So, as the Sunday of Download 2012 rolled around, and the ground actually started to solidify in some places, lots of people were packing up to go home, a few giving up on the last day (fools, in our humble opinions) or packing up to go home that evening. Team Rocksins on the other hand had more important things on our minds, such as getting into the arena with time to spare to see Devildriver.
Devildriver are a band who always go down extremely well at festivals and there was no deviation from the norm on this occasion. End Of The Line remains one of the best set opening songs around and it was duly delivered with the force of a raging bull. Dez and co mixed up their short setlist a bit from previous occasions with songs from all of their albums apart from Pray For Villains getting an airing. The triple punch of I Could Care Less, Not All Who Wander Are Lost and the always brilliant Clouds Over California was one of the best ten minute periods of the whole festival so far and made a very large crowd happy that they’d got into the arena early for the day. Another solid effort from Devildriver who will be back in the UK tearing it up next year with Cannibal Corpse, one to put in the diary for sure .
Devildriver’s Download Setlist Was:
End Of The Line
Horn Of Betrayal
Head On To Headache
Dead To Rights
I Could Care Less
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Clouds Over California
Though we were not able to see all of their performance, Team Rocksins were thoroughly impressed by the reborn Kyuss Lives! Making their Download bow, their brand of stoner rock was very well received by an ever growing, appreciative crowd. There was an extremely good reason for us not watching too much of Kyuss as we went to have a chat with Lamb of God’s Mark Morton, an exclusive interview that will be available on the site very soon! We (and many readers too one would think) are just hoping that the Kyuss reunion lasts long enough for another Download appearance.
As has been remarked several times on this website, Anthrax have been a band totally reborn since The Big Four shows and since Worship Music hit the shelves last year. Another outing for them on UK festival shores was merely another reminder of how they are back to being near to their very best, with Joey Belladonna showing boundless enthusiasm of a man half his age and the rest of the band were not exactly phoning it in either. There were no surprises in Anthrax’s 45 minute setlist but it was a setlist designed to give an audience a good time, which the band duly delivered. Fight Em Til You Can’t remains one of the best songs released by any member of The Big Four in recent times and was well worth its placed alongside some of the established classics such as Caught In A Mosh and Madhouse. A cracking rendition of I Am The Law brought things to a conclusion with Anthrax getting a fully deserved rousing reception from the fields of Donington. Well worth their promotion to the main stage after Five Finger Death Punch pulled out, make sure you see Anthrax on the road with Motorhead in November [7.5].
Anthrax’s Full Setlist Was:
Caught In A Mosh
Got The Time
Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t
I Am The Law
Whilst the day thus far had been very good, Shadows Fall proceeded to blow everything that had taken place prior to them out of the water. Massachusetts’ finest have somewhat dropped off of the radar in the last couple of years but this performance was a statement of intent to return to previous glories. After a thunderous Thoughts Without Words kicked things off, nearly inciting a riot in the Pepsi Max Tent in the process, Shadows Fall ripped through the fantastic Still I Rise from their last (criminally underrated) album Retribution.
New songs Divide & Conquer and The Unknown gave those in attendance some serious excitement over the forthcoming new album Fire From The Sky (already out in America) and the set was brought to a conclusion all too soon by The Light That Blinds, one of the finest slices of NWOAHM thus far in this reporters opinion. Shadows Fall’s success has paled compared to some of their contemporaries (Lamb Of God and fellow Mass residents Killswitch Engage in particular) but this performance showed that on their day they can outshine any of the competition, friends or not. Thoroughly fantastic and we must all hope for a UK return very soon .
Shadows Fall’s Setlist Was:
Thoughts Without Words
Still I Rise
Divide & Conquer
The Power Of I & I
King Of Nothing
The Light That Blinds
Following their performance, Rocksins was lucky enough to have the privilege to catch up with Matt and Brian from Shadows Fall, which is an exclusive interview you’ll be able to read here very soon. After our conversation with the guys in Shadows Fall, Team Rocksins made our way back to the arena at pace to find Lamb of God already delivering their initial salvo to the masses of Desolation and Ghost Walking. Randy Blythe was in commanding form to say the least, particularly on the menacing Walk With Me In Hell and the chaos inducing Now You’ve Got Something To Die For.
Lamb Of God’s back catalogue is now at the impressive stage where whatever they play won’t satisfy all those present, but the ever growing Donington masses were most pleased with an airing for old favourite Laid To Rest and joined Randy in belting out the chorus to Redneck before Black Label finished things off with a bang. Lamb Of God rarely disappoint and their latest return to Download for the tenth anniversary certainly wasn’t one of those times , let’s all just hope that Randy will soon be free from his current situation to be able to return many more times in the future.
Lamb Of God’s Setlist Was:
Walk With Me In Hell
Set To Fail
Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
Laid To Rest
Having seen Megadeth countless times over the years and with one of their most high profile UK festival slots (alongside Sonisphere last year and Download 2010) to date, the Donington masses were as expectant as we were. MegaDave and friends got things off to a thunderous start with Never Dead being followed by always awesome Headcrusher and the classic Hangar 18, but after this excellent beginning the performnance felt a little bit disjointed. They were still as technically proficient and entertaining as always but things didn’t fit together quite as well as they usually do in a Megadeth set.
They should be praised (like Devildriver) for mixing things up with their setlist with new additions like Whose Life Is it Anyway and the rarely heard Angry Again getting an airing mixed in with the usual suspects such as Peace Sells and Symphony Of Destruction which went down like the proverbial house on fire as they always do. No prizes for guessing that the set closing Holy Wars incited the most pitting of the day thus far either, just about managing to push Lamb of God and Devildriver from the top of that leaderboard. Overall Megadeth were good but they weren’t a patch on either of their other recent UK festival appearances . They also outdid their Download performance with their show at The Electric Ballroom two nights later (which you can read about here).
Megadeth’s Setlist Was:
Poison Was The Cure
Whose Life Is It Anyway?
Public Enemy No 1s
Symphony Of Destruction
A Tout Le Monde
Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
Following a supply stop after Megadeth, we took in some of Soundgarden. This writer has always fallen into the camp of not understanding what the fuss is about when it comes to Soundgarden and I’m afraid nothing I saw on this occasion did anything to make me change my opinion. They’re simply not my cup of tea. Trying to give an unbiased assessment of the performance, the masses around us were either not too familiar with their material or not particularly interested as the only time they received good levels of audience participation was (unsurprisingly) for Black Hole Sun. Having seen Chris Cornell do a very good solo show in support to Aerosmith in Hyde Park several years ago (doing a combination of Soundgarden, Audioslave and solo material) and comparing it to this performance, I think he was better off on his own .
From one reunion to another somewhat bigger one and the reformation of a band called Black Sabbath. The well documented issues between drummer Bill Ward and the rest of the band over his participation in the show had circulated for months but were ultimately not able to be resolved so Ozzy’s drummer Tony Clufetos was handling stick duty. Prior to the festival opinion was split on whether this would be a triumph or a car crash but any thoughts of a disaster were disspelled within the opening thirty seconds of the opening song (“Black Sabbath”) with a lean, focused looking Ozzy Osbourne sounding more clean and powerful than he has done for years with two of his oldest friends either side of him.
This was the start of a masterclass from one of the founding father groups of heavy metal as we know it today. Geezer Butler’s bass thudded and chugged wonderfully in all the right places, particularly on a brilliant Symptom Of The Universe run through (sans Ozzy) while the Iron Man himself Mr Tony Iommi defied his recent health issues to deliver a faultless performance with familiar riffs and solos being fired from his fingers at all manner of speeds. It’s likely that Into The Void’s bluesy tones have rarely sounded better than they did at Donington and was another song where Mr Butler showed his considerable skills while The Wizard could easily have been another nickname for Tony Iommi on this occasion as well as a fantastic song. It goes without saying that a certain War Pigs was so well received it could probably be heard on any planes flying a couple of thousand feet up taking off from East Midlands Airport.
The newest member of Black Sabbath should not be neglected either and Tony Clufetos’s drumming was fantastic, with a youthful enthusiasm that helped to power his more senior bandmates through the ninety minute plus set. He also unleashed the full range of what he was capable of with a drum solo that was both impressive and did not outstay it’s welcome, before allowing the rest of the band to come back on stage and launch into Iron Man, which the fields of Donington drank in as if they collectively hadn’t seen a beer or cider all weekend.
More Sabbath classics such as Fairies Wear Boots and Dirty Women came and went before the masterful gallop of a note perfect performance of Children Of The Grave brought the main part of the Black Sabbath reunion to a close. Ozzy and co did make a brief reappearance for one last song, and it was never going to be anything other than Paranoid. One last mass singalong ensued, and then the originators of metal bade us all thank you and goodnight [9.5].
The Black Sabbath Download 2012 Setlist Was:
Behind The Wall Of Sleep
Into The Void
Under The Sun
Symptom Of The Universe
Fairies Wear Boots
Children Of The Grave
And so with the burst of a considerable firework show after Sabbath had departed the stage, the music of the tenth anniversary edition of the Download Festival had come to a close. A weekend where the British metal family took on, sustained and eventually triumphed over some of the worst weather that Britain’s thrown at a festival for many years and where the attendees were rewarded for their persistance with one of the greatest Download’s from a music standpoint thus far.
From this writers point of view Metallica just outdid Black Sabbath for the award of the best band of the festival, and there were standout, hugely memorable performances from Shadows Fall, Devin Townsend, Machine Head and Fozzy as well with barely a bad performance to be had amongst the rest. Mr Copping and his colleagues have got an enormous job on their hands to try and top Download 2012 and it will be very interesting to see what they come up with for 2013!