & Ardor - Bloodstock Festival 2023
Zeal & Ardor – Bloodstock Festival 2023. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Bloodstock Festival 2023 is held over the weekend of 10-13 August 2023. MetalTalk’s Paul Hutchings and Adrian Stonley report from Catton Park.

All Photography: John Inglis and Paul Hutchings

All MetalTalk Bloodstock Festival 2023 coverage can be found at  MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2023.

Weekend early bird tickets for Bloodstock 2024 will be available to purchase at the box office on-site for £165. This is the cheapest way to buy a 2024 ticket, minus any online booking or admin fees.

Bloodstock 2022 can be relived at MetalTalk.net/tag/bloodstock-2022.

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