Review by Clare Frays
Day 2 began with a morning dose of Death Metal in the form of Dying Fetus who provided one of the heaviest sets of the weekend. The killer blast bleats, technical riff-age and death growls proved a powerful awakening for Donington’s early risers in a short but very sweet set. Why not Dying Fetus again next year!?
British Metal shined shortly after with rising young Metalcore act Bury Tomorrow completely annihilating the mainstage proving that they completely deserve the hype that currently surrounds them. From start to finish the band had the entire crowd in the palms of their hands. Strutting onto the stage and circle pitting on the main stage runway, the band delivered one of the best sets of the entire weekend. They began with ‘Man On Fire’ from recent album release Runes before bringing out the big tunes with ‘An Honourable Reign’, ‘Knight Life’ and ‘Royal Blood’ all in tow. And that wasn’t all. There was the girls only circle pit down at stage left, the lie down and jump up game created by frontman Daniel Winter-Bates which didn’t entirely go to plan, and a bit of a crowd-surfing “wave of death” for set-closer ‘Lionheart’. They stole the show in 2013 on the Pepsi Max stage, and now on main stage managed to somehow top last year by some margin. If they can continue to deliver performances like this the sky really is the limit.
Fellow Brits While She Sleeps kept the British metal flag flying high making the comeback of the century at Download, their first performance of 2014 after Loz Taylor’s throat surgery. Numerous fans proudly waved black and white While She Sleeps flags high above the crowd throughout the duration of the band’s set. The likes of ‘Death Toll’ ‘Seven Hills’ and ‘Our Courage, Our Cancer’ sounding particularly massive as the crowd echoed every word with horns raised to the sky. While She Sleeps closed with a bang, with Loz well and truly leaving the WSS mark at Download leaving a red flag of his own draped off the sound desk tower. Nicely done lads, nicely done. The future of British Metal certainly looks bright with both Bury Tomorrow and WSS delivering impressive performances.
Then came the turn of Pop Punk-ers Bowling For Soup who played to a packed out main stage. The in-between song banter from Jaret et al was, as always, an amusing highlight complete with a break for a photo opportunity with accompanying music; Bassist Chris Burney’s hilarious reverend singing voice gave us a good giggle, as did the slaughter of the giant inflatable sheep on-stage by a crazy knight. The fun was endless and the singing deafening as the likes of ‘Almost’, the Phineas and Ferb theme song, ‘Punk Rock 101’, ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’ and ‘1985’ injected the arena with the fun-factor.
Back to the Metalcore, Killswitch Engage returned to Download Festival for their second appearance since Jesse Leach re-joined the band. This time armed with the momentum from the stellar 2013 release ‘Disarm The Descent’ the band completely destroyed the main stage despite niggling issues from guitarist Adam D’s guitar throughout the set. Their professionalism carried them through as the band opened with ‘Fixation On The Darkness’ followed by the awesome ‘This Is Absolution’. Whilst Jesse did a sterling job on the Howard-era favourites with ‘Rose of Sharyn’, ‘My Last Serenade’ and ‘My Curse’ sounding better than ever, the newer songs were where KSE really excelled. The likes of ‘A New Awakening’ , ‘In Due Time’ and the beautiful ballad song, ‘Always’ were notable highlights as Killswitch ended the evening with the obligatory ‘The End of Heartache’ in another of the weekends most stand-out performances.
Over on the Pepsi Max stage, Melo-Death Metallers The Black Dahlia Murder impressed with frontman Trevor Strnad saying that he wanted to see more fun having, more rule breaking, more beer spilling in what was to be a fist pumping and mosh-tastic set to the scene of blasting drum licks and seriously snazzy guitar work. In contrast to TBDM, main stage saw Fall Out Boy make their Download Festival debut with a homage to their timeless ultimate festival anthems with ‘Sugar We’re Going Down’, ‘Dance, Dance’, ‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Thnks Fr Th Mmrs’ sounding as good as they did back in those high school days.
And then it was Linkin Park O’clock with a big dose of Hybrid Theory. Speculation was rife amongst punters who pondered whether the band would open with the illustrious debut album or close their set with it. It ended up being the former as the band unleashed the chaos with ‘Papercut’. LP’s assail continued with ‘One Step Closer’ and ‘In The End’ contributing to some of the loudest singing of the entire weekend. Rarely performed songs from the album; ‘Forgotten’ and ‘By Myself’ shone too with ‘Cure For The Itch’ played in its entirety for the very first time. ‘Push Me Away’ brought the first half of Linkin Park’s set to a conclusion. After a near perfect performance, Hybrid Theory was always going to be a tough act to follow, and although some momentum may have been lost, the bands back catalogue of tunes, as well as newer material ensured that the evening continued in style. The second half opened with ‘The Catalyst’ into new track ‘Guilty All The Same’ as hands clapped wildly and fans sang along to the guitar riffs. Fellow new tracks from The Hunting Party – ‘Wastelands’ and ‘Until I’m Gone’ – were crowd pleasing and sounded particularly epic in the live arena, whilst the reliable and fan-favourite classic Linkin Park tunes such as ‘Numb’, ‘Given Up’, ‘What I’ve Done’ and ‘Bleed It Out’ brought the house down. Linkin Park at their best.