Review by Claire Frays
After last year’s Sabbath-tallica headliners it seemed Download would have a hard time coming close to topping 2012, but 2013 headliners Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein proved equally as impressive as 90,000 rock and metal crazed fans descended once again on the holy Donington grounds.
Friday’s mainstage was all about no less than three of Britain’s rising Metal starlets and what a turn-out they received. After last year’s Drown-load which forced the cancellation of Rise To Remain’s set, the young metallers returned to open Mainstage. With the weather on side and packed out audience, the festival was kicked off in mighty fine style. Architects dazzled next. “I want to see some crowd surfing right now. Get the F*ck up!” yelled frontman Sam Carter. And the crowd didn’t disappoint. Big things are surely on the horizon for any band that can cause this kind of insanity so early in the day. Asking Alexandria certainly had a lot to follow but stepped up to the plate. With their synth-laden metalcore packed out with big choruses and Danny Worsnop’s husky vocals soaring across the main arena, yet more mainstage havoc reigned supreme.
Papa Roach followed with their fourth Download appearance and celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band in real style. Tracks from Papa Roach’s most recent offering including opener ‘Still Swingin’, ‘Silence Is The Enemy’ and ‘Where Did They Angels Go’ were well received, but it was the classic Papa Roach hits that scored the loudest receptions from Download’s now drenched crowd. Frontman Jacoby Shaddix had a little too much fun in the rain, returning from a trip down to the crowd completely covered in mud at the end of ‘…To Be Loved’. ‘Getting Away With Murder’ and ‘Scars’ quickly followed, but it was ‘Last Resort’ that brought the house down.
Over on third stage, female fronted In This Moment delivered one of Friday’s most captivating sets complete with theatrical props and, the marvellous vocal talents of frontwoman Maria Brink. The band devote their entire 30 minute slot to 2012’s ‘Blood’ album performing ‘Rise With Me’, ‘Adrenalize’, ‘Whore’, ‘Burn’, ‘Beast Within’, before closing with the emotive title-track ‘Blood’.
Although already popular across Mainland Europe, the UK is only just beginning to take note of awesome Danish rockabilly Metallers Volbeat. Tracks such as ‘Hallelujah Goat’, ‘The Mirror and The Ripper’, ‘Guitar Gangsters And Cadillac Blood’ and ‘Still Counting’ are ultimate festival sing-a-long songs that you can’t help but grin wildly along to. Volbeat also blasted out Priest’s ‘Breaking The Law’ and ‘Raining Blood’’s opening riff as a nod to Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman (RIP). Snazzy stuff indeed.
The hotly tipped Metalcore/Goth infused Motionless In White made a strong festival debut to an over-flowing Pepsi Max tent. In a sea of bands going down the Metalcore route presently, Motionless are one of few stand out bands, firmly putting their own stamp on the genre by blending various styles together, from Goth and Industrial to Melo-death, atmospheric keys and just plain heaviness. With the stage presence and mysterious allure to back it up, the download crowd were on-side from the get-go. The band packed as much punch as they could into their 40 minute set opening with ‘Devil’s Night’ and ‘Underdog’, before laying all cards on the table when the monstrous ‘Abigail’ with its massive chorus, and that ridiculously awesome keyboard section on verse two kicked in. Motionless kept the momentum alive with the Manson influenced ‘America’ with its A-M-E-R-I-C-A chant in the chorus contributing to some of the loudest singing of the day. ‘Immaculate Misconception’ sent third stage into overdrive. A thrilling conclusion to a band that are on the road to big things.
Since their previous Download appearance the fate of Slipknot as a band seemed uncertain, but tonight they once again proved themselves as worthy festival headliners. Slipknot had a lot to live up to after 2009’s impeccable headlining set, and whilst they didn’t quite blow ’09 out of the water, the second half of their set came pretty damn close. Madness ruled the night as the barricades were broken not once, but twice, when ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘Left Behind’ were unleashed. Corey Taylor handled both incidents like the true professional that he is, encouraging crowd members to step backwards because “no one was getting hurt on his watch.” The rain poured when it came to ‘Psychosocial’ almost on cue for songs chorus, a surreal moment if there ever was one. ‘Spit It Out’ saw the 90,000 strong crowd, front to back, take a seat before jumping the f*ck up. Truly electrifying scenes as all hell broke loose. But the best was saved until last with the encore combination of Slipknot’s angriest anthems ‘Sic’, ‘People=Shit’ and ‘Surfacing’. An intense end to a blistering set. Corey Taylor says we will be seeing Slipknot sooner that we think. An album? A tour? Who knows, but after tonight, only a fool would miss it.
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