Review By Claire Frays
Sacred Mother Tongue commenced Sunday’s epic mainstage line-up, though needed to do a little more to wake Download’s half-asleep crowd up. Whilst, Cancer Bats, evidently keen to make up from 2012’s forced weather cancellation, quickly sparked mosh pits and crowd-surfers launching into ‘Bricks and Mortar’. With the download crowd now awake, the momentum never halted as ‘Hail Destroyer’ rounded off a highly-energetic set.
Dez Fafara’s recently reformed Coal Chamber only added to the fire, they may not have had the ginormous DevilDriver circle pits, but still laid down a furiously tight set nonetheless with ‘Loco’ and ‘Dark Days’ sounding particularly brutal. But it was ‘Sway’ that scored the loudest singing of the set by miles. ‘Burn Mother****** Burn’
It was three years ago that Five Finger Death Punch last appeared on UK soil. The now infamous 2010 crowd surfing stunt to shake frontman Ivan Moody’s hand quickly ended with the plug being pulled on their set and the band going down in the Donington history books. Expectations were high for one of the most anticipated sets of the entire weekend and death punch didn’t disappoint. Several lucky kids found themselves plucked out of the crowd to join the band on-stage for a quick game of ‘Ivan says’. “Give me two circle pits.” said Ivan Moody, promoting a mass “Ivan didn’t say so, Ivan didn’t say so” chant from crowd members. The circle pits did continue (once Ivan said so!) and so did the crowd surfing carnage.
Amon Amarth’s set was rocked by technical difficulties which sadly meant that Sweden’s Viking Metal heroes took to the stage late leaving time for a mere four songs. Nevertheless, with a giant Viking boat onstage, they didn’t put a foot wrong with ‘War of the Gods’, ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’, new song ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ and the colossal ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’. Short, but very, very sweet.
Back for the second time this Download Festival, Corey Taylor and Jim Root returned for Stone Sour’s afternoon sing-a-long on Mainstage. Armed with a setlist bursting with fan-favourite songs and a stellar mix of hard rock belters and sombre ballads, Stone Sour couldn’t go far wrong. ‘Bother’ and ‘Through Glass’ never sounded better, while rock-heavy newer tracks ‘Gone Sovereign’, ‘Absolute Zero’, ‘RU486’ and the anthemic ‘Do Me A Favor’ from ‘The House of Gold and Bones’ parts 1 and 2 more than held their own. A Corey-fied ‘Children of the Grave’ provided a storming homage to Black Sabbath, with ‘Get Inside’ and ‘30/30 150’ rounding off a killer performance in heavy style. A world away from Friday’s Slipknot chaos, but equally as thrilling.
Ghost’s slot in broad daylight on a packed out second stage may not have the eerie qualities of last year’s tent set, but Papa Emeritus and his nameless ghouls still look like frightening figures from your worst nightmares. With new material from ‘Infestissumam’ layered with haunting choirs booming across the Donington fields, Ghost brought anything but ordinary to the table. ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’, ‘Stand By Him’, ‘Prime Mover’ and ‘Ritual’ sounded morbidly sinister. Under the black of the night I get the feeling it would have been utterly terrifying to watch Ghost as the whispering intro and organs of ‘Monstrance Clock’ rounded off our afternoon ritual.
Marshall towers stacked high, that would be Airbourne then. Sadly frontman Joel O’Keefe did not make a crazy rock n’ roll entrance from the new Download arena zip-wire, nor did he climb the roof of second stage again. Damn. Opening with ‘Ready To Rock’, Airbourne wasted no time in messing around, flying around the stage like nobody’s business quite literally. ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ was dedicated to Iron Maiden, the best rock and roll band in the entire world according to Joel. The fast-paced ‘Runnin’ Wild’ brought the rock ‘n roll show to a close, complete with some Sabbath worshipping with the paranoid riff slotted neatly in.
And then came 30 Seconds To Mars. An odd booking to open for Rammstein, which clearly angered numerous punters in the crowd who presumably thought that by “dissing” Jared Leto and co. it’d bring Rammstein on earlier than their 9.15 slot. Mars can be a little hit and miss live, but tonight they were on form. Using the occasion to showcase songs from new album ‘Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams’, the stadium rock sounding ‘Do Or Die’ and ‘Conquistador’ were spectacular. But it was ‘This Is War’ that got the biggest look in with ‘Night Of The Hunter’, ‘Closer To The Edge’ and ‘Search and Destroy’ featuring early on. ‘The Kill’ flew the flag for ‘A Beautiful Lie’ standing firmly alone in terms of older Mars hits, beginning rather solemnly and acoustically before building in momentum to an exciting conclusion. Fangirls later screamed and wailed in the hope of being picked by Jared Leto to join the band on-stage. The occasion got too much for one young fan who bawled her eyes out on-stage throughout the finale – one storming rendition of ‘Up In The Air’. Though I have to say, 30STM probably could have fitted in an extra few songs too by ditching the constant crowd participation which too often broke the flow and momentum of their setlist. Jimmy Eat World’s plainer approach probably would have been a more subtle way to conquer Download for these guys.
Norwegian Black Metallers Satyricon blasted their way through a superb sounding headlining set on third stage to a modest turn-out that only increased as the night went on. The black trench coats and corpse paint were out it force, as were the air guitarists, with ‘Repined Bastard Nation’, ‘Black Crow On A Tombstone’ and ‘Now, Diabolical’ sounding truly evil in the opening of the set.
But Sunday night belonged to pyro-maniacs Rammstein who had the Download audience firmly in the palms of their hands, transfixed by fire, fire and more fire. Many fans hogged the barrier as early as the arena opened at 10am that morning armed with biscuits smuggled in pockets hoping for a prime spot for Rammstein. I hope they made it. Making their Download Festival debut, Rammstein delivered all that has come to be expected from them, still managing to bring a new meaning for over-the-top with the insane spectacles that unfolded at every corner of their 90 minute performance. From fireworks, flamethrowers to foam and sparks, it wasn’t just the pyro that impressed. Enchanting industrial beats and riffs hypnotized and delighted. The sound mix seamlessly perfect throughout. An immense end to a festival line-up that will prove difficult to top next year.