LIVE: Download Festival @ Donington Park – Sunday (16/06/2013)

Date: June 16th, 2013
Venue: Donington Park, Derby
Website: www.downloadfestival.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/downloadfest
Twitter: www.twitter.com/downloadfest

Rating:

Another years means yet another Download Festival weekend, one of the leading British music festivals for all of your needs in rock, metal, punk and everything inbetween. With a stellar line-up which featured what could arguably be their best main stage headliners to date, we of course got stuck in with the mud, beer and fun that the festival is more than known for.


MAIN STAGE:

SACRED MOTHER TONGUE – 5/10
The perfect band to open the final day of proceedings on main stage are Sacred Mother Tongue, thanks to their easy going metal. Cuts from their new album sound good, but there’s no ‘Two Thousand Eight Hundred’. What’s that all about? [MS]

CANCER BATS – 7/10
Renowned as one of the most chaotic bands in hardcore, the motherfucking Cancer Bats return after their cancellation last year, mentioning the fact that it’s taken them 365 days to get there. For Canadians, they sure are pissed off at something, with riffs chunkier than your morning shits and that leave a mess to rival them too. ‘Sabotage’ and ‘Hail Destroyer’ are powered out to an increasingly energetic audience. [MS]

COAL CHAMBER – 7/10
It wouldn’t be Download without Dez Fafara, even if it is in the now strange guise of Coal Chamber. There’s visible tension between the newly reformed band members, but that just adds to the atmosphere for ‘Loco’ and ‘Big Truck’. There is, of course, the token massive circle pit on offer as well. [MS]

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – 10/10
Probably the surprise of the festival are Five Finger Death Punch, who play an unforgettable set. Lead singer Ivan Moody is only one man, but he still manages to turn every audience member into an ant with his overwhelming aggression. There are over 100 crowdsurfers during ‘The Way Of The Fist’ as the security struggle to cope. Ivan‘s attitude is terrifying during his run in with a security guard over an inflatable penis, but well-meaning as he verbally attacks him for rough handling a younger crowdsurfer. Nearer the end of the set, around six younger fans are invited up on stage to the audience’s delight. Ivan‘s banter with them is heartening as he encourages them to embrace metal. Kids at festivals are always a sore point with many punters (myself included), but when they participate in moments like these it’s obvious that they’ll never forget them. Raptures of applause sound out to end FFDP‘s set as ‘The Bleeding’ blares out. [MS]

PARKWAY DRIVE – 9/10
A tough act to follow for Parkway Drive, but they go at it like they know best, with passion and tenacity. Winston McCall is a charming vocalist as he informs us that the preceding songs were the warm-up, and the faster tunes are to come. That’s certainly the case with ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Deliver Me’. The set crunches to a close with ‘Swing’ and ‘Carrion’. No mention of anything from ‘Killing With A Smile’ is a brave move, but PWD still manage to pull off a top class set. [MS]

STONE SOUR – 7/10
Corey Taylor‘s second performance of the weekend is with Stone Sour, and by the looks of it it’s just as popular as his previous one with Slipknot. A varied set includes two covers, one of ‘Nutshell’ (by Alice In Chains), and another of ‘Children Of The Grave’ (by Black Sabbath). It also features an acoustic solo rendition of ‘Bother’ before the full band launches into ‘Through Glass’. It’s a clever set that leaves room for the heavier songs at the end in ‘Get Inside’ and ’30/30-150′. [MS]

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM – 7/10
As the sun sets on the last day of Download, what better way to celebrate a glorious day of rock and metal then to chill out a bit to the energetic yet soothing tones of The Gaslight Anthem. The timing for them on the main stage is perfect since you have two huge acts that follow them. Their hour long set is packed full of their most famous hits, like ‘Howl’ and ’45’, that are the perfect sing-a-long tunes for a festival. They even cover ‘Astro Zombies’ by The Misfits to win over the more stubborn of the metalheads. A delight to watch. [AR]

THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS – 3/10
Fuck you, Jared Leto. You come over here on the ticket payers expense and what do you do? You throw a few balls and toys into the audience and then let us do the singing. It’s such a shame too, because all other members of the band excel during the performance and sound excellent, but you hogged the lime light and did fuck all. Without exaggeration, Leto sings about 35% of the set while the teenage girls of the audience did the rest. The sole vision I had due to this was the scene from American Psycho where he gets an axe through his head over and over again. I was that angry. If 30 Seconds To Mars play at a future festival, take the opportunity to go get a burger while they play because, trust me, you won’t be missing much. [AR]

RAMMSTEIN – 10/10
Fire, fire, fire, fire and more fire. Rammstein are definite pyrotechnics, featuring some form of fire or explosive at one point or another for every song of their set. They’ve got flamethowers, sparks firing out of frontman Till Lindemann‘s arms, fire masks breathing out fire, their microphone stands engulfing in flames and more. Rest assured, if you weren’t a fan, they’d at least provide visual entertainment, becoming probably the only main stage headliner where, no matter where you stood, you would focus more on the stage than the stage screens. It’s like a metal band pantomime, but with fire so it’s ultimately so many times better. This, coupled with a brilliant set, including the likes of ‘Sonne’, ‘Links 2-3-4’ and ‘Mein Teil’, if the rumours are true that this is one of Rammstein‘s final UK shows, they want out with a massive bang, literally. [ZR]


ZIPPO ENCORE STAGE:

BLITZ KIDS – 7/10
One final morning of waking up hungover crawling out from tents, and Cheshire rockers Blitz Kids are inviting the music filled Sunday for this year on the Zippo Encore stage. After a few years of touring and a few releases under their belt, this show is affirmation that Blitz Kids are ascending their ladder. As stated by frontman Joe James, this show was a long-time waiting for the Northern outfit who have come a long way from their Rig Up Explosive days, and the sing alongs drawn in through songs like ‘Never Die’ assures us that if they want it, the future is theirs for the taking. [ZR]

HELLYEAH – 6/10
If you’re unfamiliar with Hellyeah, they’re a super group consisting of members of Mudvayne, Pantera, Damageplan and Nothingface. Like nearly all super groups, on paper they seem like a great idea but, in reality, they’re often underwhelming. Though Hellyeah are one of the better super groups, they still fall under this category and deliver a distinctly average set. Each member excels in what they do, but there’s no real spark or excitement to their live sound and boils down to repetitive chugging of guitars. [AR]

THE GHOST INSIDE – 8/10
What better way to spend your afternoon than smashing the living shit out of everything with The Ghost Inside? Despite only getting a 30 minute set, they still tear Donington to shreds with a largely modern set, featuring ‘Outlive’, ‘Engine 45’ and ‘Dark Horse’. Older material is visited via ‘Between The Lines’ and ‘Unspoken’, but there’s disappointingly nothing from ‘Fury And The Fallen Ones’. Oh well. [MS]

GRAVEYARD – 6/10
A staple sounding classic rock performance from the Swedish four-piece over on the Zippo Stage. They sound a bit like Motorhead, only you can hear what lead singer Joakim Nilsson is actually saying. Though their music sounds great and is to a high standard, their set becomes a tad repetitive and, dare I say, boring as it hits the half way mark. Having said that, a good fraction of the crowd seem to be enjoying them, especially during their guitar solos. [AR]

MASTERS OF REALITY – 5/10
Now, I get that these guys are supposed to be weird, after all, that’s what desert/stoner rock is all about, but I just found Masters Of Reality to be a bit too weird, as did much of the crowd. While they’re spot on music wise, there’s little movement from the crowd and even less onstage. I can’t help but feel that their groovy guitar riffs would have been better received in a small atmosphere, like in the Pepsi Max tent. [AR]

AMON AMARTH – 6/10
It’s not often that you see a Viking ship up on a stage, but Amon Amarth bring that rarity into a reality. Newer offering ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’ gets a lot of people moving, but not as much as set closer ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’ does. Though their set admittedly is very one-dimensional, it seems people really like Viking themed melodic metal. [ZR]

RIVAL SONS
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

GHOST – 9/10
The setting of early evening sunshine isn’t exactly the best setting for Ghost to perform, but it only adds to showcase their actual music for once. Now two albums in, Ghost are fast climbing up festival bills and people are paying attention as evidenced by the amount of Ghost merch on show. Their zombie-Beatles sound is both modern and classic through hits off ‘Opus Eponymous’ and ‘Infestissumam’. It’s bold to close with a new song, but ‘Monstrance Clock’ provides one of the moments of the festival with its unexpected singalong. [MS]

AIRBOURNE – 6/10
Everyone’s favourite AC/DC substitutes pull a large crowd on second stage, as everyone does anything in their power to not watch The Gaslight Anthem on main. Airbourne‘s songs all sound the same though, and there are no stage antics this time from Joel O’Keeffe. [MS]

A DAY TO REMEMBER – 8/10
Whilst most of the Download Festival crowd are gathering around main stage to watch 30 Seconds To Mars, the other huge shunt of festival goers instead opt for Florida post-hardcore troupe, A Day To Remember. Kicking off with newbie ‘Violence (Enough Is Enough)’, the action is already in full swing. What follows is both fun and carnage filled, including a guy dressed as an Angry Bird firing out free t-shirts in a small cannon and fans using crowd surfers as surf boards. Yeah, that’s right, people crowd surfing on crowd surfers. This, coupled with a brilliant set, including ‘I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ and ‘All I Want’, it won’t be long before A Day To Remember cement themselves a stage headline slot at Download Festival in a few more years. [ZR]

LIMP BIZKIT – 10/10
Limp Bizkit have just given up trying to modernise. Fred Durst isn’t the playboy he once was, but who are you to tell him that he can’t rock out like it’s the 90s still? He even concedes that Limp are there “to party like it’s 1999”. It’s during the first couple of minutes that the thousands watching remember, Limp Bizkit are fucking awesome. Many have planned to leave after the first 20 minutes to catch Rammstein on main, but song after catchy song keeps blaring out, like ‘My Generation’ and ‘Livin’ It Up’. Fred Durst asks “what do y’all wanna hear?” before the band launch into a full cover of ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine. They even invite back on stage the same dude who sang with them during their last appearance in 2009 to sing ‘Full Nelson’, and he fucking nails it. Limp Bizkit are still awesome, and Fred Durst is still a legend. Fuck the haters. [MS]


PEPSI MAX STAGE:

BOVINE
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

STATES OF PANIC – 6/10
Looking very much the part donned head to toe in black with hair to match, States Of Panic certainly give it their all. However, there’s something off with the sound and, with the addition of a shitty backing track, everything just blends together into one overly distorted cluster fuck. Though it must be said that the vocalist’s screams are outstanding. Despite having very danceable and moshable songs, there’s little movement from the crowd, but that may be down to the early slot. [AR]

KROKODIL – 9/10
Shrouded in mystery and consisting of ex-members from Sikth, Cry For Silence, Gallows and Hexes, Krokodil give their first ever live show here at Download. Special menntion to the frontman (sorry, can’t find their name online), for what he lacked in between song small talk he made up for in screaming ability. Their downright destructive songs sound phenomenal and I can assure you that this band are the start of something amazing. [AR]

LITTLE CEASAR
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL – 6/10
Tipped for being one of the future forerunners of the UK hardcore scene, it seems that Brutality Will Prevail fall a little short of holding that title today. Though their set is indeed sweaty and energy filled, maybe it’s the huge scale of the Pepsi Max stage they’ve been placed on which is making these guys miss their usual spark. Of course, a short appearance from Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier sparks much excitement, but other than this it’s just a standard set from the Welsh quintet. [ZR]

HACKTIVIST – 10/10
Nu-metal-ish general genre mixers Hacktivist prove to be one hell of a formidable beast, despite their short time in the game. With guitarist Timfy James equipped with an impressive 8-strings and bassist Josh Gurner carrying 6, there’s so much this band can do, and they’re not afraid to do it. Title-track ‘Hacktivist’ gets the packed out tent bouncing and a surprising yet sneaky cover of ‘Niggas In Paris’ proves to transform incredibly well into their adopted mix of metal, grime, rap, hardcore and pretty much everything else in-between. As soon as album number one drops, Hacktivist will be on everyone’s lips. Guaranteed. [ZR]

BLEED FROM WITHIN – 9/10
Scottish heavy hitters Bleed From Within are certainly making waves over the past few months following the release of their latest record, ‘Uprising’. Frontman Scott Kennedy is a formidable and engaging frontman, able to deliver some of the strongest screams and roars in British metal today. Newer tracks like ‘Leech’ and regular set inclusions such as ‘The Novelist’ stand side-by-side as what will forever be BFW classics. If they keep their presence on the live circuit as strong and constant as it has been for the past few months, this Scottish monolith will finally be rewarded for their years of hard work. [ZR]

VISION OF DISORDER – 8/10
You can hear Vision Of Disorder‘s influence on a lot of bands playing this festival, especially bands like Cancer Bats and The Ghost Inside. The NYHC veterans show the new breed of hardcore bands how it’s done. They smash out an enjoyable set, with newer songs like ‘Set To Fail’ and ‘Blood Red Sun’ sounding huge. The tunes are rough, the pits are tough and VOD impress anyone lucky enough to catch them. [JK]

RED FANG
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

NEWSTED – 8/10
Even though he was in the biggest metal band in the world, people seem surprised by how good Jason Newsted‘s new band is. ‘King Of The Underdogs’ is an outstanding track that gets heads banging, but its nods to his previous band really gets the crowd excited, like a brief part of ‘Creeping Death’ and the headband anthem that is ‘Whiplash’. It makes the crowd realise that the metal world has been missing Jason Newsted, it just didn’t realise it. [JK]

P.O.D. – 9/10
For the 40 minutes of P.O.D.‘s set, the Pepsi Max tent was one huge pit that consisted of dancing and bouncing along to their rap-metal tunes. Though I feel they should’ve been supporting Limp Bizkit over on the Zippo Encore stage, you can’t argue with the results and the atmosphere that the tent created. Starting with their newer material and ending with crowd pleaser ‘Alive’, it didn’t really matter what they played as the crowd loved every minute of it. [AR]

MODESTEP – 6/10
Dubstep at Download? Sure, why the hell not. There doesn’t appear to be any set niche of people watching Modestep either as they blast through a bassy set that comprises hits from their debut offering, ‘Evolution Theory’. [MS]

SATYRICON – 7/10
Considering that Rammstein and Limp Bizkit are playing, the crowd is a tad thin but, despite all of this, Satyricon make the most with what they have and deliver an entertaining set. Though they’re black metal, they’re thoroughly listenable as Satyr‘s vocals aren’t as guttural as you would expect and their music sounds a lot more upbeat than other black metal bands too. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still dark as fuck and bleaker than an Edgar Allen Poe novel. Those that turn up to see them are dedicated fans and really get stuck into the music, which really enhances the atmosphere. [AR]


RED BULL STUDIOS STAGE:

NAKED FLAME – 9/10
Though they look like they would be more comfortable behind a desk in the IT department, don’t let that fool you. They’re exactly the kind of band that Download is about and sound like a punky version of Iron Maiden. Dave Thomas has the vocals of a lion, Adam Breeden and Ben Homer have the rhythm section down to a tee and guitarists Mark Jones and Ben Swanwick possess skills that can only be matched by that of wizards. [AR]

THE FIRST – 7/10
A lot of the more pop-rock acts across the festival this weekend have managed to stand the strongest this year, and newcomers The First are yet another band who slot into that category. From the moment the set starts, the tent starts to fill and their slightly more abrasive take on the genre is a refreshing and welcomed change. Keep an eye on these boys, because rest assured this is the first of many times you’ll be hearing of these. [ZR]

MORDECAI – 6/10
British metalheads Mordecai are starting to make an impression on the metal scene as of late, and though their set doesn’t really deliver anything innovative or something that can’t be found elsewhere, the band definitely delivery quality metal if that’s what you’re after. [ZR]

BLACK DOGS – 8/10
Think of a younger and more hardcore version of Cancer Bats and you’ve got yourself some Black Dogs. This band are perfect for the tent as the sound of their breakdowns is kept within the walls and resonates, creating a whole new level to their sound. As a result there are some pretty decent pits, though not as energetic as they should have been if you ask me, so frontman Gollo jumps into the crowd to get them moving a bit more. Either way, Black Dogs provide an awesome set and a bloody good live act. [AR]

HUNTRESS – 4/10
Terrifying is one of the only words that can be used to describe Huntress vocalist, Jill Janus. Walking onstage with a hooded robe, she appears like a character from a The Lord Of The Rings movie, complete with some haunting eyes thanks to some custom contact lenses. Though her voice is powerful, it’s also all over the place. At one minute she’s screaming, the next hitting high shrieks and as a result songs like ‘Spell Eater’ just sound messy. [ZR]

BUFFALO SUMMER – 8/10
For a relatively small band, the Red Bull tent is jam packed to see Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer. Their southern/county fused rock melodies sound incredible and Andrew Hunt‘s live voice is one of the best of the festival. Songs like ‘Down To The River’ go down a treat and have the crowd moving along to their modern twist on classic rock. All in all, Buffalo Summer give a great performance and definitely a band to look out for in the future. [AR]

RADKEY – 9/10
We’re all familiar with Wild Cherry‘s hit ‘Play That Funky Music White Boy’. Well, with regards to Missouri three-piece RadKey, ‘Play That Groovy Rock Music African-American Person’ doesn’t really have the same ring to it. Either way, these guys are exceptional with their groovy and danceable rock music. Their solos, riffs and bass lines are so infectious and, I don’t know about you, but I left the tent with ‘Little Man’ and ‘Red Letter’ stuck in my head. Considering this is their first ever time to the UK, they do an outstanding job. [AR]

FOREVER CAN WAIT – 7/10
These young bunch of eager beavers are quick off the mark with their brand of heavy female fronted post-hardcore rock sound. The crowd are a little static at first, but they soon loosen up after songs such as ‘P And Q’ and ‘Back To The Dream’. With a few tender numbers like ‘Excuses’ thrown in their too, Forever Can Wait deliver a great little set and recruit a few new fans along the way. [AR]

THE HOWLING – 9/10
Looking very punk rock with their leather jackets and white tees, The Howling whip up a storm in this tiny tent with pits a-plenty for the majority of their set. Storming onto the stage with some dubstep blasting away, their songs have such an energetic vibe to them, especially with the likes of ‘Possessed’. Definitely one of the top 5 bands to play in the Red Bull tent this weekend, The Howling give a memorable and exciting performance. [AR]

SURRENDER THE COAST – 6/10
Leicester hardcore boys Surrender The Coast deliver a touch of Southern swagger to their style, and as such for such an underground band they manage to incite a reasonable amount of bouncing throughout their set over on the Red Bull tent. Set closer ‘Conscience’ gets the biggest reaction, and proves that the British outfit didn’t let such a great opportunity go to waste. [ZR]

FALLING WITH STYLE – 7/10
Pontypridd based 5-piece Falling With Style may be named after a quote from the innocent Disney Pixar film Toy Story and most of the members may look like they’ve not long come out of high school education, but their sound mix of early Funeral For A Friend and A Day To Remember is one that’s catchy, aggressive and really interesting. Pits open up pretty early for these guys, with frontman Lucas Woodland jumping right into the midst to get it started before being dragged away again by the security. Early beginnings, but on the right path. [ZR]

I AM I
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

GLAMOUR OF THE KILL – 3/10
Escape The Fate frontman Craig Mabbitt comes onstage a few minutes before their set official begins asking the “pussies” from outside to make their way into the tent to catch Glamour Of The Kill. This is a sign of the disaster which is yet to come. The York metallers soon walk onstage and, despite being out of the limelight for a good while, it seems the band have returned and have regressed in their absence. Frontman Davey Richmond comes across a little obnoxious, sounds very nasally and like he’s always got a mouth filled with syrup. Even Craig Mabbitt‘s return to sing a few sections can’t save this car crash of a set. [ZR]

SONIC BOOM SIX – 9/10
This is a very different Sonic Boom Six to the one I saw way back in 2008. Their hip-hop/dub fused rock really appeals to those who just want to dance and there a lot of them here too. Songs like ‘Karma Is A Bitch’ and ‘Virus’ would make you think that you’re watching Pendulum and will have you dancing by pure reflex. Not forgetting their roots though, they play some of their older skankier numbers, like ‘Piggy In The Middle’ and ‘Bang Bang Bang Bang!’, which have everyone on their feet. The Mancunians look bewildered by how many people are here and keep thanking the crowd for turning up. [AR]


JAGERMEISTER STAGE:

ARTHEMIS – 8/10
Yes, another band that gets the idea of an acoustic set. Even though Arthemis usually deal with thrash metal, they provide a tender and re-worked acoustic set for Download. Songs like ‘Alone’ sound spectacular in an acoustic environment, especially the solos. Though they have to compete with the Cancer Bats sound check, they hold their own and have the crowd help them out. What’s also nice is that frontman Fabio D seems genuinely humbled to here, and it shows through his beaming smile. [AR]

THE GRAVELTONES
Sadly, we were unable to catch this band’s set.

NIGHT X NIGHT – 7/10
What a bunch of lovely lads Night X Night are. Not only do they put on a great little acoustic show, but they also throw a load of free stuff into the crowd. Their hard rock take on classic rock translates well to an acoustic medium and they perform their songs brilliantly. Overall they give a neat little performance and a soothing break from all the noise of the main stage. [AR]

NEW KILLER SHOES – 8/10
Funny and friendly faces greet the crowd over at the Jagermeister tent. Today has probably been the best day weather wise and these guys provide the prefect soundtrack to compliment it. They seem to suit acoustic music too, especially with tracks like ‘I Ain’t Got A Chick’ and ‘Make Your Move’. Don’t just take my word for it though, as the crowd love every minute of their set too. [AR]

CRASH MANSION – 6/10
When will you people learn? Breakdowns do not sound good on acoustic guitars. Having said that, all of the other aspects of their songs sound great on acoustic guitars, certainly with tracks like ‘Money’. The crowd are a little thin on the ground, but there’s a few dedicated pockets of fans here and there that are dancing away to their acoustified hard rock tunes. [AR]

PIG IRON – 7/10
Not many bands have a harmonica player, but Pig Iron‘s frontman takes this opportunity to show off his mad ‘monica skills. Though they’re more suited to the distortion of guitars, the acoustic environment really highlights their love of southern music. Take for example their bluesy number, ‘Digging In The Well’, with the addition of harmonica it sounds wonderful and fits in right at home on the Jagermeister acoustic stage. [AR]

HEAVEN’S BASEMENT – 9/10
What a way to sign off the Jagermeister tent. Heaven’s Basement simply own the stage for their criminally short 30 minute set. Their acoustified rock metal has drawn the biggest crowd the stage has seen yet, and sounds just as furious and energetic on softer instruments as they do with distorted ones. Frontman Aaron Buchanan is genuinely humbled by the large crowd and takes advantage of it perfectly. From start-to-finish, there’s jumping, people on shoulders and endless movement throughout. Heaven’s Basement are truly excellent here today and I can see many a future booking for these young rockers. [AR]


Written by MG Savage [MS], Andy Roberts [AR], Jack King [JK] and Zach Redrup [ZR]

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