So we’re now under a week to go to Download’s tenth anniversary and it’s fair to say the excitement is really building all over the place, not least here at Rocksins. This is the third and final part of our Download preview, so if you’ve happened to miss the first two parts (how dare you), then you can easily check them out on the links below if you wish to do so:
Now, onto Sunday. The climax of the fun will no dount have a lot to live up to after the previous two days, yet there is still a thunderous collection of bands of all sizes for the viewing and listening pleasure of the metal masses. Here’s our top 10 picks for Sunday, along with a few extra recommendations at the bottom:
With all due respect to The Prodigy, after Metallica Sabbath are the number one thing a lot of people are looking forward to at Download this year (and I’m sure a great many people want to see them more than Metallica too). It is a very large shame that Bill Ward couldn’t sort out his dispute with the rest of the band (if you missed that somehow you can read Bill’s statement here) but once Ozzy, Geezer and Tony get on stage, ably assisted by Tony Clufetos (Ozzy’s solo drummer), something tells most people will forget all the issues in the months leading up to the show rather quickly.
Those who were present at Black Sabbath’s warm up show in Birmingham the weekend before last said it was truly one for the ages which has further raised expectations about the Download performance. Coupled with Tony Iommi’s ongoing health issues (god willing he is able to defeat them), this could well be the last time we see Sabbath together at Donington as a band. Whatever happens, it’s going to be one hell of a singalong and a party.
Guaranteed to cause thrash based chaos wherever they go, Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick return to Download for the fourth time. As with their appearance in 2010 which brought us a run through most of Rust In Peace, Megadeth find tbemselves in a lofty position atop the bill, and in our opinion deservedly so as they’re incredibly consistent live and have been churning out great songs regularly since their comeback eight years ago. Anyone down front is assured of one hell of a circle pitting experience for the likes of Holy Wars and Symphony Of Destruction, Soundgarden will be required as a “cool off” period between the craziness of Megadeth and Black Sabbath. They’ll have to go some to top Download 2010 and last year’s “Big Four” Sonisphere performance, but with MegaDave anything is possible.
Lamb of God
Paired up with Megadeth on the main stage as they were in 2010, Randy Bythe and friends come to Donington armed with new album Resolution intent on leaving Donington appearing as though a bomb has hit it. Expect favourites new such as Ghost Walking and Desolation and old such as Redneck and Now You’ve Got Something To Die For alike to be mixed into a setlist that most present will find far too short for their liking. Randy Blythe is one of the best metal frontmen going today and will command the fields of Donington like a general on the battlefield. Expect many to walk away wounded, all the while with s**t eating grins present on their faces.
Enjoying their resurrection seemingly from the jaws of the abyss by finally having released Worship Music and settling down once again with Joey Belladonna as their full time singer, not to mention taking part in the triumphant “Big Four” shows with fellow Bay Area buddies Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, Anthrax represent the third quarter of the Big Four on show at Donington this weekend, with only Slayer being absent (though the spirit of Slayer will surely be felt as people bellow their name before/during/after every band and continuously around the campsite). Expect the usual hits combined with some new offerings from Worship Music such as the fantastic “Fight Em Til You Can’t” for some mid afternoon good time thrash fun on the Jim Marshall Stage.
If Randy Blythe will be the general of the day, then Dez Fafara will be the platoon sargeant who whips his troops into an absolute frenzy. Few bands can elicit a response live like Devildriver, a band who have precided over at least world record attempts for the world’s largest circle pit on the hallowed turf of Donington. Expect nothing less than this this time. Though they’re on the Jim Marshall stage early, a hangover will be no excuse for not getting fully involved to the likes of Pray for Villains, End Of The Line and the always amazing live Clouds Over California. Always one of the best bands on any festival that they appear on in the same mould as Skindred, don’t miss Devildriver tearing up Donington once again.
As with Skindred, Sonisphere’s demise is to Download’s benefit. Swedish hardcore punk outfit Refused had made Knebworth their exclusive destination of choice for the UK but swapped sides when Sonisphere went by the wayside. Unfortunately clashing with Megadeth (creating an enormous headache for thousands in the process), Refused are back well over a decade after they made such an impact with their album “The Shape of Punk To Come”. New Noise has long been a festival anthem for the DJ’s in the club spots after the bands finish, so it will be something to hear it performed live on Download’s second stage late on Sunday afternoon. Do not miss Refused (unless of course you are a huge Megadeth devotee, then you’ve got tough choices to make).
Arguably one of the most consistent members of the NWOAHM collective of bands, yet the one (along with God Forbid) who have dropped off the rafar somewhat in recent times, Shadows Fall make a very welcome return to Donington Park. Last seen at Download in 2009, the 2012 edition of Download seems them playing in somewhat cosier confines than on previous visits (The Pepsi Max tent in the middle of the afternoon) but this should make for a very special occasion for fans of one of Massachusetts finest metal exports. We’re still waiting on an official UK release of their brand new album Fire From The Sky, get that sorted and a UK tour to follow and Shadows Fall can use this year’s Download appearance as a real stepping stone back to the public eye in the UK.
Friends of Rocksins’, Furyon’s late addition to the lineup at Download 2012 was universally cheered by all of us at this website. The Brighton boys are some of the nicest guys in metal, and also one of the UK’s finest metal acts (especially for those who are fans of the likes of Alter Bridge), Furyon will be hitting the Jagermeister stage at 4:20pm on Sunday (according to the band’s Facebook page). Now you’ve had plenty of warning as to exactly when they’ll be on stage, there’s absolutely no excuse for not turning up to cheer them on. If their performance at High Voltage Festival last year (where they were one of the bands of the festival) is anything to go by, much larger bands will have trouble trying to outdo Furyon.
With Ozzy appearing on the main stage, it’s not totally surprising to find his solo six stringer Gus G also present on the same day back in his regular day job with Firewind. Currently the best thing the nation of Greece has going for it (sadly that’s probably not an exaggeration), Firewind will be sending forth some quality European power metal in the Pepsi Max Tent late on Sunday afternoon. Firewind have a deserved reputation for putting on a great live show, and if you’re not familiar with them this is an ideal opportunity to get to know them a little better. Gus is the latest in a long line of great guitarists under the employ of Ozzy which should tell you something, and the rest of the band are certainly no slouches either!
One of the bands who have been touted by those “in the know” for a little while as one of the “next big things”, Rival Sons are doing a very good job of trying to live up to that billing. No less than the mighty Judas Priest had them as an opening act for their Epitaph World Tour last year and they have tended to light up the stage wherever they have gone, including at the High Voltage Festival in London last Summer. Rival Sons style is something of a throwback to the good old days of blues influenced classic rock and roll and they are likely to pick up fans of all ages with their blend of styles. Something of a wild card for the day but a band who we think a lot of people will become fans of if they’re not familiar with them already.
So in addition to our chosen ten we’d also recommend stoner rock legends Kyuss Lives!, another of Ozzy’s alumni in Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society, the power metal of Edguy and the female fronted British rock of Saint Jude just to name a few more!
There are over one hundred bands at this years’ Download Festival across the five stages so there will be plenty for everyone. Any last minute Download announcements or bits of news and you’ll be able to see them here before we leave for Donington on Wednesday!
We hope our three part preview for the festival has helped get you in the mood for Donington and we’ll be bringing you all the reports after the festival is over along with a series of exclusive interviews with some of your favourite bands. As always, see you down the front and keep praying for the nice weather!