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Castle Party 2023Bolkow Castle, Bolkow, Poland
13th to 16th July 2023
Castle Party 2023 Day 4 with Cattac, Ariadne’s Thread, Golden Apes, Actors, Suicide Commando, Therion

On Sunday, the festival greeted us with rain, but fortunately, it subsided by the time the concerts commenced, offering a brief respite from the heat. As it was the last day of the festival, I was in for a real treat since most of the bands playing that day were on my list of favourites.


Kicking off the performances on the castle stage that day was the German duo, CATTAC, who delivered a truly devilish show, their clerical disguises contrasting with the diabolical power emanating from their vocals and music. Their incredibly energetic and dynamic sounds drew inspiration from the best sources of industrial, electro, and dark wave genres, serving as the perfect warm-up for the Sunday line-up of concerts. Helm and Chris put on an impressive show that attracted a substantial crowd of fans.

01. Hellea Calling
02. Little Red
03. Just One More Day
04. Don’t Go!
05. Quiet Sea
06. Six Days Left
07. Forgive My Sins
08. Hold On Your Souls
09. Nightness
10. How It Ends

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Ariadne’s Thread

ARIADNE’S THREAD is a music project founded in Krakow in 2018 by singer and multi-instrumentalist Adrianna Zborowska, who selected musicians known from such projects as BELTAINE, BALQUEMIA and POKRZYK. An amazing and instrumentally rich concert, lively stage manners, beautiful, thrilling music, and great stage harmony of the musicians, plus atmospheric decorations ensured a very atmospheric and energetic concert. The power of the instruments was equal to the vocal power and the fantastic harmony of the artists.

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Golden Apes

The castle grounds of Castle Party 2023 came alive with an enchanting aura as GOLDEN APES, the iconic German post-punk band, took to the stage. From the moment the band began to play, they cast a spell on the crowd with their captivating melodies and mesmerizing stage presence. The lead vocalist, Peer Lebrecht, commanded the stage with his enigmatic charisma, instantly drawing everyone into their world of emotive storytelling. I believe it was the first time I saw the band playing in bright light and in such heat, yet the energy and magic they exuded were unbeatable. The band’s sound was a perfect fusion of dark, atmospheric compositions and infectious rhythm, which effortlessly resonated with the crowd’s emotions. As the show progressed, GOLDEN APES showcased their mastery of dynamics, taking the audience on an emotional rollercoaster that ranged from melancholic and introspective moments to intense and anthemic passages. Songs like ‘Verity’ and ‘Voykova’ or ‘Ferryman’ left the audience utterly immersed in the music.

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Peer’s evocative vocals, supported by the haunting bass work of Christian Lebrecht and Gerrit Hassle’s guitars and the pounding drums created an ethereal soundscape that felt both haunting and uplifting simultaneously. As the performance drew to a close, GOLDEN APES left the stage to roaring applause. By all means their show at Castle Party 2023 was a true testament to the band’s enduring talent and their ability to evoke powerful emotions through their music. In the end, GOLDEN APES’ concert was a beautiful blend of sonic artistry and heartfelt emotions, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended their mesmerizing performance. It was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of Castle Party 2023.

01. A New Day’s Dawn
02. From The Sky
03. Verity
04. Ash Trees
05. Hole (In My Head)
06. Voykova
07. Our Ashes At The End Of The Day
08. Ferryman
09. Grey
10. The Moment I Fell

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Sunday’s concerts at Castle Party 2023 were filled with remarkable performances, and one of the undeniable highlights was the eagerly awaited show by the Canadian project ACTORS. It had been quite some time since I last saw them live, and my anticipation was high. Thankfully, they lived up to all expectations and more. The band’s appearance may have changed a bit, with Shannon’s beautiful indigo hair catching the eye, but it was their incredible energy that truly stole the show on the castle stage. From the very moment they took the stage, their sparkling energy was palpable, setting the atmosphere alight with excitement. Their performance was a perfect fusion of beautiful vocals, seamless lights, and perfectly arranged guitars, creating a truly mesmerizing effect. The band’s stage presence was magnetic, drawing everyone into their world of music and emotions. Their chemistry on stage was evident, and the passion they poured into their performance was contagious, spreading throughout the crowd.

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It was clear that they were in sync with one another, which only amplified the impact of their music. Well-known hits such as ‘Cold Eyes’, ‘We Don’t Have to Dance’ or ‘Face Meets Glass’ evoked a true enthusiasm among the audience. The vocals of both, Jason and Shannon, were a true standout, leaving a lasting impression with their emotive delivery and captivating range. Each note seemed to reverberate through the audience, captivating the listeners. The guitar work was another point of excellence. The instruments were perfectly arranged, complementing the vocals and creating a rich and harmonious sound that resonated deeply with the audience. Overall, ACTORS delivered one of the festival’s most staggering performances. Their energy, vocals, and instrumentals all came together to create a truly unforgettable experience. It was undeniably one of the festival’s best shows.

01. Love U More
02. Like Suicide
03. Only Lonely
04. L’appel du vide
05. Slaves
06. Crystal
07. Killing Time (Is Over)
08. Obsession
09. Cold Eyes
10. We Don’t Have to Dance
11. Face Meets Glass
12. How Deep is the Hole
13. Bury Me

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Suicide Commando

For me personally, the night at Castle Party 2023 reached its peak as the electrifying beats of SUICIDE COMMANDO surged through the air, enveloping the crowd in a pulsating wave of industrial music. Johan is undeniably a captivating stage performer, winning the hearts of the audience every time with his incredible energy and charisma. His presence on stage creates a whirlwind of sound, engulfing the audience in a frenzy of emotions while allowing them to immerse themselves fully, dance, and release their innermost feelings. The truth is, Suicide Commando has been one of the first projects that accompanied me at the beginning of my journey into the “dark road” of alternative music. It holds a special place in my heart because, while some bands of this genre have faded away over time, SUICIDE COMMANDO remains firmly at the top of my list of favourites.

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As the band stepped onto the stage, the energy in the air was electrifying. Frontman Johan Van Roy, a true pioneer of the electro-industrial genre, commanded the stage with an imposing presence. The setlist kicked off with a thunderous explosion of sound, blending aggressive synths with pounding beats that reverberated through the very core of the audience. From the very first note, the crowd was in the palm of SUICIDE COMMANDO’s hands. Fans surged forward, immersed in the raw power of the music. The band’s mastery of sound manipulation was on full display, as they skilfully navigated between heavy and aggressive tracks like ‘Hellraiser’ and ‘Cause of Death: Suicide’ to more melodic and emotionally charged songs like ‘Love Breeds Suicide’. Johan’s fierce and commanding vocals, accompanied by haunting electronic melodies, painted a sonic tapestry of darkness and intensity. The crowd responded with unyielding energy, dancing and moshing in unison, united by the cathartic experience of the music.

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Johan’s interactions with the audience were superb - there was a moment when he jumped into the crowd singing from within the audience - a truly unforgettable moment. Add to this his intense gaze and enigmatic aura that communicated volumes, leaving no doubt that he was a master of his craft. The visuals and lighting effects added to the spectacle, enhancing the atmosphere of the music and amplifying its impact on the mesmerized audience. The climax of the concert came during the encore when the band unleashed their iconic anthem, ‘Hellraiser.’ The crowd erupted into a frenzy, chanting along with Johan, their voices echoing in unison across the castle grounds. As the final notes echoed into the night, SUICIDE COMMANDO bid farewell to the crowd. Their performance was an extraordinary showcase of the enduring power of industrial music. Bravo!

01. The Gates Of Oblivion
02. God Is In The Rain
03. I’d Die For You
04. God Of Destruction
05. Sterbehilfe
06. Kill All Humanity
07. Cause Of Death: Suicide
08. The Devil
09. Love Breeds Suicide
10. We Are Transitory
11. Dein Herz Meine Gier
12. Die Motherfucker Die
13. Unterwelt
14. Hellraiser

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Castle Party 2023 reached its majestic peak with the highly anticipated performance by THERION, the Swedish symphonic metal pioneers. As the grand stage was set, the audience knew they were about to witness a musical spectacle like no other. THERION’s reputation preceded them, and the excitement in the air was palpable. As the lights dimmed and the intro music began, a hushed anticipation fell over the crowd. The stage was adorned with ornate symbols, setting the mystical ambiance for what was to come. As the band members took their positions, the crowd erupted in cheers, eager to embark on this symphonic journey.

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THERION opened with an epic ‘O Fortuna’ introduction that seamlessly transitioned into ‘The Blood of Kingu’ setting the tone for an extraordinary evening. From the first note, it was evident that the band’s musical prowess and the symphonic elements would create an awe-inspiring experience. Frontman Thomas Vikström captivated the audience with his powerful and emotive vocals, effortlessly transitioning between soaring melodies and haunting growls. Throughout the concert, THERION treated the audience to a masterclass in symphonic metal. Their setlist included classics such as ‘To Mega Therion’ and ‘The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah’, as well as newer gems from their latest albums. Each song was met with an enthusiastic response from the crowd, who were completely engrossed in the immersive soundscape that THERION created.

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The stage presence of the band was overwhelming, with each member showcasing their incredible talent and passion for the music. The majestic interplay between the guitars, keyboards, and symphonic elements created a grandiose atmosphere that enraptured the audience throughout the performance.

01. O Fortuna (Carl Orff cover)
02. The Blood of Kingu
03. Birth of Venus Illegitima
04. Litany of the Fallen
05. Tuonela
06. Ginnungagap
07. Lemuria
08. Abraxas
09. Leviathan
10. Asgård
11. The Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah
12. To Mega Therion
13. Cults of the Shadow
14. Son of the Staves of Time

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To sum up: Castle Party 2023 - despite the fact it was not necessarily the friendliest in terms of hot weather provided a great atmosphere, fantastic meetings with people, and above all absolutely stunning music experience. See you in 2024!

All Pictures by Karo Kratochwil

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